A Lesson On Looking Gift Horses In The Mouth

June 9, 2010 – 3:14 am by Hickey

Meet Jake Eliopoulous. And pay close attention, because you’ll probably never see him again.

A year ago, young Jake was picked by the Toronto Blue Jays in the second round of the MLB Draft with the 68th overall pick. It was a feel-good story. Born in Ukraine, Jake was adopted by a Canadian family and got picked by his hometown team.

Only he didn’t sign, because the Jays’ offer of a $530,000 contract was below the $700 K he was willing to sign for. Perhaps there was some merit to thinking he was lowballed, as the Jays failed to sign three of their top nine picks. But it’s not often you can play for the team you always rooted for. Eliopoulous passed on the cash and decided to head to Chipola (Fla.) Junior College for a year.

D’oh.

Eliopoulous had a disastrous season, leaving the team after pitching 21 innings and compiling a 1-2 record with an 8.44 ERA. However, he is a lefty and he did strike out 24 batters, which means another big league team was willing to give him a chance. And so the Dodgers did — with the 472nd overall pick in the draft.

That’s right. In one year, Eliopoulous dropped 404 spots in the draft. Not even Tom Petty could dream up a free-fall of those proportions.

It just goes to show what a crapshoot this whole ridiculous baseball drafting process is. And that when in doubt, players are probably wise to heed Steve Miller’s advice.

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