Brett Cumberland and Blake Cederlind were standout baseball players during their years at Turlock High. Now, after a couple years on different paths, but still related to baseball, both are top 5 round picks in this year's Major League Baseball draft.
Cumberland, who was one of the most dangerous hitting catchers in all of college baseball at Cal-Berkeley this past year, landed with the Atlanta Braves as the No. 76 overall selection in the second round.
“The feeling is indescribable,” said Cumberland about being selected in the second round by the Braves. “Exciting timing being with family and hearing it was pretty sweet. I had a good idea I would go the first day and I wanted to be with my family if it did happen.”
Cederlind, who received no collegiate offers out of high school, decided to look past that and continue his baseball career at Merced College where he flourished into the best pitcher on the roster, leading the Blue Devils in every major pitching category during the 2016 season.
All the hard work and determination catapulted him into the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 5th round with the No. 165 overall pick.
“Honestly, I couldn't believe I got called that early. To get the opportunity to play pro ball is crazy since I never got looked at by big colleges,” said Cederlind. “But I wanted to continue to play baseball and figured I could develop into my body and things came around.”
Things really came around for the 6-foot-3 right handed launcher who pitched 57 2/3 innings and accumulated an ERA of 3.75, while striking out 63 in 23 appearances.
“I put on weight, height and a lot of reps on the mound,” said Cederlind. “It helped my command, where I need most work and I grew as well. It really helped me out to build a strong arm.”
Cederlind, who was always a hard thrower during his years with the Turlock Bulldogs, really came around in just two seasons.
He has now peaked at a velocity of 97 MPH as reported by many MLB scouts, but now the real work starts for the athlete.
“Being the underdog is motivation,” Cederlind said.
That is how Cederlind likes to describe it, but don't expect the Turlock native to be content with the selection, he along with Cumberland are more than capable and determined to reach the highest level of baseball.
“Just hard work every day and putting all I have into it, it's a game but more than a game at this point, gotta be all in,” Cederlind added. “I am looking for high level coaching to get in minor leagues and develop.”
Cumberland's unique season at the plate led him to be a highly regarded talent out of Cal as the switch-hitting catcher pounded the ball and was honored as the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
He finished first in the Pac-12 with 16 home runs, 51 RBI and a .678 slugging percentage and ranked second in on-base percentage (.480) and total bases (122). He was also fifth in the conference with 46 runs scored and sixth in batting average (.344).
Cumberland was also a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award, which is awarded to the nation's top amateur player, and the Johnny Bench Award for the nation's top catcher.
He has already earned a pair of All-America honors, being named to the third team by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
“I do want to play professional baseball. Its' been a dream of mine since I was a kid. As I have grown older it has become a goal,” said Cumberland. “It's almost every kid's dream, we start little league and have our big league favorites and it is every kid's dream, it truly is.”
Next for both Cumberland and Cederlind is to report to their respective teams after the draft concludes.