Originally posted in the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Aptos’ Haydn King envisioned hearing his name announced during the MLB First-Year Player Draft in June. Because it was reduced from 40 to five rounds due to the coronavirus pandemic, he didn’t.
A redshirt sophomore for UNLV, King made just eight appearances during a shortened spring season. He still had three years of eligibility left to make it happen. A 2017 Oakland A’s draft pick, he decided he didn’t need to hear it again.
He signed a $20,000 free-agent minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.
“It’s really special,” said King, a lifelong Giants fan. “It has been a dream of mine.”
He and his family celebrated the signing with a bottle of champagne — at 11 a.m.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound left-handed pitcher, who pitched in the Cape Cod League in 2019, said the timing to turn professional was right. The Giants will also pay for King to complete his education.
Minor league baseball was canceled this summer, so King will continue to work out and prepare for next summer. A sociology major, he also plans to finish college as soon as possible.
“I’ve always been a Giants fan growing up,” he said. “And with so much uncertainty going on in the world, there seemed no better time for pursuing my dream.”
King’s path to professional baseball had several turns. He was drafted by the A’s in the 39th round in 2017 following his senior year at Archbishop Mitty in San Jose, but honored his scholarship to University of San Francisco. After a rough freshman campaign, he looked for a new start elsewhere and landed at UNLV. He redshirted in 2019.
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