UPDATE: Baseball: Red Wing's Boldt planning to attend college
Ryan Boldt's phone did not even ring when he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox Saturday as the 653rd overall pick in the 22nd round of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The Red Wing senior was making the rounds at more than a dozen graduation open houses and his phone wasn't picking up a signal, but he received a text saying, "Congratulations."
A half hour later, a voicemail popped up.
"I had about 12-15 grad parties I had to get to that day so I was just running around all over town. All of the sudden I had a text from one of the scouts, who wasn't from the Red Sox, saying congrats and I didn't really know what was going on at that point," Boldt said. "I didn't get a missed call or anything which was kind of weird, but I got a voicemail from the Red Sox guy saying, 'Congrats' and 'I'll be up next week to go over stuff.'
"I wasn't really aware of it at all."
The Red Sox had picked Boldt, but by the time he received the call, Boldt already had his mind made up on going to play baseball at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
"I'm going to go to Nebraska, that's my ultimate decision right now," he said. "There wasn't a ton of contact but there were obviously a few teams that called during the draft. There were some opportunities that I had that I didn't feel comfortable with so as the night went on, I knew ultimately what my decision would be at the end (of the 10th round)."
Before a knee injury in Red Wing's season-opening doubleheader on April 26, an injury that required arthroscopic surgery, Boldt was considered by many a sure-fire first-round pick. ESPN's Keith Law had Boldt ranked as high as the 13th best draft prospect, and Baseball America had him as the 22nd-rated prospect, with both dropping his value after the injury. MLB Network's Jonathon Mayo had Boldt at No. 39 this week, and all three outlets had Boldt selected in the opening rounds as the injury wasn't career-threatening.
"We did verify that there were many medical doctors within organizations that said it was a non-issue," Chris Boldt, Ryan's mother, said. "We know that the situation will heal and he'll be back to 100 percent and we understand teams not being able to see him."
In turn, Ryan kept true to his original value as a player and told teams he wasn't comfortable signing a contract below expectations, with a specific dollar range in mind.
"Obviously people can speculate all they want," Ryan said with a laugh. "I didn't really care where I got drafted as long as I felt comfortable with everything that came along with it. Obviously I didn't feel comfortable with the things that could have happened so that that's why I ultimately decided to head to school. I didn't want to discount my value because of the knee injury. It's not going to inhibit my career at all."
Ryan's stock soared last summer as he was named MVP of the Perfect Game All-American Classic August 12 in San Diego and was picked to the 2012 All-Area Code Team a few days later. He was also selected to Team USA's 18-and-under team that took gold in Seoul, South Korea, and set an International Baseball Federation 18U World Championships record with 12 stolen bases in nine games.
But after playing just 1 1/2 games for the Wingers this spring, Ryan's stock dropped and the likelihood rose that he would head to college.
"Certainly there were a lot of teams to call Ryan and ask if he would be willing to play ball," Mitch Boldt, Ryan's father, said. "The (draft) spot wasn't as important as just the value of what a team put on his skill set. Obviously that means a lot at how you move through an organization. He has a potential future value and he has a present value and you don't want to give up your present value."
The Legacy Sports Agency, headed by super-agent Greg Genske, was Ryan's adviser group and helped prepare him to talk with teams over the course of the draft.
Ryan's classroom success was also a determinant factor and a source of leverage with teams. He was a 4.0 GPA student at Red Wing High School, graduating on Friday, and his parents are content sending Ryan to college. Ryan plans to enroll in summer classes in July and continue rehab at the Cornhuskers' facilities. It is possible that Ryan could enter Nebraska with more than 20 credits with Advanced Placement tests, Chris said, and graduate in three years, the next time he is eligible for the MLB draft.
"It's an awesome situation," Mitch said. "Our other three kids went through the college experience and as everyone knows that's a great part of your life. We're fortunate to know that he's going to have that experience."
Chris added, "Ryan's academics have always been a significant piece of his journey. We're very comfortable that he'll do very well."
Ryan was the highest-ranked player on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list who remained undrafted after the first two days. He will meet with the Red Sox area scout this week, but once he is en route to Nebraska, the Cornhuskers will welcome him with open arms. He will join his cousin, Pat Kelly, a First Team All-Big 10 selection this season.
"He's a tremendously-talented student, a tremendously-talented athlete," Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad said of Ryan. "He's a hard worker and he fits real well into what we're trying to do. It'll be fun to have those kinds of quality kids on campus and get after it."