A young-adult receives many benefits from going to college. The education attained from living on your own for the first time, sitting in on lectures taught by the best of their trades, drinking too much certain nights, etc. is tough to learn elsewhere. However, for talented high school baseball players, college is an experience that may be put aside…at least for the time being. If offered a signing bonus in the 6 to 7 figure range and the opportunity to live your dream by having a chance at an early start with an MLB affiliate, how do you say no? It’s definitely tough to decline. But what about giving up your senior year of high school? No prom, no homecoming, no graduation with your best friends you have known your entire life. Is it worth it?
Bryce Harper and his parents think so. If you think Stephen Strasburg received a lot of hype leading up to the 2009 MLB Draft, you ain’t seen nothin yet. Baseball columnists are already speculating what kind of bonus Harper will receive when he is selected #1 overall in the 2010 Draft. That’s right…you can already pencil his name in…he is apparently THAT good. But again, is it worth skipping senior year of HIGH SCHOOL to be the #1 overall pick in 2010 instead of the #1 overall pick in 2011?
While the Harpers think so, a man named Landon Powell disagrees. And he knows best, because he missed the prom to start playing pro ball a year early. Unfortunately for Landon, that did not work exactly according to plan. While he did not end up signing with an MLB team until many years after making his decision, Harper will undoubtedly be picked #1 overall next year. That being said, Landon still makes a good point.
“I was still young and not making my own decisions. My dad and Boras did, and my name was getting dragged through the mud. When you tell an 18-year-old kid, ‘If you do this, you’ll get paid millions,’ any 18-year-old kid will say, ‘Yeah, let’s do that.’ I had no idea what would hang with me my whole career. I get asked every year about weaseling my way through the draft.”
I just hope that Bryce has played this important decision out many times in his own head. Landon also had Scott Boras as an agent and both Boras and his father were advocates for him leaving high school early. Bryce will get paid millions. I hope that in his mind, that is fair compensation for losing the last dance.