A major decision

  • Jason Blasco / The Garden Island

    Former Kapaʻa High School baseball Noa Cardinez fields a ball his daily workout session Thursday afternoon at the Ron Martin Field on the Kapa‘a High campus.

KAPA‘A— Recent Kapa‘a High graduate and baseball standout Noa Cardinez continues to work out diligently with former and current teammates regularly at Ron Martin Field on the Kapa‘a campus.

Undaunted by Major League Baseball’s announcement about reducing the 2020 amateur draft on June 10 and 11 from 40 rounds to five rounds as a cost-cutting move because of the economic hardships experienced during the pandemic, Cardinez continues to press on.

“It’s getting exciting knowing (the draft) is coming up,” Cardinez said. “I continue to have that mindset of taking that extra rep, or that extra swing.”

During the start and end of his abrupt high school senior season, Cardinez attracted interest from Major League scouts, who came to watch him play in early preseason games.

Some MLB scouts projected Cardinez as high as in the top five rounds, according to Cardinez.

Either way, Cardinez, who committed to the University of Hawai‘i Rainbows in December on a partial scholarship, should have a future in baseball.

Cardinez’s father, Michael, said there is still a possibility Noa could sign with an MLB organization if he is not drafted.

Signing as an undrafted free agent would limit his signing bonus to a maximum of $20,000, according to Michael, if that is the scenario.

”That is going to be a big decision if he is not drafted within those first five rounds,” Michael Cardinez said. “The decision will be pretty much up to him, whether he wants to play a few years or follow through is mostly up to him. He could play at the U of H for a couple of years and follow through on getting drafted later if he chooses to sign as a free agent. I will back him 100% whichever way he goes.”

Former Kapa‘a and KIF Player of the Year in 2015, Kade Kupihea, said Noa has the attitude to qualify for the Major Leagues.

“This game is all about attitude,” Kupihea said. “Through playing this game, there is a lot that you learn about yourself. He has progressed in his confidence level, and he brings that approach to the field.”

Kupihea, who is now on a baseball scholarship at Olympic College in Washington, is one of the players who has practiced with Noa throughout this process.

“I feel like he has great potential to play on the next level, and he has the mentality and the physical build for this as long as he sticks to it,” Kupihea said. “If he sticks to what is true, he will continue to succeed at anything he does.”

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Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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