The pros or the dorms?
Take a shot at a big-league dream or decide on more seasoning?
Further your career or further your education?
The debate rages whenever the amateur baseball draft rolls around and high school players, some a mere days removed from striding across a stage to receive their diplomas, hear a Major League Baseball team call their names, asking them to come out and play.
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So what should the kid do? Many, such as Palmetto’s Granden Goetzman, have full scholarships waiting for them. In Goetzman’s case, he signed with Florida Gulf Coast University in November, fully aware that if he wasn’t happy with how this year’s draft went, he could have headed south to Fort Myers.
Goetzman, of course, chose the Tampa Bay Rays, signing with the local franchise Tuesday. There wasn’t much doubt for Goetzman, who always wanted to play pro ball and had no problem with being a second-round draft pick.
Then there are guys like Aaron Baker, the first baseman for the Bradenton Marauders. Taken in the 37th round by the Minnesota Twins out of high school in 2006, Baker decided on the college route. He went to the University of Oklahoma, had three banner seasons and gladly joined the Pittsburgh Pirates when they took him three years later in the 11th round.
It’s hard to compare a second-round pick to a 37th-round pick -- from the monetary issue to the quality of each player, there are too many factors. No two players are the same, much less two players taken 35 rounds apart.
But every player and every situation is different. There really is no right answer for everyone.
“It just really depends what each kid, in his heart, really wants to do. Does he want to start his career sooner or later?” said Evan Brannon, the Rays area scout who helped sign Goetzman. “College is a great option, because frankly not every kid is mature enough out of high school to go sign professionally. Every kid is different. Some kids are really talented, but emotionally, they might not just be ready. So you hope you have the combination of the talent that’s good enough and emotionally (a player who is) ready to go out.
“We think we’ve got one that’s ready to go out both ways.”
Baker, 23, put the pros on hold and is headed to his second professional all-star game Saturday. Goetzman chose the pros over college and will take a step toward realizing his lifelong dream when he reports to the Rays’ Gulf Coast League team in Port Charlotte later this month.
Two different routes. Two different players.
Each one wants the same outcome -- to one day make the major leagues.
Every year the debate rages on.
Is there a right answer? Is there a wrong answer?
What we do know is there are many different paths to the major leagues. No two are alike.
No two players are alike, either.
John Lembo, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 745-2097.