Barnegat High School pitcher Mark McCoy was offered $142,000 on Tuesday to play professional baseball for the Atlanta Braves.
He said no.
The senior left-hander turned down offers from two teams in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft and eventually fell to the 26th round, where the Milwaukee Brewers picked him Wednes-day even though he said he plans to attend Wake Forest University on a full scholarship.
The Braves wanted to draft McCoy in the seventh round. After he told them he would not sign for that amount, they passed. Later Tuesday, the Los Angeles Angels called and offered him $123,000 to be drafted in the ninth round.
McCoy said no again.
"In the later rounds, I felt the $142,000 was not enough to throw away a Wake Forest education," he said in a phone interview Wednesday.
McCoy spent much of Tuesday afternoon sitting around his television with family, friends and coaches, hoping his name would be called in the fifth round or sooner. When that didn't happen, his decision to play for Wake Forest was easy.
"I will be able to develop as a baseball player and a man," McCoy said. "In three years, I may be drafted higher, possibly the first round."
McCoy eventually was selected by the Brewers as the 815th pick. But at that point, the 18-year-old's mind was made up to play Division I baseball in the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
McCoy, a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder, went 4-3 with a 0.97 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 50 innings this season as Barnegat went 12-11 and reached the South Jersey Group II quarterfinals, winning a playoff game for the first time in school history.
In the months leading up to the draft, McCoy talked with various major-league teams, including the Royals, Reds, Angels, Rockies and Orioles.
He described the draft as a "win-win situation" for him: He would either be in the starting rotation at Wake Forest or get a big contract and go to the minors.
"Yes, you are a little disappointed when you don't get picked." McCoy said. "But I'll have another chance to be drafted in three years."
Baseball players who play in college are not eligible for the draft again until after their junior seasons.
McCoy didn't want to sign a contract that paid less money than the four-year total of his scholarship, but he was willing to pass on college if a team offered the right amount.
Dan McCoy, Mark's father, coach and advisor, walked in the door Wednesday afternoon and was told that his son had just been drafted by the Brewers.
"I was confused," the elder McCoy said in a phone interview. "I thought at that point, everyone knew we weren't going to sign."
But major-league teams often take chances with lower draft picks in case a player changes his mind about signing or the team ends up being able to offer more money.
Dan McCoy supported his son 100 percent but said the draft process was an emotional rollercoaster.
"It's never over until you hear your kid's name called," the father said. "People tell you that you need to enjoy this unique experience, and I did during the beginning, but at the end, it got stressful."
McCoy will play in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League this summer in Maryland before heading to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., in the fall.
Dan McCoy said he's happy with Mark's decision to play in the ACC, which placed seven teams in the 64-team NCAA tournament this season. Wake Forest finished 34-24 this season but did not make the tournament.
"I don't think the value of being a 26th-round draft pick is more than the value of playing college baseball," Dan McCoy said. "He will play in front of 4,000 people that will be yelling at him. It'll get him ready for the next part of his baseball career."
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