Daily Egyptian

The one that got away

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

The MLB Draft stole away a player who could have been a member of the improving Saluki baseball program, which has nearly doubled its win total from last year.

The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Logan Soole as an outfielder in the 23rd round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Instead of coming to SIU, he passed on the scholarship to play baseball at the pro level. 

Before being drafted, the Louisville, Co., native signed his national letter of intent to become a Saluki on Nov. 12, 2014.

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“The campus was beautiful and I pictured myself there. I really liked coach [Ken] Henderson and [hitting coach Ryan] Strain a lot,” he said via direct message on Twitter. “I felt really comfortable there and, at the time, thought it would be a good fit and given me a great chance to play. While an education is important, I really felt I needed to jump right into pro ball because there might not have been another opportunity down the road.” 

Soole said was eating pizza with his girlfriend when he got the news and said he was elated to find out he’d been drafted. 

“Every kid grows up wanting to play pro baseball and when I found out I had been drafted it was some of the best news I had gotten,” he said. “I wasn’t really nervous but I knew the level of competition was going to be greater and I’d have to work hard to be successful.”

He said the decision took a lot of thought, but he felt like he made the right one.

“I discussed the situation with my parents and coaches and after a lot of consideration I decided that signing with the Diamondbacks was the best decision for me,” he said. “Both parties were all for it and we carefully discussed all the options. Up until the draft I planned on fulfilling my commitment to SIU, but [MLB] was a shot to fulfill my dream.

He said he’ll be making about $850 per month as he chases his dream.

Soole attended Monarch High School in Louisville. He was a pitcher and outfielder in high school and during his senior season and picked up six wins with a 0.77 ERA while striking out 73. He hit .518 and led the team with 22 runs batted in. The Coyotes went 16-5-1 his senior year but didn’t advance out of the first round of the playoffs.

Before the draft, Soole was rated the 19th-best player in the state of Colorado and named to the all-region team as a senior.

He was assigned to the Arizona Fall League D-Backs for rookie camp and batted .261 while collecting 36 hits in 33 games with 10 runs batted in. Soole is currently assigned to the fall league team in short season. 

Soole said he didn’t have much interaction with SIU coaches because everything happened so fast, but he did inform them of his decision.

“It was such a hectic time for me,” he said. “As soon as I got drafted I was on a plane to Arizona and into a baseball season the next few days.”

But SIU baseball has played well without Soole. The Salukis are 20-13-1 in 2016 after a 2015 season in which they won only 12 games.

Henderson said although he understood Soole’s desire to play ball, he was disappointed in the decision.

“There are very few kids who can come out of high school and are physically ready to play at that level,” he said. “Logan would have been a really good player for us and would have been productive because he’s such a talented kid.”

Since taking over as manager in 2010, Henderson has had four follow the same path as Soole took passing up college. 

Henderson said losing Soole was surprising, but the Salukis will be fine going forward.

“Coach Strain went out to Colorado but by then we knew there was no changing his mind. It was disappointing but from a recruiting standpoint we did our best to fill our other needs,” he said. “The outfielders we have right now have done a tremendous job for us and we look forward to what they’ll bring the rest of the season.”

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303

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