Calvert Hall outfielder Troy Stokes Jr.'s prowess at the plate and in the field caught the attention of MLB scouts during his senior season in 2014. A The Baltimore Sun All-Metro first-team selection, Stokes batted .325 with four doubles and three home runs for the Cardinals.
Less than three weeks after Calvert Hall's season came to an end following a 5-2 loss against Archbishop Spalding during the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship game, Stokes was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers during the fourth round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft June 6.
A native of Woodlawn, the 5-foot-8 Stokes spoke with PressBoxDC.com about his role as one of Calvert Hall's team captains, his decision to bypass playing college baseball at the University of Maryland and his desire to make an impact on the Brewers' organization.
PressBox: With all the media attention you received this year, how did your final season at Calvert Hall differ from your previous three seasons?
Troy Stokes Jr.: My final season at Calvert Hall was a little different. I mean, we had a catcher (Alex Murphy) last year get drafted from the school to the Orioles, so there were scouts coming to the games already. But the difference this year was that the scouts were there to see me play.
It was definitely another thing to think about during the season. Sometimes, you felt like you had to do something great every time, and then I was reminded to just play the game that I love, and everything else will take care of itself.
PB: How did playing for a perennial baseball powerhouse such as Calvert Hall help you improve as a player and become one of the top young prospects around the country?
TS: Playing for Calvert Hall helped a lot, because I had to perform this spring in order to raise my stock for the draft. Playing for the Evoshield Canes for the past couple of summers made the biggest difference in my game. Playing against the top competition in the biggest and best tournaments in the country helped me become the player that I am.
PB: After losing to Archbishop Spalding during the MIAA A title game May 18, when did it hit you that your high school career was finished?
TS: It didn't really hit me until the next day. I was disappointed that we lost, but I knew we had given it our best. They were just the better team that day.
PB: What were you feeling following the game?
TS: I was disappointed. We had come all this way and fell just short of winning another title. As me being a four-year player on the team, and one of four team captains, I felt like I had failed the team, because I didn't lead them to a championship.
PB: When you got the call from the Milwaukee Brewers that they would be taking you with the 116th overall pick in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, what was going through your head?
TS: I was just very excited. It was a relief that my name was called, and that the Brewers see me as part of their future. My family and I did all the right steps to get me to this point.
PB: Were you hoping the Brewers selected you, or was there another team you were hoping would select you?
TS: To be honest, when I first started being looked at as a prospect at the next level, I didn't care who drafted me. I just wanted to play professional baseball as soon as possible. When the draft got closer and closer, the Brewers were one of the front-runners that I would like to be drafted by, because of the way the organization went forward in recruiting me.
PB: What was the draft process like?
TS: The draft process was sometimes hectic and thrilling. My adviser would call and tell us where teams had me on their board, and that was exciting. However, that wait time seemed like forever. You are just waiting to hear your name.
PB: What are some of the similarities between the draft process and the recruiting process?
TS: The similarities are that recruiters and scouts do some of the same stuff. They constantly observe your game. They send information sheets to have you fill them out. They call you and ask questions all the time.
PB: What are some of the differences between the draft process and the recruiting process?
TS: The differences are that the recruiting for me started in eighth grade, while the draft started at my junior year. It ended on June 6. Scouts show up at every game. You have to show yourself until your last game.
PB: Why did you ultimately decide to commit to the University of Maryland?
TS: I committed to the University of Maryland because I saw Maryland being the best fit for me playing college baseball. Everyone there just seemed to welcome me in as family. I always wanted to go to Maryland. It's home.
PB: Have you signed your national letter of intent with the University of Maryland yet?
TS: I have signed my national letter of intent, but I will bypass playing college baseball to play pro ball.
PB: As one of the top-rated prospects in the country, how difficult was it deciding to go pro rather than playing college ball?
TS: It was a difficult decision, but my goal is to play professional baseball in the big leagues. I feel that signing my contract to play with the Brewers is the best way of making it happen.
PB: How do you think your time at Calvert Hall has prepared you for what you will face in your pursuit to play for the Brewers one day?
TS: For most of the summer, I was away from home, so being away from home isn't that big of a deal for me. I have built relationships with a lot of people through school and summer ball. Those relationships will help me out with everything I'm about to go through.