Cardinez contemplates future after being bypassed in MLB draft

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Waimea base runner Deiton Otoman is tagged out by the Kapa‘a fielder Noa Cardinez on Otoman’s stolen-base attempt in the first inning during the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation baseball championship playoff at Hanapepe Stadium.

KAPA‘A — Former Kapa‘a High School baseball standout Noa Cardinez was understandably anxious watching the 2020 Major League amateur draft Thursday afternoon.

Cardinez’s immediate plans rested on whether an MLB organization selected him in the draft.

After not being selected, he said he may opt to honor his partial scholarship at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

“It was nerve-wracking, and it wasn’t the outcome I wanted,” Cardinez said.

“It is still all good, and this gives me a couple of extra years to get bigger, stronger, faster and more mature.”

Cardinez said he still will mull over his options.

“I still have to talk it over with my parents, but I am leaning more towards the collegiate side,” Cardinez said.

If he chooses the route of professional baseball and signs as an undrafted free agent, his signing bonus would be limited to a maximum of $20,000.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cardinez and many other high school and college prospects experienced a setback when MLB decided to scale back the draft from its usual 40 rounds to five rounds.

MLB saved approximately $30 million in signing bonuses that they usually give to drafted players.

There were Hawai‘i-based players selected in the first five rounds, including Rainbows’ Jeremy Wu-Yelland, who was chosen by the Boston Red Sox. The other player was Waiakea High School player Kala‘i Rosario, who was selected by the Minnesota Twins.

“It’s unbelievable to have the opportunity to go to a good program, and that helps you become a better player,” Cardinez said. “Just to learn and get better, plus I know the physical side will come along.”

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

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