Alex Krupa grew up an ardent fan of the Chicago Cubs.
But his loyalty took a dramatic shift late Saturday while tracking the third and final day of Major League Baseball’s 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
Krupa, a 2013 graduate of Greenwood Community High School, was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 19th round of the 40-round draft.
At that moment, the speedy center fielder embraced a new favorite team.
“I was a big Cubs fan,” said Krupa, a four-year standout for the Woodmen. “I’m going to have to start liking the Reds.”
He’s also going to have to make a critical decision within the next month: Go to college, or sign a professional contract?
Krupa recently committed to Iowa Western Community College, a junior college power at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Sometime this week, he will receive a monetary offer from the Reds.
When it arrives, Krupa will have 30 days to decide between college and the Reds.
If he accepts the offer, he’ll likely report immediately to one of the Reds’ rookie affiliates. If he declines it, he’ll attend Western Community with the objective of improving his stock and re-entering the draft year.
Heading into this year’s draft, Krupa was optimistic about going in the top 10 rounds, possibly as high as the seventh round. Had that happened, he likely would have received an attractive enough offer to sign right away. But in light of where he landed, he isn’t sure whether that will be the case now.
Per the Reds’ insistence, Krupa declined to talk about how much the team would have to offer to compel him to sign. But whatever he decides, he is confident of having a shot at the big leagues.
If he signs with Cincinnati, the pursuit will start immediately. If he goes to Western Community, it will start when he gets drafted again.
“We’ll see how it plays out, if there’s (enough) money there. We’ll just see what happens,” said Krupa, adding that he would not be discouraged if he winds up going to college to better his chances next year.
“That’s exactly what I would do,” he said. “I would go there and get better, get stronger, get faster and then go back into the draft.”
One of the state’s top high school players, Krupa hit .463 for Greenwood this season with 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, who routinely had handfuls of scouts in the stands throughout the year.
Although he anticipated going higher in the draft than he did, he recalls the moment when he saw his name pop up on the screen while following the draft online — followed immediately by a phone call from a Reds’ official.
It was literally a dream come true.
“I’ve never been so happy in my life,” he said.