Jared Karros has always wanted to be a baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers; However, he never thought the possibility could become a reality, even on draft night.
As the rounds passed and Karros watched his teammates, Max Rajcic and Micheal Curialle, get selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, hope diminished for the young talent.
“I thought I would for sure be going back to school,” Karros said.
While watching the selections, the son of a former major league first baseman, Eric Karros, continued reflecting on his time at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he shined in his first two seasons, posting 3.86 and 3.33 earned run averages in his freshman and sophomore years respectively. Jared was ready to take the spotlight in his junior year.
His face stood posted on the front of the UCLA Baseball season guide underneath his brother, Kyle Karros, as he prepared to take the diamond with him as the Friday-night starter.
Starting on Friday night is vital for college baseball pitchers because it gives them the chance to pitch in front of the most scouts in a crucial role. As a junior, the opportunity was paramount for Jared to boost his draft stock.
However, he was rehabbing from a back injury, and the pain would not let up. Jared missed the chance to start in the spotlight because of it.
While spending early mornings completing physical therapy at the Meyer Institute of Sport, time passed for Jared to play, and before he was healthy, the season was over. When the MLB draft came in July, he did not expect much, having missed the whole season rehabbing.
Four hundred ninety-three picks had passed, and the Tampa Bay Rays were on the clock. Just over four rounds remained, and expectations were slim for the young pitcher. That was when Jared received a phone call he will never forget.
The Dodgers informed him they were planning to take him with their next pick. The Rays chose Kamren James with theirs, and Jared anxiously waited to see the update on his phone. He looked down and saw the Dodgers had picked him.
“All the emotions started coming,” Jared said. “It was a great moment.”
He now had a decision to make. Return to play at UCLA or take another step forward to join the Dodgers organization.
“When I learned that the Dodgers were a team that was interested in me, I started to think about the pros and cons of [professional] ball versus going back to school,” Jared said. “Ultimately, I decided I wanted to give [professional baseball] a shot.”
Jared is following in his father’s footsteps by joining the Dodgers organization as Eric did when he was drafted in 1988. Jared has watched the Dodgers many times growing up with his friends since his dad had season tickets, and now he could have the chance to become one of the players he viewed.
While Jared chose to pitch rather than play in the field like his father, he still receives assistance from him.
“My dad is an extremely hard worker, and him being a role model for me has allowed me to carry on that trait along with many other ones,” Jared said. “I am very lucky to have a role model like him.”
Jared possesses solid command on the bump. He makes hitters uneasy with his off-speed pitches to create a balanced mix.
However, velocity is not his forte, and Jared will look to the Dodgers coaching to improve it. Next for him is refinement in the minor leagues with the hope of a spot on the major league club in his hometown.