With his future in the balance, Bishop Gorman High School first baseman Jeff Malm said he was troubled by “all the uncertainty” he sensed going into the major league draft.
Soon after he awoke Wednesday, Malm started to weigh two options, and he was sure of at least one thing.
“I feel it’s a win-win situation,” he said. “It’s a good spot for me to be in to have this problem.”
Malm, who committed to Southern California, was selected in the fifth round by the Tampa Bay Rays. It could be weeks before he decides whether to sign a contract or attend college.
“Playing professional baseball has always been my dream since I was little. If we can’t work out a deal, USC is definitely a good option for me. Either one is a great choice," he said.
“We’ll see how things play out with Tampa Bay this summer. Whatever path I take, I think it will be a good decision either way.”
Five players with Las Vegas ties were drafted Wednesday, when rounds four through 30 were held. The final 20 rounds go today.
Durango right-hander Danny Reynolds went in the sixth round to the Los Angeles Angels, and College of Southern Nevada lefty Egan Smith was a seventh-round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 6-foot Reynolds has a fastball that tops out at 95 mph. He went 4-6 with a 2.79 ERA this season for the Trailblazers.
“He’s very self-motivated. He worked hard and progressed, and he deserved it,” Durango coach Sam Knapp said of Reynolds, the 201st overall pick.
The 6-4 Smith, from Pleasant Grove, Utah, was 4-6 with a 3.32 ERA as a sophomore at CSN. He was the 220th player selected.
“Egan has a great upside,” Coyotes coach Tim Chambers said. “His numbers were OK, but we just didn’t win for him. He was kind of a hard-luck guy for us.”
Some draft analysts projected Malm, the 169th player selected, to go Tuesday in the first three rounds.
“I was a little disappointed that I didn’t go the first day, but I got over that pretty quick,” he said.
Malm was named Player of the Year on the Review-Journal’s Class 4A all-state team after leading the Gaels to a 40-4 record and their fourth straight state title.
The 6-2 Malm hit .564 with 17 home runs and 69 RBIs this season. He also starred as a pitcher, going 11-1 with a 1.50 ERA.
Malm said his family is scheduled to meet with a Tampa Bay scout Friday to begin contract negotiations. The deadline for teams to sign players is Aug. 15.
Malm said the Rays were “one of the top five teams” on his wish list.
“If we can work out a deal, and hopefully we do, the Rays have a great farm system, and they are good at developing young talent,” he said.
Jeffrey Farnham, a Faith Lutheran product and a senior catcher for New Mexico State, went to the New York Yankees in the 27th round.
In the 30th round, the Colorado Rockies selected Georgia catcher Bryce Massanari, who also played at Centennial High and CSN.
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at email@example.com or 702-387-2907.