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Draftee faces tough career decision

Casey Stevenson must decide whether to sign or play his senior season at UC Irvine

Posted: June 11, 2009 9:17 p.m.
Updated: June 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Casey Stevenson looks at a pitch as a senior at Saugus High in 2006. Stevenson was selected in the 38th round by Milwaukee and now must decide whether to sign or return to school.

 
When many players are selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, they are put in a difficult situation.

Saugus High graduate and former College of the Canyons infielder Casey Stevenson is in that situation.

Stevenson was taken in the 38th round of the 2009 Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.

The UC Irvine junior, though, has his senior year ahead of him.

So it puts him in a situation where he has to make one of the biggest decisions of his life.

Live the dream or delay the dream, if that dream is still there in a year.

“It’s going to be a tough decision,” Stevenson said. “I’m 100 percent comfortable with going to school next year and getting an education and getting closer to my degree.

“There are a lot of pluses and minuses. (Staying in school means) another year to develop as a player in college — that’s a positive I can get out of coming back to UC Irvine if I can play as well as I think I can play. As far as signing, I get to go out and play pro ball a year earlier. The money will be more unless I improve my draft status (next year).”

For many players, it’s the dollars that makes the decision for them.

Stevenson said he may have scared some teams off with his demands.

He’s not sure where he would have been drafted had he pitched a lower dollar amount, but it was likely a lot lower than the 38th round.

But Stevenson has the bargaining power now.

If Milwaukee doesn’t sign him by August 17, they lose his draft rights.

Any team could grab him in the next year’s draft.

So teams don’t like to run that risk.

But Stevenson has his own risks.

Get injured or have a bad senior year and your draft stock plummets. Maybe you won’t get drafted at all.
Valencia graduate Jared Clark rolled the dice three times before being drafted Wednesday in the 12th round by the Colorado Rockies.

After his senior year at Valencia in 2004, he was taken in the 19th round by the Houston Astros, but decided to keep his scholarship to Cal State Fullerton instead.

In 2007 he was drafted in the 21st round by the Cleveland Indians, then the 45th round by the Los Angeles Angels last year.

He ran the risk and still managed to come out on top.

Some players, though, can’t resist.

Valencia’s Casey Mulligan had a scholarship to Fullerton, but was taken in the 22nd round by the St. Louis Cardinals.

He ended up signing with the Cardinals.

Stevenson, 21 years old, has seen a very steady rise since being a solid player for Saugus.

There were better players than him in high school and Stevenson ended up at College of the Canyons where Chris Cota had a bold prediction for him two years ago.

Cota said he would be a professional baseball player.

It wasn’t until he played at COC that he hit a home run.

Stevenson has continued to grow in two seasons at UC irvine.

He said he has grown from being a singles hitter to a doubles hitter with some power.

His 2009 numbers reflect that as he batted .346 with 19 doubles, three home runs and 41 RBIs.

Before last year, teams were able to hold onto players draft rights until the following year’s draft.

It was called a draft and follow.

Major League Baseball instituted a rule change to shorten the signing period before last season.

Nonetheless, the Brewers are taking the next couple of months to see what they will offer Stevenson.

He will play in a summer league and said the Brewers are very interested in seeing what he can do during that time.

The deadline to sign is still two months away.

“I’m very comfortable with whatever decision I make,” Stevenson said.

cosborne@the-signal.com

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