Each home run Scott Schebler hit in the Northwoods League made him money from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
By Monday's deadline to sign with a professional team, the Dodgers met Schebler's price of a $300,000 bonus. The loser in the situation is Wichita State, whose coaches thought they had Schebler on their team until a few days ago.
"It was an extremely hard decision," Schebler said. "A lot of thought got put into it. It was an opportunity I didn't think would come around again."
Schebler's signing leaves WSU with a hole in its lineup. Coach Gene Stephenson planned on Schebler starting in left field and hitting third.
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"It is a huge disappointment, because I think he could have been a really outstanding college player," Stephenson said. "We recruited with that in mind, that he was going to be a guy who would stay with us."
Los Angeles drafted Schebler in the 26th round out of Des Moines Area Community College, and he told everyone he would go to college. The Dodgers, he said, started the bidding at $140,000, well below his demand of $300-$500,000.
"They didn't think they were going to get there at the beginning of the summer," he said.
Then he mashed 10 home runs and hit .294 for Green Bay in the Northwoods League, a wood bat league that is one of the better summer stages for college players.
"They decided I was worth the money," he said.
Schebler flew to Los Angeles late last week and as recently as Friday told WSU coaches to plan on him. Soon after, things changed and Schebler began to see himself in Dodgers blue. The Dodgers upped their bid. Schebler decided he didn't want the pressure of playing two seasons at WSU trying to improve his draft status.
"It was a combination of me having leverage, being as young as I am, and the money I got," he said. "For the money I got out of this draft, I would have to be a very high draft (pick) as a junior. I don't play as relaxed as I usually do (in that kind of situation)."
Schebler would have started fall practice as a favorite to start in left field. At Des Moines Area, he hit .446 with 20 home runs as a freshman. The Shockers were already rebuilding their outfield after the departure of seniors Ryan Jones, Bret Bascue and Travis Bennett from last season's team.
The most experienced outfield returner is junior Kevin Hall, who started 33 games and hit .243. First baseman Johnny Coy has some experience in left field. Sophomore Garrett Bayliff started four games in the outfield. Redshirt freshman Micah Green is another candidate.
"I learned a long time ago you can't worry about things you can't control," Stephenson said. "That's something we absolutely cannot control. We'll be just as good without him. We'll find somebody within the ranks who will do the job."
Schebler realizes his late departure leaves the Shockers in a bind. He said that was one reason he set his price high.
"I thought about that a lot," he said. "It happens to colleges quite often. I knew what my number range was, and I knew if they reached my number I would sign."
Schebler leaves Wednesday to play for the Dodgers rookie team in the Arizona League. Most WSU players are on campus and will begin senior-led workouts soon. Fall practice begins Sept. 7.
Johnson leaves baseball — WSU reliever Remington Johnson has quit baseball due to a variety of arm injuries.
"He tried to pitch through them for the last year plus," Stephenson said.
Johnson, from Goddard, went 1-0 with a 5.54 ERA as a sophomore. He was one of WSU's more effective relievers as a freshman, when he compiled a 3-0 record with a 3.38 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.