Could Grand Junction Rockies catcher Austin Elder turn pro?
There is a time in the life of every baseball player where they must decide where they want their career to go.
Perhaps they have a notion in their mind that everything will work out and they will become a professional, even if they stay on the present trajectory.
Others may feel as though they have to make a change so they can pursue their dreams.
Austin Elder from the Grand Junction Rockies was facing such a decision recently.
He is now entering the NCAA transfer portal as he hopes to eventually find his way to Major League Baseball.
Austin Elder – Grand Junction Rockies pitcher
Austin Elder is a 21-year-old catcher who plays for the Grand Junction Rockies. Most people may never have heard about this team, but there is a good chance they will hear about Elder in the near future.
The youngster had some tough choices to make when he was still studying at St. Mary’s in California. He could either continue with his education and see what his professional prospects looked like when he was close to graduating, or he could make a leap.
Rather than waiting on the sidelines, he made the choice to start living the dream. Elder moved to a baseball team rather than continue going to school after his junior year.
He moved to the Grand Junction Rockies, where he believes that he has a real chance of impressing scouts and eventually getting to the majors. Austin knows such a road does not offer any guarantees but he also knows that it is a journey he has to take if he is to live his dream.
NCAA transfer portal explained
There was a time when players felt that playing at college or going to a Minor League Baseball team was the only way they could make it to the MLB. Times have changed, as players are now using independent baseball as a route to the very best league in the world.
The GJ Rockies are one of the teams in the Pioneer League, which has no affiliation to the Minor League. However, the Pioneer League does have a partnership with MLB, which means all data from these games get sent to MLB scouts.
Elder is aware of that connection and it is likely why he chose to make the move that he did. He knows that as he continues to play in this league he is giving himself a chance of becoming an elite baseball player sometime in the future.
While Elder can transfer from the Rockies to a team in MLB, he still has a lot of work to do to get there. One of the chances available to him and others in his position is the MLB amateur draft.
The amateur draft is an event that now involves 20 different rounds, where each team in the majors gets to pick one player per round. Even though the draft used to have 40 rounds, there are only 20 nowadays.
Turning pro in baseball has its risks
Austin Elder made a very brave decision when he decided to join the Rockies rather than continue his education. He has no guarantees that he will go to Major League Baseball, but he has now left college behind.
His story is one that is not unique, as there are countless stories of players who decide that going pro is the only thing that matters. Most of them only attend college because that is a way they can continue to play competitive baseball.
Elder felt that he had gone as far as he could with his college in California. Another year would have only kept him away from more competitive baseball, which he is now playing in the Pioneer League.
One of the ways that Elder is hedging his bets is by continuing to take online classes. He wants more than anything else to play pro baseball at the highest level. But he also knows that people do not always get what they want, which is why finishing his degree is the sensible step to take.
Can Elder go all the way?
Even though he is still new to the Pioneer League, Elder is already showing why a future in the majors may be his for the taking. He has stats that include 0.324 hitting average, five RBI and three doubles.
The youngster is aware that he still has to improve many aspects of his game. That is the reason why he continues to work with the pitching coach at the Rockies, Bobby Jenks. Elder is hoping he can learn as much as possible from the coaching of Jenks.
Elder will be hoping to hone all aspects of his game as he pushes towards MLB. Fans of the Pioneer League will be keeping tabs on Austin to see if he can shine ahead of the coming MLB amateur draft. His chances of making it to the very top are promising at present.
Bet on baseball safely
Even though you may not be able to place too many bets on the Pioneer League, the same is not true for Major League Baseball. If you are an avid fan of the sport, you may want to join an online casino or sportsbook where you can freely place bets on upcoming games.
Given the sometimes slow pace of baseball, adding a betting element into watching games can be a lot of fun. Now you have so much more invested in the outcome of the game, which only makes you even more excited while watching.
So long as you do your research, bet sensibly and do not put too much money into a single bet, you can safely wager on baseball games.
Story by Brian Roy