Frare eager to pursue big-league dreams

2012-06-08T22:35:00Z 2012-06-09T00:31:29Z Frare eager to pursue big-league dreamsBy RYAN MINCH rminch@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Caleb Frare has had one dream growing up in the eastern plains of Montana.

“Winning a World Series championship,” said the Miles City native by phone on Wednesday. “That’s always been the number one goal for me.”

For Frare, that dream is still a ways off, but he's one step closer after being drafted by the New York Yankees in the 11th round (367th overall) of the MLB First-Year Player Draft held in New York City on Tuesday afternoon.

“We were sitting at my house with the computer hooked up to the TV and watching all the coverage on the internet,” said Frare. "When my name was said, we all just started jumping around and screaming. It was an amazing feeling.”

Frare, who had signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Utah and major in business, said he will forgo his college eligibility and expects to sign with the Yankees on Monday after completing a physical. Team officials were in Miles City on Thursday to present Frare with a contract.

"(The contract) looked good. They are going to honor my scholarship to Utah when I'm done playing baseball whether that is next year or 20 years from now," Frare said. "That makes the decision a little bit easier."

The official announcement came just minutes after representatives from the Yankees reached out to Frare and his agent, David Matranga, to gauge the 18-year old’s interest in signing with the 27-time world champions.

“There was no question about it,” Frare said about his decision to sign. “It was a team-by-team basis (on whether or not I signed) for the most part but going in there was a few teams that if they drafted me I would have signed regardless of which round it was.”

Although drafted in the top quarter of the draft, Frare said the most nervous he’d been throughout the entire process was on Tuesday.

“Some of the projections had me going a little bit higher so I got a little nervous after those rounds passed,” Frare said. “Teams were calling in the third and fifth rounds saying they’d make me their next pick and then it didn’t happen so it got a little bit stressful.”

But then the Yankees came calling.

“They asked if wanted to sign an 11th-round contract and I told them ‘yes,’” Frare said. “The next thing I knew is my name’s being called on the computer. It was crazy.”

Frare features a fastball consistently in the upper-80s to low-90s and superb breaking ball but admits he has work to do to become a big leaguer.

“My changeup can be pretty inconsistent,” he said. “There is times where it’s unhittable and other times where I can’t use it in a game because it’s been so bad in the bullpen.”

Frare, who battled mono earlier this season, has been labeled as a raw talent by scouts. He's OK with that.

"The Yankees scout came and watched me a little bit earlier in the year right after I was sick and struggling to find my spots," Frare said. "I was just out of sync for a bit after the mono but everything is back to normal now."

For now, Frare is content on putting in the work to make it to the majors.

“My only goal or motto, if you will, is ‘work harder today than you did yesterday’,” said Frare. “If you do that you can’t help but improve keep moving up the ladder.”

As has been documented during recent drafts -- most notably with the first-round selection of Brandon Nimmo from Cheyenne, Wyo., a year ago and the fourth-round pick of Billings’ Justin Black on Tuesday -- Montana is one of only a handful of states that do not offer high school baseball.

“Not being able to play high school baseball hurts the process a little bit,” Frare said. “But I feel I did everything I could to get noticed and to take that step to get to the next level.”

Frare, who played on a club team in Miles City, had a 9-3 record last season with a 1.55 ERA and 103 strikeouts in just 77 innings and was noticed at a camp in Utah.

Frare played in the Area Code showcase in California -- an event that is sponsored by ESPN and free to the players -- alongside pitcher Andrew Sopko of Missoula.

Sopko was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 14th round, but according to reports is still pursuing his collegiate commitment to Gonzaga as well as the offer from the Padres.

“I threw extremely well in Utah and then got invited to the Area Code baseball games (in Long Beach) after going to Spokane for a northwest showcase,” Frare said. “That was huge exposure for me. I got to face the best hitters in the west and did well with my opportunity and got to play with some amazing players.”

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound lefty said he'll report to the Yankees rookie league club in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday. The Gulf Coast League season begins June 18.

“I’m not going to put a timetable on myself,” Frare said. “It is in the Lord’s hands now and all I can do is work hard everyday to better myself and be a good teammate.”

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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