Whitehouse graduate Mason House has a decision to make after the Wildcats star outfielder was drafted Tuesday in the third round of the Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres.
House took the phone call at home with his family and coaches on Tuesday afternoon. Celebrations began afterward, but it would be a little while longer before his name was officially announced during MLB Network's live coverage.
"We probably waited 15 minutes, although it seemed a lot longer," House said. "My heart was pounding. That is your dream to get your name called on draft day and for it to happen is unreal."
The Padres selected House with their first pick in the third round, No. 78 overall. According to a report in the San Diego Union Tribune, the slot value for No. 78 is $732, 200.
House now has to decide whether to turn pro or honor his commitment to Oklahoma State. He committed to the Cowboys in late May.
"I think we have a little talking to do tonight, but we will have a decision shortly," House said.
Whitehouse head baseball coach Derrick Jenkins said House earned this day.
"He is such a great kid and you are glad it worked out for a kid that put so much work in," Jenkins said. "I am not surprised at all (that he was drafted). He has done so many things outside of baseball too; he lifts weights, he eats well. So many kids at the high school level want to swing the bat every day and throw, but don't (also) do those other things."
As a junior, he was the Tyler Morning Telegraph and ETFinalScore.com's Co-Player of the Year, along with teammate Ryan Walls. The two helped lead the Wildcats from a fourth-place finish in district all the way to the Class 5A state tournament.
This year, House led Whitehouse to a share of the District 17-5A championship with the Wildcats ultimately being stopped in the second round of the playoffs to finish 22-7-1. House batted .409 with 26 runs scored. He had three doubles, five triples, five home runs and 31 RBIs with 22 walks. He was intentionally walked six times and reached seven more times after being hit by pitch. He struck out 10 times and stole 16 bases.
Prior to this season, House committed with LSU-Eunice, but once word of his play got around the collegiate ranks, Oklahoma State came calling.
San Diego Padres scouting director Mark Conner told the San Diego Union-Tribune said House was one of several high school players the Padres drafted that they are excited about.
The first six players the Padres took were high school stars, the first time in the franchise's history San Diego has done this.
"A lot of people are going to say high school is more risky than college, because they are a few years younger," Conner continued. "The work our scouts did on these players, getting to know the player, take a little of that away."
Jenkins said the Padres were one of three teams that showed continual interest in House, along with the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks.
"When (he wasn't picked) yesterday we knew (of those three) San Diego was the first one with the pick today," Jenkins said. "We kind of head a feeling. When his name popped up on that screen it was pretty exciting."
Jenkins addressed the decision House now has to make.
"I have talked to him a ton about making a decision that is best for him," Jenkins said. "Sitting with him today as he got drafted, your first mindset is that he will go (to the Padres), but then it is not a bad situation to go to Oklahoma State too. Those are two really good options."
If House advances all the way into the major leagues, he would be Whitehouse's third player in the past 20 years, joining Josh Tomlin and Travis Chick. House is the second Whitehouse product to be drafted professionally in the past few months, joining former Wildcat and Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was taken in the NFL draft's first round by the Kansas City Chiefs.
He is listed at 6-2 and 190 pounds and according to a take on MLb.com "House already looks like a big leaguer. He generates a lot of bat speed with his loose left-handed swing and gets good leverage out of his projectable frame."
House is not sure whether his future will be in Stillwater, Okla., or with the Padres, but on this day, he can just bask in his accomplishment.
"Everything had to line up perfectly and it did," House said. "It is a very special moment with my family, and to have my coaches there (witnessing) your dream turned into reality; it was an unreal moment."
Notes: House would be the second East Texan in the Padres system, joining Tyrell Jenkins, of Henderson, who is currently with Triple-A El Paso.