DENVER (CBS4) – Marc Mumper was watching the MLB draft on an iPad when the Rockies drafted him with the 1,091st pick in the 37th round.
“All of the sudden I saw my name come up and it was pretty surreal,” Mumper said. “Something you have dreamed about since you were a little kid and then it happens. Pretty unbelievable.”
The Mountain Vista High School graduate was monitoring the picks with his summer league teammate Matt Schmidt, who was drafted 16 picks later by the New York Yankees.
“I was speechless at first,” the Regis Jesuit High School graduate recalled. “I looked at Marc and we hugged, it was cool.”
Mumper and Schmidt were two of the nine Colorado high school graduates drafted this year. Nine teenagers who now face a choice — turn pro or go to college.
“Right now I am leading towards school,” Schmidt said. “In the next week or so (the Yankees) will call and discuss a deal, but right now I am going to Texas.”
As 37th round picks, Schmidt and Mumper won’t be offered much of a signing bonus — maybe $1,000 — which is why Schmidt will play for the Longhorns and Mumper plans to turn down the Rockies and head to Grand Canyon University.
“It is definitely tough,” Mumper said. “I am an 18-year-old kid and I have an opportunity to play professional baseball. There is a thought, that I want to go play, but in the long run I think college the best scenario for me.”
Long time Cherry Creek High School coach Marc Johnson agrees that college is the best choice for most high school draft picks, but says there are teenagers who just can’t say no to going pro.
“Generally speaking the decision is based on where they are drafted, what their academic background is, what their financial background is, and how their parents feel about it,” Johnson said.
Schmidt’s dad, Bill, is the vice president of scouting for the Rockies, and his advice for Matt was to go to college first. Mumper got the same advice from his dad Dave.
“Unless his draft status went way up, he was going to go to school and get bigger, stronger, faster and compete at that level,” Dave Mumper said about Marc’s decision.
Unlike the NBA and NFL where you only get one shot at the draft, baseball prospects can be drafted multiple times — out of high school, in junior college or after their junior year at a 4-year school.
For late round high school picks like Schmidt and Mumper, it’s almost a no brainer to go to school.
In the past five years, the Rockies have signed just 15 players drafted in the 30th round or later. Only one was a high school graduate and only five are still with the franchise.
“It is hard,” Johnson said about the decision to turn down a pro team. “They all have the dream of making it to the big leagues, but truth be told, only about 5 percent make it to the big leagues after signing so you have to look at reality and things as well.”
Part of the reality, though, is that a lot can change — good or bad — during 3 or 4 years of college.
“You might not get this opportunity again,” Dave Mumper said. “This might be a once in a lifetime opportunity because there are no guarantees at the next level and certainly no guarantees with the professional draft. So to have your name called once is pretty exciting, and now (Marc) has to work really hard and see what happens in 3 or 4 years.”
And while Marc Mumper knows there is the possibility he won’t get drafted again, he says he likes the MLB draft system.
“It really gives kids a chance,” Mumper said. “You could have a kid in the 25th round who wants to go play and gets an opportunity to go play, or a kid in the fifth round offered a lot of money and then he is like, ‘No, I want to go to school.’ So I like it.”