NJ High School Prospect Signs With Phillies
I'm always fascinated by baseball prospects (or football) who end up signing with either the team they grew up rooting for, or that team's rival.
Jake McKenna grew up a Phillies fan, and his favorite player is Cole Hamels. McKenna pitched for the Ocean City Red Raiders in Cape May County, and while he was passed over during last week's draft, the Phillies called him literally a minute after Major League teams were allowed to call undrafted players.
The Phils signed McKenna for the maximum amount for undrafted players, $20,000. According to the Press of Atlantic City, the 6-foot-7-inch lefty has a fastball that comes in between 89 and 93mph, and also throws a sharp-breaking curveball and a changeup.
It's a crazy time for sports and sports fans right now. There's really nothing but uncertainty when it comes to when games will be played, when stadiums will open, how contracts will work, and how the battles between players and ownership end up. Major League Baseball has been clashing with the Players' Union at pretty much every turn. I long for the days when we thought the 2020 season would be delayed by just two weeks, instead of a month, then two months, then possibly starting July 4th weekend, then floating the idea of a 50 game season, and now maybe just skipping 2020 entirely.
I can't imagine the mixture of elation and stress for a prospect getting signed right now. There's no real direction as to where McKenna will go; he already lost his senior year of high school games, and with every passing day it seems like there will be no minor league season this year. It's likely that draftees will end up in a fall or winter instructional league. For a player of McKenna's age, that sort of start is expected anyway
I love to hear the stories of a kid playing for the team they loved, or the team they hated. I get that athletes have a different mentality than a typical fan (like me), so when they put on the uniform, they play to win. Still, there's part of me that would have hated it if I were a legit baseball prospect and got drafted by the Red Sox. I've been a Yanks fan my entire life, and putting on that Red Sox uniform would feel dirty.