CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE JB GLOVE CARE CONTEST!
26-07-10 22:03 Age: 3 yrs
WHAT'S IT TAKE FOR A TEENAGER TO MAKE THE MLB DRAFT?Category: Top Stories
Stefan Sabol reveals the preparations he made that got him picked this year by the Atlanta Braves.
How far would you push yourself to realize your dream of playing Major League Baseball?
To help understand what it takes to make it to the Big Time, we tracked down three teens playing within 20 miles of one another in Orange County, Calif., all of whom decided long ago to push themselves to the limit in order to have a chance to live their dreams. And now, they sit on the cusp of turning those dreams into reality.
For Stefan Sabol, who recently finished his senior season at Aliso Niguel High School, his time is now. Sabol was drafted on June 8 by the Atlanta Braves in the 17th round of the Major League First Year Player Draft. Next, he'll decide whether he'll pursue his dream immediately, or first go to college.
"I went a lot later than I thought I would," said Sabol, who was projected by Baseball America and ESPN to be drafted in the second or third round. "It's really crazy. Really, you can't even predict who's going to go where (in the draft), besides the top five picks. After that, it's whoever likes you and whoever has the most confidence to pick you."
Sabol, who spoke to Junior Baseball the night he was drafted, said he did not know if he was going to sign with the Braves or go play ball with the University of Oregon, with whom he signed earlier this year.
"It's still up in the air," Sabol told us last month. "They're going to be watching me in the summer and see how I do there. And then possibly I could go play pro ball or go to college. I'll probably have a better idea at the end of this summer."
For Huntington Beach Edison High School teammates Henry Owens and Christian Lopes, each are projected as first-round prospects in the 2011 MLB Draft. They'll start their senior years next fall amid a lot of hype and a very hot spotlight.
All three spoke to us about what it's like to potentially get drafted, the setbacks they've endured along the way, and tips they'd offer on how you should be getting yourself in position to be drafted.
JB: What have you learned through the draft process?
Stefan Sabol: I've learned that the draft itself is a lot different than I expected it to be. It's way different than any sport -- in football and basketball, you'll have certain picks that have a certain slot that you'll fall under and you might have the occasional guy that falls really far. But for the most part, anyone that gets drafted is going to sign. In baseball, especially with the high school player, you have a decision to go to college or to go pro. Some of them don't end up signing.
Henry Owens: I've learned that every day you've got to get better. So I can't take one day off. I mean, ever since I've been 12 years old, it's been my dream to play professional baseball. I don't want one day taken off, taken for granted.
Christian Lopes: My first priority would be getting an education and probably getting my degree, that way you have something to fall back on. You never know what's going to happen. Baseball's always going to be there.
JB: How does one start to go about getting drafted?
Sabol: I started off doing these showcases, it's run by Perfect Game. It's just to get your name out, they have this profile for scouts to check you out. I did that for a while, and eventually they have this showcase where you go to Nationals your junior or senior season. Then they pick the AFLAC All-American team and that's the big stage you want to be on. That's the top 40 players in America.
Junior Baseball: What advice would you have for a 12-year-old who's in the same shoes as you were at that age?
Sabol: My best advice would be to have fun. You're playing baseball because you love the game. You go back and remember how you used to play the game and you played free. What happens, happens and you've just got to go out there and make the most of it.
Owens: If it's your dream, you've got to keep working at it. There's a quote that I like, it's about opportunity. It's "If you chase two rabbits, both of them will escape." You've got to go after one thing, one priority. For me, it's to play professionally.
Lopes: If you love the game, make sure you truly love it and stay focused. Don't get caught up in the distractions of high school. There's a billion distractions that you can get caught up into. It's easy to fall into those traps. My best advice would be to work hard every day.