Oakland A’s select Brownsville outfielder Derrick Tarpley in MLB Draft

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Tuesday, July 11, 2023 | 6:53 PM


Brownsville maybe isn’t a familiar stop for some MLB scouts, but the Oakland A’s visited multiple times this spring to see senior outfielder Derrick Tarpley.

Other clubs checked on him too, but the A’s sent multiple layers of scouts his way.

“They would call me and tell me they were going to be around, probably to get directions to our field because we’re out in the boonies,” Brownsville coach Skooter Roebuck said with a laugh.

Their interest became clear Tuesday when A’s selected Tarpley in the 18th round of the MLB Draft. He was the only high school player from the WPIAL drafted this year.

Oakland used pick No. 526 for him.

“The Yankees, the Giants and the Brewers showed some interest, but the A’s had seen more than a few games” Roebuck said. “They sent different people. One came from Oakland to see him, so I kind of had a sense.”

Tarpley, who graduated last month, signed to play next season at Youngstown State, but now has another baseball option to consider. Roebuck said pro scouts were drawn to his “pure athleticism” as a 6-foot-4, 190-pound center fielder with a knack for hitting triples.

“The kid is big. He’s strong-armed and swings the bat well,” Roebuck said. “He’s just a specimen.”

Tarpley routinely batted leadoff for Brownsville and had around 18 career triples. He earned all-section honors three times. As a senior, he batted better than .400 with three home runs, even as some teams pitched around him.

“He’s a really hard worker,” Roebuck said. “He’s the first one in the gym for weight-room workouts or baseball workouts. He’s the real deal.”

Brownsville has had a number of former players drafted, most coming after college. Among them were Doug Dascenzo in 1985, Mike Conte in 1989, Mike Patitucci in 2002 and Chad Rice in 2007.

Tarpley is believed to be the first Brownsville senior selected in the MLB Draft in almost 50 years. Gilbert Joseph in 1975 was picked by the Mets in the 20th round.

So this was a big day for the Fayette County school.

“After we won the WPIAL in 2018, we’ve been down,” Roebuck said. “Sometimes as a good player, it’s tough to play on a team that’s not so good … but he was still producing and still leading the team. It’s a testament to Tarp.

“He stood out and everybody knew it.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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