Shawnee's Quinton Miller and Mainland's Charlie Law are hard-throwing, senior righthanders who could be selected in the early rounds of Major League Baseball's first-year players' draft June 5.
How high they are drafted, however, may depend more on their
than their ability.
Both have baseball scholarships - Miller to North Carolina, Law to Rutgers - so it would take a substantial offer for either to turn pro.
Law, who turned 18 on Friday, won't sign unless the money is what a first-, second- or third-rounder usually receives, according to his father, Jonathan.
Miller said he would lean toward turning pro if he were selected in the first two rounds.
Barring injuries, they look as if they have pro futures. Both throw 90-m.p.h. fastballs and have amazing upsides - especially Law, who may be a little less refined at this point but is growing into his 6-foot-7, 225-pound frame.
"His brothers both blossomed, physically, in their sophomore and junior years of college," said Jonathan Law, referring to Jason and Ian Law, each of whom played college baseball, "and I would think Charlie would be the same way."
So the question is: Will Law and Miller start their pro careers this summer, or will they wait until after their junior collegiate season, when they again would be eligible for the draft? Miller appears to have a better chance of getting selected in the first two rounds next month. Law might be a first- or second-round selection after three years of college, but probably won't go that high this time around.
"The college experience is something that's almost priceless, so that's something to consider," Charlie Law said. "I saw how much fun my brothers had playing at Monmouth and Lafayette, respectively, and that's something I have to factor in."
But if the money were there, he admitted, it would be difficult to turn down.
"I'm not leaning one way or the other," said Law, who is 5-0 with a 0.66 ERA and has 66 strikeouts in 42 innings. "No matter what happens, it's fun to experience it."
Miller, a 6-2, 190-pounder whose fastball has been consistently clocked in the 90- to 94-m.p.h. range - a few miles faster than Law's - said pitching in front of a slew of scouts has been "almost surreal in a way. I've gotten used to it, but the draft is always in the back of my mind."
Scouts have been prodding Miller and Law, trying to find out how much it will take for them to sign. Miller said scouts from 10 to 15 teams have been on his trail. Law has had particular interest from the Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Rangers and Cardinals.
Miller, who entered yesterday with a 6-2 record and an ERA near 1.50, said he has heard he could be selected from late in the first round to somewhere in the third round.
"It all comes down to the signability," he said.
If it is deemed the players aren't signable, they will tumble to later rounds.
Like Law, Miller said he had "no hard figure" on what it would take for him to bypass college. (If they turned pro, both probably would receive a provision to attend college in the off-season.)
When considering their college packages and the possibility that they could be drafted again in three years, it might take $350,000 to $450,000, or even more, to lure the players to go pro.
Then again, the players know that if they turn down the money, they are risking an injury in college that could make their stock drop.
That said, both realize they are in a win-win situation - becoming a wealthy teenager or going to play baseball at a highly respected Division I program - that any high school senior would covet.
Either way, they can't lose.
A tip of the cap to Walt Burrows, who retired from the Courier-Post on Friday after 60 years at the newspaper. The South Jersey sports scene is a much better place because of the imprint he has left.