A year ago this week, Jack Blomgren and his University of Michigan baseball teammates were taking down No. 1-ranked UCLA on their way to the College World Series.
Today, they remain scattered about the country without a season to play after it was canceled in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, though, Blomgren’s baseball future will once again take center stage. He is hoping to be picked during the second day of the Major League Baseball draft, which will include the second through the fifth and final round. The draft was shortened from 40 to five rounds, also due to COVID-19.
“I’m anxious and excited. I have a pretty good feeling I’ll get picked,” Blomgren said late last week. “You never know how this year’s going to go with the five-round draft. It’s unpredictable. But I have a good feeling. I know some teams are interested, and I think I have a pretty good shot at being picked somewhere later, either in the third, fourth or fifth (rounds).”
Blomgren, a 2017 Janesville Craig graduate, has started 137 career games at shortstop over three seasons at Michigan, including all 15 in this year’s shortened campaign.
He was leading the team in on-base percentage this season (.444) and has hit .276 for his career.
If Blomgren is not selected in this week’s draft, he can return to Michigan and would once again be eligible for the draft next year.
But he is cautiously optimistic he will hear his name called Thursday, when draft coverage will be carried on MLB Network and ESPN2.
That is because he said he has spoken with representatives from more than half of the MLB clubs over the past several weeks, including five or six that met with him virtually via Zoom or Facetime calls with upper-level scouts and management.
“It’s been pretty cool, and now it’s calmed down the past week or two with the draft approaching,” Blomgren said. “A lot of time they just ask about my background, my childhood, simple questions just to get to know them a little.
“It’s kind of stressful, but overall I’ve enjoyed it.”
Blomgren said he has been staying busy helping his father, Jerry, with some construction and house-flipping projects.
He said he has also found time recently to do some baseball work with his brother, Dan, and their former Craig teammate, Jacob Campbell.
Campbell was a sophomore on this year’s University of Illinois team and was the last Janesville player drafted in the MLB when he was chosen in the 36th round by the Chicago Cubs in 2018. Campbell, who chose to go to college after being drafted, will be eligible for the draft again in 2021.
Blomgren said he will probably watch the draft at home this week.
If he is picked, it is uncertain exactly what the next step will be. Most years, players in his shoes work out contracts with their MLB team once their college season has ended, and then they head off to start their professional careers in the minor leagues. But it appears to be a foregone conclusion there will be no minor league baseball season this summer.
“I don’t really know, and I’ve been talking to my advisor and he doesn’t really know what’s going to go on, either after the draft,” Blomgren said. “It might just be stay home, do some work and work out the rest of the summer. We’ll see what happens.
“I’ve got to get picked first.”