Prospect grad Leblebijian picked by Blue Jays

 
By Marty Maciaszek
mmaciaszek@dailyherald.com
Updated 6/7/2012 3:11 PM
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  • Jason Leblebijian connects while playing for the Bradley Braves against Bowling Green in March.

    Jason Leblebijian connects while playing for the Bradley Braves against Bowling Green in March. Submitted photo

  • Former Prospect baseball and basketball star Jason Leblebijian, who just finished his junior year at Bradley, was chosen by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 25th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday.

      Former Prospect baseball and basketball star Jason Leblebijian, who just finished his junior year at Bradley, was chosen by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 25th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday. JOE LEWNARD PHOTO | Staff Photographer

Former Prospect High School star Jason Leblebijian was counting on getting a call Wednesday during the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

The three-year starting shortstop who just finished his junior year at Bradley figured it would be about the midway point of the 50-round draft. But Leblebijian didn't figure it would be the Toronto Blue Jays selecting him in the 25th round.

"They called me about five minutes before the round and told me to keep my phone close," Leblebijian said Wednesday afternoon. "I heard from a few teams (Royals and Indians) and they weren't one of them. They called out of the blue and told me they were picking me up.

"I was kind of expecting it so it's exciting."

Leblebijian, a Daily Herald All-Area baseball and basketball player who graduated in 2009 from Prospect, hit .236 with 6 homers, 16 doubles and 37 RBI while starting all season at shortstop for the Braves. The two-time honorable mention all-Missouri Valley Conference pick hit .315 and .323 his first two years at Bradley but did not have a homer.

Leblebijian said pro interest picked up in the summer when he hit 8 homers for Willmar (Minn.) Stingers in the collegiate wood-bat Northwoods League.

"The shortstop position has kind of evolved and they're looking for shortstops with more power now," Leblebijian said. "Obviously they saw something they liked, whether it was my power or defense.

"If your power goes up your average goes down so I'm trying to find a happy medium."

Leblebijian said this past season was also his most consistent one defensively. He said he is scheduled to meet with representatives of the Blue Jays on Thursday before deciding by July 13 whether to stay in school for one more year or start a professional career.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Leblebijian, who is supposed to leave Friday to play this summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League. "I'll go in and see where it goes from there. I'm really trying to soak it all in."

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