Jason Brandow has a very important decision to make in the next few days: sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates or attend Cal State Fullerton and play baseball for the Titans.
The Vintage High School senior was selected by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft on Wednesday.
Brandow played center field this year for Vintage (12-14 overall, 7-8 Monticello Empire League), which lost in the first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs last month to Del Campo-Fair Oaks, 6-4.
He was named Honorable Mention All-MEL after hitting .458 with nine doubles, two triples, three home runs and 24 RBIs. He had 27 hits on the season with an .830 slugging percentage, scored 20 runs and had 13 stolen bases.
“It definitely is a dream come true,” Brandow said of being picked in the draft. “This is what I’ve been working for, for my whole life, basically – playing baseball and working hard. The goal always is playing at a professional level, playing in the major leagues. This is just the start.”
Brandow said he got a phone call from Mike Sansoe, the Pirates’ Northern California area scout, notifying him of his selection.
“I’m still in shock about it,” he said. “It’s just so surreal. I’m ready for the opportunity that’s been given to me. I’m ready to do what I do best. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited about it.”
On Tuesday, Aaron Shortridge, a UC Berkeley junior pitcher and a 2015 Vintage High graduate, was selected by the Pirates in the fourth round of the draft. Shortridge, a right-hander who was named honorable mention on the Pac-12 All-Conference team last month, was the 10th player taken in the fourth round and the 114th overall selection in the annual draft.
Shortridge said he has not signed a contract. He would forego his senior season at Cal if he signs with the Pirates.
Brandow said he plans to talk about his future with his family.
“It’s a family decision,” he said. “My family has been there all along.”
Brandow signed a national letter-of-intent with Cal State Fullerton last November. He will receive a scholarship to play for the Titans.
Fullerton is a four-time national champion (1979, 1984, 1995, 2004).
“He can play all over the field,” said Vintage head coach Rich Anderson. “He can throw it, he can run, he’s strong, he hits, he hits with power. Jason can run really fast. He just turned 18, so I think they look at his upside and they project it out.”
Brandow played third base as a sophomore and catcher as a junior.
“He’s super excited,” said Anderson. “Now he’s got a decision to make, whether he’s going to Cal State Fullerton or if he’s going to sign and play professional baseball.”
Brandow was named as a finalist for Player of the Year on the Napa Valley Register’s All-Napa County team in 2017 after hitting .389 with 25 hits, including four doubles, two triples and seven RBIs, as a junior for Vintage. Brandow had a .517 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
He was named by USA Baseball to the final 40-man roster for the 2017 17U National Team Development Program and spent a week and a half last summer training with the team. He got to play in two games during that time with USA Baseball at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, and one game at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers.
He represented the Oakland Athletics at the week-long Area Code Games, which were played in Long Beach.
He also played American Legion summer ball for the Napa Valley Baseball Club’s under-19 team.
Brandow was a finalist for Newcomer of the Year on the 2016 All-Napa County team.
“I’m confident with my game and my skills,” said Brandow. “It’s just all about your mental state, really. That’s all it is for me – how well you are locked in mentally and how locked in you are on the field basically.”