High School Sports

Baseball | Out-of-Door Academy's Desmond Lindsay signs with New York Mets

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Desmond Lindsay's passion for playing sports always outweighed watching them on television.

But a visit with his grandmother, Gerri, meant catching her favorite team, the New York Mets, on the tube.

Now Gerri has an even bigger bond with the Mets, because her grandson Desmond inked a $1.1 million contract with the Mets at their home, Citi Field, on Thursday.

That came on the heels of the Mets selecting Lindsay, an Out-of-Door Academy star, with the 53rd overall selection in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on June 8.

On Friday, Lindsay announced he'll report to rookie ball in Port St. Lucie with the Gulf Coast League Mets this Monday inside Out-of-Door's school library.

"It's been hectic, but it's also been relaxing," Lindsay said. "It's probably the most I've just hung out and not done anything the past two weeks."

Prior to the draft earlier in June, Lindsay was set to play college baseball at the University of North Carolina. But that plan changed just before the draft as Lindsay said he had a cutoff for the round and money that he wanted to go the pro route.

"It was a combination of the round and the money anything under a million dollars, I was going to go to college for sure," Lindsay said.

While Lindsay can still attend UNC in the offseason or take classes online, he said the choice to sign a pro contract over staying in school was a tough one to make.

And it's all happening despite playing just seven games this past season due to suffering his second injury to his hamstring that's forced him to miss the past few months.

"The most difficult part has been just the waiting," Lindsay said.

Head of school David Mahler began Friday's presentation of Lindsay by joking how he grew up a Yankees fan and now has to change his wardrobe a bit to reflect his support for the only drafted baseball player in Thunder history.

Athletic director Brett Timmons then approached the podium to the side of the table where Lindsay, his mother, Robin, and coaches sat, and explained how he tried getting Desmond to play football when he came to ODA.

"You telling me, 'No, coach. I'm going to be a baseball player,'" Timmons said.

Lindsay elaborated that he wasn't excited for football practices.

A five-tool player, ODA assistant coach Jimmy Kuebler said Lindsay began transitioning to the outfield before his hamstring injury.

Last season, he moved from third base to first base as the Thunder had a need there.

Kuebler, who first started coaching Lindsay when he was 8 years old, said the most impressive aspect of Lindsay's game is the speed that goes with his power.

He's also a tireless worker.

"No one knows how much time he puts in swinging the bat," Kuebler said. "He's there every day like clockwork, sometimes two, three times a day just hitting."

Prior to the hamstring injury, Kuebler said there were scouts coming to watch Lindsay -- mostly in batting practice.

And Lindsay didn't let any of the hoopla affect him, Kuebler said.

The third-highest prep player selected in the Manatee County area history behind Lakewood Ranch's Lastings Milledge (No. 12 overall in 2003) and Brian McRae (No. 17 overall in 1985), Lindsay will complete his rehabbing after reporting to the GCL Mets in Port St. Lucie on Monday, completing a whirlwind two weeks that included getting drafted, taking in a game Tuesday at Citi Field and signing there Thursday before announcing where he'll begin his pro journey at his high school's library Friday.

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