Tigers’ Owen Taylor undecided about pro ball

Owen Taylor was on the road to Okotoks, Alberta, when he got a call that might change his journey.

It’s the call every baseball player dreams about.

Coincidentally, the proverbial call came from the Toronto Blue Jays as the Grand Junction native was traveling by bus to a baseball game north of the border.

“It was so exciting, I can’t really describe it,” Taylor said about hearing the news that he was picked in the 27th round in Major League Baseball draft June 7.

“I knew the Blue Jays were pretty interested in me,” he said.

Taylor is spending the summer in Canada playing on a collegiate team, which was arranged by the University of Kansas, so he could play three months of high-level baseball before going to Lawrence, Kansas, in late August.

But that plan might change now.

“I haven’t decided yet,” he said about whether he will sign with the Toronto organization.

“I want to be a professional baseball player, so if it feels right, I’ll sign, but if it doesn’t, I’ll go to college,” he said.

He said the Kansas coaches know being drafted creates a great opportunity.

“They’re going to support me in whatever I decide,” Taylor said.

Taylor called his parents after hearing the news, and he called it a “really special moment.” Several friends have also sent him text messages to offer him their congratulations.

Toronto scouts first spotted Taylor when he played in the Colorado Rockies Scout Team in the fall. In late May, Taylor traveled to Huntington Beach, California, for a predraft tryout with the Blue Jays.

Taylor was drafted as a first baseman, and he said he played several positions, including his normal spot at third base, during the workout.

He won’t soon forget the overwhelming thrill he had when he heard he was drafted.

“It’s just a great honor to be selected,” he said. “I got a little emotional, it felt so incredible. This is a great thing going on in my life.”

No tears, but a lot of excitement.

“After putting in so much work, it was just a great feeling that all that hard work, it paid off,” he said. “But I have a lot more work to do.”

Since the draft, he’s had plenty of sleepless nights, evaluating factors that will go into his ultimate decision. Taylor said the Blue Jays haven’t made an offer yet, adding an advisor is handling those kinds of details for him.

The deadline for draft picks to sign is July 18, but Taylor said he will decide sooner than that, possibly as early as next week.

Until then, he will evaluate a few factors, including whether he wants to have the college experience of playing in the Big 12 for Kansas.

If he decides to play for the Jayhawks, he won’t be eligible for another MLB draft until after his junior season or after he turns 21 years old.

“It’s a tough thing to give up (college), but when I look at the big picture, this is everything I’ve worked for,” he said. “It will come down to what my family thinks I’m ready for and what’s best for me. I have to listen to my heart.”

Taylor said where he was drafted didn’t matter, just getting the call will possibly open the door to a career in Major League Baseball.

“If you get a uniform, you get a shot,” he said.


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