By Lily Belcher
It’s every baseball player’s dream to earn a spot in the big leagues and to stand on the same clay where countless young athletes began their journey to Cooperstown. The 2021 MLB draft put 612 athletes one step closer to playing on major League turf. In the 14th round, Durant High School 2021 graduate Sean Hermann got closer to standing on a major league mound, becoming the 423rd overall draft pick. Hermann said he found out he would have the opportunity to take this next step with the Yankees organization on July 13 while watching the third day of the MLB draft.
“It was a dream come true,” he described. “It was crazy to hear my name called.”
Durant baseball coach Butch Valdes knew Hermann would be drafted, but it was a matter of when and to which team. Valdes said the San Diego Padres had expressed serious interest in the 18-year-old right-hander with a scorching fastball and mean slider, but Ronnie Merrill, a scout for New York, secured Hermann’s position in the Yankees organization.
The right-hander excelled as a pitcher during his high school career, pitching for Durant’s varsity squad since his sophomore year in 2019. He pitched 136.2 innings over 29 games and struck out 209 opponent batters in his three years on varsity. He pitched four complete games and led the county by more than 40 strikeouts his senior year.
“The whole family was there with Sean, waiting to hear,” said Valdes. “Once [his] name [was] announced, it’s just that breath of relief and excitement … everyone has been excited for him.”
After the draft, Hermann returned to Durant’s clubhouse to talk to Durant baseball’s rising stars to tell them what it was like to be drafted, encourage them to work towards the majors, and thank his coaches and teammates.
On July 19, Hermann officially signed with the Yankees. As a result of joining the major league farm system, Hermann will not attend the University of South Florida in the fall—a decision, Valdes said, was easy to make.
“This has been his dream,” explained Valdes. “If you are drafted high enough in MLB, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. And you can always go back to college. You can’t always go back to MLB.”
Valdes said Hermann has already reported to the Yankees’ Rookie minor league team to begin workouts. Hermann plans to continue to work his way through the farm system and, hopefully, one day stand on the mound under the lights in Yankee Stadium.