NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York isn’t known for high school baseball, but one player in the Bronx could be a first-round pick if all goes right.
This week, Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association came to an agreement on a number of issues, including the draft.
It cuts the draft from 40 rounds down to possibly just five, and teams can defer the signing bonus for up to three years, which is very important for a select group of high school players expected to be drafted into the first round who now may miss their chance.
Alex Santos is one of the best high school players in the country.
“I know, it’s pretty disappointing not being able to play my last season with all my boys,” Santos told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.
Scouts have years of footage of college players, but high school seniors often dramatically improve their stock in their final year. So scouts will have to judge Santos from his recent improvements.
“He is such a hard worker. Baseball to him is basically 24/7/365. Basically, I mean, he throws hard. He’s throwing probably approaching around 95 [mph] now,” said Walter Stampfel, Santos’ coach at Mount St. Michael Academy.
“I bring the heat, you know. I like to attack the zone. As soon as I get on the mound, it’s fastball, fastball, and if you show me you can hit my fastball, I’ll start mixing in my other pitches,” Santos said.
“You don’t become a potential number one draft pick with one pitch,” Stampfel said.
Like any great pitcher, Santos does have an out pitch, or in this case a backup plan. If teams undervalue him in the draft, he has verbally committed to play baseball at the University of Maryland.
He will be a major leaguer, whether his route is college or this year’s draft.
“The draft is in June already, so I’m pretty sure it’s gonna get pushed back a little more. But if that time comes, I’ll make a decision with my family if it comes to that point,” Santos said.
“Let’s face it, it all comes down to one thing — money. If they offer him a number that he’s looking for, I know him and his family are ready for that and we’ll see how it plays out,” Stampfel said.
Normally, baseball adds about 1,000 players per year from the draft. This year, it’ll be about 100, and because first round bonuses will be deferred, we’ll could be seeing a lot more high-profile high school players opting for college.