By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
LAKE STEVENS — Dylan LaVelle has a decision to make, but for now he can enjoy the feeling of a dream come true.
The Lake Stevens standout baseball player was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 574th overall pick in the 18th round of the Major League Baseball on Wednesday.
When he first heard his name, it took a minute to register.
“I was actually on my couch watching the names getting picked online,” LaVelle said. “You know, I wasn’t even really paying attention and then I hear like ‘LaVelle, Dylan’ get picked by the Detroit Tigers and I was like, ‘Sounds familiar — oh that’s me.’
“It was just exciting and it was definitely a relief just to hear that.”
Heading into the draft, LaVelle had heard that the Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets all had interest in him. The Tigers were not on his radar.
“I never really talked to the Tigers before that day, it was kind of a surprise team,” LaVelle said.
One person who was just excited that the Tigers made a surprise arrival to the party than LaVelle was his grandfather, David, who has been a lifelong Tigers fan.
“The only person that was happier than me when I got picked by the Tigers was my grandpa,” LaVelle said. “He was talking like, ‘If you get picked by the Tigers I’m going to do cartwheels.’”
LaVelle said he doesn’t think his grandpa held true to his promise.
“No,” LaVelle said. “I hope not. He probably would have hurt himself real bad.”
Not only did the Tigers come out of nowhere to select LaVelle, they also have been coy about what position they see him playing.
“They never really told me,” LaVelle said. “They just kind of picked me. And I was like, ‘What (position) do you want?’ They were like, ‘We’ll see.’ But I’m probably expecting to play third base for a little bit and maybe move to second base after a few years.”
That’s where LaVelle expects to play if he signs with the Tigers, but that isn’t his only option. He has already signed a letter of intent to attend Oregon State University, meaning he would have to complete at least his junior year of school or be 21 years old before he would be eligible to be picked again. LaVelle could also choose to opt out of his commitment to Oregon State and attend a community college for a year. He would maintain eligibility for next year’s draft in hopes that his draft stock improves. The last option is to sign with the Tigers now and begin his efforts to move his way up through the minor league system.
LaVelle, who said going pro has always been his dream, has until the July 13 deadline to sign with the Tigers and said he is going back and forth on what he will do and likely will up until he has to make his choice.
“It’s very tough,” LaVelle said. “Oregon State is a great school and they have amazing coaches. Their team is going to be really good for the next two or three years so I have to look into that and get that education. And then the pro-route, you know, that is every kids dream to go pro and go play in the leagues and hopefully get that chance to play in the majors. It’s definitely tough, I’m going to have a lot to think about.
“I might even flip a coin, I don’t even know yet. It’s going to be tough.”
In the days and months leading up to the draft LaVelle heard many different assesments of where he might be selected. Some said as high as the fourth round, others had him further down. LaVelle said that a shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the year might have affected his draft stock.
As for the Tigers, they’ve indicated that their offer might be more toward sixth-to-eighth round money rather than the money that is typically offered to someone where LaVelle was selected, the Lake Stevens shortstop said. LaVelle’s decision to sign will depend on the Tigers monetary offer and whether or not he will have to opportunity of advancement that a higher-round pick might have.
“If they give me a fair amount of money, then I will take it and go,” LaVelle said.
LaVelle added that he expects an offer from the Tigers within the next few days.
LaVelle wasn’t the only Lake Stevens player selected in the draft, Jake Nelson was picked with the 811th overall pick by the Boston Red Sox in the 26th round. The two were the only current high schoolers from Snohomish County picked in the draft.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.