Most boys that play little league baseball dream of some day playing in the major leagues.
Most high school baseball coaches dream of having a player on their team with the talent to play in the majors.
This year Lake Stevens High School and head coach Rodger Anderson had two players get their names called in the Major League Baseball draft. Dylan LaVelle was picked in the 18th round by the Detroit Tigers and Jake Nelson in the 26th round by the Boston Red Sox.
Just because LaVelle and Nelson got drafted doesn’t mean they will play in the major leagues, but it does give them the opportunity that most players never get. The chance to work hard and try to make their way through the minor leagues and hopefully reach the majors one day.
LaVelle was drafted by the Tigers as a third baseman and even though he is thrilled to be drafted, there is a little bit of disappointment that he didn’t go a little higher in the draft. He had a little bad luck with an injury that contributed to that but also some confusion by teams on whether he could be signed or not, which were cleared up after the earlier rounds of the draft.
If he decides not to sign with Detroit, he has a scholarship to play ball for the Oregon State Beavers and he would have to wait three years to re-enter the draft. He could also go to a community college for one or two years and try to improve his draft position.
Nelson, who was drafted as a right-handed pitcher by the Red Sox, also has some decisions to make about his future.
After an unforgettable senior year in which he was a record setting quarterback for the Viking football team, Nelson was an All-Area outfielder on the diamond for Lake Stevens. He has signed a letter of intent to play football for Central Washington University and also received interest from UW and Oregon St. for baseball. Boston has indicated they have every intention of talking Nelson out of his desire to play QB and joining the Red Sox organization. The Atlanta Braves also had expressed interest in drafting Nelson as an outfielder.
Lake Stevens alum Ryan Verdugo was called up to the major leagues on Tuesday, June 5 by the Kansas City Royals.
Verdugo a 25-year-old left-handed pitcher was 3-1 with a 3.61 earned run average in eleven starts at class AAA Omaha this season. The Royals had acquired Verdugo from the San Francisco Giants last November for OF Melky Cabrera.
Lake Stevens coach Rodger Anderson who coached Verdugo, said to his knowledge Verdugo is the first Viking alum to ever reach the major leagues.
Nelson and LaVelle along with teammate Anthony Blackie represented Lake Stevens in the All-State baseball series June 9-10 in Yakima.
Later in the month (June 30), Nelson along with football teammates Christian Gasca and Cody Tupen will represent the Vikings in the East-West All State football game at Everett Memorial Stadium.