Izaac Garsez got unexpected news Monday.
Garsez’s mother relayed that he had been named a first-team NAIA All-American.
“I don’t know how she found out,” he said.
It should have been the first of a wave of good news for the College of Idaho senior outfielder.
But other phone calls haven’t been as promising, not yet anyway.
Garsez spent the first two days of the three-day, 40-round Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Monday and Tuesday with his cell phone within reach, waiting for an organization to agree that he is worthy of a draft pick.
“Looking forward to that call, not leaving that phone out of my sight,” he said.
Thus far, he’s received calls from interested teams, but has yet to be picked. It was the same drill for Garsez in 2011. He was told he was going to be drafted, but was not selected.
Today, however, should be Garsez’s day. The final 24 rounds of the draft will come and go, and Garsez is likely — and worthy — of a selection.
Garsez is proven and productive. He’s experienced and someone who fits those scout words of “high impact.”
In his fourth and final season with the Coyotes, Garsez helped lead College of Idaho to its first NAIA World Series in a decade and he was named the program’s second first-team All-American. Pitcher Levi Lacey was placed on the first team in 1997 and 1998.
The Caldwell High graduate hit .389 with eight home runs, 20 doubles, 12 triples and 53 RBIs in 2012. He also had 29 stolen bases.
For the second straight season, Garsez was named the NAIA West Player of the Year.
It’s not every day that a player grows up down the street and changes a college program.
But that’s what the Caldwell High graduate has done for the College of Idaho baseball program.
“Obviously, he’s been an extremely good player for us, and coming back with the expectations that he had after being an honorable mention All-American, you hope that he can do the same thing, and he was even better,” C of I coach Shawn Humberger said.
If Garsez would have continued to throw baseballs, instead of choosing to hit them, he might not have been around Wolfe Field for the Yotes’ over-the-hump season.
“He was that good of a pitcher,” Humberger said.
“I don’t think there was any doubt that he would have been picked as a pitcher and probably fairly high.”
In the fall of 2011, Garsez was dominant on the mound. He was throwing three major-league pitches at the time, according to Humberger. The left-hander’s fastball zipped to 92 mph. The rotation on his slider was tight and the break was late. His changeup was hit-the-breaks like.
“There were (scouts) saying if he throws like that he could pitch in the big leagues right now,” the coach said.
But his arm hurt, but he was not injured. He made the choice to be in the lineup feeling 100 percent every day.
And he turned out back-to-back historic seasons for the Coyotes. Garsez (6.7 seconds) runs better than the average major league player (6.9) in the 60-yard-dash. He still possesses that rocket arm in right field.
And he’s got that swing that generated a .361 batting average, 45 doubles, a school-record 30 triples, 27 home runs and 151 RBIs from 2009-2012.
“The last couple of years that he put together are some of the better years in the history of the program,” Humberger said.
Still, Garsez said there was plenty more he could have accomplished in college.
He may point back to his final at-bat at the World Series, when he flew out to left-center field for the final out, leaving the bases loaded in C of I’s elimination game.
But one at-bat does not make a game — or career. Besides, he was the guy the Coyotes wanted up in that spot, win or lose.
Garsez entered the World Series playing at “75 percent.” He rolled a foot stepping out of the batter’s box on a ball he hit off the left-center field fence during the NAIA national tournament opening round in Asuza, Calif.
The diagnosis was a fracture and later changed to a bone contusion.
He also sprained a finger during the Yotes’ first game of the World Series.
“I can’t blame my injuries, but it definitely didn’t help my cause,” he said.
The World Series was a time when scouts were out to watch players one last time before the draft and Garsez was not healthy. Still he proved he is worthy to play professional baseball.
“If Ike gets another couple years in a (professional) system, his pitch recognition will continue to get better, his tools with shine through and he’s going to be an outstanding pro player,” Humberger said.
“I hope he gets a chance, the interest has been there.”