Potomac right-hander Calvin Medlock could have made the decision to sign with the Cincinnati Reds when they drafted him directly from Westbury High School (Houston) in the 2002 amateur draft.
Instead, Medlock decided he needed time to mature as a pitcher. So he and the Reds decided to use Major League Baseball's "Draft-and-Follow" [DFE] rule and enrolled at North Central Texas Community College.
The DFE rule allows a team to draft a player and retain exclusive negotiating rights if the player attends junior college the following season. The team has until one week prior to the next year's draft to sign that player to a contract or the player will be eligible to reenter the draft.
"I felt that I was too young and my body wasn't ready to do what they make us do," said the 21-year-old of his decision to attend junior college. "In high school I just went out and pitched. In college I had to learn how to pitch."
He proved to be a quick study.
At North Central Texas, Medlock was a closer, accumulating seven saves, a 2-1 record and a 2.80 earned run average, prompting the Reds to offer him a contract.
He continued working out of the bullpen when he reported to the Billings Mustangs of the rookie Pioneer League late in 2003 and shut down the opposition. In just under 30 innings, Medlock compiled a 1.88 ERA and struck out 31 while walking only nine.
Although he was having great success working in relief, Medlock wanted to start.
"Last year I was mostly in for two or three [innings]," Medlock explained. "Being a starter you kind of have to pace yourself. You're going to see everyone more than once."
As a starter at less advanced class A Dayton earlier this season, Medlock was a Midwest League all-star, going 8-3 with a 2.57 ERA while striking out 111 in 942/3 innings.
He is off to a rocky start with the Cannons, going 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA in his first five games, but he is confident he can turn it around.
"I have to focus more pitch to pitch rather than batter to batter," Medlock said, "but I'm pretty happy with what I've done."