Editor’s Note: This is the first of a summer series that will run every other Saturday in which Ottawa graduate Michael Hermosillo will give a first-person account of his journey in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization.
By Michael Hermosillo
My name is Michael Hermosillo. My dream was always to be a professional athlete. I’m going to be living my dream playing for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I’m looking to make the most of it.
I’m going to be filling you in on my journey these next three months on what it is like to be a professional athlete working your way up to living a dream.
Seeing as though I really haven’t done much to this point, I’ll lead you through the draft process and all the extra stuff that came with it.
The Major League Baseball Draft is different than all the other drafts. You really can’t compare the MLB Draft with the NFL or NBA.
In the MLB Draft, the best players aren’t always picked first. Sometimes you might be better than most of the guys above you but won’t get picked because of two things — signability and projectability.
I’ll be very short and sweet with both of these terms and what they mean.
Signability is just what it’s going to take to sign you (money). If the team doesn’t think you will sign, they won’t pick you no matter how good you are.
Projectability, as most people know, is just predicted where you might be four to five years from now. You might be better than the next guy, but in the long run a team might feel like they can get more out of the other guy who might not be as good as you.
One thing that I was able to be a part of was a pre-draft work out with the L.A. Angels.
If you take away traveling four hours by airplane, working out in front of the top Angels scouts and being in Angels Stadium, it was just like any other workout you do your whole life as a baseball player.
Obviously, adding in all those elements made it very nerve-racking. But, after the first throw from the outfield, it was back to any normal workout. It was a great experience being able to go out to L.A.
After the workout, it was just a waiting game for the draft to start to see where I was going to get picked.
The MLB Draft is a crazy three days.
We were told leading up to the draft that I could get drafted anywhere from the third to 10th round by a handful of teams.
We communicated with the Angels through the whole process and we were told by them they were likely to select almost all pitchers in the first 10 rounds, but they said I could still be selected in the ninth or 10th round.
Friday was a long day — a really long day — hearing name after name, just waiting for mine.
Obviously, my name was never called on Friday. It was disappointing only because I knew I was just as talented as a lot of those guys. Especially when you are told that from scouts themselves, it’s tough. It’s like a punch to the gut.
Later that night, my dad got a call from Jeff Baker, an Angels cross checker scout who had previously seen me play. He asked if we were still willing to possibly sign.
We came to the conclusion that I still wanted to play, and if we didn’t get the deal we wanted, I didn’t have to take the deal and could go to school.
I finally got the call Saturday that I was about to be picked. To be completely honest, my first reaction was, ‘It’s about damn time.’
The waiting had taken a toll on me, but I also was very excited and thankful for the opportunity I had just been given.
The decision was tough.
Either way, I was giving up a dream — playing Division I football or playing professional baseball.
I made the decision to go play baseball because baseball was something that I just grew up doing from the time I was 3 years old.
Baseball always came naturally to me.
Plus, with the support I’m going to have on the baseball side of things like working out with Ricky Henderson or having Junior Spivey as a hitting coach — and having the back up of school being covered — it ended up being a no-brainer.
The toughest part was going down to the University of Illinois and letting coach Tim Beckman and staff know, but I thought that was the right thing to do instead of by a phone call or even an email.
As I write this, I’m on a plane to Tempe, Ariz.
I’m excited, but it’s weird being an adult. Growing up is a scary thing, but it has to happen eventually no matter who you are.
This is going to be a fun journey and I’m going to work hard to make it to the top!
It’s going to be tough, but I have so much motivation.
I honestly can’t believe baseball is my job.
It’s a blessing and I’m going to make the most of it.
Michael Hermosillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.