Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Super 24 Choice Has Designs on Baseball

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Super 24 Choice Has Designs on Baseball

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread

Among the thousands of area high school football players who hope to play at the collegiate level, only a handful end up realizing the dream of receiving multiple scholarship offers.

Chase Anderson is one of those few, but he's not signing with any of them.

His dreams are even bigger.

The Mandarin tight end, a Times-Union Super 24 choice whose football offers included North Carolina, Southern Miss and Indiana, would rather know what it feels like to stand on a major-league pitching mound than what it feels like to catch a touchdown pass in college.

At 6 feet 4 and 230 pounds, Anderson can serve a fastball at 90 mph or better. That sort of size and velocity automatically draws the attention of pro baseball scouts, but those scouts sometimes shy away from players who have signed to play college football.

"Right after football season ended, I just wrote down the good and bad things about both, and it was a hard decision," Anderson said. "But I enjoy baseball and I think I may have a better future with it."

Instead, Anderson has orally committed to UNF for baseball, but will still have the option of junior college or a pro contract, depending on where he is drafted.

Baseball scouts have coined the term "signability" in describing a prospect's mindset on the college-or-pro-baseball decision. And with every decision he makes about his future, with every conversation he has with a scout, Anderson's "signability" is shaped.

The major league first-year players draft in June is a labyrinth of leverage and money, far more complicated than simply visiting five colleges and picking a favorite. Big-league teams don't care to spend a top draft pick on a player who is a high risk to choose college athletics over pro baseball. High risks tend to tumble in the baseball draft even when their talent suggests they should be picked much earlier.

The players, by contrast, roll dangerous dice in passing on a scholarship to help their baseball draft status, only to sometimes be disappointed on draft day. Some hedge the bet by signing for college with pro-ball intentions, while others may spread the word to baseball scouts that they will gladly pass on college if they are drafted by a certain round or are offered a certain dollar figure. …

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