Over the last four months, Spencer Edwards would walk by a story he wrote as a first-grader that his mom, Susan, attached to the refrigerator door. In the short story, Edwards lists the things he wanted to do as a kid.
There was a whole host of things from dirt-bike riding to fishing, but the one thing that was written in capital letters was:
I AM GOING TO PLAY BASEBALL IN MLB. THIS IS WHAT I DREAM ABOUT DOING.
On Tuesday, Edwards was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second round of the MLB First Year Player Draft. He said by telephone that he anticipates signing with the Rays.
“I’m ready to play professional baseball and I am going to sign with the Rays,” said Edwards, who was selected with the No. 88 overall pick. “This is something I have wanted to do since I was 4-years-old and I believe I am ready for the next level.”
Edwards, who was an All-District shortstop for Class 4A Rockwall HS in the Dallas area, committed to the University of Texas in the fall. He also starred for the football team as a wide receiver and safety and received heavy interest by Division I programs until deciding not to play in the fall so he could focus on baseball.
After his teammate, Rockwall catcher Steve Bean, was selected by the Cardinals in the first round on Monday, Edwards was excited about what Tuesday had to offer, considering he received a call in the morning from Red Sox Scout scout Jim Robinson saying the Boston organization was ready to take him.
“He said they really liked me and they were going to take me with the 87th pick,” Edwards said. “When they didn’t, my heart dropped and I started getting scared. Then, the Rays picked me and I was just so excited. I couldn’t be happier.”
Edwards, whose aunt and uncle live in Orlando, went to a Rays game in Arlington when the team played the Rangers last year and he likes the type of chemistry that has been well-documented.
“I’ve heard about how fun a group it is and I want to be a part of it,” Edwards said. “I know how well they do in preparing guys for the big leagues. I think it’s a great organization and I am very proud to be a part of it.”Edwards, who jumped 35 inches in the vertical leap before he began his freshman season in football, is known in the recruiting circles as being a “speedy athlete with considerable range at shortstop.” Last summer, he ran the 40-yard dash for a football combine in 4.3 seconds and, in the fall, he ran the 60-yard dash in 6.33 seconds for the Blue Jays.
The 6-foot, 170-pound infielder compares himself to Rangers third-baseman Michael Young, who began his career as a shortstop.
“I just think I carry myself the same way in how I work hard, I hustle, I am versatile and rangy as an infielder and I believe I’m a great teammate,” Edwards said. “I like to use my speed and I believe I have pretty good range at short.”
Edwards, who used to switch-hit until focusing on hitting from the right side last season, has showcased this speed and versatility at the plate, as well. He batted .453 with 11 doubles, five triples, four home runs and 17 stolen bases in his senior season.
Based in St. Petersburg, Fla., Chris Girandola has been a sports journalist for over eight years and is currently the Rays Senior Writer for RaysDigest.com. His other writing credits include MLB.com, the Associated Press, St. Petersburg Times, Naples News, Florida Football Magazine, Kentucky Basketball Magazine, and Tampa Bay Business Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at @crgrand
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