A lot can be said about leverage, in this case when it comes to having a choice between turning professional out of high school or spending time honing your craft at college before the chance at going pro. Decisions were made over the last few weeks for several Oregon Ducks incoming baseball recruits after they were chosen in the 2014 MLB Draft and several athletes that would have had solid playing time for Oregon will not even see the grass at PK Park or hear the fans cheering for them.
Steve Mims, from the Register Guard in Eugene filled in the details and they are startling, at least to me, that young men of eighteen and nineteen years old are forgoing college, realizing their dream and getting signing bonuses in boatloads of money. Five potential future Oregon Ducks signed with professional teams in the last few weeks including top recruit Catcher Alex Jackson.
Jackson was picked by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft at number six and recently signed for $4.2 million. Expected Oregon Reliever Brock Burke signed with Tampa Bay picking up $900,000, more than was expected considering he was taken in the fifth round of the draft. According to Mims, Oregon had two potential players taken in the first round in Jackson and Outfielder Derek Hill who was signed by Detroit. The twenty third overall draft pick in the first round made a cool $2 million.
One player who had the chance to go pro last season, but did not due to injury was Starting Pitcher Matt Krook, who was injured during the 2014 season after a solid start. He underwent Tommy John Surgery. One advantage of the ‘going pro’ scenerio is that it is not just the Oregon Ducks program that is effected, programs across the country who were looking for top talent to play for them are also effected. All you can do is recruit and hope that a prospect sees the opportunity at the college level.
Sometimes it only takes one or two to make a season and in what is now becoming more high stakes for recruits in decision making about going pro early, it seems that may be all college teams are going to get.