“You know, it’s something that you dream about [when] being a little kid to play professional baseball and signing that piece of paper made it a reality,” Neuqua Valley grad Mike Gerber said. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Upon being selected Saturday on the final day of the Major League Baseball draft, Creighton center fielder Mike Gerber expressed his gratitude to the Detroit Tigers for putting their faith in him.
Now, the 2010 Neuqua Valley graduate is ready to get to work.
After flying down to the Tigers’ spring training facility in Lakeland, Florida, Gerber officially signed the first professional baseball contract of his career Wednesday.
“With being a senior, it’s a little bit different how with the slot and money (work) and stuff like that, so I’m pleased with that and looking for good things to come,” said Gerber, the 460th overall pick.
The only hitter to earn an unanimous selection to the All-Big East first team, Gerber hit .274 while leading the Bluejays (32-17-1) with team highs in both home runs and RBI with 11 and 49, respectively.
While not exactly sure where he might be headed to start his career in the minors, Gerber does have a comfort level, being able to play anywhere in the outfield.
“I can play all three. Wherever they need me to play, I can play,” Gerber said. “It rained today, so we just obviously hit inside. So we didn’t get to do a whole lot of defensive work. But wherever they need me to go. I can play the corners if they need me to or I can stay in center field like I was in college. So whatever (they want me to do) works for me.”
After missing parts of his junior season with an appendectomy, Gerber responded well. He reflected on the day and the excitement of finally becoming a pro.
“You know, it’s something that you dream about (when) being a little kid to play professional baseball and signing that piece of paper made it a reality,” he said. “So it’s a special moment. I sent a picture to my mom (Karen). She enjoyed that, and it’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”