Lerud taken in third by Pirates
June 4, 2003
Galena High’s Steve Lerud found out how topsy-turvy the Major League draft could be in a matter of seconds.
Lerud went from thinking he wasn’t going to be drafted to 20 seconds later being told by the Pittsburgh Pirates they made him the 75th overall pick in the third round on Tuesday.
“It’s been awesome,” Lerud said. “It’s nice to have it finalized, done with.”
While the waiting to see if he would be drafted is over, Lerud now has a huge decision in front of him. He can opt to still take his scholarship at Santa Clara and play college baseball. In the process he would likely be turning down a signing bonus in the mid to high six figures if he doesn’t sign with the Pirates.
Lerud said the San Diego Padres called his father, Terry, to tell them that the third round was over and asked his father if Lerud would be still be interested in signing if he was taken in the fourth round. When Terry told the Padres his son likely wouldn’t sign, Lerud thought he wasn’t going to be taken.
“It was kind of a weird situation,” Lerud said. “I thought that my day was done. I thought that the draft was over for me.”
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But then the Pirates called 20 seconds later to tell Lerud they drafted him. “It’s kind of crazy,” Lerud said.
Lerud said he was pleased to be taken that high. “That’s where I expected to go,” he said. “It ended up working out that way.
“That’s saying a lot, I think,” Lerud also said about being the 75th pick overall. “I was just ecstatic. I was really happy.
“It’s nice to know that you’re thought of in that way, that you can be a professional baseball player.”
Lerud will have to wait to see how much the players drafted ahead of him sign for to determine how much he could receive.
It will be “at least a month to figure out what’s going to happen. If it works out, great,” Lerud said.
It would be easy to take the money, but Lerud said his decision will still be difficult.
“You just have to look at the big picture,” Lerud said. “Of course you want to take it, being 18-years-old and having that kind of money put in your face. I have my school of choice and the profession of my choice.”
Any decision will be made with his parents, Terry and Eva, Lerud said. “More than anything it will be them,” he said.
Lerud was the Gatorade Nevada State Player of the Year this past season after hitting .465 with 21 home runs, 11 doubles, 64 RBI and 41 walks. He set the state record for a career with 60 home runs.
As a left-handed hitting catcher with opposite field power, the 6-1, 205-pound Lerud was projected to be taken anywhere from the third to fifth rounds. The scouting report on Lerud states:
“Quick bat, good hitting approach. Lift in swing creates occasional power. Quiet leader on the field.”
Four University of Nevada players were taken in Tuesday’s draft. Infielder Kevin Kouzmanoff, the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, was the 168th overall pick, taken in the sixth round by the Cleveland Indians.
Right behind was 6-4 right-handed pitcher Mateo Miramontes, the 169th pick taken by the New York Mets. Right-handed pitcher Zachary Basch was the 384th pick, taken in the 13th round by the Boston Red Sox. Also for Nevada, outfielder Chris Dickerson was the 471st pick, taken in the 16th round by the Cincinnati Reds.
Among other players taken from the state was Green Valley’s Jordan Parraz, who was taken in the sixth round as the 175th pick by the Philadelphia Phillies. Parraz, who has a fastball that reaches 96 miles an hour, was the winning pitcher in Green Valley’s 3-2 victory over Carson High in the state tournament.
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