Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: princeton, nj
I was reading article on Little Leaguer who played against Danny Almonte, and was struck by the following passage since a conversion to catcher is pretty much what I'd always been thinking for another great Little Leaguer, Todd Frazier:
At the Cubs' pre-draft camp, they pointed Cerda toward home plate, and -- just as on the night his teammate wouldn't wear a cup -- he blurted: "I'll do it. I'll catch. I'll play anywhere." It was his first time in a chest protector since the Almonte game, and he then took BP off of the Cubs' scouting director Tim Wilken, spraying balls everywhere. Wilken was semi-awestruck. The Cubs' organizational philosophy is to take wicked hitters with average speed and high baseball IQs, and turn them into backstops. Geovany Soto, Henry Blanco and Koyie Hill were all converted to catcher at one point -- by the Cubs or someone else -- and Cerda fit the blueprint. When he left the pre-draft camp, the book on the kid was clear: great bat, better head.
"We never want to push someone to switch positions like that, but he jumped in, hook, line and sinker," Wilken says. "He swung the bat, had a real good arm and had the kind of makeup you can't coach. It just looked like a glove that had a chance to fit."
The Angels also remembered him from the Almonte game, but they never thought "catcher." The Red Sox, Giants and Astros also were hovering, so it was just a matter of who was going to bite first. On draft day, Cerda took his high school civics final in the morning, then parked himself by a phone. Sure enough, the Cubs called, saying they wanted to scoop him up in the third round. They said they'd be offering a $500,000 bonus, and Cerda, whose fallback option was the University of San Diego, exhaled and said, "Take me."
But, when the third round arrived, the Cubs took a pitcher who'd unexpectedly slid down to them, Chris Carpenter. Cerda began to pace. The Angels called next, as the fourth round was revving up, but their offer was decidedly lower than Chicago's, and Cerda had the guts to tell them he preferred college. Then the Cubs called back, offering the same $500 grand in the fourth -- $115 grand more than they had offered Carpenter in the third. Again, Cerda told them, "Take me." When they did, the whole family wept, and then went to hang a Cubs flag on their front porch. Tiny Matthew Cerda was the 131st overall pick, at the surreal age of 17.
I also liked the in-draft negotiating
Last edited by princeton; 08-21-2008 at 03:17 PM.