When I spoke with Falcon shortstop Caleb Hamilton last month, I was stunned to learn that the only college that showed strong interest in him was the University of Washington.
At that point, he had signed his letter of intent with the Huskies and spoke excitedly about enrolling in the fall of 2013.
Having covered Woodinville’s baseball team over the last several weeks of his senior season, I found it stupefying that no one else vied for Hamilton’s services. At 6’0 and 185 pounds, his smoothness, range and dynamic dependability at shortstop proved a tremendous asset for the KingCo Champion Falcons.
But as ESPN’s Lee Corso might say, “Not so fast my friend!”
As it turned out, someone else was taking notice all along. On June 8th, the Washington Nationals drafted Hamilton in the 38th round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
“I got word Saturday night at about 4:30 p.m., and yes I was very surprised,” Hamilton said. “I wasn’t really expecting that to happen. It was a huge honor. I had talked to the area scout a couple times but I didn’t hear from him after high school season. So it caught my family off guard too. We had no idea.”
One website, NatsGM.com, is already dismissing the chances that the Woodinville product will suit up in the nation’s capital: “Hamilton played both shortstop and pitcher in high school and is firmly committed to the University of Washington, making it unlikely he signs with the Nationals.”
But Hamilton, who’s playing this summer for the Taylor team in the Seattle Premier League, is still mentally processing the recent events and communicating with the Nationals.
“We have talked on the phone a couple times, and they’re coming up here this week to watch me play,” Hamilton said. “I’m going to meet with them and talk. My family and I are just laying everything out on the table and seeing what my options are. So I’m not really sure at this point.”
Hamilton was born in 1995 – the year the Mariners beat the Yankees in the Divisional playoff and remembered best by the famous Edgar Martinez double down the left field line, scoring Ken Griffey, Jr.
Caleb doesn’t remember seeing that moment live, of course. But the team’s presence made an impact on him through the years.
“While growing up, I absolutely dreamed of playing in the big leagues,” he said. “I dreamed of playing for the hometown Seattle Mariners, like any kid who would want to play for the local team. But to play for any major league team would be a big honor.”