Marietta College's Tim Saunders is a better shortstop than Carlos Correa, the No. 1 selection in the Major League Baseball draft.
There, I said it, and I feel a lot better. Wheeeew.
Of course, the Houston Astros, who picked Correa, and just about every other MLB team would totally disagree with me.
Times file photo
Former Marietta College shortstop Tim Saunders was drafted by the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
Unbelievably, the 22-year-old Saunders wasn't selected until the 32nd round, the 974th overall pick, by the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubbies, who may not be aware of this, now, just could have a diamond in the rough.
Hear me out.
History has shown that a lot of top picks in the MLB draft have been busts. But I hope that Correa pans out and goes on to have a long and productive career in professional baseball.
The thing is, though, Correa is only 17, a preppie. Who has he played against? What kind of pitching has he seen?
Admittedly, I've never seen Correa of Puerto Rico play, but I'm sure he is as good as advertised.
The Astro scouts certainly know what they're doing, I think, and are very happy with their selection. Well, good for them.
As for me, I'm of course not a pro baseball scout. And, I also may be a little biased, but only because I've seen Saunders play on numerous occasions against the best that NCAA Division III offers.
Better not knock D3 competition, because the Marietta College baseball program could beat and embarrass many, many D1 and D2 schools on the diamond. Ohio University in Athens is fully aware of this, and hasn't played MC since 1991.
But I digress a little.
Oh, yeah, I'm not the only person who gives Saunders high marks, either.
"Sometimes we get caught up, and I catch myself just watching him play, because of the things he's physically capable of doing," said MC head baseball coach Brian Brewer during the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament at Don Schaly Stadium in May. "He's certainly an igniter for us."
Funny thing is, Saunders probably wouldn't even have enrolled at Marietta College if not for his grandfather Dave Croston.
You see, Saunders is originally from a football town, Alliance, the home of the D3 perennial powerhouse Mount Union Purple Raiders. He no doubt could've played baseball for his hometown college, but Mount Union never bothered to recruit him.
Fact is, no college did.
But thanks to his grandpa, Saunders was steered south to MC.
Even the Pioneers weren't exactly sure what they had, and originally figured on the-then 6-foot, 150-pound Saunders as a "fill in player" on the roster.
Are you listening, Chicago Cubs?
Well, to make a long story short, Saunders got bigger (170 pounds), stronger and faster - and more importantly he made believers out of the Marietta College baseball coaching staff.
During his four years as an MC player, he was very instrumental in helping the Etta Express claim two back-to-back national championships, which is not an easy thing to accomplish.
Along the way, of course, he became an All-American and pretty much all-everything.
Arguably, Saunders may be the greatest shortstop to have ever played at Marietta College.
"Tim Saunders is unbelievable," said Heidelberg University skipper Matt Palm. "He's the best player in the country. If there's a better player, I'd like to see him."
Brewer agreed and added, "He's our guy. We really feed off of him. He's just an electric player and I think one of the best that I've seen here and really across the country."
It goes without saying that Brewer and his staff will miss Saunders - actually all of the 2012 MC senior players - next season.
By then, though, Saunders hopefully will be turning some heads in the Chicago Cubs organization.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org