FARMINGTON — Shilo McCall will never play another game in the city of Farmington.
He plans to sign a contract with the San Francisco Giants after the organization drafted him in the ninth round of the 2012 MLB First Year Player Draft with the 298th overall pick.
The 6-foot-1 210-pound center fielder is also committed to Arkansas, but he said his plans are to turn professional.
"The first thing I did was go buy Giants hats for me and my family," McCall said. "Phase one of my dream is complete. Phase two is working like hell to get to the Giants."
McCall will no longer participate in games with the Strike Zone Cardinals, but he intends to be around the team as long as he can.
"I will go to batting practice with the guys and play catch with them, but there is no more playing. I want to support them any way I can, but I can't risk an injury. Like tonight, we play Naa'taanii. I have to ask myself, is that game worth risking an injury that could cost me a chance at pro ball? No, it isn't."
McCall said he expected to be drafted as high as the fifth round but negotiating with the Giants took a bit longer.
"Things didn't work out in the fifth round. The number I wanted there was too high. They offered me more in the seventh round and I said it was too low. An hour later they offered a bit more and I said no to that, too," McCall said. "Then I figured I wasn't going to get drafted where I wanted and the money wouldn't be enough for me to go if I went later than the 10th round. I almost threw in the towel.
"I got in the shower and then my adviser called and said that my holding out had worked and they offered right around what I wanted. I said, 'Heck yeah, let's do it.'"
San Francisco also drafted 2010 PV graduate Jake McCasland in the 2010 draft. McCasland elected to pursue his commitment to the University of New Mexico instead of signing with the Giants.
McCall worked with regional scout Chuck Hensley Jr., the same scout who tried to ink McCasland.
"Hensley told me how much they wanted me and how interested they were, but the guy higher up than him said they were nervous about drafting another Four Corners guy because Jake didn't end up signing," McCall said. "I assured him that I wanted to play pro ball, and if they gave me the chance I would take it."
Hensley said he was more than happy to see the organization draft another New Mexico guy.
"I sure am happy to get an opportunity with a Farmington guy. That place has been a hotspot for me," Hensley said. "The Connie Mack World Series really helps the kids, and that is where I saw McCall for the first time.
"I will just say that on my end of things we really like McCasland and we really like McCall. I was happy to draft both of those guys. McCall had a great year and he deserves a chance to play."
McCall was the first New Mexico player selected in this year's draft. The next New Mexico player taken was Austin House of UNM, who went in the 14th round to Oakland.
Piedra Vista head coach Mike McGaha said the new collective bargaining agreement in baseball changed the dynamic of the draft, and it showed in the difference in draft positions for McCasland — who went in the 38th round — and McCall.
"The draft setup is a lot different now. The general population doesn't realize it but the trend now is to pick high school kids in these top rounds. There is no leverage for a kid coming out of college anymore compared to a guy coming out of high school," McGaha said. "A guy in college has nowhere else to turn when he gets too low of an offer whereas a high school player can turn down a low offer and still go to college.
"The reality of it is that McCasland got offered $50,000 more than McCall and he went 29 rounds later. Now I am seeing kids who were offered millions out of high school that turned it down, and today I see one of them get drafted in the 14th round out of college and they will probably only make $75,000. How do those kids feel now?"
McGaha said he and McCall took that into consideration when pursuing the right professional deal.
"We were educated. Jake McCasland did a lot for Farmington and PV. It gave us knowledge and experience, and now I think people realize that those $100,000 deals being offered in the last few years aren't slaps in the faces, they are real opportunities that a kid in New Mexico can't overlook," McGaha said. "We used what McCasland got offered as a starting point as to what might be McCall's value. We had good conversations about what we thought would be a wasted effort and McCall did it the right way. He thought at one point he had run himself out of things. The Giants lowballed him like we thought they would, but McCall did business the right way and the Giants did their business as usual."
McGaha said he thinks it is hard for New Mexico players, especially position players, to get noticed by professional scouts, but he thinks the quality of player in New Mexico is increasing each year.
Hensley noticed the increase in talent as well.
"There are probably a slew of circumstances on why McCall was the first player taken out of New Mexico and was one of only two taken in the first 15 rounds, but it says a lot about the kid and his work ethic, character and what people see in his future," McGaha said. "I got a call from the A affiliate from the Giants organization. I don't know why they would call a head high school coach and ask for stats, but I think that means there is a chance McCall bypasses the instructional level and goes to A-ball based on what scouts are doing."
The Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks were the other teams heavily scouting McCall, according to McGaha.
McCall will have plenty of competition within the Giants organization, especially after the club drafted center fielders Ryan Tella of Auburn in the 11th round and Tyler Hollick from Chandler Gilbert Community College in the 14th round. He knows it will be a constant battle, but he is looking forward to the journey ahead.
"A lot of kids think they are ready, but my parents have done everything possible to prepare me for this moment or college. I am going to go in and learn from every mistake I make," McCall said. "I hope it will be a quick learning curve. To be successful, I know I have to learn to deal with long bus rides and living a life without recognition, but I think I will be ready for it and I will handle it well. I am going to go out and show that I am willing to outwork anybody.
"It is going to be brutal out there. It is cutthroat. Everyone is out to get your spot, but I will work as hard as I possibly can to earn and keep mine."
McCall said he already has some thoughts about what he will be missing in Arkansas, but he said playing professional baseball has always been his top priority.
Watching McCasland get drafted two years helped McCall realize he could make his professional aspirations reachable right out of high school, and he hopes he can inspire future generations of Farmington baseball players to work hard enough to have the same opportunity.
Standing at Ricketts Park on Tuesday in his Giants hat, McCall said it was finally starting to sink in that he will never play another game at Ricketts Park. He said it will be tough leaving his friends earlier in the summer than he would have if he went to college and finished the Connie Mack summer season, but he said he is ready to begin his journey in the pros.
"It is kind of surreal. It is a little sad but it is just a new chapter in my life," he said. "There is a great baseball atmosphere in Farmington, from a young age to high school and Connie Mack. It has been great here, and it really helps develop players."