Yesterday CSU Bakersfield's Ryan Grotjohn was taken in the 10th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks of the MLB Draft, the highest a Runners' position player has ever been drafted. This week two other Runners prepared to get the call as well.
More than 90 miles from Bakersfield at a nameless gym in Lancaster you can find two childhood friends training. CSUB infielders David Metzgar and Mahlik Jones played little league against one another in the Lancaster area. My team won the championship," Metzgar told 23ABC Tuesday with a smile.
Both then played baseball at Paraclete High School. Then both became keystones to the Runners infield and incredibly both are now getting looks at MLB teams. "I think once you get in you just work hard and play hard and people see that then I think you can have a bright future," said Metzgar.
For Jones he saw it first hand when his older brother Mylz was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2015. "Whatever he could do I feel like I could obtain the goal too because we grew up together and I could keep up with most of the things he do," said Jones.
For Metzgar, finding a role model was a little different. Despite being named WAC Tournament MVP in 2015 and this season setting the school record for consecutive games with a hit it's always the same fear. Standing at five feet eight inches he may just be too short for a big league roster. "Everything about him just kind of exemplifies playing above your tools," said CSUB interim head coach Jeremy Beard.
Players like Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Rollins and Jose Altuve have paved the way for shorter players to make it in the pros and Metzgar has already heard the comparisons. "If other people are seeing that I feel like I can play like that too," he said.
It won't be an easy road but for two kids from Lancaster it's the only path they've known and a path they hope can lead them to their big league dreams.
After all 40 rounds in the Draft came and went, both Jones and Metzgar's names were not called. Now both are hoping to tryout with a team and sign as an undrafted free agent.
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