When Jacob Hannemann learned he might be selected Friday morning by the Chicago Cubs, the family went looking for the right attire.
Some Cub fans lived down the street from their Alpine home and had some hats to spare. So when the big moment came, and Jacob saw his name flash across the screen as the No. 75 pick, his family had the matching headgear to celebrate.
“Once it was for sure, we got real excited,” Hannemann said. “I’m excited to be a Cub. I can’t wait to see how I can handle playing baseball year-round.”
The Cubs chose the BYU outfielder early in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Hannemann, who is on a football scholarship for the Cougars, will forgo the rest of his college career to play pro baseball.
The family had been hoping for a high pick, but the third round was higher than even they had guessed. Howard Hanneman, Jacob’s father, estimated his son stands to make more than $700,000 by signing with the Cubs.
“We never dreamed he would go this high,” he said. “The numbers make sense. We thought it would be a tougher decision.”
That didn’t mean it wasn’t tough to let his coaches know he’s leaving after his freshman year. After his selection, Jacob called secondary coach Nick Howell and football coach Bronco Mendenhall to let them know he would not be returning this fall as a defensive back.
Throughout the process, Hannemann said his football coaches wanted him back, but understood that the chance to play baseball might be too good to pass up. He’s expecting to finish a class by mid-June that will free up his scholarship for the team to give to someone else next season.
Hannemann said the prospect of being drafted and having to make a decision about his future had been nerve-wracking.
“I didn’t sleep much at all last night,” he said. “I was just worried about everything. But it’s been a big day, and now I’m on cloud nine.”
Hannemann excelled on the baseball team this year, batting .344 and standing out as a centerfielder. He finished the season as the West Coast Conference freshman of the year, a WCC first-team honoree, and a Louisville Slugger freshman All-American.
He worked out for five major league teams in the week leading up to the draft, including the Cubs. Chicago was one of the teams that showed the most interest, sending scouts to another workout after he had already been to Wrigley Field.
“It’s been great getting to know the history and everything there,” he said. “They have a great organization, and I’m a hard worker. I’m going to fight to get to the top and give my best every year. And if they still like me, maybe I’ll be up in the big leagues some day.”
Had Hannemann decided to go back to school, he could’ve competed for a starting role on the Cougars football team.
It is not the first time Hannemann has been taken in the draft: He was picked in the 48th round by the Kansas City Royals in 2010 as a senior out of Lone Peak High. But Hannemann turned down an estimated $250,000 package and elected to go on an LDS Church mission and attend BYU instead.