Jarron Thompson of Waubonsie Valley, an MLB prospect, prepares to make his presentation. ‘Hug it and enjoy.’ – News from Mercury

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Since learning it was a distinct possibility, Waubonsie Valley senior Jarron Thompson had goals that were pretty clear. Somehow it would happen.

He would find a way to get paid to pitch.

“I always told my parents in high school,” Thompson said. “I never mentioned college until I got my first offer. I wanted to play baseball professionally, pitch in the major leagues.

“I completely forgot about college – that I have to pass this level.”

Initially, Thompson committed to Missouri. With an eye on a faster path to professional baseball, he switched to Seminole State, a junior college in Florida.

This would allow him to be eligible for the MLB draft after one season in college instead of three if he went the Division I route.

“I wanted more playing time going to college,” Thompson said. “It is a good guarantee that I will start the first year. This is a huge opportunity for someone like me – more playing time, showing my skills and I’m looking to get drafted.

If he succeeds, the draft will come sooner, maybe in July.

“I would like to be drafted this summer,” Thompson said. “It all started when I heard there was a top league.”

Thompson kicked things off on Wednesday, pitching three scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over Machesney Park Harlem. He struck out five and walked two, reaching 92 mph with his fastball.

“I had a feeling I wouldn’t be there,” Thompson said. “I was a little nervous, excited. Going into the season, I expect to dominate every game.”

That confidence and determination is something Waubonsie coach Bryan Acevedo is looking forward to seeing.

While physical attributes have always been there for Thompson, growth off the mound impressed his coach.

“He has matured a lot,” said Acevedo. “His behavior on the field has changed for the better. In the second year, he was almost afraid. He had electrical stuff, but he couldn’t control it.

“Last season he gave us the opportunity to compete and get deeper into the games. He took on more of a leadership role and started to own some things.”

Acevedo said he has grown even more this season.

Thompson realizes that he will be keeping an eye on him, including a scout from St. Louis. Louis Cardinals who was available on Wednesday, but he has the attitude of wanting the ball in big situations.

“I keep telling people, if it grows half as much as it did between the second and first years, this year must be very special,” said Acevedo.

Thompson’s offseason work pointed in that direction. A dedicated schedule of weightlifting and baseball activity, with only Sundays for rest, got him to this point.

“I really just tried to be more mobile during my delivery,” Thompson said. “That’s one of the best things a pitcher can do. I have perfected my mechanics and also hit the weights.

“I’m looking to make some noise. I would like to get drafted this summer. I’m just thinking about going out there and always competing and showing my best.”

Thompson said he has spoken to eight MLB teams so far in the process. If he continues producing, that number tends to increase.

“Teams are telling my consultant that they are very interested,” Thompson said. “I have an elite movement that will generate strikes and errors. Everyone is intrigued by how loose and fussy I am with my arm speed.

Acevedo also knows how unique this opportunity is as a coach.

“We’ve had some good ones before, but he’s special,” Acevedo said. “He has some opportunities that not everyone gets. Embrace it and enjoy.

“It’s a cool opportunity and he’s taking us along for the ride with him.”

Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.


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