UPDATED: Friday, March 8
The baseball industry knew in the fall that Drew Ward would try, and rumors circulated a month ago that he had gone and done it. But now his father has confirmed that the Oklahoma high school shortstop, previously a member of the Class of 2014, is reclassifying as a member of the Class of 2013, which would make him eligible for the draft come June. The family received instructions from Major League Baseball detailing what he needs to do in order to enter the 2013 draft, according to his father Gregg Ward.
"We got an e-mail that had four different things he had to go by to be eligible," Ward's father Gregg said. "He classifies in each one of them, so all he has to do is graduate. His age was on his side because he just turned 18 and when he graduates he won't have any eligibility left."
Graduation for Leedey is on May 17. Leedey is a tiny town of less than 500 people in western Oklahoma and the high school's student body doesn't crack triple digits. When Ward was a freshman, there were 12 kids in his class—eight boys and four girls.
Ward made another move for his baseball future a few weeks ago by verbally committing to Oklahoma. "We can't sign the letter until April 1 because he's coming out early," Gregg Ward said.
Ward has a big, strong frame and has a sweet swing from the left side. He plays shortstop for his high school, but fits best at a corner position because of his below-average speed. Because he wasn't a member of the 2013 class, he wasn't included in the High School Top 100 ($). If he were added now, he would probably fit in the 30s as he carries similar profiles to players like infielders Cavan Biggio and Ryder Jones and outfielder Billy McKinney. With that in mind, lining Ward up with other members of the 2013 class will be a difficult task between his reclassification and level of competition. On the showcase circuit last summer, he was considered an underclassmen, so scouts may not have been bearing down on him like they would for other prospects. However, this has been a rumor for several months, so it's very possible teams have taken appropriate measures.
"He fits with those guys for me," one scout said. "He's a power guy at the corner. But we won't know what he really is until he faces better competition."
Leedey is a Class B school, the smallest division in Oklahoma. The next step up is Class A and the Sooner State goes all the way up to 6-A. While his competition in the spring can be easily panned, the scout noted that his looks in the summer may not be a fair assessment either. He faces one extreme at home, but his summer at-bats come against pitchers that are amped up for one or two innings, which would be a big jump for any prospect.
The video below was shot by Alycat Photo & Video Services at USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars in 2011.
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