Rios drafted on 21st birthday, plans to ink with Brewers

Local Sports

Many will toast their 21st birthday with a shot. 

University of Hawai’i All-Big West first team catcher Kekai Rios toasted his 21st Wednesday with a shot at a lifetime dream: fittingly being picked by the Milwaukee Brewers on day three of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. 

“I was just grateful after a few rounds going by,” Rios said from his Kahalu’u home Wednesday afternoon.

“I was stressing out a little bit, but once I got picked I just felt so grateful for the opportunity and all I really wanted was an opportunity. I’m just grateful for this moment right now and I feel like I’m ready to go.”

The junior said that he turned down a $75,000 signing bonus offer by the Kansas City Royals earlier in the draft, but agreed to what is expected to be a bonus in the neighborhood of $100,000 with Milwaukee. 

Fellow Rainbow Warrior underclassmen, 1st team All-Big West closer Dylan Thomas was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round. 

Thomas remains unsure about his future, and is tentatively planned to leave to the prestigious Cape Cod League tomorrow. 

“I have absolutely no idea yet,” the redshirt sophomore said. 

“Everything is still up in the air. (The Minnesota Twins) called me yesterday talking to me a little bit. The scout that I had been talking to. And then he called me again today early this morning as the draft was in the earlier stages and we were just kind of negotiating it and ended up picking me without really knowing that they were the team that was gonna do it.”

Before Rios and Thomas were selected, Baldwin’s Bubba Ho’opi’i-Tuionetoa was taken by Minnesota in the 16th round. According to the Maui News’ Rob Collias Ho’opi’i-Tuionetoa is expected to sign. 

Next to get the call was Stanford senior second baseman and Punahou graduate Beau Branton. The Seattle Mariners selected Branton in the 28th round. 

Five local players were taken in the 2018 draft, with Hilo’s Micah Bello having gone to Milwaukee with the 73rd overall selection Monday. 

Players have until July 6th to sign their professional contract. 

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