ROCHESTER - Springfield native and current Augustana baseball player Jordan Milbrath got a bit of a surprise from one of his teammates on Saturday before his game with the Rochester Honkers, the Northwoods League team where Milbrath currently plays.
While sitting in the locker room, Milbrath was told that the Cleveland Indians drafted him. Cleveland took Milbrath with the 1,041st pick of the 35th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Saturday.
"We were sitting in the locker room and one of my buddies said, 'hey, you just got drafted,'" Milbrath said. "They [the Indians] called me about an hour after they drafted me. I was excited to say the least. It's an opportunity I've been working for pretty much ever since I was a little kid, it was one of my dreams to get drafted and now it's here. I'm not quite sure what I'll do yet, but I would love to go."
Milbrath and the Indians will talk later this week and discuss details of a contract. If he doesn't sign a professional contract, he could return to college next year. He still has two years of playing eligibility left.
"I guess I'm not leaning one way or another, it depends on the contract and what they offer me, but I could come back for two years of baseball yet if I needed to, I'd love to play [for the Indians' organization] this year, but we'll see what works out," Milbrath said.
Milbrath, a right-hander, posted a 7-2 record in 2013 for the Vikings, making a team-high 12 starts. He is a 2010 graduate of Springfield High School and began his college career at St. Cloud State University before transferring to Augustana College. This past year, the sophomore posted a 4.57 ERA in 67.0 innings of work while striking out a team-high 60 batters. Milbrath tossed two complete games and held opponents to a .285 batting average.
He knew that there was a chance he could get drafted this year, but nothing was promised to him.
"I had talked to several teams before the draft, it was all potential," he said. "Nothing is ever for sure about the draft, but they talked to me before hand so I had an idea that it might happen, but I didn't know when or where or if who I was going to."
Milbrath's fastball has been clocked at 94-95 miles per hour.
"I'm throwing harder than I ever have," he said. "I guess I'm getting more command and developing more on my off-speed pitches. I know that there's still a lot of work to be done, to develop those pitches and they can come a long way."
Whatever happens with Milbrath remains to be seen and he knows he still has a lot of work to do regardless. He has the right attitude and he's hoping things move swiftly in the next few days.
"In the Northwoods, I struggled a little bit at first," he said. "I've got a lot of work to do if I want to continue my career further."