Growing up, every aspiring baseball player shares a common dream: to one day play for their hometown team. For many, it’s a dream that dissipates over time, as the daunting reality of what it takes to even play at the collegiate level takes center stage.
But for St. Louis native Lance Jeffries (right), the dream became a breathtaking reality on June 7, when the St. Louis Cardinals selected the McCluer outfielder in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. Two days later, Jeffries and the Cardinals made it official when he signed his first professional contract, and was subsequently assigned to the organization’s Gulf Coast League affiliate in Florida.
As a senior, 6-foot, 205-pound Jeffries garnered Prep Baseball Report Missouri First Team All-State honors after posting a .457 batting average and .587 OBP, with 10 home runs, 38 runs scored, 45 RBI, and a perfect 46-for-46 in stolen bases.
However, it was obvious that Jeffries’ sheer athleticism extended well beyond his robust stats. In August of 2010, the speedster opened eyes nation wide by running an event-best 6.6-second 60-yard dash at USA Baseball’s Breakthrough Series. Then at Prep Baseball Report’s Super 60 draft showcase in McCook, IL last February, Jeffries flashed his 90+ mph arm and plus bat-speed. In a matter of months, he had emerged as one of the nation’s more intriguing five-tool prep prospects.
Now, after an impressive inaugural campaign in the GCL, Jeffries is back in St. Louis and spending time with his friends and family. And despite his success and acclimation to life as a professional baseball player, the awe of being drafted – by his hometown team nonetheless – has hardly faded.