Each one has a different story from Wednesday.
Whether it was faulty internet service to a surprise call from dad after a college summer school class, for the five local baseball players that had their names called during the third and final day of the 2018 MLB Draft, excitement was the common theme.
The five players picked were the most drafted out of Bakersfield since 2009. It was also the first time more than two Bakersfield high school players were drafted in the same year since 2000.
It all began with former Frontier and Bakersfield College standout pitcher Allan Winans.
After two seasons at Campbell University in North Carolina, where he was 6-4 with a 2.73 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings, Winans was selected by the New York Mets in the 17th round — the 500th overall pick — of the 2018 draft.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s a lot of hard work,” Winans said. “I think back to playing as a 7-year-old and then going to Campbell. This is humbling. It’s cliche, but it’s true. It really is.”
It was also an odd way for Winans to find out he was drafted.
After getting in a workout at Campbell, Winans went home to check the online draft tracker.
But the internet connection at his house wasn’t the best, Winans said. As he was trying to get online, he received a text message from a friend telling him he got drafted.
“My heart sank,” Winans said. “I saw my name on the message board. It’s my own special way. It’s all weird. Either way, an awesome feeling.”
Winans said he will report to Mets extended spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla. on Saturday.
Winans is also in a different situation from three local high school players who were drafted on Wednesday. All three will not sign professionally, and intend to play for their respective college programs instead.
Jacen Roberson, a standout center fielder/pitcher at Garces, was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 24th round (No. 734 overall). The Colorado Rockies selected Stockdale pitcher/shortstop Sean Mullen in the 35th round (No. 1,056 overall), and Liberty pitcher Easton McMurray was also taken by the Rockies in the 37th round (1,116 overall).
Mullen will opt to play collegiately at UCLA, while Roberson is headed to Cal State Bakersfield. McMurray is already on campus taking summer school classes at LSU.
According to Jacen’s father Rob, the Garces graduate turned down offers from the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays because the “price point” the family was seeking was too high for teams to offer.
“We are ecstatic. We are college people,” Rob Roberson said. “We preached that from the beginning. With the MLB process, the situation had to be right....Jacen is a big college guy and a CSUB guy and is excited about that.”
For Jacen, he was excited to know that pro scouts and CSUB still want him to play center field instead of rushing him to the mound as a left-handed pitcher.
“They definitely want me as a center fielder,” Jacen said. “I've heard people say I need to pitch. But my love is in the outfield.
“It is surreal. It’s a blessing. I am happy I got my scholarship,” Roberson continued. “And CSUB has a great coaching staff. Yes, I turned down the majors now, but I know CSUB will get me there.”
Mullen leaves for Yakima, Wash. on Thursday morning to play summer baseball before heading to UCLA in August.
Like Roberson, Mullen said the value of an education and the ability to play at the NCAA Division I level was more enticing than the money offered in the lower rounds of the draft.
“When people start throwing money at you, it starts to mess with kids’ heads,” Mullen said. “I didn’t want that to be me. I don’t want to be influenced by outside sources and people that don’t really know me well enough to make an educated decision on me.”
McMurray got a phone call from his dad, Brock, after a summer school class at LSU telling him he got drafted.
McMurray, who graduated last week from Liberty, started classes this week for the Tigers.
“I was honestly shocked. I didn’t expect to get drafted,” McMurray said. “I had a down year (at Liberty). But now I have something to motivate me to go higher than the 37th round the next time.”
Another local college signee taken, Art Joven, is in the same situation as Roberson, Mullen and McMurray after being selected in the 38th round by the Boston Red Sox.
Joven signed to play at Missouri last November after finishing second in the state this season for junior college pitchers with 119 strikeouts for the College of the Sequoias in Visalia.
Joven will not sign professionally, electing to go to Missouri next season to join McMurray in the Southeastern Conference.
“I feel that in this world now, you need a college education,” Joven said. “I am excited for that and (to) pitch against the best conference in the nation and see what I have.”
Unlike the three high school players that turned down the professional offers and will have to wait three more years to be drafted again, Joven is eligible again next June after his junior year in college is complete.