Braxton Ashcraft is a 6'5" flamethrower for the Robinson Rockets, but he's also only 18 years old and after the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the second round of the MLB draft it took him a whole night to realize what had happened.
"There was so much emotion I was just numb," said Ashcraft, "then I woke up this morning and it was like, 'Wow, I'm a professional athlete.'"
Ashcraft dazzled scouts and coaches alike with his mid 90's fastball and strong slider, but the wunderkind didn't always know he'd get a shot at the big
"You know you're one of the best in your area, but you start looking around the country at all these guys and you wonder, 'Am I better than him?'"
Pittsburgh certainly thought so, but Ashcraft said that didn't make the process any easier.
"There's so much stress, so much anxiety, there's no way I could've gone through this myself."
Ashcraft credits his parents helping him get through that stress and do you know what could help alleviate some of those tough feelings? The almost $1.4 million that MLB.com valued his selection at.
That's a lot of potential signing bonus, but it also means Ashcraft would not be honoring his commitment to play for Baylor next season. But, that's something he and Bears head coach Steve Rodriguez have already talked about.
"Coach Rod called me [the night of the draft] he told me congratulations and that he didn't consider [me playing professionally] not honoring my commitment. He told me this was an incredible shot and I needed to take it."
The next step for Ashcraft comes towards the end of this week. Scouts are hectic still working their way through the multi-day MLB draft, but Ashcraft has said the Pirates want to fly him up for a signing before next week.
"It's incredibly surreal."
In the meantime, what does a newly minted pro do with the few days of semi-normal teen life left?
"That's my boat over there. We're gonna load it with as many people it'll fit and have fun on the river while I can."
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