Jared Karros always wanted to be a baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers; However, he never thought that possibility could become a reality, even on draft night.
As the rounds passed and Karros watched teammates Max Rajcic and Micheal Curialle get selected in the Major League Baseball draft, hopes dwindled for the young talent.
“I thought I would go back to school for sure,” Karros said.
While watching drafts, the son of former major league first baseman Eric Karros continued to reflect on his time at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he shone in his first two seasons. , displaying 3.86 and 3.33 earned run averages in his freshman and sophomore years respectively. Jared was ready to take center stage in his freshman year.
His face was displayed on the front of UCLA’s baseball season guide under his brother, Kyle Karros, as he prepared to take the diamond with him as a Friday night starter.
Starting on Friday night is vital for college baseball pitchers because it gives them the chance to pitch in front of the most scouts in a crucial role. As a junior, the opportunity was paramount for Jared to increase his draft stock.
However, he was recovering from a back injury and the pain did not stop. Jared missed the chance to start in the spotlight because of it.
As he spent his early mornings finishing physical therapy at the Meyer Institute of Sport, time was ticking for Jared to play, and before he was healthy, the season was over. When the MLB Draft rolled around in July, he wasn’t expecting much, having missed the entire rehab season.
Four hundred and ninety-three picks had passed and the Tampa Bay Rays were on the clock. With just over four rounds left, expectations were low for the young pitcher. That’s when Jared received a phone call he will never forget.
The Dodgers informed him that they plan to take him with their next pick. The Rays picked Kamren James with their own, and Jared waited impatiently to see the update on his phone. He looked down and saw that the Dodgers had picked him.
“All the emotions started coming,” Jared said. “It was a great moment.”
He now had a decision to make. Return to play at UCLA or take another step forward to join the Dodgers organization.
“When I learned that the Dodgers were a team that cared about me, I started thinking about the pros and cons of [professional] ball versus going back to school,” Jared said. “Finally, I decided that I wanted to give [professional baseball] a shot.”
Jared is following in his father’s footsteps by joining the Dodgers organization like Eric did when he was drafted in 1988. Jared has seen the Dodgers grow many times with his friends since his father had season tickets, and now he might have the chance to become one of the players he saw.
While Jared chose to throw rather than play the field like his dad, he still gets his help.
“My dad is an extremely hard worker, and having him be a role model for me has allowed me to carry on that trait with many others,” Jared said. “I’m very lucky to have a role model like him.”
Jared has a solid mastery of the bump. He makes hitters uncomfortable with his off-speed pitches to create a balanced mix.
However, speed isn’t his forte, and Jared will look to Dodgers coaching to improve it. The next step for him is minor league refinement with the hope of a spot at his hometown major league club.