Red Lion took control of the York-Adams League Division I baseball race with a strong pitching performance from Tyler Burchett and a 1-0 victory against the visitin Wildcats. Burchett also drove in the winning run.
RED LION — When the calendar turned over to 2018 in January, Tyler Burchett figured to be quite busy come late May and early June.
The University of Kentucky baseball recruit knew for certain that he would be graduating from Red Lion High School, which he did this past Friday.
And, as one of the state’s top high school draft prospects, Burchett figured to hear his name called during this week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which begins Monday with the first round.
What he didn’t know for sure was whether or not he would still be playing high school ball. After his Red Lion team qualified for the District 3 Class 6-A playoffs, Burchett and company advanced all the way to the title game, where they fell to Cumberland Valley, 8-2, on Wednesday.
Despite that loss, the Lions still earned a berth in the PIAA playoffs and will take on District 11 champion Freedom at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Easton High School. With a victory, Red Lion would advance to the quarterfinal round Thursday.
With so many different things to juggle at once, the powerful right-handed starting pitcher has handled it just like he’s done on the mound all season — with poise.
In a lot of ways, it’s not unlike when he takes a step off the mound to collect his thoughts before delivering his next pitch.
“I’m just taking it all in the moment,” he said. “Just trying to enjoy it as much as I can while it lasts.”
Burchett, who picked up the victory in his team’s district semifinal game over rival Dallastown last Tuesday, had yet to be informed as of Sunday by the Red Lion coaches if he would start Monday’s state contest. While he hopes to get that call, he won’t hang his head if they decide to save him for later.
“You just want to make sure you go out there and give it your best,” said Burchett, whose fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s. “I’m sure we’ll be ready.”
Burchett is 5-1 this season with 1.09 ERA. He has 71 strikeouts and 15 walks in 45 innings.
Draft status: Several mock drafts project the 6-foot, 6-inch standout to go somewhere between the sixth and 15th rounds of the draft, which would mean he’d get the call he’s been dreaming about either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Burchett, however, hasn’t received a great deal of information from anyone involved with the process about where he may be expected to get picked.
“They haven’t said much,” he said. “A lot of it depends on who gets drafted where and when and what each team is looking for. So it all depends.”
While Burchett doesn’t know in which round he'll go, he does have a predetermined figure as to what it will take in order for him to forgo his scholarship to Kentucky.
“I’ve been telling them that it would have to be third-round money or better,” said Burchett, whose favorite major league team is the Philadelphia Phillies. “As long as they offer that, I don’t care in what round I go.”
MLB has a suggested dollar allotment assigned for each pick over the first 10 rounds of the draft. So a third-round selection could range anywhere from as high as $750,000 to as low as $540,000 in terms of a signing bonus to ink a player.
Those allotments, however, are more suggestions than iron-clad amounts. Teams are free to sign their draft picks either above, below or at the allotment assigned for any pick. Teams that go over their pool, however, would be subject to penalties, depending on the percentage over they go.
Teams can also use the "savings" they may get from signing picks to below-slot amounts for other picks in the first 10 rounds. So if a team signs a couple of their picks for below their slotted amount, that would allow them to make an above-slot offer (third-round money) to Burchett if he were selected in say the sixth round.
While Burchett and his family expect to receive a call Tuesday, don’t expect anything lavish. Much to his own character, Burchett wants to keep his draft party to just a few friends and family.
“It’ll just be a couple of family members mostly,” he said. “And that’ll be about it.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.