COTUIT, Mass. — Casey Schroeder didn’t have much time to celebrate.
He was catching in the bullpen just before a recent Cape Cod League game. As he walked in with the pitcher from the bullpen to behind the plate minutes before the game, his teammates in the dugout gave him the word.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder had been drafted for the second time on Saturday, this time in the 14th round by the Oakland A’s. Schroeder recently completed his first year at Polk State (Winter Haven, Fla.), where his team finished 39-14.
After his senior year at O-G, he was drafted in the 22nd round by the St. Louis Cardinals. He chose not to sign at that time and went to the University of Kentucky.
“At the end of the day, I was happy,” Schroeder said. “I was a little bummed I didn’t go sooner, but hearing your name called is a pretty good feeling. I’m enjoying it now and it’s a great honor to be picked. I’ve gone from the 22nd round to the 14th, so I’m moving up,” he said with a laugh.
“Any program that sticks out its hand and gives me the opportunity to play, I’m really happy and grateful. I’d love to be A.”
Since he hasn’t signed, the switch-hitting catcher will continue to play for Cotuit in the prestigious wooden-bat Cape Cod League.
“We’re looking to see (about the contract),” Schroeder said. “The deadline for signing is July 15,” he said. “We’ll see what happens with their early picks and the money. There’s no rush. I’m up in the Cape and playing good ball.
“I still have two years of eligibility left. … But if everything works out, it’s been my dream since I was a little kid. It’ll be nice if it works out.”
Schroeder concentrated on baseball during his final years at Ottawa-Glandorf. He spent nearly 12 months a year working on hitting, firing the ball to second on a frozen rope and blocking an endless number of balls in the dirt.
He and his dad also invented a unique on-deck bat. Picture a bat with a raggedy, heavy stringy mop on the end of it. All the Lima Locos had to give it at least one try at one time or another last summer.
After O-G, he went to the University of Kentucky his freshman season, but rarely played. In fact, he got only six at-bats.
Schroeder then announced he was leaving Kentucky and heading to Polk State. Last summer he played for the Locos in the Great Lakes Collegiate League.
After a slow start, since being mothballed at UK, he rallied and ended up hitting .267 with six doubles and one home run. He had 12 RBIs and six stolen bases. Schroeder was named second team all-GLCL and helped the Locos to the championship series before falling to Licking County.
He also was involved in several, smash-mouth collisions at the plate and came out on top in each one.
“Last summer went great for me, and I appreciate the Locos getting me a spot,” Schroeder said. “When I left Kentucky, I wanted to stay around here for the summer. The first half of the summer I started slow and it took a little time to get with it. A month into it, I got back to playing, was catching better and the bat came around. Last summer really got me ready for Polk State.”
At Polk State, he improved his game in all areas. He batted .321 over 184 at-bats. He had 12 doubles, five triples and three home runs. He also h ad 38 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.
“At the plate, we had coach (Collin) Martin, who is the son of (former Indians and Phillies manager) Charlie Manuel. He worked with me on the mental side of hitting and getting a good approach at the plate. I still have a lot of work to do, but I made a lot of strides.”
Schroeder said he improved, defensively, as well. He threw out 35.1 percent of all baserunners who attempted to steal.
“Our coach at Polk (Al Corbeil) caught professionally, and really fine tuned me,” Schroeder said.
“I had a big, long arm swing and he got me shorter, which allowed my times (to second) to go down and be more accurate,” he said. “I had been throwing 1.87 to 1.95 (seconds to second), but was all over. Now I’m more consistent at 1.81 and right on the bag. I’d been good at blocking, but I’ve gotten even better.”
If Schroeder does sign before the deadline, the A’s have Class A teams at Vermont (New York-Penn League), Beloit, Wisc. (Midwest League) and Stockton (California League).
Wherever he ends up, he’ll bring his hard-nosed, in-the-dirt attitude and his raggedy, on-deck bat with him.