The Major League Baseball draft doesn't hold the same appeal as that of their NFL or NBA counterparts, mainly due to lack of name recognition and the immediacy of impact. Even the top draft picks typically don't make the big leagues until years down the road. Even so, I devour draft news and like to have a handle on who the top players are in the country. It was thus a total shock to me last year when the Marlins drafted Brian Schales in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. A shortstop at Edison High with a scholarship to Long Beach State, Schales was never mentioned as a top prospect in any publication or news site that I had visited. I recall that neither MLB.com or Baseball America even had a scouting report on him that day, which is uncommon for a top 5 round draft selection.
Still, I was very familiar with Schales since he was a freshman, as a friend at work had a nephew the same grade and on the same high school team. He sounded like a solid ball player, but I had no idea he had pro potential coming out of high school. Being a pretty high draft, I was thinking that there could be a chance that he could have a Bowman Draft and/or Donruss Elite card. When the checklists for both products came out, it was to my glee (and horror) that Schales was included in both products. While on the one hand, it would be cool to get his card, the horror would be in knowing there would be who knows how many parallel versions of the same card (turns out, waaaaay too many).
I've been able to pick up a bunch of the Bowman Draft and Donruss Elite base cards and I was able to get Brian to sign some at his high school alumni game. I asked, and it sounded like I was the first person to ever have him sign his baseball card. In fact, he had never seen his Donruss Elite card before and I gladly offered one up to him.