Chase Rader, the Tigers' 16th-round selection in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, knows he has two pretty attractive options in front of him.
With a full-ride scholarship offer to Wichita State University on the table, Rader's contract negotiations with Detroit, which are expected to begin next week, will merely determine where, not if, his baseball career will continue.
Rader, a power-hitting third baseman out of Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, said he expected to go on Day 2 of the Draft earlier this season. But with what Rader considers an attractive offer from Wichita State in his back pocket, he thinks concerns about signability might have ultimately bumped him into Day 3.
"I've got a full ride, so [the contract] is going to have to be something to take my mind off that," Rader said in a phone interview following his selection Saturday. "I'm really excited for whatever decision I make. It's a win-win situation."
Rader tied for fourth in Division I of the NJCAA with 14 home runs. He set the Coffeyville single-season record by clubbing his 11th of the year during a conference game against Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College.
He's a converted shortstop who describes himself as "pretty athletic." In addition to the home run record, he also set a program record with 47 stolen bases this past season. He was caught stealing just six times all year.
Rader noted his pedigree as a shortstop has made him a solid infielder in addition to a slugger and base thief.
"It helped develop my footwork and get my hands a lot quicker and smoother," Rader said.
Rader grew up cheering for the Royals, the Tigers' division foe, but that doesn't mean he's any less happy to possibly join the Detroit organization.
"I know they're one of the best teams in baseball," Rader said. "It's an honor."
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less