Being drafted by an MLB team was a dream Dallas Carroll, former University of Utah third baseman, had his heart set on since he was a kid. During the 2017 MLB draft, his aspirations turned into reality.
Carroll was on the phone in his bedroom talking to a team when he missed hearing he was selected in the ninth round as the 264th overall pick by the Milwaukee Brewers. His family members were the ones to tell him he was drafted. Despite the hectic day, it was an unforgettable experience — one made possible because of his five years as a Ute.
He and former Utah pitcher Jayson Rose, who was drafted in the round before him by the Brewers as well, began their time in the minors playing advanced rookie ball together in Montana.
“Having someone that you played with and a friend like that to kind of go through the first year was super cool,” Carroll said.
While the game remains the same at the next level, the atmosphere and certain aspects of the game are different than in college baseball. At a university, most athletes play on the same team for three to four years, but in the minors, nothing stays the same for long. Being called up and sent down is part of the grinding process required to reach the professional level. Carroll learned that right off the bat.
His coach at the time told him that after playing in the All-Star game in Oregon, he would fly to Wisconsin the following day. He was advancing to the Class A affiliate of the Brewers, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Carroll said going from one team to another can be both thrilling and nerve wracking, but his time at Utah helped prepare him for the wild ride in the minor leagues. He was taught in college not only about the game itself, but also the value of time management and the concept his career is going to be what he makes it.
“You got to understand what you need to do on your own time to get better and … take your own playing career into your own hands,” Carroll said. “[You can’t] wait for someone to say, ‘Hey, you have to do this.’ Because out there … they didn’t do that.”
Everyone’s goal in the minors is to make it to the majors, and Carroll believes that makes the game feel more individualized rather than a team environment. Carroll went from a must-win mentality in college to no longer caring as much about wins and losses. Now, it’s more about trying to do what the coaching staff wants to see from him, with the hope he will be called up.
Games are still taken seriously in the minors, but Carroll said they’re more like practices to get to the MLB. In college, a team is playing together as one to win a series, improve its record and make it to the postseason.
As a Ute, Carroll most enjoyed the team camaraderie that led to friendships. That part of the game isn’t as vibrant in the minors because guys are always on the move. Carroll will never forget the years he spent with his collegiate teammates. He wants the Utes who are draft eligible this year to know what he has come to learn over the past year — live in the moment and absorb everything college baseball has to offer.
“Don’t take this last year for granted because honestly, you’re going to miss being here,” Carroll said. “You’re going to remember the memories more than the games themselves.”