There was a moment early Saturday when Ethan Skender was close to a career in professional baseball. During the 11th round, he said, the Reds reached out to express interest in taking him on the condition they could reach an agreement to get Skender signed.
After a brief series of negotiations, Cincinnati’s selection passed and Skender remained on the board for 17 more rounds.
“We couldn’t come to an agreement and it just didn’t work out with that,” Skender said. “I’m really excited to be going to Arizona State. That was a really big factor in the whole draft thing this year.”
In the 28th round, Skender’s name was called. The Padres took the shortstop from State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, with the 834rd selection after one year with the Bradenton junior college.
Skender became the second State College of Florida player chosen during the third day of the 2016 MLB draft. Reggie McClain, who pitched for one year at SCF before finishing his collegiate career at Missouri, was a 13th-round pick.
Skender, a Metamora, Ill., native was one of the Manatees’ most reliable hitters this season, batting .374 in 174 at-bats. Skender also connected for 10 doubles, four triples and eight home runs. Skender led SCF with 49 RBIs and finished third on the team with 41 runs.
The Reds had expressed interest in Skender before taking him in the 31st round of last year’s draft out of Metamora. Skender is signed to play for the Sun Devils next year, should he elect not to sign with San Diego.
“It’s awesome to be drafted no matter what round you get drafted in. It’s pretty cool. I’m pretty grateful for that,” Skender said. “I’ve got a really good option at Arizona State and I’m really excited. The coaches are really excited to have me. It’s a really good opportunity.”