Bobby Ison became the 15th Stratford High School product to be scooped up in the Major League Baseball Draft on Saturday.
Ison, a junior outfielder at Charleston Southern, was chosen by the Cleveland Indians in the 21st round with pick No. 638. He could still return to school but it has been a lifelong dream of Ison’s to play professionally and a return to CSU is highly unlikely.
“It’s unbelievable,” Ison said. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”
If he does choose to turn pro, it’s likely he’ll begin his career in the short season New York-Penn League with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in Niles, Ohio. They begin the season later this month.
It’s another possibility he will see some at-bats in the Arizona Rookie League before heading to Mahoning Valley.
This past season, Ison batted .396 with three home runs, 34 RBIs, 47 runs, 16 stolen bases and just six strikeouts in 249 plate appearances for the Buccaneers.
He also set CSU’s single season mark for hits with 91.
His junior campaign was a continuation of two previous productive seasons at CSU. He batted .332 as a freshman and .367 as a sophomore.
“I feel like I can do this for a long time,” Ison said. “I get overlooked because I’m a little guy but I can hit for average and hit for power.”
His energy level and effort in between the lines has been a trademark too. It’s always been his goal to leave the field as the dirtiest player. He understands there is work to do to give himself a chance to advance up the ladder with the Indians.
“I’d say I need to get faster and I need to hit with more power,” he said. “I can hit singles for days. I’ve beaten out about 30 or 40 infield singles the last two years.”
Ison led the Big South in hits each of the last two seasons. His 84 hits as a sophomore was the previous school record.
He has been electric in centerfield and one of the toughest outs in the country in his three seasons at CSU. Ison has only 32 strikeouts in over 700 plate appearances.
Ison is No. 3 on CSU’s career hits list with 247.
“I just have to keep my head right,” Ison said. “... I’m ready for the challenge. I’m ready to see what happens.”