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One week ago, senior Jackson Lamb attended his final day of classes at Bedford High School.
Next week he may have a good reason to never attend another class anywhere else.
There is reasonable speculation that Lamb, a 6-foot-6 pitcher/outfielder, will be an early-round selection in the Major League Baseball draft on June 6-8.
The first two rounds will be June 6, rounds 3-10 on June 7, and the remainder of the draft on June 8.
Lamb acknowledged that he would likely forgo his baseball scholarship at the University of Michigan if he is selected high enough in the draft.
With the help of his parents, Steve and Shawna Lamb, he will make a decision on whether to sign with a major league organization or play college baseball based on the amount of signing bonus money he is offered.
“I’m expecting to go in the first five rounds, so after that, I guess it’s just a matter of how much money and what round I go in,” Lamb said. “Depending on the money, and some other factors, I think I’m only going to go [professional] if I get picked in the first three rounds. I know you’re in the million-dollar range in the first two rounds. After that it decreases.”
First-round draft picks this year will likely secure signing bonuses of between $7 million for the No. 1 overall pick down to approximately $1.5 million for the end of the first round.
Second-round money should range between $1.5 million and $800,000, third-rounders down to $500,000, fourth-rounders down to around $400,000, and fifth-round choices down to about $300,000.
“I’m going to play it by ear,” Lamb said. “I really won’t know what I’m going to do until it actually happens. There’s so many factors that play into it.
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“My parents want me to go to school, but I don’t know if I can go to school if I’m offered a life-changing amount of money. I also know that school is important, so it’s going to have to be a life-changing amount of money for me to forgo college.
“Obviously my parents’ input is very important to me. At the end of the day it’s my decision, but I will be influenced by them greatly.”
Steve Lamb is a Toledo Police officer, and Shawna Lamb is a probation officer.
Their son, who turned 18 in October, certainly appears to have the tools to play pro baseball. He was named the 2013 Gatorade state player of the year in Michigan, and is currently busy finishing off the final weeks of his impressive four-year athletic career at Bedford. He has been a highly acclaimed four-year varsity baseball and basketball standout.
Twice he was named all-state first team in basketball, leading Bedford to its first ever league championship as a senior. He will be a three-time all-state first-team selection in baseball when that list is announced.
Through Sunday, Lamb was a career .498 hitter (210-for-422) with 19 home runs and 142 RBIs in four seasons.
With his overpowering fastball, which this year has been clocked up to 94 mph, according to Bedford coach Craig Trychel, Lamb has a career 20-5 pitching record and 1.41 ERA with 231 strikeouts in 153 2/3 innings.
“You look at it both ways,” Trychel said of his time with Lamb. “It’s nice that he’s had such a great career but you hate to see him go. You don’t get many kids like that.”
Lamb hopes to add to his numbers during tournament time, which was scheduled to begin for Bedford with a first-round district game Wednesday at Monroe.
This season, Lamb is hitting .511 (46-for-90) with four homers and 34 RBIs, and is 6-0 pitching with a 1.40 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 40 innings.
Lamb has sustained his solid play despite being observed by pro baseball scouts every time he plays.
“He’s pressed a little bit at times just because there’s been so much exposure,” Trychel said. “Every game there’s been scouts, and every game there’s been scrutiny on what he’s doing.
“Sometimes I think he feels like he has to do more than he needs to do, and I think he presses a little bit. He’s been able to overcome a lot of the pressure and stress.
“I think one game there were like 15 scouts there. They’d stand behind the backstop, and every time he threw they’d pull the [radar] guns up. You’re kind of in a fishbowl.
“Little League coaches will call me and ask, ‘Is Jackson pitching today?’ They want to bring their whole team out to watch. It’s a lot to ask out of a young guy, but he’s handled it great. Anybody who wants to talk, he talks. Young kids who come up to him and want an autograph, he gives it to them. He smiles and takes it in stride. I think he has enjoyed a lot of it.”
Lamb doesn’t see the attention as a burden.
“My dad taught me that you’ve got to remember where you came from and who supported you when you weren’t at your best,” he said. “His opinion means a lot to me, and this community has always been behind me, so I’m going to do whatever I can to give back.”
As he winds down his high school career, beyond the prospects of the MLB draft, Lamb has a single goal: taking care of some unfinished business.
He hopes his Mules can make a run at the Division 1 state championship which eluded them by a single run two years ago, when Beford lost 5-4 to Rockford in the state final in Battle Creek.
Bedford (25-7) was ranked No. 8 in this year’s D-1 state poll.
“I just take it day by day,” Lamb said. “I’m only going to play for Bedford a little bit longer, so it’s kind of important to me. That’s what I’m going to focus on.
“I was there [state final] my sophomore year, and I know what it takes to get there. It’s not easy, but it’s one of the best feelings that I’ve ever had in my high school career, playing in Battle Creek and coming so close in that final game. I’d like to end with a championship.”
If the situation is right and Lamb does sign a pro contract, he believes he will likely be slotted as a pitching prospect. If he ends up at Michigan, where he will be on roughly an 85 percent scholarship with the Wolverines, he will get a chance to display his talents as an outfielder, and may also serve as a closer on the mound.
“I certainly think he has a shot at playing in the big leagues,” Trychel said. “He’s such a great outfielder. He covers so much ground and gets such a great jump on the ball, and he has an unbelievable arm.
“And, when you’re throwing in the mid 90s, you’re going to have an opportunity somewhere. He’s done that all year long. He has finally rounded into shape as far as his total arm being there. He’s consistently able to go deeper into games, throwing more pitches.”
In about a week, the speculation will be over.
“It’s a big decision I’d have to make,” Lamb said of going pro immediately. “I’d have to go out into the world by myself. But I think I have good enough parents that can guide me through this. They’re going to support me in whatever I do.”
Contact Steve Junga at:
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