The Michigan State Spartans may have lost two incoming freshmen to the pros before their collegiate careers even started. Jase Bowen and Adam Berghorst were selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers in the 2019 MLB Draft.
Bowen was expected to be part of the 2019 freshman class for both the Spartans football and baseball team. The Toledo product chose Michigan State in large part because of his ability to play both sports. However, now it appears he will have a decision to make. The Pirates selected Bowen in the 11th round.
Coming out of Toledo Central Catholic, Bowen played both sides of the ball on the football field and was recruited as both a shortstop and center fielder. Bowen is a wide receiver for the Spartans and was drafted as a center fielder by the Pirates.
11 (334): @Pirates select Toledo Central Catholic HS (OH) CF Jase Bowen. https://t.co/zyla8towJQ #MLBDraft— MLB Draft Tracker (@MLBDraftTracker) June 5, 2019
While MSU was the first baseball scholarship offered to Bowen, he had initially decided to play outfield for Notre Dame. However, after getting a football scholarship as well, he switched to Michigan State.
“It’s a dream come true,” Bowen said in April 2018 of playing both sports in East Lansing. “I’ve been wanting to do both for as long as I can remember, and for that to come true really fires me up!”
Bowen also said that both Spartans programs have treated him like family and that he loved the “home-like” environment.
Berghorst was selected three rounds later by the Texas Rangers in the 14th round as a pitcher. He committed to MSU as both a right-handed pitcher and defensive end. The three-star recruit came out of Zeeland East High School in Michigan.
The 6-foot-7 Berghorst has ideal size for both positions. He was recruited by Michigan, Notre Dame and a number of other Big Ten programs.
14 (415): @Rangers select Zeeland East HS (MI) RHP Adam Berghorst. https://t.co/uEOk71ZIz4 #MLBDraft— MLB Draft Tracker (@MLBDraftTracker) June 5, 2019
“I grew up a Spartan fan, so it is huge to become one,” Berghorst said last year. “I went to games growing up and it was my dream to play both sports for them. I couldn’t be more excited.”
The decision is complicated in more ways than one. Unlike other professional sports drafts, getting drafted into Major League Baseball is far from a lock for either player to actually reach the big leagues. Often, players who are selected in the MLB Draft don’t sign with the team that drafted them, instead waiting to return to the draft three years later, hoping to improve their draft stock.
Both MSU freshmen were selected in the top-half of the draft, although still a far cry from the top rounds. Either may make the decision to return to MSU for both sports and try again when they are eligible.
Similarly, they may decide to join the teams they were drafted by, but continue to play football. Like Kyler Murray from this past season, players can play professionally in the minor leagues of one sport while still competing at the NCAA level in another. It’s not an easy thing to pull off, especially for freshmen, but it is a possibility.
Neither player has given any direct comments as to what their decision will be. Regardless of where they end up, it is a great sign for both programs that they were able to recruit a player of this caliber. Similarly, it’s a dream come true for two young athletes, who have nothing but great options in front of them.