PITTSBURG — From his earliest playing days in youth leagues to the final game of his high-school career, Pittsburg’s Jake Webb has dreamed of becoming a Major League Baseball player.
After another stellar season to cap off his career with the Purple Dragons, Webb’s dream became a realistic goal when he was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 19th round of the MLB draft.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Webb said. “It was crazy to listen to the draft and then hear my name called. It was really exciting.”
Many kids around the world start playing baseball at a young age with the dream of making it to the big leagues, but few are fortunate enough to get the phone call on draft day.
“It’s been a dream for forever,” Webb said. “I think it’s the dream of every baseball player, but it’s hard to believe that it will ever happen to you.”
Webb said he started believing when he noticed MLB scouts attending his games.
“This season — after I committed to college at Kansas State — I started to see a few scouts for professional teams in the stands,” Webb said. “That’s when it really began to sink in that I have that ability and I ended up getting invited to a couple places to show off my stuff. I guess they liked what they saw and it just so happened that I got drafted this year.”
With interest being shown by the Pirates, Webb was invited to attend a workout session in Bradenton, Florida.
“I was pretty happy to receive the invite to workout,” Webb said. “I got the invitation from the Pirates to go down to Bradenton and go through a pro-style workout, where I did a bullpen session on the mounds. I got a nice feel for the area and it allowed them to see my stuff. Getting the opportunity to go down there was just awesome and it really paid off because if I didn’t go, I don’t know if I’d be in the position I’m in now.”
Webb said playing at Pittsburg High School put him in a position to succeed.
“My coaches and teammates have helped me more than anybody else,” he said. “It’s just been an ongoing process that started with me working towards becoming a regular starter at the high-school level. I just continued to get better and they all played a big role in that.”
In addition to those who played alongside him, Webb said there are two people in particular who were in his corner throughout the process.
“Two people who have influenced me and helped me become who I am now would be Brian Holman, my pitching coach, and my friend Dan Smith. They’ve both helped me tremendously and more than I could ever thank them for.”
Although Webb hasn’t fulfilled his dream of playing in the major leagues yet, Webb will begin his professional career in Bradenton, playing in rookie ball.
“Of course, the long-term goal is to make it to the big leagues, but the goal for now is just to improve and get better everyday and try to be the best that I can be,” Webb said. “Hopefully, I’ll make it there one day.”
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.