On Wednesday afternoon, Colton Pogue couldn’t put down his phone.
As round after round of the 2018 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft concluded, the St. Joseph Mustangs shortstop inched closer to the territory where he could hear his name called.
A coach from Pittsburg State called and told the recent Gorilla grad to be ready come the start of the 29th round.
“I really didn’t believe it at the time. I was laying in bed just scrolling through Twitter and I would not stop scrolling, just kept updating,” Pogue said.
With the 881st overall pick in the 29th round Wednesday, the Washington Nationals turned a Blue Springs, Missouri, boy’s dream into a reality.
“I saw ‘Pittsburg State’ come up and I just could not believe it. I just started bawling. My dad called me and we had a pretty special moment. It was pretty amazing,” Pogue said.
The two-year Mustang shortstop led the team to its fifth MINK League title in 2017, posting a .362 batting average. He scored 31 runs on 12 extra-base hits with 11 stolen bases.
Pogue wrapped up his senior campaign earning first-team All-MIAA and second-team All-Central Region honors. The Blue Springs South grad batted .400 with 64 runs scored, 19 doubles, 10 home runs and 42 RBIs. He earned honorable mention All-MIAA honors as a junior in 2017. Pogue transferred to Pitt State from NCAA Division I Western Illinois University, where he played two seasons (2015-16).
But on draft day, he thought back to the very beginning of his journey.
When Pogue was 4 years old, the time he started falling in love with baseball, he was diagnosed with diabetes. It also was at that age when he started talking about playing professional baseball with his grandpa, Evan Davis, who passed away at the age of 69 in 2015.
“My grandpa was a big part of my life,” Pogue said. “I wish he could be here. These are tears of joy. I know he’s looking down and he’s proud of me.
“He’d be going around to everybody he knew telling them that’s his grandson,” he added with a smile. “I have a tattoo that says ‘Stay Within Yourself 6’, and he’d be up there screaming it when I was going to the plate. He’d be extremely, extremely proud right now.”
Going forward, there are plenty of unknowns. Pogue will hop on a plane Thursday and likely be sent to assignment with the Nationals’ rookie-level club in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Gulf Coast Nationals.
He’s unsure of what position he’ll be asked to play, but that doesn’t matter to Pogue.
“It really doesn’t matter to me. My dream came true. Now you’ve just gotta make a new dream and you’ve gotta keep working, find new things to keep working toward,” Pogue said. “I didn’t think this possible. You go to a D-II school and you don’t think you can do it. I’m just beyond blessed right now.”
Though the Mustangs now must replace one of the top players in the MINK League, there’s no shortage of excitement to send another to the show.
“He’s worked really hard for this. We’re all very excited for him,” manager Johnny Coy said. “He’s a very dynamic player and hits the ball well. We’re super happy for him. We’re happy that he’s going on to bigger and better things.”
Pogue looks at the examples set by Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, players who show up to the ballpark each and every day and give max effort.
It’s the example he will follow gladly, with one ultimate goal now ahead.
“To get the call-up to the bigs,” Pogue said, grinning ear to ear. “It’s gonna be a long process. You’ve gotta perform every single day. You have to be a consistent baseball player. You have to be a consistent defender, a good teammate, and you have to work hard every single day.
“I think that’s something I wanna try to take into pro ball. I don’t care what people think. I just wanna play hard.”