Angels draft Jonah Dipoto, son of Jerry …
Jerry Dipoto’s seat in the Angels’ Draft room was situated right next to Kathy Mair, who was responsible for phoning each of the team’s selection to Major League Baseball. Every time a pick was ready, a tag with the amateur player’s name would sit right next to Dipoto, ready for Mair to read out with the next pick.
When it came time for Mair to call in the Angels’ 38th-round selection, though, the tag was missing.
“They hid it from my view so I couldn’t know what they were doing, then they called the name,” Dipoto said. “Then the whole room erupted. It was pretty cool.”
The Angels had just drafted Jonah Dipoto, a right-handed pitcher out of nearby Newport Harbor High School and, yes, the teenage son of the Angels’ general manager.
Over the last year and a half, Jonah played for multiple scout teams, including the Angels’, so the organization’s scouts were very familiar with him. They liked how he was progressing. And even though they knew he wouldn’t sign – Jonah is committed to UC San Diego, where he’ll be a two-way player – they wanted to select him anyway, as a reward for how far he’s come and some added encouragement in his development.
Angels scouting director Ric Wilson asked Dipoto if he’d be OK with it a week ago, and the Angels’ GM rejected the idea because he didn’t want to take an opportunity away from someone else. During Wednesday’s lunch break, Wilson insisted, saying that area scout Rob Wilfong really liked Jonah and that selecting him wouldn’t interfere with anything else.
So, Dipoto relented.
A few minutes later, he heard his son get selected with the 1,155th overall selection.
“I will admit,” Dipoto said, “it was a great moment for me, a great moment for Jonah, and I hope we have the opportunity to do it again in another three years.”
After Dipoto exchanged hugs and handshakes with the room, Wilson asked the logical question: “Who’s calling Jonah?”
“Well I’m not calling him,” Dipoto said.
Wilfong made the call, just like he would’ve for any Southern California amateur, and Jonah let it go to voicemail. He was busy taking batting practice.
“He worked his tail off all spring long and he has for the last couple years, and I didn’t want to rob him of the opportunity to hear his name called on Draft day because I felt weird about it,” Dipoto said. “He earned his chance, and like a lot of the kids he played with over the summer – got drafted today at some point and will not sign; they’ll go off to college – he’s just one of the guys in that regard. He just happens to have been picked by the team where his dad is the GM.”