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Voss taking advantage of pro baseball opportunity

Voss taking advantage of pro baseball opportunity

June 13th, 2018 by Greg Jackson in Sports Pro

At first, it didn't seem as if Jacob Voss was going to play baseball again after graduating high school.

Now, he's going to be a professional baseball player.

Voss, a 2015 Linn High School graduate, was selected in the 27th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Los Angeles Angels last Wednesday, the third and final day of the draft.

"It's nice to see all the hard work pay off," Voss said. "Out of high school, I was not even recruited. I wasn't even really supposed to play that much in college. Then all of a sudden, I'm throwing good in college and moving up to the D-I level.

"It's just ridiculous that I'm going to start my professional career here. Two years ago, I was a nobody."

There isn't much fanfare in the MLB Draft. Both the NFL and NBA drafts are televised from start to finish. However, MLB's draft lasts 40 rounds, and the last 30 rounds go by in a flash on the final day.

Last Wednesday, Voss said he received a call from a scout for the Angels, saying they were going to try and get his name on the draft board.

"I was really excited, but I didn't want to get too excited, in case I didn't get the call," Voss said.

The scout called again, notifying Voss they were planning to pick him soon. And the Angels did take him, with the 811th overall pick.

But Voss wasn't first notified by the organization.

"During the 27th round, an update popped up on my buddy's phone, and he said, 'Dude, you just got drafted,'" Voss said. "I was like, 'What?'"

It has been a long, winding road for Voss, but it was well worth it. He wasn't recruited out of high school and, as a pitcher, rarely threw harder than 80 mph.

"I wasn't throwing very hard at all," he said.

His first stop was Mineral Area College, the program Voss credited with helping increase his velocity.

"We did a Driveline weighted-ball program down at Mineral Area," Voss said. "That, combined with the weightlifting, I feel like that really made my (velocity) go up 6-7 mph in a couple of months."

The following season, Voss made his way to Jefferson College for the 2017 season. In 16 relief appearances, he struck out 37 batters in 17 innings, walking just nine and posting a 3.12 ERA.

That performance moved Voss up to the NCAA Division I level, where he joined fellow Linn classmate Ryan Mantle at Creighton University.

Things didn't go as well this past spring for Voss in Omaha, Neb. He appeared in just eight games for the Bluejays and allowed five runs in 5 innings, striking out just one batter.

"I didn't expect this at all, especially after my year at Creighton," Voss said.

Luckily for Voss, MLB teams were already interested. After playing last summer for the Jefferson City Renegades in the MINK League, he received several questionnaires from teams.

The scout from the Angels saw one of Voss' games at Creighton and liked what he saw. He wanted Voss to throw a personal bullpen session, but Voss was already committed to playing for the Fond du Lac (Wis.) Dock Spiders this summer.

So the scout followed him to the Northwoods League and watched his debut May 29. In the Dock Spiders' 11-3 win, Voss pitched 3 scoreless innings and struck out eight batters.

In three appearances at Fond du Lac, Voss didn't allow a run in 6 innings and struck out 15. His last game with the Dock Spiders was June 4, the first day of the draft.

The Angels were also impressed with Voss' size — he's a 6-foot-9 right-hander, clearly the tallest player in the Creighton team picture — and his velocity, which is now up to 90-93 mph. Voss said his fastest pitch was clocked at 96 mph in last year's MINK League All-Star Game in Chillicothe, where he struck out the side and earned the save in a 6-4 victory.

Voss said he will sign with the Angels, who offered him a $50,000 signing bonus. The Angels will also offer to pay for two years of college tuition should professional baseball not work out for him.

"I didn't know if I was going to sign or not for sure," Voss said. "But then after my bad year at Creighton, I figured this might be the only chance I ever get, so I need to sign, I need to get there and see what happens."

Voss said he will sign his contract Thursday, when he'll fly to Tempe, Ariz., and report with the Angels' Rookie League team in the Arizona League.

"Here I thought I'd be up in the Northwoods all summer, and now I'm back home for a couple of days until I travel off again," Voss said. "I'm excited to get my career started and see what happens, see where I can go, see what I can do."