Chris Winder is hoping to be drafted into the Major League beginning June 5 but has college scholarship offers to fall back on.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Chris Winder is hoping to be drafted into the Major League beginning June 5 but has college scholarship offers to fall back on.

Future uncertain

MCHS senior baseball player juggles college versus the pros

— Two weeks ago, Moffat County High School senior shortstop/pitcher Chris Winder was juggling playing in the field and toting the rubber on the mound.

The baseball season is over for Winder, but the juggling still is ongoing.

On one hand there is the Major League Baseball draft, which begins June 5 - Winder said he's been contacted by the Los Angeles Dodgers - and on the other, is the opportunity to further his education by playing in college.

Winder said the University of Northern Colorado, Odessa Junior College in Texas and Regis University have offered him scholarships.

Decisions, decisions.

"I really don't know what's going to happen," the Colorado state top-50 prospect said. "I want to get drafted, but if I don't go high enough, then I'll go to college."

It's a decision he said he's fortunate to have.

"I'm lucky to be in this position," he said. "Not many people get the chance to advance in their sport. I just want to keep playing baseball. Period."

And who could blame him.

Winder finished the season leading the Bulldogs in hitting (.553 average), and the Western Slope League in home runs (6), stolen bases (23), runs (39) and hits (42).

On the mound, he was just as impressive.

He led the team in earned run average (2.03); innings pitched (38 1/3) and led the league in strikeouts (51).

Winder was named Western Slope All-conference first team, Western Slope League All-star starting shortstop and was named to play in Colorado's top-50 prospect game in June.

"In my 25 years or so of coaching, Winder is probably the best base runner I've ever had," coach Tim Hafey said. "He has outstanding instincts (on the base paths) and has an excellent all-around game. I believe he is definite Division I material, if he's given a chance."

And that's all Winder wants.

A chance.

"Baseball is my life," Winder said. "I started when I was 3. In the winter, I throw in my garage and hit off of a tee. It's all about baseball."

He was quick to respond when asked if he knew the minimum salary in the Major Leagues.

"$380,000," he said. "I'm not going to lie and say I don't think about the money, because I do. Every time I borrow money from my mom I always joke around and say 'don't worry, I'll be paying you back soon.'"

He said he was first contacted by Dodgers scout Mitch Webster last Wednesday while playing a casual round of golf with fellow middle infielder Anthony Flores.

"I was about to tee off and he called," Winder said. "I got so excited that Flores had to hit my tee shot for me. We golfed the whole time talking about baseball."

Winder acknowledges he may have to make a move to the outfield once he reaches the next level, but the possible position change doesn't worry him.

"If I get the chance, I'll show whoever gets me they made the right choice," he said. "I've got speed, I can hit the ball, and my glove will get me there, too."

Regardless of where he plays next, Winder said his fondest memories will always be firmly planted in Craig.

"The Longmont homer (a lead-off home run against Longmont in the district tournament which ignited a seven-run MCHS outburst) was probably something I will remember forever," he said. "Craig is where I got my start. It's where I'm from."

Now, Winder must wait.

And hope the telephone rings June 5.

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