I don’t pretend to understand everything that happens during MLB’s annual player draft but what I do get is that some of it is based on projectibility.
It answers for me the why and how of some picks.
One regional selection that caught my attention was Grant High’s Shaq Thompson taken in the 18th round, the 571st overall pick, by the Boston Red Sox.
What’s interesting is that Thompson’s makes his name as a football star and, as the 2011 All Metro Player of the Year, a nationally top-rated recruit who eventually committed to the University of Washington.
I’ve never had the opportunity to see Thompson play but from all accounts he’s the real deal and a can’t-miss to one day grace our TV sets on Sunday NFL telecasts — sure to make interceptions and bone-jarring hits against my beloved Raiders.
His track running resume has also garnered attention and just recently, to conclude his senior year, baseball as well.
With Thompson in its outfield, Grant was by no means a powerhouse, winning just 11 of 23 games, 4-11 in league with Thompson putting up modest stats. Boston however, noting Thompson’s raw athleticism, sees potential and enough upside to invest a rather high pick on someone essentially returning to a game they previously played.
We’re led to believe Thompson could be the next dual-sport athlete who conquers two professional sports.
Call me a skeptic as I go out on a limb and tippy-toe to the very end … but my guess is baseball will be extremely hard for Thompson and he’ll find nothing of the instant gratification he gets on the gridiron. Rather, he’ll get a dose of the most humbling sport there is.
I’ve read one report stating Thompson had to forfeit his scholarship to pursue baseball.
My gut says this was about money. The allure of MLB’s signing bonus for the 18 year-old was too hard to pass on (now) despite the fact he’s expected to reel in the NFL riches in the not-to-distant future.
He may need it for tuition.
In the meantime, what happens if he’s injured? Who, the Huskies or Red Sox, breaks (no pun intended) that news to the other?
The blogs had opinions from all sides. Most were supportive including one that ended, “my guess is that he won’t be able to hit pro pitchers at any level. Football is his ticket.”
After 10 official at bats in the Gulf Coast League Thompson had struck out 10 times.
Not the best of starts but what do I know?
This kid just might end up being the next Willie Mays.