Sports

Four local players waiting for call in MLB draft

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 7, 2016 11:05 am

QUINCY -- Ryan Snyder isn't afraid to admit one particular scene in the movie "The Rookie" elicits an emotional response.

It's when Jim Morris hands the baseball to his dad after pitching in his first major league game.

"My dad and I have always had a bond over the movie," Snyder said. "I think that's how I would feel getting to tell my dad, ‘Hey, I get to play professional baseball.'"

He may get that chance this week.

The Major League Baseball first-year player draft begins Thursday. It is a three-day event with more than 1,200 players to be selected. Snyder, the NCAA Division II All-American right fielder from Quincy University, is one of three Hawks on the radar of pro scouts, while Quincy Notre Dame standout Joey Polak could be off the board the first day.

"If I do get that call, I'll get to look at my dad and say, ‘Hey, I'm a professional baseball player,'" said Snyder, a recent QU graduate who was the Great Lakes Valley Conference and Midwest Region Player of the Year. "I hope that happens. For me, that would be the icing on the cake."

The circumstances for each of the pro prospects -- QU first baseman David Jacob and center fielder Dominic Miles join Snyder and Polak in that group -- are decidedly different.

For example, Polak is expected to get drafted -- high.

Already signed to play at the University of South Carolina, the 6-foot-5 Polak has been projected as high as the first round in a couple of mock drafts. Most draft prognosticators have Polak going in the top 150 picks.

He would be the second player in Quincy Notre Dame history to be taken in the draft. Jeff Johnson played shortstop for the school, then known as Christian Brothers, and was taken in the 26th round of the 1975 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Polak hasn't heard exactly where he might go or which teams are most interested, but he hasn't concerned himself with it much either.

"I'm not stressed about it," Polak said. "Either way it goes, I'm ready for it. Either I'm going to a great school or I'm going to continue my dream of playing professional baseball."

The latter is what most people expect.

After a stellar fall playing with his traveling team, the St. Louis Pirates, Polak was named to the USA Today High School All-American team and followed that up by hitting .474 with the Raiders this spring.

It's carried right over to the summer, where he is hitting .324 with two home runs through 10 games for the Quincy Gems of the Prospect League. He is one of only three recent high school graduates playing in the summer collegiate league.

The Gems are on the road Thursday, and Polak insisted the start of the draft won't be a distraction.

"I'll put my phone away during the game and pick it back up when the game is over," Polak said. "I'll be 100 percent focused on the game. Once everything is set aside, I'll pick up my phone and see if I have heard anything."

Jacob and Miles find themselves in similar situations as Polak. Both have a year of eligibility remaining at QU and could get drafted again next season.

Jacob, a junior from Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, is coming off an All-Great Lakes Valley Conference season in which he hit .392 with 11 home runs and 62 RBIs. Last summer, he became the first player in Prospect League history to hit .400 in a season.

Jacob had a private workout with the New York Mets before leaving Quincy to play for the La Crosse Loggers in the Northwoods League. He is hitting .280 through seven games for the Loggers.

Miles, who is playing for Asheboro Copperheads in the Coastal Plains League this summer, hit .384 in the spring and committed only one error in center field, earning All-GLVC honors and all-region honors. He has two hits in five at-bats through four games for the Copperheads.

Meanwhile, Snyder knows this is his last opportunity to live the dream of being drafted. It's why the fifth-year senior stayed in Quincy after the Hawks' season ended to continue to hit and work out.

"I've done all I can to be ready," Snyder said. "It would be special to have it happen and say I was drafted."

LOCAL DRAFT PICKS

Local players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft:

John Wood Community College

2003: Tobirus Bell, OF, 47th round (1,400 overall), St. Louis Cardinals

Quincy University

2011: Richard Ruff, RHP, 46th round (1,392 overall), New York Mets

2006: Brad Stone, RHP, 12th round (365 overall), Florida Marlins

2005: Brad Stone, RHP, 31st round (944 overall), Houston Astros

2005: Kevin Reynolds, OF, 42nd round (1,250 overall), Seattle Mariners

2000: Josh Rabe, OF, 11th round (312 overall), Minnesota Twins

1997: Jason Rakers, 3B, 34th round (1,040 overall), San Diego Padres

1972: Robert Ott, RHP, 13th round (303 overall), Chicago Cubs

1968: Steve Spanich, RHP, 26th round (589 overall), Chicago White Sox

1966: Dennis Trame, RHP, 8th round (97 overall), Detroit Tigers

1966: Dewey Kalmer, C, 18th round (346 overall), Washington Senators

1966: Dennis Trame, RHP, 6th round (94 overall), Atlanta Braves

1965: Dennis Trame, RHP, 38th round (682 overall), New York Yankees

Quincy High School

1998: Brandon DeJaynes, RHP, 21st round (635 overall), Seattle Mariners

1987: Monte Krogman, RHP, 11th round (290 overall), New York Mets

1987: Eric Bush, OF, 54th round (1,210 overall), New York Mets

1970: Mike Weiss, RHP, 30th round (706 overall), Chicago Cubs

1967: Alan Bush, LHP, 44th round (792 overall), Atlanta Braves

Christian Brothers High School

1975: Jeff Johnson, SS, 26th round (595 overall), Philadelphia Phillies