Jerad Grundy spent most of the last month at his parents’ home in Johnsburg, working out and preparing for this week’s Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft.
This time, unlike three previous times when he was selected, Grundy knew he would sign with the team that picked him. He did that on Saturday, signing with the Oakland A’s, who took Grundy in the 10th round Friday.
Grundy, a 2009 Johnsburg graduate, pitched for Kentucky the last two seasons. The left-handed senior pitcher was 6-6 with a 4.86 ERA and 61 strikeouts and 20 walks in 83 1/3 innings for the Wildcats.
“I didn’t really have too much contact with [the A’s] in the last two months,” Grundy said. “It was a bit of a surprise. It’s an organization me and my parents are pretty happy about.”
Cary-Grove graduate Eric Aguilera, a left-handed hitting outfielder from Illinois State, was selected in the 34th round Saturday by the Los Angeles Angels.
Grundy hired agent Sam Samardzija, the older brother of Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, and worked out the details quickly with the A’s. Grundy will be in Phoenix Tuesday for the start of extended spring training. He is uncertain where he will pitch this season.
“It depends on where they need guys,” Grundy said. “They have a short [season Class A] team in Vermont, that’s where a lot of guys go.”
Grundy was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection as a pitcher in 2009. He was drafted by Texas in the 46th round, but turned down the Rangers because he had a scholarship to Miami (Fla.).
After one season at Miami, Grundy pitched at Heartland Community College, a two-year school in Bloomington, and again was drafted, that time by Miami in the 42nd round.
Grundy (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) transferred to Kentucky and was 6-3 with a 3.78 ERA, 63 strikeouts and 36 walks in 85 2/3 innings as a junior. He was drafted by Minnesota last year in the 26th round, but returned to Kentucky.
“It was actually a down year [at Kentucky] for me personally, and as a team,” Grundy said. “We had a lot of high expectations. We were rated so high in the preseason and started out well.”
The Wildcats were 45-18 in Grundy’s junior season, setting the school record for victories. Kentucky was 30-25 this season. He has been working out with trainer Chris Leathers, another Johnsburg graduate, at Leathers’ Your World Fitness in Spring Grove.
By staying in school, Grundy improved his draft position each year and is three classes short of his degree in community and leadership development.
“There’s no regrets,” Grundy said.