The fine folks at Sprayberry (GA) High have already gone through this Draft anxiety once.
Back in 2014, a baseball player from the school who had graduated just weeks before, was called up by then-Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig after the announcement that the Red Sox took Michael Chavis with the 26th overall pick.
"I know I hugged Bud Selig and everyone made a big deal of it. I was excited," Chavis told WEEI.com approximately a year ago when reflecting on the moment. "I was like, ‘Come here, man!’ I didn’t know it was a thing. ... When I went in I’m pretty sure he extended the hand but I just went for the hug. I was excited, man."
There had been a smattering of other athletes to go through the process, such as former big leaguers Kris Benson and Marlon Byrd, but not in some time.
On April 23, the fun returns.
Rodrigo Blankenship, the glasses-wearing place-kicker from the University of Georgia, is thought to be the best player at his position entering the upcoming NFL Draft. And as luck would have it, the football team in town, the Patriots, could use a player of Blankenship's talents.
The prospects of another Yellow Jacket joining the Boston sports scene has left Chavis remembering what was and what might be.
"Whenever I picture Rodrigo I go back to when I first met him in high school," the Sox infielder wrote in a text to WEEI.com. "I saw a sneaky athletic looking dude wearing a full uniform with no pads. The only reason that this was odd was because it wasn't football season, it was a school day and it wasn't a themed outfit (day) or anything that I was aware of. It wasn't even our team's uniform. It was his All-American uniform! Not just the top. I'm talking high socks, specs, headband, the whole thing. It was amazing.
"He actually went to Walton (High) before transferring to Sprayberry and coincidentally my brother Fuzzy went to Walton as well and new Rodrigo before I did. So through that connection, I knew how good he was. But something that I always thought that was cool about Rodrigo was something that separated himself as an athlete (in a positive manner) was that he always had a very good balance of knowing he was good, not shying away from acknowledging he was good, but not acting in a way that sought out attention or praise. Being able to do that in a way where it never came off as cocky or anything. He was always very sincere and kind. Competitive.
"Dude is a gamer. No matter what it was. Like I'll be honest, he wasn't great at basketball but he'd get after it in pickup games. Just an example of him being a team guy and playing hard."
There Red Sox players are like the rest of us these days in seclusion. And like the rest of us, one of their chief portals to the outside world is social media. So through the lenses of Instagram and Twitter accounts, we can get a glimpse to how a good chunk of the roster is getting by:
Jackie Bradley Jr. (Saturday)
A post shared by Jackie Bradley Jr (@jackiebradleyjr) on Apr 4, 2020 at 4:17pm PDT
Xander Bogaerts (one week ago)
A post shared by Xander Bogaerts #2 (@thexman2) on Mar 30, 2020 at 10:23am PDT
Christian Vazquez (Saturday)
3 de abril de 2015, cirugía Tommy John Un día difícil, de mucho aprendizaje, crecimiento personal y profesional. Durante mi recuperación aprendí a amar mi cuerpo y cuidar de mi salud. Gracias a la dedicación y la Fe en Mi, pero más que nada, la Fe en Dios, logré una recuperación al 100%. Definitivamente volví más fuerte y con más ganas de comerme el mundo, pero más que nada, el terreno. Estas son pruebas que la vida nos pone, y lo importante es ser fuertes y nunca dudar de los planes de Dios, porque estos son perfectos. Gracias a mi familia, a mis coaches y a mis fanáticos por siempre apoyarme.
A post shared by Christian Vázquez #7⚾️ (@1990colo) on Apr 3, 2020 at 6:55pm PDT
Kevin Plawecki (one week ago)
A post shared by Kevin Plawecki (@kplawecki26) on Mar 28, 2020 at 4:49pm PDT
Mitch Moreland (March 25)
A post shared by Mitch Moreland (@mitch_moreland18) on Mar 25, 2020 at 5:55pm PDT
Michael Chavis (March 24)
Since the Green Monster isn’t available at the moment I’ll be social distancing balls across these trees until baseball is back. --♂️ I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to get away from all the noise of everyday life and get outside away from screens. It’s been extremely refreshing and actually enjoyable. Find the positives they’re always out there! Everybody stay positive and safe out there!
A post shared by Michael Chavis (@michael_chavis11) on Mar 24, 2020 at 5:40pm PDT
Andrew Benintendi (Saturday)
A post shared by Andrew Benintendi (@andrewbenintendi16) on Apr 4, 2020 at 3:19pm PDT
Martin Perez (Saturday)
Happy birthday to me-- Thank you very much for all your best wishes. Even though it has been a particular birthday because of this situation, I feel happy, grateful and blessed for another year----❤️ Feliz cumpleaños a mi-- Muchas gracias a todos ustedes por sus felicitaciones y buenos deseos. A pesar de que sea un poco particular este cumpleaños por la situación que se esta viviendo, pues me siento muy feliz, agradecido y bendecido por otro año mas----❤️
A post shared by Martin Perez (@martinperez54d) on Apr 4, 2020 at 2:56pm PDT
Eduardo Rodriguez (Saturday)
A post shared by Eduardo Rodriguez (@eduardorjose) on Apr 4, 2020 at 12:26pm PDT
Matt Barnes (March 24)
A post shared by Matt Barnes (@mbarnes1313) on Mar 24, 2020 at 6:24am PDT
A post shared by Austin Brice (@ab37sometimes40) on Apr 4, 2020 at 6:48pm PDT
Heath Hembree (Sunday)
A post shared by Heath Hembree (@heathhembree) on Apr 5, 2020 at 3:10pm PDT
Collin McHugh (March 21)
A post shared by Collin McHugh (@cmchugh) on Mar 21, 2020 at 7:41pm PDT
Marcus Wilson (Sunday)
A post shared by Marcus Wilson (@marcuswilson) on Apr 5, 2020 at 10:29am PDT
A post shared by ⚾️Juan Centeno⚾️---- (@jcentenoaponte) on Apr 2, 2020 at 6:31pm PDT
AN UNEXPECTED PAYOFF IN THIS NEW WEIRD WORLD OF SCOUTING
The status of the MLB Draft is still somewhat uncertain. And there is no amateur baseball to be watched. But still the scouts have to approach the process with a business-as-usual mentality.
Videos. Phone calls. Reports.
And through it all there has been an unforeseen payoff: relationship-building among the scouts.
"Our office led by Paul Toboni and Devin Pearson have been in constant communication with the staff and we have continued to operate 'as much as usual' as we can in terms of player discussions, rankings, etc," said the Red Sox' Northesast Regional Scouting Supervisor. "We have had a lot of discussions and things of that sort, trying to operate like normal while realizing a lot may change and nobody knows what's going to happen.
"We're taking this opportunity to build a lot of camaraderies and talk to each other more than I can ever remember. We are ready no matter what happens or when. We really do have a good crew and really good leadership."
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ...
While we know that the agreement between MLB and the MLBPA states that players will be rewarded a full year of service time even if there is no season (or even if there is part of a season), according to team and league sources there has been no determination regarding what might happen to Rule 5 players if there is no season. Typically, a Rule 5 player has to remain on the major league roster for the entire season or be sent back to the team they were drafted from.
If the Rule 5 picks are linked to the service time agreement then the Red Sox would be able to keep Arauz's rights for 2021, potentially allowing him to continue what would be a more palatable developmental path in the minor leagues. But there is still a chance such a scenario would simply lead to another spring training of trying out next March.