Despite homeschooled competition and Tommy John surgery, teen still could be next Red Sox signee

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally
Patrick Goetze only played against homeschooled players but was still an MLB draft pick — Family photo
Patrick Goetze only played against homeschooled players but was still an MLB draft pick — Family photo

It’s not surprising to see a high school phenom rise up toward the top of the Major League Baseball Draft boards and land a solid signing bonus. It is rare when that phenom is a pitcher who didn’t compete against serious prep competition and missed an entire season because of dreaded Tommy John surgery.

Incredibly, that’s precisely the scenario unfolding for Patrick Goetze, who is sitting on the fence while deciding between signing with the Boston Red Sox, who drafted Goetze in the 36th round of the draft, and attending Louisburg College, which would finally put Goetze on a team where he would be competing alongside fellow classmates as opposed to other athletes who were taught at home by their parents.

As reported by the News & Observer, Goetze, a 6-foot-6, 195-pound right handed pitcher, was homeschooled throughout high school, leaving him with little choice but to compete as part of the Wake County Homeschool Warriors. While most 36th round picks can expect only moderate money, the Red Sox have made it clear that they’re quite keen on adding Goetze to their minor league system, provided he has a good final workout in front of Red Sox officials in the coming days.

That the Red Sox even decided to take a flier on Goetze is nothing short of miraculous. Despite his size, the Zebulon, N.C. native missed the entire 2012 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Add to that his relatively limited exposure -- he competed for only the Warriors and a local showcase team called Pupose Driven -- and it’s surprising Boston officials even ahd a chance to see Goetze in action.

His homeschooled coach said it was no surprise that Goetze had earned plaudits and attention, based purely on his exceptional work ethic.

“He is just a great kid and has kept everything in perspective,” Warriors coach Warren Harvey told the News & Observer. “He dealt with adversity with injuries and through all of that, he didn’t allow it to keep him from pursuing his goals. Patrick never missed a practice or a game while he was injured and helped motivate his teammates.

“Seeing that and seeing his hard work along with his skills, I think, makes him a great prospect for any scout.”

As noted by the News & Observer, decision day for Goetze looms on July 12, so he doesn’t have much time to decide between the future he’d always counted on with a college squad like Louisburg and one he’d barely dared dream of as a bona fide professional with a legendary organization like the Red Sox.

At the moment, it sounds like either choice will leave Goetze as a very happy man.

“The Red Sox want to work me out in early July, so right now I’m not sure,” he said. “I would love to go play at Louisburg or pursue my pro career, neither one are opportunities that happen for everyone. At this point, it’s really just where the Lord leads me.”

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