Unexpected yet exciting. That was the mood for Blake Cederlind when he was selected 650th overall in the 22nd round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins.
A 2014 Turlock High graduate, Cederlind completed his freshman season at Merced College in 2015 as the Blue Devils' closer with a stat line of 17 strikeouts through 21.2 innings and a 7.89 ERA. Despite the shaky season stats and his 3-1 record as a pitcher, Cederlind's big-bodied frame and his ability to consistently throw 92-96 mph was enough for the Twins to provide an offer.
“I definitely wasn't expecting it throughout the season, but towards the end I turned a corner, made some adjustments to my mechanics, a few mental adjustments and stuff started coming around for me,” Cederlind said.
In addition to his size — 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds — Cederlind's slider, which was showcased for a Minnesota scout during a bullpen session, seemed to be the deciding factor for the Twins to pull the trigger on the young ball player.
“He liked what he saw and he invited me down to L.A and I threw for them there,” Cederlind said.
“That's what actually got me through the last five games, once I found the slider,” he added.
Rather than accept the offer, leave Merced and head for one of Minnesota's minor league affiliates, however, Cederlind will instead return to school where he will attempt to become a starter by the beginning of next season and improve on his team's 2015 overall record of 23-15 and Central Valley Conference second place finish.
“I'm going to try to lower my draft stock,” Cederlind said. “It's boosted my confidence. It's going to make me work as hard as I possibly can to be the best I can be.”