As baseball season approaches, we talked with Erik Ostberg ’14, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays last year. For Ostberg, who dreamed of playing professional baseball since he was a kid, being drafted by a major-league team was, as he called it, an out-of-body experience.
A crackerjack catcher in college for the University of Hartford Hawks, his knee had been injured earlier in the season. However, it didn’trequire surgery and he had a good track record leading into draft. The Rays took him in the 13th round. When he heard his name being called, he cried and felt, he said, “just an overwhelming feeling of pride, where your chest is tight, and it’s almost hard to breathe. It’s very hard to describe the feeling of something you’ve thought about literally every day for your whole life.”
Ostberg had been getting some at-bats in for the rookie Gulf Coast League during the summer and during the off-season, he went to the instructional league, which houses many new players—generally higher draft picks and good prospects.
“While at Williston,” said Baseball Head Coach Matt Sawyer, “Erik separated himself from other players in the league because of his intense focus on doing the little things well. He worked to improve his throwing, hitting, and catching techniques at every practice as well as on his own. I know that he put in that same consistent effort this past off-season and will be ready to compete at a high level this year in the Rays Organization. I know that he is excited to show what he can do for a full season.”
Ostberg agreed. “This off-season will be extremely important in my career,” he said, “and I plan to come to spring training ready to make an impact, fully healthy, no lagging injury, and come out and make a splash in the organization.”
Good luck, Erik!