Hey, CBSSports, local baseball minds are crying foul.
When Maria Carrillo High and Santa Rosa Junior College alum Jake Scheiner was picked in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft Tuesday, the CBS site reported that it “was something of a surprise.”
Cue the head shaking and chin scratching. For those who know Scheiner and have watched the career that he has put together thus far, the Phillies calling his name with the 113th pick is less a surprise than a super-sound investment by the Philadelphia brass.
“It’s kind of hard to ignore what he’s accomplished this year and what he’s done,” said Derek DeBenedetti, Scheiner’s coach at Maria Carrillo.
Let’s start with what he’s accomplished this year.
In his junior season with the University of Houston, the third baseman hit .346 with 64 RBIs. His slugging percentage was .667 and he hit 18 homers.
Scheiner was a second-team All-American pick by Collegiate Baseball, third team Baseball America All-American, was the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the American Championship Most Outstanding Player. He was also on the watchlist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the player generally considered the best in college baseball. There were some other awards in there, but I only have so much space here.
There is a theme to Scheiner’s baseball trajectory: Work, work, work, get an opportunity, don’t let it go and work some more. He did it in high school. DeBenedetti pulled him up to varsity halfway through his sophomore year and the kid never left the field after that.
At the JC, Scheiner was behind on the depth chart, so he redshirted his freshman year. When coach Damon Neidlinger made him a starter the next season, he never left the field.
“He was good, but that year of redshirting allowed him to grow both mentally and physically,” DeBenedetti said. “Not many players can accept that. You can call it a sacrifice, but he accepted that part of the process with open arms.”
Not to say it was easy for a competitive guy to sit out.
“It was hard,” Scheiner said. “That was the first season I have taken off. I don’t like watching.”
But he was realistic. He could have played a little, but he didn’t want to play a little. He wanted to start games and he wanted to finish games.
As a redshirt freshman at the JC, he didn’t sparkle, but he was competitive. He produced and he kept working.
“If you look at his freshman stats ... in the state of California, junior college-wise, he was probably right there in the middle of the pack,” Neidlinger said.
That summer, with those “average” numbers under his belt, he approached Healdsburg Prune Packers coach Joey Gomes about playing summer ball. Gomes told him that if he wanted a spot, he’d have to go through an open tryout. Instead of being insulted, Scheiner shone.
“Jake immediately just stole the job. Jake wanted it way more than those other guys,” Gomes said.
And Gomes, who has college players from all over the country coming to play wooden-bat baseball for the Prune Packers in the California Collegiate League, just might have burned a bridge for Jake Scheiner — not that he’s complaining.