Nearly three weeks after the draft, Alex Krupa finally received the phone call he’d been waiting for.
It was from the Cincinnati Reds. They had an offer, a surprisingly attractive one.
This was the moment Krupa, a 2013 Greenwood Community High School graduate, had dreamed of all his life. A chance to sign with a Major League Baseball team.
And now, here it was. The real thing. A pro offer for the taking. The fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
With a heavy heart, he turned it down.
Timing and money, he and his parents agreed, just weren’t right.
“It’s always what I wanted to do, and it was kind of hard to turn it down because it clicked in my head like, ‘Wow, this actually happened,’” said Krupa, who was selected by Cincinnati in the 19th round of last month’s MLB First-Year Player Draft. “But we talked it over, and I think the best fit for me would be college.”
Beginning Aug. 16, that’s where he’ll be.
A multi-skill player with a specialty in base-stealing, Krupa will continue his career — as was his pre-draft plan — at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
A junior college power that has advanced to the Junior College World Series 14 times since 1975, Western Iowa won titles in 2010 and 2012 and finished 45-13 this season.
Krupa, the Daily Journal’s 2013 Johnson County Player of the Year, plans to play two seasons at Western Iowa with a goal of improving his draft stock in 2015.
“I’m just excited to get started,” said Krupa, one of only six Indiana high school players selected in the 2013 draft. “I’m just going to keep getting better and better.
“I don’t see myself getting any worse, so I’m going to take the risk and see what can happen after two years.”
Greenwood coach Andy Bass forecasts a positive outcome two years from now for a four-year varsity starter who combines a high baseball IQ with rare physical tools.
“He just has a baseball smart. You don’t teach that,” said Bass, who just completed his 16th season with the Woodmen. “His greatest strength is his speed, there’s no doubt about that. But he’s just got such baseball smarts and an understanding of how to do some (nuanced) things.
“You don’t coach that, and that’s what makes the player he is.”
One of the state’s top players throughout his career, Krupa — a speedy centerfielder — hit .463 his senior year and tallied 10 doubles, five home runs, two triples, 21 RBIs and a school-record 38 stolen bases.
He started all 29 games for the 17-11-1 Woodmen and heads to Iowa Western on an enhanced mission to continue impressing big-league scouts.
“I definitely see good things for him down the road. I think going to school’s only going to help him,” Bass said. “He wants to improve his draft status and go even higher in the draft and have an opportunity to make it at the professional level, and I think he will. He’s going to get some great coaching and see some great competition at that level.
“It’s only going to help when the scouts come to watch.”
In the meantime, Krupa, 18, is staying busy with a part-time job and playing baseball with his travel team, the 18-and-under Indiana Redbirds. Monday through Wednesday, he works for a fire/storm restoration company. Thursday through Saturday, he travels with the Redbirds.
On the weekend of July 12-14, he’ll travel to Crawfordsville to participate in the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North-South All-Star series at Wabash College’s Goodrich Ballpark.
Krupa, along with Franklin pitcher Jeremy McKinney, were recently selected to the South All-Star Team. They are county’s only 2013 Indiana All-Stars.
“It’s big, because I get to play with all the best people in the state,” said Krupa, who was also recently named to the IHSBCA’s first team All-State Team. “Most of them I’ve played with before, either on summer teams or played against them in travel ball.
“I think it’s just going to be fun, a fun time.”