Boise State linebacker could make pro baseball debut in Boise

Joe Martarano is one of four Treasure Valley players drafted Saturday.

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comJune 8, 2014 

Joe Martarano might not have to go far to start his professional baseball career.

The Chicago Cubs selected Martarano, a former Fruitland High three-sport star and current Boise State linebacker, in the 22nd round (No. 649 overall) of the Major League Baseball draft Saturday. The Boise Hawks are the Cubs' short-season Class A affiliate.

"Big thank you to cubs organization for giving me this awesome opportunity. #blessed," Martarano tweeted after being selected Saturday.

He declined interviews Saturday, preferring to wait until he signs with the Cubs. Unlike last year, when he was selected in the 13th round by the Philadelphia Phillies and turned down $100,000 to sign, Martarano has the blessing of Boise State's football coaches to play baseball in the summer.

Selections made after the 10th round can be signed for $100,000 (or less) without impacting the bonus pool of money allocated for higher-round draft picks, according to Major League Baseball rules.

"This is a unique situation, but Joey Martarano is a special athlete," Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin said in a statement. "We're proud to have him as a member of the Boise State football team, and we want to see him achieve his dreams. If that includes baseball, Joey knows we are here to support him."

If Martarano - who turns 20 in late July - does sign, he will head to the Cubs' training complex in Mesa, Ariz. After that, he could end up in Boise, a situation his family was hoping for before the draft.

"The ideal situation would be the Cubs take him and get with the Hawks," Victor Martarano told the Idaho Statesman. "We're crossing our fingers for that deal."

Said Hawks' General Manager Todd Rahr: "A lot of people are going to want to come out and see him. I think there's a good chance we're going to see him."

Martarano, a 6-foot-3, 241-pound third baseman, is not giving up football, Victor said. Joe Martarano could play five or six weeks of baseball before returning for fall football practice. Martarano redshirted in 2013 and is expected to be a reserve linebacker and special teams contributor for the Broncos this season. He could play some offense at fullback or H-back.

Martarano was one of four Treasure Valley high school players selected in the draft:

• Centennial High graduate Chase Harris (College of Southern Idaho, New Mexico) was selected in the 14th round (No. 412 overall) by Philadelphia as an outfielder.

• Rocky Mountain High graduate Isaac Anderson (College of Southern Idaho) was selected by the Reds in the 19th round (No. 575 overall) as a pitcher.

• Eagle High graduate Andrew Ely (Washington) was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 32nd round (No. 949 overall) as a second baseman.

• Other picks with Idaho ties Saturday: Porter Clayton (Bonneville High, Oregon), New York Yankees (21, 632); Cody Lavalli (Lewis-Clark State), Los Angeles Angels (27, 809); Cody Chartrand (Lewis-Clark State), Texas (36, 1086).

Brian Murphy: 377-6444Twitter: @MurphsTurph

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