As a senior in high school, Drew Mendoza will be faced with a challenging decision in just a couple months.
A highly regarded prep shortstop, Mendoza is committed to playing baseball collegiately at Florida State beginning in the fall. He also has a shot of being a first round pick in June’s MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Prior to visiting and committing to Florida State, Mendoza also received interest from Ole Miss, South Carolina and the University of Florida.
In the end, Mendoza knew FSU was the best fit for him.
“The atmosphere, the coaching staff, and I felt at home with everyone there,” Mendoza said of FSU. “It was just an obvious decision.”
Another factor that played into his decision was that both his parents graduated from FSU.
“Ultimately, they told me it was my decision no matter what,” Mendoza said. “I wanted to keep the family tradition going. It did play a part, but they made sure not to push me in that direction. They were very supportive with what I wanted to do.”
Mendoza, who also pitches whenever his high school team needs him to, was originally recruited as a two-way player. But, after talking to schools, he decided to focus on being a position player.
“I just love being on the field all the time,” Mendoza said. “I always want to be out there. I want to be on the field, in the lineup everyday. I want to be an everyday guy to be out there with my teammates.”
While, Mendoza is set to attend FSU in the fall, there’s a chance that he won’t even step foot onto campus.
Mendoza is ranked as the 19th best player on MLB.com’s top draft prospects list and has a legitimate shot at being selected highly in the 2016 draft.
A left-handed-hitting infielder, Mendoza is known as a doubles hitter. But, as he matures and adds more strength, he will likely hit for more power.
In high school, Mendoza also played basketball, so he hasn’t had as much time to dedicate to the weight room as single sport athletes.
While Mendoza has been a shortstop his entire life, some people believe he is destined to move to third base at the next level. He has a strong arm that profiles at any infield position, and he said he’d would be fine with switching positions if that is asked of him.
“I have always loved playing shortstop,” Mendoza said. “Whatever my route is, if it is in my best interest is playing a different position than that’s what I’ll do. I’d love to stay at shortstop as long as I can.”
Regardless of what position he plays in the future, professional scouts will be making there way to Minneola, Fla. to watch Mendoza play this spring, as he is one of the top prep position players in the 2016 draft class.
“It was new at first, but through the summer and the fall I have gotten use to it,” Mendoza said of having to deal with pro scouts. “I have built more personal relationships than business relationships with scouts. It’s just not treating them as people who decide my future, but baseball friends.”
If Mendoza is able to put together a strong year with the bat, he will likely move up draft boards and be a top 15 pick as long as major league teams believe he doesn’t have a strong desire to attend college before turning pro.
Despite having his name swirling in draft chatter, Mendoza is focused on having an enjoyable and productive senior season, while helping his high school team be successful.
“I try not to look at them as expectations, but more as an opportunity,” Mendoza said of the draft. “I just want to enjoy my senior year and play the best baseball I can. Everything else is icing on the cake. I try not to let it bother me.“
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