Former Aptos High School baseball star Kevin Eichhorn had been considering honoring the national letter of intent he signed in November to play for Santa Clara University for the past two months. A generous pecuniary offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks and a visit to the big league clubhouse cemented his desire to turn pro.
Eichhorn's signing bonus was more than $150,000 over MLB's slot recommendation for the 104th overall pick and the third highest of any player selected in the third round. Andrew Kreeft, a family friend acted as Kevin's agent during negotiations."By going a significant amount above recommended money, the club showed how dedicated they were to bringing Kevin on board and making him a Diamondback," Kreeft said.
Last weekend, the Diamondbacks invited the Eichhorn family and Kreeft to a game against the host San Francisco Giants, where they sat with Jeffrey Moorad, the Diamondbacks general partner and chief executive officer. After the 5-3 Arizona win, Moorad took Eichhorn into the clubhouse and introduced him to manager Bob Melvin and several players, including Dan Haren, Justin Upton, and Chris Young.
"He was at a constant struggle with this decision," said Mark Eichhorn, Kevin's father and a former major league pitcher. "But on the car ride home from San Francisco, he said, 'Dad, I'm 100 percent' after going in the clubhouse."
"I'm extremely proud of my son," he added. "He's worked so hard for this day."
Darold Brown is the Diamondbacks scout responsible for evaluating Eichhorn before the draft. As is custom, he presented the Eichhorn family with the signing papers.
"I fell in love with him that first visit," Brown said. "He's smoke and mirrors. You look at him and you'd never know he's a major league prospect. He has the 'It' factor."
Eichhorn certainly had 'It' in high school, where he went 10-1 as a senior with a 0.78 ERA, recording 120 strikeouts and 16 walks in 67-plus innings. Time will tell whether his stuff translates to the professional level.
"I'm really excited to get things going," Eichhorn said. "I've dreamt of this happening ever since I was a little kid. This is all I've ever thought about."
The Diamondbacks have now signed each of their first 10 selections from June's draft. The deadline for the remaining unsigned players to come to terms is August 15. Track the signing status of Arizona's 2008 draft class with the FutureBacks Sortable Draft Tracker.
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