Former Brother Rice standout McQuillan hopes to get call in MLB Draft
BY TIM O’BRIEN For Sun-Times Media June 3, 2012 10:16PM
Brother Rice graduate Mike McQuillan, of Evergreen Park, was drafted by the Washington Nationals. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
mike mcquillan’s stat sheet
IOWA Avg GP-GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI
2009 .360 36-26 111 21 40 6 1 3 20
2010 .344 56-56 212 38 73 7 2 3 39
2011 .330 52-51 200 30 66 11 0 2 31
2012 .354 50-50 178 44 63 8 2 1 24
TOTAL .345 194-183 701 133 242 32 5 9 114
University of Iowa’s second all-time leading hits leader with 242.
Earned all-conference honors all four years at Brother Rice. Holds records for single-season total bases, hits and runs. Member of 2007 fourth-place state team.
Former Evergreen Park Little Leaguer. Member of 2002 third-place state team.
Source: University of Iowa
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:05AM
Falling in love with the game of baseball when he was just 6 years old, Mike McQuillan can’t remember an offseason quite like this one.
Whether it was tee ball, Little League, high school at Brother Rice or college at Iowa, McQuillan always had a sense of where he would be playing baseball the next season.
This year, it’s just the opposite.
The 22-year-old Evergreen Park native hopes to be drafted in this week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, which runs Monday through Wednesday.
“It’s weird and a little bit scary,” McQuillan said. “There’s the possibility you might not be playing again. That’s a little nerve-racking. Even in minor league baseball, the players go into their offseason and they don’t know where they will be reporting after spring training. You’ve got to put your work in, and that’s what I’m doing now. Hopefully someone picks me next week.”
McQuillan, who graduated from Brother Rice in 2008, graduated in mid-May from the University of Iowa with a major in interdepartmental studies. His time since has been spent staying in shape as much as possible.
The 5-foot-11 second baseman has been working out five to six days a week, mixing in weight training and cardio with baseball activities, doing everything from batting practice to taking grounders and fly balls. McQuillan predominantly played second base through his years at Brother Rice and first three years at Iowa. As a senior, he made the switch to first base, but he is ready to play any position other than pitcher and catcher should he be drafted.
“Just trying to stay as close to game shape as you can, but playing is what gets you into game shape, and I can’t do that unfortunately right now,” McQuillan said.
A three-year starter at Iowa who played regularly his freshman year as well, McQuillan left the program as a .346 hitter (243-for-703 over 195 games) with 133 runs and 114 RBI.
After his junior season (.330, 31 RBI, 30 runs), he thought he might be drafted but never received the call. In his senior campaign, McQuillan hit .354 with 44 runs and 24 RBI.
“I was disappointed not getting drafted last year,” he said. “It’s a little hit to your ego.”
Now a college graduate, McQuillan stands at a baseball crossroads. He has been contacted by several teams — eight to be exact — but realizes that being contacted doesn’t mean getting drafted is a sure thing.
If he is not drafted, McQuillan can sign with a team through free agency or explore his options through independent, unaffiliated teams such as those in the Frontier League.
He also has considered leaving the sport behind should a job opportunity present itself.
“From what I’ve talked to my coaches up at Iowa and a few scouts, they said ‘Don’t beat your head in. Someone will take a pass at you,’ ” McQuillan said. “That’s what I’m set on right now, and with the times, if I can get my foot in the door with a job I might end up taking that route if I don’t end up getting drafted. I don’t know. It’s kind of playing it by ear right now.”
No doubt, as 40 rounds of the MLB Draft unfold over the next three days, McQuillan will keep in mind an event from last summer. Playing with the Madison Mallards in the Northwoods League based out of Minnesota, McQuillan watched a teammate reveal to the team that he had been drafted. Now he wants to have that same feeling.
Then all McQuillan will be looking for is a chance to prove himself.
“No plans for the draft,” McQuillan said. “(Getting a call), I might be hitting or something. Either way, it’s been a fun run growing up to playing in high school to Iowa. I’ve done all I can as a player and I’m comfortable with that. It would be really cool to chase that dream a little bit more.”