Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Choke-Up (Part II)

I ran into Blake Parsons at the WWBA World Championship. "Who the heck is he?" you ask. If you may recall, I had two of my eight draftees go unsigned. I already told you about one of them: Russell Reed. But just when you think things couldn't get much worse than the Russell Reed situation, please allow me to introduce you to Blake Parsons. 8th Round pick from a high school juggernaut in Ft. Lauderdale that I call "The Factory." The kid was a strong five tool prospect that could play either third base or the outfield. I even saw a touch of the sixth tool in him. More on that later.

I remember calling him the weekend before the draft. It was a Saturday morning and all was well. He acknowledged his expectation of going in the top ten rounds and was very upfront about needing a six figure signing bonus. That wasn't a problem for us. However, I knew we probably couldn't wait past the 8th round to pick him because Philadelphia and Kansas City were scouting him pretty hard.

I prodded him about college. It was abundantly clear that college was not an option. The kid was going pro all the way. I asked him what he was planning to do in the week leading up to the draft.

"Nothin' much," he responded, oblivious to my intentions.

His club team didn't have any games scheduled, so I figured I was safe. Unfortunately, he failed to let me know that he was invited as a guest player to participate in a local tournament that same afternoon and Sunday.

Draft day came around and I was rather insistent that we had to pick this kid in the eighth round or better. As the sixth round came to a close, our GM called Philadelphia and Kansas City to feel them out as to where they might go in the coming rounds. Both clubs indicated pitching. It was hard to tell, however, if this was just a decoy. We jumped on Parsons in the eighth. I called to congratulate him and as you would expect he was elated and immediately wanted to work out the details. We came to a verbal agreement and I set a time to meet with him and his family.

(to be continued)


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