Mavs’ Robertson will forgo senior year to begin pro baseball career
Nate Robertson chose to follow his dream.
The 21-year-old decided to forgo his senior year at Colorado Mesa University and sign a professional baseball contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Robertson, a two-time All-American shortstop and Montrose High School graduate, was drafted by the Diamondbacks on Saturday in the 27th round of the Major League Baseball draft.
“From when I was drafted on Saturday to Monday, I was indecisive,” Robertson said. “There were so many things I’d leave behind, but it’s always been my dream to play in the major leagues.
“(CMU coach Chris) Hanks said, ‘Reach out to a lot of people,’ and that’s what I planned to do. They all told me it needs to be my decision. Hanks always talks about living in the moment. I talked to my sister and parents. I felt content with my decision.”
Still, it was a difficult decision.
“It was a great year. We won a lot of games coming from behind. It was a great group of guys,” he said. “I want to thank everyone that helped me get here and for all who supported me.”
Robertson is flying to Hillsboro, Oregon, today, he said, to sign his contract and begin play with the Diamondbacks’ Class A short-season Hillsboro Hops of the Northwest League. The team begins its season Friday.
He could’ve turned down the Diamondbacks’ offer and returned to the Mavericks for his final season, taking a chance on getting drafted next year, but he felt the time was right.
“I didn’t want to wait and regret not going when I had a chance,” Robertson said. “This is an unbelievable opportunity. I trust God.”
Hanks would’ve loved to have Robertson back, but he knew the Mavs might lose Robertson to the draft, and he recruited players accordingly.
“It’s a bummer, but we recruited with the idea that would happen,” Hanks said. “We have kids in the program that can play shortstop, and we recruited kids at shortstop.”
CMU senior pitcher Tyler Dunnington also signed, with the St. Louis Cardinals. The right-handed pitcher was drafted in the 28th round.
Dunnington is headed to the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, a Rookie League in Florida. The Cardinals begin play June 20.
Hanks was surprised none of the 30 Major League Baseball teams drafted Division II national player of the year Austin Kaiser.
“Some teams used age as a reason, and some said they have enough outfielders,” Hanks said about Kaiser not being drafted. “Some were undecided if he would sign because of the graduate program that accepted him.”
Hanks added, “I think clubs are making a mistake, but I’m not privy to information on their other outfielders.”
Kaiser went ahead and started his internship with Louisville Slugger this summer. He’s been accepted to the University of Alabama sports management graduate program this fall.
Hanks believes if a team doesn’t offer Kaiser a contract soon, he’ll move on and focus on school and a career as an athletic director.
Kaiser and Sharaya Selsor were chosen the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete recipients for the 2013-14 school year.
Administrators from each of the 14 RMAC institutions choose a male and female student-athlete each year. Eligible student-athletes must compete in one of the conference-sponsored championship sports, carry at least a 3.3 grade-point average, be a starter or key reserve, be of good character and must have participated at the institution for two or more seasons.
Kaiser graduated with a 3.81 GPA in sports management. The senior baseball player received the Tino Martinez Award, the ABCA National Player of the Year award and the Capital One Academic Player of the Year award. He led Division II in bating average, hits and total bases and helped the Mavericks reach the national championship game.
Selsor graduated in December with a 3.53 GPA in sports management. The senior women’s basketball player was a finalist for the WBCA National Player of the Year and made the Capital One Academic All-America team. The RMAC Player of the Year averaged 23.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and led the Mavericks to the NCAA tournament.