Baseball: Red Wing's Boldt signs, but decision loomsRyan Boldt signed his national letter of intent Wednesday morning to play baseball for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, but many decisions wait in the coming months.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Ryan Boldt signed his national letter of intent Wednesday morning to play baseball for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, but many decisions wait in the coming months.
Boldt, a senior at Red Wing High School, verbally committed to the Cornhuskers in February and said he never imagined anything other than playing college ball until the past summer. After winning a gold medal for Team U.S.A at the 2012 International Baseball Federation 18U World Championships in September, and setting the tournament record for stolen bases (12), Boldt became one of professionals’ top high school prospects in the country. Now, he’s keeping his options open.
“I definitely did not expect that, especially when I committed I was going to Nebraska,” he said. “With everything that happened this summer, (the draft) presented itself. Now, that I know that’s an option, you’ve got to consider both.”
Nebraska head coach Darin Erstad, a 14-year Major Leaguer, 3-time Rawlings Gold Glove outfielder and World Series champion, would love to get the opportunity to coach Boldt.
“(He’s) the whole package,” Erstad said. “He’s got room for growth. I can’t wait to get my hands on him and start molding that a little bit. He’s got a lot to work with. With the right mentality and work ethic he’s got a bright future.”
As the No. 1 overall pick in the 1995 MLB draft, Erstad has gone through the process Boldt faces now.
“Understanding being through it and walking in those shoes,” Erstad said. “Being able to help (him) develop not just physically but mentally as well; help turn a kid into a young man when he leaves here. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”
And Erstad would be the main reason for playing with the Cornhuskers next year, along with the sports culture at Nebraska, the Winger center fielder said.
“He’s been there, done that and played the (outfield) position,” Boldt said. “And obviously the great atmosphere around sports there and academics.”
Boldt is a 4.0 GPA student and his cousin, Pat Kelly, was a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association First Team Freshman All-American at second base with the Cornhuskers last season.
“We’re just looking for good people and they have them in Red Wing, apparently,” Erstad joked.
As a junior, Boldt helped lead Red Wing to its first state tournament berth since 1977, hitting .423 with 28 RBI, three home runs and 16 stolen bases.
“He’s a once-in-a-generation player,” Red Wing baseball head coach Jim Bohmbach said. “We thought Pat was one, but all of the sudden we have another one. You don’t find a player like this. He’s as close to (Minnesota Twins catcher) Joe Mauer as we’re going to get. You’ve really got to soak this up and enjoy it and appreciate the time that you have because it doesn’t happen all the time.”
Keith Law, lead baseball analyst for ESPN.com and ESPN Scouts, Inc., tabbed Ryan 29th in his top 30 draft prospects for 2013 for ESPN Insider. Baseball America ranks him as the eighth-best high school prospects in the 2013 graduating class.
The Boldt family has met with seven or eight MLB teams in the last couple months, Ryan said, and nearly all have sent him a questionnaire to fill out prior to the draft. The Minnesota Twins sent their area representative, along with a supervisor, to the Boldt’s house Tuesday night.
“That’s still a little surreal,” Boldt said of possibly getting drafted in the first rounds. “It’d be just crazy to see it all happen. I don’t even know what to expect right now.”
For now, Boldt plans to focus on his senior year and basketball season with the Wingers.
“That’s still what’s ahead,” Boldt said of making the final call on attending school. “There are so many factors that will go into the decision.”