Serving Franklin County, WA

The Value System

I watched some of the Major League baseball draft live from Lumen Field in Seattle on Sunday. It was interesting to see how many high school seniors were drafted. I’m sure that a fair amount of them will turn pro and learn more about playing baseball for a living and polish up their game at spring training facilities or at the Class A level around the country.

There will be some who will begin their college careers in hopes of learning from some great coaches and facilities in order to maybe get a higher draft position in a year or two which of course means more money.

I’ve often thought that a youngster needs to grow up and the college game seemed to be the best route but like anything the right fit is very important. So with the college game an athlete needs to attend classes or maybe do the online thing. I’m not sure what is asked of the athlete these days other than to take a minimum of credit hours and stay eligible. I think there are enough tutors to help get the borderline student to pass a class.

At the pro level kids are expected to play a lot of baseball and they will be assigned to Low Class A which Spokane was pre COVID or High A which is where they play now. The season for High A is close to two months longer. Player development is important and moving up the farm team ladder is the goal with playing in the Major League as the ultimate goal.

You have to hand it to these young kids that had their names called in the first round as they made big impressions to a lot of scouts and convinced the upper echelon of the franchise to take a look at certain players and as they put the dynamics and statistics together they decide on a player when it’s their turn to choose. There are no guarantees for the player or the franchise. Will the team decide that an infielder should be playing left field instead? Will an athlete adapt to hitting number 8 in the lineup after they spent their high school years as a number 3 or 4 guy in the lineup?

There are huge changes for the young kids who are leaving home for the first time. Their support system may now live a thousand miles away. Sure they can video chat but mom’s cherry pie or her hugs can’t be replicated on a computer screen. But all kids need to grow up at some point in time.

Another challenge that all athletes will need to make either at the college or pro level is playing alongside athletes who are as good if not better than them. Chances are they didn’t have a teammate in high school that had the same tools to play past high school. Talk about a hit to the ego. And what if they were drafted as a shortstop and are now expected to play third or second base because there is already a shortstop that is a proven fielder and hitter and has solidified their spot on the roster. These young athletes will also need to polish up their public speaking as the local news team will want to interview them during the season to ask them about the team and personal successes or even a bad outing. Inquiring minds want to know. I’m sure there are people at a college or in the organization that can help with that part of being an athlete in the spotlight. The one thing that is tough to control is when a local news team asks some questions but only part of the answer is aired and it might sound a bit arrogant when it wasn’t meant to be. Once the interview is over the interviewee has lost control of the outcome.

The draft of all sports is high profile because of ESPN, MLB, NHL, NFL and NBA networks even though ESPN broadcasts several of these drafts. The youngsters are in the spotlight and it was refreshing to see how well these kids replied to the questions. Not all of these kids will have long lasting careers playing baseball as some will be traded in a year or two or because of injuries or because getting to the Major League is taking a very long time with the team that they have signed on with.

They will find out either in college or the pros that it is merely a business decision as to how often their name makes it into the lineup. They will certainly need to understand the value system in order find long term success and above all else don’t give up on your talent. Good Luck!

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].

 

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