The Major League Baseball Draft got underway Thursday night, and now a decision has to be made for a player recently signed by Nebraska.
Monte Harrison, of Missouri, committed to Nebraska to play football and baseball, with the chance to play under Nebraska manager Darin Erstad reportedly being an influential part of the decision to choose the Huskers. Nebraska’s Bo Pelini has said before Harrison has every intention of attending Nebraska to play football and baseball.
On Thursday night, Harrison was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 50th overall pick of the First Year Player Draft. The Brewers made the draft choice knowing it will take some effort on their end to convince Harrison to pass on Nebraska and get started in the farm system. This is often the case with the MLB Draft, which is unique from the other drafts in pro sports. Unlike the NFL or NBA draft system, the players selected in the MLB draft sometimes come right out of high school and have a choice to attend college or get started on a journey to the big leagues. This is now the case for Harrison, who must decide by July 18 whether to sign with the Brewers or continue with his plans at Nebraska.
“We know it’s going to be probably a tougher sign,” Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said, “but at the same time, you have to take opportunities like this. If we can make it work, we’ll make it work.”
It is worth noting that Major League Baseball has assigned a value of $1.1 million to the 50th overall pick in the MLB Draft, which would be $1.1 million more than Harrison would receive attending Nebraska of course. If Harrison is more likely to eventually go pro playing baseball, there are some benefits to continuing at Nebraska instead of going pro. At Nebraska Harrison would geta chance to be managed by a former major leaguer in Erstad. At the same time, he would be part of a really good baseball program, and you can debate whether or not that is more beneficial than starting out right at the bottom of a minor league farm system. Would three or four years at Nebraska do more to prepare Harrison for a shot at the big leagues than starting out in low-A ball and fall leagues?
If Harrison stays put, it certainly benefits Pelini as well by having an extra receiver to throw into the mix. Pelini also knows how this situation can be handled as well, having dealt with a similar situation just a couple of years ago. Nebraska lost quarterback Bubba Starling in 2011 when he decided to follow through on his baseball career. The difference here is Starling was the fifth overall player in the draft, which is a considerable difference from the 50th player.
Check out our friends over at The Outside Corner for all sorts of coverage of Major League Baseball.