If Simeon baseball player Darius Day doesn't sound content about the possibility of being a first-round pick in next year's MLB Draft, well, that's because he's not.
"When somebody tells you that you have potential to possibly go in the first round, some people might lay back and be satisfied with where they're at," said Day, an outfielder and pitcher who will be a senior this fall. "With me, I want to try to get better. I want to try to instead of potentially being a first rounder, I wanna go in the first round. I want to work myself to that point where it's a no doubter."
The 18-year-old is on the right track.
Day, ranked as the No. 4 high school prospect in the state by Prep Baseball Report, will play in the Under Armor All America Game on Saturday at Wrigley Field, hoping to make his biggest splash on his hometown's biggest stage. The game begins at 1:30 p.m.
"I know there's gonna be tons of scouts there," he said. "I just wanna stay within myself but also try to show myself off, show what I can do."
What he can do is play baseball better than most.
"At this point right now, he's one of the best kids I've coached," Simeon coach Leroy Franklin said.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior has committed to play at the University of Arizona next year. Scouts and coaches rave about his arm strength and his ability to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.
"He's a two-way player," Franklin said. "He does everything good. He runs well, he plays outfield very, very good. He has a tremendous arm. On the mound, he's just unbelievable."
Day is the second Simeon outfielder in as many years to play in the game. Former teammate Corey Ray was drafted in the 33rdround by Seattle in 2013 and will play at the University of Louisville this season.
If history is any indication, a good performance Saturday could make him a rich man one year from now. It's a fact that's not lost on Day, though he's not in any hurry.
"To go pro, the price will have to be right," he said. " I like school. In Arizona, it's 75, 80 and sunny all year round. The baseball program, obviously they have a good program getting guys drafted, getting their degrees. At the same time, I'd have to sign for a pretty decent price."
While his baseball career may just be getting started, Day's already focused on what comes afterward.
"You can't play the game your whole life," he said. "You've gotta be prepared for the long run. You might end up having a family. You've gotta manage your money right. Like my dad tells me, you've gotta have a backup plan."
Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Getting noticed by major league scouts can mean huge opportunities—and big bucks.
Players from the 2012 Under Armor All America Game who went on to be first-round draft picks in the 2013 MLB draft.
The top player from the 2012 game who was selected, Clint Frazier, received a $3.5 million signing bonus from the Cleveland Indians.
That's the last time a Simeon player chosen was chosen in the first round of the MLB draft (Shawn Livesey, by the Houston Astros).
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