California Dreamin’ / Dodgers pick North grad in fifth round of MLB Draft

Devin Mann went into the past couple of days knowing that if he was picked in the top five rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft, he likely would forego his senior season at Louisville and turn pro.

So as the picks went by in the fifth round Tuesday afternoon, and Mann’s name wasn’t called, the former Columbus North standout became a little nervous. But then the Los Angeles Dodgers made him the final pick in the fifth round — the 164th overall selection.

“It was definitely nerve-racking,” Mann said. “(Playing pro baseball is) something you’ve always wanted to grow up doing. It’s a nervous process and an anxious process, but it’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world.”

The first two rounds of the 40-round draft took place Monday. Rounds 3 through 10 were Tuesday.

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Mann watched the draft at his parents’ Columbus home Tuesday, while talking to his advisor, Jonathan Maurer from Cincinnati.

Maurer called Mann around 3 p.m. Tuesday told him the Dodgers were going to take him. Then, the Dodgers’ scouting director called.

Mann said he also drew interest from the Royals, Orioles, Phillies and Yankees during his junior season at Louisville this spring, but the Dodgers were the team that was most high on him.

“They definitely showed interest throughout the entire process,” Mann said.

Although Mann played mostly second base at Louisville and was the starting second baseman the past two years, the Dodgers listed the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder as a shortstop. Mann played shortstop his final three years at North after playing left field as a freshman.

Mann left North in 2015 with career records in almost every offensive category. He still leads in batting average, (.449), hits (150), doubles (36), triples (10), home runs (20), RBIs (111) and runs scored (118) and ranks second in stolen bases (92) and third in walks (49).

“If you look at Devin’s impact on the Columbus North baseball program, there were a lot of good baseball players in Columbus North history, and he rewrote the record books,” North coach Ben McDaniel said. “He’s only continued to improve his game to get better mentally and physically. It’s not uncommon to see Devin in a batting cage when he comes back to Columbus North, and the players that have come after him see that, as well. I’m really proud of all the work he’s put in that came to fruition today.”

At Louisville, Mann made 19 starts and played in 39 games as a freshman, hitting .303 with nine doubles and 17 RBIs. He took over the starting job at second base last year and hit .268 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs in helping the Cardinals reach the College World Series.

This spring, Mann hit .303 with seven homers and 52 RBIs for Louisville, which again made the NCAA Tournament before falling in the regional round.

“Obviously, we got knocked out earlier than I wanted to, but I’m pleased with how the season went,” Mann said.

Mann is not yet sure about his contract details or where he will be sent. listed the approximate value of the slot where he was picked at $300,600.

But Mann is happy to be on the verge of becoming a professional baseball player.

“Growing up playing baseball, it’s always been a dream of mine, and it’s great to see it happen,” Mann said. “That was definitely something that I wanted to happen, and I’m ready to get started with my pro career. It’s definitely an exciting time for sure.”