Lerud could go high in Major League draft

Galena High's Steve Lerud is going through what many possible Major League prospects go through at this time of the year.

For a while, it's always fun for any player to receive attention from Major League teams. But as the Major League draft approaches, for players like Lerud, the stress level always rises.

That's because Lerud could face a tough decision after Tuesday's Major League draft. Lerud could be taken as high as the first five rounds and if he is, he said he'll seriously consider signing with the team that signs him out of high school.

Among other local players who may be taken in Tuesday's draft is Carson High's Owen Brolsma.

If Lerud would sign, that means he would pass up a scholarship to Santa Clara where he has signed to play baseball. Lerud also said he has told Major League teams if he's not drafted in the first five rounds, there's no chance he'll sign.

"It was exciting like a month ago," Lerud said. "Now it's getting stressful.

It's getting a little intense around here as far as rounds and how much money it's going to take. We'll see how it goes. I'm not counting on anything."

Lerud is a left-handed hitting catcher with opposite field power, which is why he's been rated as a player who could go possibly as high as the first five rounds.

If Lerud is drafted that high, he could command a signing bonus in the mid to high six figures. Lerud said if he's drafted that high, he would negotiate with the team to "see how serious they are about what it takes."

Lerud said it would take an attractive offer to make him pass up his scholarship at Santa Clara.

"They know that my scholarship at Santa Clara is worth a lot to me," said Lerud about Major League teams. "It's going to take a lot to get me out of there."

An advantage for Lerud is Major League teams are now required to provide for the college education of players they sign out of high school.

Still, even if he's drafted in the first five rounds, Lerud said it won't be an easy decision to sign.

"Even in the top five rounds, it's going to depend on the type of compensation I get for it," he said.

His family will be involved heavily in his decision, Lerud said. "That has a lot to do with it more than anything," he said.

Lerud is coming off a season in which he was named as the Gatorade Nevada State Player of the Year.

"It means a lot to me, definitely," Lerud said. "That's always been one of my goals to try to be the best out there. All the work has paid off."

Brolsma could have a future someday at the professional level either as a pitcher or catcher. The 6-2 Brolsma is an outstanding defensive catcher with a strong arm.

But among the teams who have talked to Brolsma as a pitcher is the Houston Astros. The Astros have told Brolsma they could pick him as a draft and follow, meaning they would see how he develops and could still sign him at a later time.

The right-handed Brolsma threw for the Astros, reaching 90 miles an hour with his fastball and has a slider in the 80 mph range. Brolsma also worked out as a catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Brolsma said he doesn't care what position he plays, saying he'll play in the position that gives him the best chance to progress.

"I love to do both," he said. "I'm starting to get into pitching a little bit more."

Brolsma has signed with the University of Nevada and will head there next year.

"I'd love to be drafted," he said. "I'm not too concerned about it. I don't think I'd be drafted high enough to forego four years of school."

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.

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