After Battle Ground High School’s baseball season this spring, coach Billy Hayes jokingly told Isaiah Smith he didn’t want his star outfielder to be playing all summer for his Showtime Baseball team.
Not playing beyond this week for Showtime would mean, of course, that Smith had been selected in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft.
Wednesday, Smith’s professional baseball dreams came true. The senior was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 21st round with the 630th overall pick.
Smith said he was notified by a text from the Kansas City Royals’ area scout.
“It was exciting and relieving,” Smith said. “As the rounds were passing, I was stressing out a little bit.”
A 6-foot-3, 190 pounder with speed and a strong arm, Smith was ranked as the No. 9 prospect in Washington by Baseball America ahead of the draft.
Smith, who has signed with Washington State, said he and the Royals are in the process of negotiating financial terms. Wednesday, he said he’s leaning toward joining the Royals.
“That’s the plan,” he said.
Hayes said Smith’s work ethic makes him believe he won’t just survive, but thrive in professional baseball.
“He just loves to play the game,” Hayes said. “I’ve never seen him where he’s wanted to be somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the rain or mud.”
Smith said he had gotten strong signals from other teams and was mildly surprised it was the Royals who chose him.
“They saw something in me, obviously,” he said.
Smith said he has been dreaming of being drafted since he started to play baseball as a child. Wednesday, as his phone was ‘blowing up,’ he said staying healthy and learning will be his biggest keys to baseball success.
Hayes couldn’t be happier that Smith is getting a shot at the pros.
“He’s the whole package,” Hayes said. “He’s a hell of a player and a better person.”
Also Wednesday, former Heritage High pitcher Jake Dahlberg was selected in the 21st round by the St. Louis Cardinals. Dahlberg, a senior, went 10-2 with a 2.17 ERA for the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Seaver Whalen, a senior at Lewis-Clark State who graduated from Union High, was selected in the 32nd round by the Tampa Bay Rays. The infielder hit .326 iwth 13 home runs and 53 RBI at Lewis-Clark this season.