Getting drafted by the Braves is perfect end to Slater’s high school career
It didn’t matter who.
In fact, he didn’t care when, either.
As Johnny Slater put it, “It’s every baseball player’s dream to get drafted.”
On June 8, that dream came true for the 2013 Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup grad when the Atlanta Braves selected Slater in the 31st round of the MLB draft — the 943rd overall pick.
He said he was at a friend’s house when he got a call from his parents informing him of the Braves’ decision.
“It was a pretty proud moment,” Slater said. “I was kind of expecting it, but didn’t really know when it would actually happen.”
As a senior, and while leading Lathrup to an Oakland Activities Association Gold Division title, Slater hit .467 in 2013 with five home runs and 31 RBI. He stole 23 bases in 26 attempts, and from the mound was 8-0 with 85 strikeouts in 49 innings with a 1.56 ERA.
“When you have a player like Johnny, you have to love it,” Lathrup coach Darren Mosley said. “He may not have said much, but he was so humble, led by example and went about his business. A lot of guys looked up to him and tried to do what he did.”
Slater said he has decided not to sign with the Braves and will honor his commitment to the University of Michigan to play next season.
“I want to get stronger and more experienced,” said Slater, who skipped his senior season of basketball to focus entirely on his preparation for the baseball season.
He will be eligible for the draft again following his junior season. He said he hopes to be selected again then and will give greater thought to signing then.
As for now, Slater said it’s all about playing and improving.
“I just want to see the field and play as much as I can,” Slater said about next spring in Ann Arbor. “I want to get better as a player and help this team win as many games as possible.”