Inside the Minneapolis Millers draft room, a nervous excitement is impossible to miss. Hours earlier, the organization announced a blockbuster deal, acquiring the #3 overall pick in tonight’s amateur draft from the Washington Colonials. The Millers agreed to send prospects Jeff Travis, Don Hjort and Artie Cooper, along with 24-year-old CBL outfielder Jose Herrera to Washington for the #3 pick.
With the top pick decided months ago (UCONN Starter Dan Montross to Philadelphia), the Millers original target was apparently the #2 pick, to ensure they could land their top rated prospect.
“We had discussions with several teams inside the top 10,” Millers assistant GM Dave Spidel confirmed after the draft. “How far along we got in some of those discussions will remain in-house, but we’re happy with the end result.”
Despite Spidel’s hopes to keep the discussions “in-house” sources have relayed that the Millers were extremely close to making a deal for the #2 overall pick. Ultimately, Charlotte told the Millers that they had decided to keep the pick, that there was a prospect they liked too much to move out of the first round.
“When we moved to #3, we weren’t sure who Charlotte planned to pick at 2,” Spidel said. “We liked a few other prospects if we didn’t get our guy, but there was a clear target in mind when we gave up what we did for the #3 pick.”
That target was Dartmouth University’s standout third baseman, Desi Reamer. But the Millers weren’t sure if that was Charlotte’s target; a near ready collegiate third baseman who had hit .371/.427/.629 would definitely qualify as someone too good to pass up. With several high ceiling high school pitchers also available, the organization knew it was going to come down to the wire, and the Knights weren’t tipping their hand at all.
A Minnesota native, born in Albert Lea, Desi Reamer went undrafted out of the frozen tundra, but his talent and intelligence got him a full academic scholarship to the Ivy League.
“Hockey was my first love,” Reamer confesses. “But I was always better at baseball.”
While Reamer’s dreams of becoming an NHL player were clearly not going to come true, he was plenty good. His high school coaches told us he was one of the best players in the conference every year; his team just wasn’t very good. A lanky defenseman as a sophomore developed into one of the most feared checkers in the state, and Dartmouth actually offered him a chance to play both Hockey and Baseball.
“My mom basically told me I had to pick one sport,” Reamer continues. “She didn’t think I could get an Ivy League education and play two sports at the same time. God Bless that woman, because she was absolutely right.”
As a freshman at Dartmouth, Reamer played in all 50 games, hitting a respectable .277/.341/.403. Two seasons after going just 7-43, Dartmouth was 26-24, and had a third baseman they could build around.
“Desi was an easy kid to like,” Dartmouth manager Dan Danch says with a smile. “He worked hard. He listened. And he was so damn good.”
As a sophomore, Reamer hit .326/.392/.587, but played in just 24 of the team’s 50 games after fracturing his wrist.
Scouts filled the stands most games during Reamer’s junior season. He played in all 51 games, hitting .371/.427/.629, with 20 walks and just 18 strikeouts. His defense at third base received solid reviews, and some scouts think he could become a gold glove winner at the position long-term. But it’s no secret his bat is what will carry him to the big leagues, and scouts were torn on that as well.
“We had him as a high contact, low strikeout third baseman,” one scout says. “But as a right handed batter, and the kind of build that doesn’t age well at the hot corner, we saw him as a late first round pick at best.”
Manchester admitted Reamer was at the top of their board after the draft, though, so it wasn’t just Minneapolis that liked what they saw.
As the nervousness in the room continues to build, the CBL commissioner steps to the podium.
“The Philadelphia Liberty are now on the clock…”
*The Camera pans to the Liberty GM’s house, where he is grilling dinner for his family.”
“Give us Montross,” the Liberty GM says, before clinking his tongs together. “I got shit to do.” As he turns to walk toward the grill, it’s clear he’s wearing nothing but an “Altoona Curve” apron. Former Colonials GM Dallis is seen in the background.
“Justin, what pick do I have,” he can be heard asking, as the camera flickers back to the draft.
The commissioner steps back to the podium.
“With the first pick in the 2037 CBL Amateur Draft, the Philadelphia Liberty select Dan Montross, starting pitcher, University of Connecticut. The Charlotte Knights are now on the clock…”
A few weeks before the draft, the Millers ran an organizational mock draft, trying to predict where players would come off the board. It became clear that at least three teams ahead of Minneapolis likely had a high grade on Desi Reamer, based on who was seen at Reamer’s games, and the organization decided they would try to move up for him.
It was no secret that the Millers owner, 82-year-old Pat Zelx, wanted to see the organization land a top prospect AND a hometown kid in the near future, since that’s about all he had left. The front office felt they could do both in one fell swoop.
“He’s a god damn superstar,” one scout was quoted as saying as they discussed moving up in the draft, sliding his scouting report across the table. “Look at this!”
“And he’s going to be CBL ready soon, which might come in handy since were getting older,” another scout chimed in.
And with that, the Millers GM called his old friend Jess in Charlotte. However, as mentioned previously, they couldn’t quite finish a deal, and the Millers turned their attention to the #3 and #4 overall picks.
Sources informed us that the Millers made essentially the exact same offer to both Washington and Fargo, but once Washington accepted for the #3 pick, that was that. And with the #3 pick in tow, the organization just had to sit and watch as Charlotte’s clock ran down.
As the commissioner stepped back to the podium, the Millers draft room fell completely silent.
“Don’t fucking take him, Charlotte,” a random scout could be heard muttering. Spidel laughed.
“With the second pick in the 2037 Amateur Draft, the Charlotte Knights select…
Art Beerbohm, starting pitcher, Pasadena High School, Pasadena, California. The Minneapolis Millers are now on the clock…”
The Millers draft room erupted. High fives were shared throughout the room. “Call it in,” the Millers GM said. Spidel did as he was told.
“With the third pick in the 2037 CBL Amateur Draft, the Minneapolis Millers select Desi Reamer, third baseman, Dartmouth University. The Fargo Nordiques are now on the clock…”
Reamer and his parents celebrated modestly at their Albert Lea home, sharing hugs, understanding there was still a lot to be done before he’d be playing in Minneapolis.
“It’s every kids dream to play for his hometown team,” Reamer said. “Things couldn’t have worked out better. I’m just excited to get to work.”
Following the draft, Reamer was told he would be reporting immediately to the Carolina Mudcats, the Millers AA team. That was a high level to start anyone at in professional baseball, but the organization felt Reamer could handle the challenge, and the Mudcats AA manager is none other than the other Minnesota baseball hero, Joe Mauer.
“Getting to develop and learn the game from Joe Mauer, my dad’s favorite all-time player, is a dream come true,” Reamer admits. “This is way better than playing in the NHL.”