With the 137th pick in the 2019 MLB draft, the Red Sox selected Noah Song, a right-handed pitcher from the Naval Academy.
The 6’4″ senior from Claremont, California built up quite the legacy at his program, setting six individual records which include: career wins (32) and strikeouts (428). Song added to his reputation this year by becoming the only Navy ballplayer to ever be named first-team all-American.
Looking at the technical side of things, Song owns a fastball that consistently finds itself in the mid-90s, a shifty 83 mph slider, and a nasty curveball that has hitters spinning in their shoes. If balanced correctly, the combination could be deadly.
Last year, the 21-year-old gave himself a chance to embark on his athletic career, declaring for the 2018 MLB Draft with one condition: if he wasn’t taken on the first day, he would return to play college ball. Song’s ambitious decision had a return on investment mindset. It wasn’t worth forgoing graduation if he wasn’t going to be guaranteed a seven digit number. The first day passed and he wasn’t drafted, prompting an easy verdict.
So if his numbers were even better, and he compiled more experience, why did he drop so far down in the draft this year? His military commitment.
On November 1st, Song is slated to begin training as a Naval flight officer. Depending on the military status of the United States, Song’s call to duty could last anywhere from two to seven years, making for a risky investment. Baseball analysts predict that Song’s expense could exceed $1 million which would normally mean a first or second round asset.
One amateur scouting director stated in a New York Times Article, “On most guys it’s about talent, it’s about performance, athleticism, makeup — things like that. With Noah, you have to take into consideration: how long is he going to be away?”
The journey isn’t impossible however. Keenan Reynolds, wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, and Joe Cardona, long snapper for the New England Patriots are both alumni of the Naval Academy and have followed their dreams.
It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out for Song and the Red Sox over the next few years.
“I always tell people I’ll play baseball as long as anybody will let me, but I’m definitely prepared and ready to go serve my country. … The Naval Academy has prepared me well for dealing with whatever comes up in the moment.”