Draft could send Baldwin to pros instead of Nebraska

Geoff Baldwin rounds the bases after hitting a monster HR

The next three days could bring a big change in the lives of amateur baseball players.

That includes a handful of local players when the Major League Baseball draft begins today.

Grand Junction High School’s Geoff Baldwin could become one of the highest picks ever from the Western Slope.

The left-handed first baseman said he has worked out for 20 teams, with most of the workouts in Phoenix. He also had a couple of workouts at Coors Field in Denver and a few in Los Angeles.

Recently, some draft projections have him going in the fourth to sixth round.

Baldwin has signed to attend the University of Nebraska on a baseball scholarship. For
Baldwin to pass that up and go pro,  it will depend on what kind of contract he’s offered, he said.

“While it’s all projections right now, I am going to go by a money amount and not what round I’m selected,” Baldwin said. “Things are looking good, but you really don’t know anything until they say your name.”

Baldwin will be waiting today for a phone call to find out where he could be heading.

“I’m extremely excited for it,” Baldwin said. “It’s crazy to think in two weeks I could be playing professional baseball.”

Baldwin said he plans to spend the draft days low-key, hanging out with friends and family and continuing to train. If he decides not to pursue professional baseball right now, he will spend the summer playing for a team in Las Vegas before heading to Lincoln in the fall.

Another player on the scouts’ radar is Fruita Monument graduate Shaver Hansen. The Baylor shortstop is only a junior, but still could be selected relatively high after hitting .330 for the Bears with a team leading 59 RBI.

Churchofbaseball.com had a brief on Hansen, saying he could go as high as the third round or as late as the sixth.

Whether it’s this year or next year, Hansen probably has a future in baseball. Hansen has spent the past three weeks working out for teams, and after a workout with the Seattle Mariners, Hansen said he hasn’t let the scouting process affect him on the field.

“It’s a choice you have to make to stay focused on the season you’re currently in,” Hansen said. “The scouts do their thing, and it’s not a distraction.”

Dane Hamilton is a 2005 Grand Junction graduate who spent the past four years at the University of New Mexico. Hamilton was having a good senior season before a broken thumb sidelined him for the final month of the season.

Hamilton said a few scouts have asked about the health of his hand. His versatility the past four years should give him an opportunity — he played in both the infield and outfield.
Hamilton said he enjoyed the scouting process.

“It’s been fun,” Hamilton said, “getting letters from guys, evaluations from teams, teams talking to me, asking me what my thoughts are.”

Hamilton said if he isn’t drafted, he could sign as a free agent. Either way, he’s taking a positive approach into this week’s draft.

“I’ve had a lot of fun, and had a great career,” Hamilton said. “It would be fun to play pro ball, but if I don’t get the opportunity, I’ll be happy with what I’ve done.”

Tyler Anderegg was Hamilton’s teammate at Grand Junction and has put together a solid pitching career for Army the past four years.

Anderegg finished 8-2 for the Black Knights this past season, but because of his commitment to the U.S. Army, Anderegg won’t be able to play professional sports for two years.

By that time, Anderegg will already have two years of medical school under his belt, so Anderegg’s father, Larry, said he doesn’t see his son pursuing a pro baseball career.
Mesa State College players who could be drafted are shortstop Matt Bodenchuk, third baseman Mike Provencher, pitcher Brent Lamaster and relief pitcher Aaron Guinn.

It was a quiet year for scouts inquiring about players, but coach Chris Hanks said those four players have the tools to play pro baseball. Like most players, it will be a matter of a club taking a chance on the Mavericks.

“They are all talented enough to play, the hard thing is getting the opportunity,” Hanks said. “With all the competition nationwide as well as internationally, the key is getting the opportunity.”

As for junior college players who recently made an appearance in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, the draft prospects include Santa Fe (Fla.) College’s Keon Broxton, Howard (Texas) College’s Miles Hamblin and Monk Krider and San Jacinto (Texas) College-North pitchers Jake Cowan and Tommy Collier.

The first three rounds of the draft begin at 4 this afternoon, with the final 47 rounds Wednesday and Thursday.


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