Kaleb Holbrook was preparing for his second game as a catcher for a summer league in Connecticut on June 8 when his phone began to ring with calls and text messages of congratulations.
“I just checked my phone before the game started, and my friend from school was calling congratulating me, telling me that I had been drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and I didn’t know what he was talking about,” said Holbrook, a 2011 Dawson County High School graduate.
Selected in the 35th round, the 6-foot, 195-pound catcher was the 1,054th overall pick after attending the Dodgers’ pre-draft workout last month at Woodward Academy in College Park.
The 20-year-old calls it a life-long dream come true.
“I worked toward this my whole life, playing and trying to get better and eventually playing professional baseball. It’s exciting. It’s cool,” he said.
He is already committed to play at South Georgia College, where he played during his freshman and sophomore years and holds an associate’s degree in business. He finished his sophomore season with .307 batting average, 11 doubles, one homeroom and 24 RBIs.
Holbrook now has less than two weeks to make what could be the biggest decision of his life: continue his education and play at the college level another year, or pursue his lifelong dream to play professional baseball.
“Honestly, I’m not sure what I’ll do,” he said. “It all really came out of the blue. I was just sitting here and one of the scouts for the Dodgers called and asked if I wanted to come to camp for a workout. That was on a Friday and he wanted me to come Saturday, the next day.
“I knew I had a good workout but I didn’t think anything of it. There was about a week later that they called and wanted to verify all of my information.”
He was drafted a few days later.
“At first it didn’t seem real,” he said. “I was about to play a game, so I was focused on the game. The longer the game went on, the more it kind of settled in, and I was like, ‘dang, I’ve really been drafted.’”
Parents Katrina and Keith Holbrook said they could not be more proud of their son.
“There Keith and I were in the stands, just trying to absorb it, and all we could do is hug each other and cry and watch him play for three hours,” she said.
Keith Holbrook added: “He always worked real hard. If he wasn’t practicing somewhere because they took a day off, we’d go out in the yard or the park or somewhere and throw or hit.”
Kaleb Holbrook came home to Dawsonville from Connecticut where he was catching for the Torrington Titans in the Futures league to make his decision.
If he takes the once in a lifetime chance with the Dodgers, he will head out west to Utah or Arizona to play in the short season that lasts through mid-August.
“I’ll be making the decision in the next couple of days,” he said.
“When I was just 7 years old, my very first team [with Dawson County Parks and Recreation] was the L.A. Dodgers and my dad Keith and Gary Barr were the coaches. My dad has always been there for me. He always made me get up and go throw and go hit and go workout, even when I didn’t want to.”