Teammates of Scott Schreiber often said they couldn’t tell by his demeanor whether the slugger struck out or hit a home run. The former Nebraska standout held the same laid-back tone in his voice Tuesday only moments after realizing a lifelong goal.
Schreiber spent the day at his parents’ home in Wisconsin, watching the second day of the Major League Baseball draft. It’s where one of the most accomplished hitters in Husker history received an afternoon call from the Houston Astros informing him that they were taking him in the ninth round (282nd overall).
“It’s obviously a big dream of mine,” Schreiber told The World-Herald. “I’m really excited and grateful to be able to be part of that organization. I’m just ready to go to pro ball and see how much I can learn and improve my game.”
The selection is 487 spots higher than last year, when he waited until the final day for Tampa Bay to take him in the 26th round (769th). Surprise about how late he went grew into motivation, and he eventually decided to turn down roughly $150,000 to return to Nebraska.
Schreiber thrived in the outfield and later settled in at first base for the Huskers (24-28) en route to second-team All-Big Ten honors this spring. His 18 home runs and 62 runs scored led the team while his .369 batting average and 48 RBIs ranked No. 2.
The 6-foot-3 Schreiber also dropped about 35 pounds to 220 and evolved mentally at the plate. He said his pitch selection might have come the furthest as he began to lay off balls down in the zone more consistently. Plus, he was fully healthy after two years of nagging injuries.
“It’s pretty nice to be able to climb up a little in the draft,” Schreiber said. “But I’m just happy I went back for my senior year and was able to play another year for Nebraska and make more memories I’ll carry later into life.”
Schreiber’s selection is the highest for a Husker since Ryan Boldt (second round, 53rd overall) in 2016. Michael Mariot (eighth round, 239th in 2010) and Cody Asche (fourth round, 151st in 2011) are the only other Huskers to go higher in the past 10 seasons.
While a big senior year boosted Schreiber’s draft stock, he will sign for less money than had he gone pro last year. He said he will almost certainly sign for “quite a bit below” the slot value of $144,100 because the Astros have “quite a bit of leverage” on him as a graduating senior.
A Husker reunion could be in the works after Houston took Jake Meyers in the 2017 draft. Meyers is at Class A Quad Cities (Iowa) while Schreiber expects to be assigned to short-season Tri-City (New York) this summer.
The MLB draft wraps up Wednesday with rounds 11-40, beginning at 11 a.m. Multiple other Huskers are likely to be selected, including senior pitchers Luis Alvarado and Jake Hohensee as well as junior catcher Jesse Wilkening and junior pitcher Chad Luensmann. A number of NU high school recruits are also possibilities in Millard West’s Colby Gomes, Millard South’s Kyle Perry and Michigan native Spencer Schwellenbach.