George Iskenderian Joins 'From Phenom To The Farm:' Episode 40
“From Phenom to the Farm” releases new episodes every other Tuesday featuring players whose experiences vary across the professional baseball spectrum. Players will discuss their personal experiences going from high school graduation to the life of a professional baseball player.
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As a top infield recruit coming out of the New Jersey high school ranks in the class of 2012, George Iskenderian had plenty of Division I baseball suitors looking to garner his commitment. When coaches came to call for his services on the diamond, right away they were clued in on Iskenderian’s future plans.
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“My whole life I was actually preparing to be a sports agent,” said Iskenderian. “The first question I would ask in terms of education was, ‘Hey, what’s your sports management program like?’”
He may have had a goal for his post-playing days, but that didn’t mean Iskenderian wasn’t as driven to make it to the big leagues as any of his college teammates. Upon enrolling at the University of South Carolina, that drive to be great initially hampered his progress as a baseball player.
Jumping to the Division I level can test anyone, especially for a guy trying to crack the lineup at a school coming off three consecutive College World Series appearances and two titles in three seasons. Iskenderian was facing a higher caliber of pitcher on a regular basis than he’d faced during his high school days—initial struggles led to self-doubt and being incredibly hard on himself. He played sparingly as a freshman, and knew as a sophomore he’d still be blocked at shortstop by USC stalwart Joey Pankake.
“I like to consider myself a realist too—looking through the lens of opportunity I knew Joey would be the shortstop for the next year at least,” said Iskenderian. “I wanted to give myself the best chance to develop as a ballplayer (…) I knew the only way to develop my game was getting an ample amount of playing time.”
He transferred to Indian River College, a junior college in Fort Pierce, Florida. There, Iskenderian got both his confidence and swing back, performing well enough during his year at Indian River to be selected by the Cardinals in the 34th round of the 2014 draft.
Instead of pro ball, Iskenderian—still motivated by academics and his desire to one day become a player rep—moved onto his dream school, the University of Miami.
In the single season he spent at “The U,” Iskenderian packed in a career’s worth of action. He started all 67 games for the Canes, winning the ACC regular season batting title and being named 1st team All-ACC for a squad that would make it to the College World Series. The move to Miami paid off when it came to the MLB Draft as well—Iskenderian was selected by the Brewers as a 7th round pick in 2015, agreeing to a $200K signing bonus.
By his second full season, Iskenderian was in Double-A, but just as in his freshman year at South Carolina, was only playing sparingly. Unlike his experience as a freshman, however, Iskenderian didn’t see a potential move as a player that could help his career. When faced with a demotion, Iskenderian instead decided it was time to chase another longtime goal.
“I was OK with it—I knew what I wanted to do in life,” said Iskenderian. “Even in professional locker rooms I’d tell guys ‘I’m going to be an agent one day, not a big leaguer.’”
He drove home and re-enrolled at Miami to finish out his last year of school. After a brief pit-stop at Morgan Stanley, Iskenderian found his way to the world of player representation. Currently he’s an agent for MVP Sports Group, guiding players through their own big league dreams.
On the latest episode of ‘From Phenom to the Farm,’ former Miami standout and Brewers organization infielder George Iskenderian joins to discuss the recruiting process, experiencing the College World Series, and life as an MLB agent.