'Dream come true' as Cote taken by Yankees
Winnisquam's Jordan Cote selected by New York in third round of MLB Draft
|Winnisquam senior pitcher Jordan Cote was selected number 118 overall by the New York Yankees during the 2011 MLB Draft held June 7. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)|
June 13, 2011TILTON – Jordan Cote started the first Tuesday in June with a quick trip to school. It would be about the last routine part of his day however, as the Winnisquam Regional High School senior was selected in the third round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees on June 7, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the 6-foot-6 right-hander.
"Obviously it's a dream come true for me and my family," said Cote, who led Winnisquam to the Division III state semifinals last weekend before falling to Somersworth. "I'm a huge Yankees fan so I'm just glad at the end of the day, it worked out. I couldn't ask for a better team to go to."
Cote's draft day began at Winnisquam, where he presented a final exam in the morning then headed home to relax and watch some of the event on television. When the second round kicked off at noon, Cote was surrounded by friends and family as he waited to learn his prospective fate.
"Things went real quick, like rapid fire," said Cote of the draft. "You get a minute to pick so the rounds go by pretty fast. We had the computer hooked up to the TV, had some video games going on the side to keep loose a little bit."
Cote wasn't quite sure when he could expect to hear his name, so he prepared himself for just about anything on that Tuesday.
"My advisors called me in the morning, saying 'Don't expect anything," he explained. "The Tampa Bay Rays called me at like 11 o'clock. The Yankees called me early. They told me not to expect anything but hang by the phone all day."
Just after 1 p.m., the Sanbornton resident listened as the Yankees made their third round selection, number 118 overall.
"The New York Yankees select ID number 7234…Cote, Jordan. Right-handed pitcher, Winnisquam Regional High School in New Hampshire."
With the selection made live on the MLB Network, the 18-year old was officially off the board, as bedlam erupted in the Cote household.
"My advisors told me they'll call you before they pick you so you'll know before it's announced, but they never called," said Cote of his surprise in hearing his name. "My name came up and I was like, 'Really?' I didn't even know what to do. I wasn't even excited at first, I was just like, 'What just happened?' My family went crazy, my friends went crazy. It was an absolutely crazy day, my phone hasn't stopped going off. I had 320 messages in 15 minutes from people right after it happened."
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo talked briefly about Cote live on air as the selection was made.
"This kid, pitching in the northeast, he hasn't been able to throw a lot but he's got a projectable frame," Mayo said. "You see that sometimes with the New Hampshire guys, they can't get outside and pitch as much, but it sounds like he was the best guy up there."
While Cote was ecstatic about where he was selected, he does admit things got a little tight as the day wore on before he was taken.
"We got into the end of the third round and I started to get a little nervous," he admitted. "But to be the Yankees third pick in the draft, 118 out of 1,500 draft picks, that really just puts it in perspective. To be even considered with these kids is amazing.
"We were listening to the draft coverage, and they were talking about how pick 117 is a prestigious draft pick, with Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins having been drafted there," he continued. "And I'm like, 'Okay, 118's not that bad.' The first round draft picks get the publicity, but at the end of the day, we all get a shot at it. I'm excited to have a shot at it, can't wait to figure it out, figure out where I'm going."
Cote still has a decision to make about his future, as he committed to Division I Coastal Carolina. If he decides not to sign on the dotted line, he'll be eligible to try the draft waters again after his junior season with the Chanticleers.
"I've still got college to think about," he explained. "Obviously the pro side would be great, but if we can't come to an agreement, maybe we'll have to wait another three years. Obviously, it's the New York Yankees, one of the most prestigious baseball clubs in the history of the MLB. I've been a fan of them since I was little. Just looking at the names on the Yankees roster, the fact that you have the chance to someday be a member of that organization, it's just amazing to think about."
Cote's ascent up draft boards really took shape last summer, when he excelled during the Area Code Games. Coming off his New Hampshire high school season as a junior, he wasn't exactly sure where he fit in on the national scene before pitching in front of legions of scouts at Area Codes.
"I think summer ball helped a lot," he said. "Coming out of high school season in New Hampshire last year, I guess I wondered how good I really was? I got Division III player of the year? Okay, I'm good for New Hampshire. But I went out and pitched well in the summer and I think I started to prove I could match up with guys from all over.
"So I pitched very well at Area Code Games, then to be 118 in the country, I mean, I couldn't have written it up any better," he continued. "Hopefully, I can represent New Hampshire like some of the other guys like Chris Carpenter and Jeff Locke have so far. I'm hoping I can be compared to them someday."
Cote summed up the insanity of draft day with a funny story about a phone call from Winnisquam skipper Fred Caruso to his house just moments after being selected by the Yankees.
"My mom took the day off and was home with me for the draft," he began. "So the phone rings, right after I get taken, and she's jumping in the air, I'm worried she's going to hurt herself. So the phone rings, it's coach Caruso. He's just yelling and my mom's like, 'Who is this?' And he says it's Fred. And she goes, 'Fred who?' Because my advisor's name is Fred also.
'Coach Caruso,' he says. I told her right at the same time that I needed to call two of my advisors real quick. She didn't know what to do, she just froze up and ended up hanging the phone up on him. I was like, 'Mom, what are you doing? You can't hang up on coach."
While his career in the sport is just now getting under way, Cote said he won't soon forget where it all began.
"The most important message I got was, 'Congratulations, support our community like you know how. Just don't change," he revealed. "I'm still the kid from New Hampshire. That's never gonna change. I don't care how popular or famous you get, I'll still be from New Hampshire and my best friends are still gonna be my best friends."
And he got just a taste of that newfound popularity when he returned home from practice following the draft. Cote's Facebook account had over 200 new friend requests. Just the beginning of his new life.