MLB Draft - Joey's Story
MLB Draft: Here is my story.
Man this time of year is always one to reminisce. Back in 2014, I was graduating from Concord university, a small Division II school located in Southern West Virginia. I was just coming off of a senior year filled with a lot of success. I batted .393 with 13 homers, a school record 21 doubles, and finished 1st in the nation with 71 RBIs in the regular season. At the end of the season, I was recognized to be on the top 50 of the nation's best player award (Tino Martinez Award).
The next week, the list of 50 shrunk to 25, my name was still on the list. Then the list shrunk to 16, my name was still there. And then 8 names were left, Joey Miller was still there. I had reached the finalist list for the NCAA Division II for National Player of the Year. I ended up finishing in the top 3, but man what an incredible experience that was. As the MLB draft approached, a few teams had seen me play throughout the season, but the one with the most promise was the Kansas City Royals. I had been in contact with them for the last two years. They saw me play a little during my junior year, on several occasions. Everything looked like it was going to fall into place and I was going to be a late round draft pick between rounds 30-40.
On the final day of the draft, round 30 came.....nothing. 31 came....nothing. 35.....nothing. 39....nothing. Round 40, the Kansas City Royals selected a 1st baseman from high school, and my name went uncalled. I got a call later in the day from the Kansas City Royals asking me to travel to Burlington, NC for the post draft workout where I could potentially sign as an undrafted free agent. The list of invites was very small, there were only 12 pitchers and 12 hitters there. I put on a good showing, ran my fastest 60 time ever, hit some balls out of the ballpark, played good defensively, but it was not enough.
The Royals chose not to sign anyone from that workout.
Going undrafted, and unsigned. I am traveling home from the post-draft workout wondering, "What's next?" I had no idea. All I had ever known was school and baseball. With both seemingly to be at an end. I took a day of reflection and looked at some other options to keep my career going. I started playing for a local semi-pro team called the Hagerstown Braves. This allowed me to continue to see pitching and stay in playing shape. I had a connection with a professional organization in New Mexico, he was a former opponent of mine when we played in Junior College. the next day I received a call and a contract offer to sign with the Roswell Invaders, an Independent Minor League organization in New Mexico.
This journey was one that I will never forget. Filled with adversity and challenges the entire way, I kept faith and knew if I could keep plugging away to make things happen, I would reach my goal of being a professional baseball player.
Thank you for reading. I'm always excited to share my story with you guys!