Jul. 12—NORTH ANDOVER — Steven Hajjar thought he was going to be chosen at one point late in the second round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
But that team chose another guy.
Because of his financial requests, Hajjar had come the conclusion he was probably going back to college, the University of Michigan. It wasn't a bad option, mind you, but it wasn't "the dream."
About 30 seconds later, though, plans changed. He was the property of the Minnesota Twins after being drafted 61st overall in the second round.
"I was in another room talking to my advisor and he said something about the Pirates selecting me in the third round," recalled Hajjar.
"The next thing you know, my advisor says, 'What a minute.' And all of sudden I hear my family and friends in the other room screaming," said Hajjar. "I ran in the room and saw my name on the TV screen. It was wild."
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"It was easily the most stressful day of my life," said Hajjar. "I can't explain it. It was an absolute rollercoaster ... But it ended up being the best day of my life."
Hajjar recently completed three years of college and only one full year of baseball due to a freak pickup basketball injury to his knee and the COVID-19 shortened season in 2020.
But his one year was an elite one — 4-2, 3.09 ERA, 120 strikeouts in 81.1 innings pitched — en route to first team All-Big 10 status.
Only 20, heading back to school was on option. Michigan is considered one of the top 15 programs in the country and the instruction he received as a pitcher and player was "through the roof."
His goal, though, was to get drafted and get paid. Basically, be in position to let the MLB teams decide if he should go back to college.
Hajjar was expected to be a late-first-rounder to second-round pick, which meant seven figures. Basically, that's what it would take for him to leave Michigan.
Well, as the 61st pick, Hajjar is slotted to receive $1,129,700 from the Twins. That is negotiable, even the possibility of him getting more than that.
What isn't negotiable is Hajjar's desire to become a full-fledged professional baseball player.
"This is my dream," said Hajjar, who turns 21 on Aug. 6. "I realized early in high school, when I started to get looks from colleges and scouts, that baseball was my sport. I am all-in when it comes to baseball. This is my passion."
Hajjar said he owes phone calls to several people along the way, including his former high school at Central Catholic, Marc Pelletier, his AAU coach Steve Lomasney (Show Baseball Academy) and local baseball guru Dave Bettencourt. He also needs to call his college coach Erik Bakich and his college pitching coach Chris Fetter.
"I have a lot of people to thank for helping make this happen," said Hajjar. "This has been a long journey. I couldn't have done it without their help. Also my family, especially my parents. They gave up a lot for me to do this. I'm so glad to share with so many people."
Hajjar was drafted in 2018 by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 21st round. But he had let MLB teams know of his intention of going to Michigan before the draft.
Hajjar is expecting to come to an agreement with the Minnesota Twins and meet with some of the organization's management.
"I'm a Twin," said Hajjar. "That sounds cool. I can't wait to start."
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