All the players interviewed said lacking an education from a well-regarded school wouldn’t preclude them from excelling in baseball. For example, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth, who were drafted out of high school, and Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche, who attended junior colleges, are known as smart and keenly aware baseball players.
“There’s guys I’ve ran into who are analytical, very sharp guys, who were high school-drafted guys,” said Mattheus, 29, who could have attended Arizona State but chose to sign with the Colorado Rockies in 2004. “As far as does it make a difference in your playing career, I don’t think so. There’s guys who get drafted out of high school who could have went to Princeton. To say they’re at a disadvantage, I don’t think there’s anything to that.”
While most players sit at their lockers and play with their cellphones, listen to music, watch television or socialize, Davis sits at his locker and reads books. On average, the 26-year-old reads from five to 10 books each season.
“Baseball is my job, I love it,” said Davis, who was added to the Nationals’ 40-man roster over the winter. “But it’s not who I am. I like to broaden my horizons a little bit.”
Each winter from 2008 to 2011, Davis, who has a degree in political science, worked at the Mountain View (Calif.) Police Department. He helped crunch numbers, worked on grant proposals and gave speeches in front of city officials. Davis is interested in pursuing a career in consulting once baseball is over. Knowing he has received a degree from his dream school has given him peace of mind in the meantime.
“It’s something that I can pursue it to the fullest and when I’m done, enjoy the workforce and not have any lag time,” he said.