Steven Sensley Turns down MLB Contract in favor of UL
Following a tremendous baseball season with Louisiana State University-Eunice, the left-handed hitting sensation and first baseman/outfielder Steven Sensley has decided to play for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette rather than sign with the Tampa Bay Rays, who drafted him in the 38th round.
While the deadline to sign his contract with Tampa Bay was on July 17, Sensley jumped the gun on his decision to attend UL Lafayette by registering for fall classes about two weeks prior to the deadline.
If the money was there, Sensley would have taken it. But he didn’t want to rush into professional baseball if the price wasn’t right.
With contract discussions between the two parties at a continuous standstill, Sensley’s choice became much clearer. He wanted to be a Cajun.
The $150,000 contract offered by the Tampa Bay Rays was not enough. Sensley’s desire for the college experience and a chance to go to Omaha with the Ragin’ Cajuns makes his decision one that is hardly regrettable.
This is not Sensley’s first taste of being drafted, however. Back in 2013, Sensley was drafted out of University High School in Baton Rouge in the 33rd round by Minnesota. He also turned this offer down in favor of attending LSU-E.
Now, Sensley joins a youthful Cajuns team that has a lot of unity and experience together. With Blake Trahan being the only departing Cajun player, most of the 2015 team that made it to the super regionals last season is still intact.
2016 may be his only year as a Cajun though, as Sensley is eligible for the 2016 Major League Baseball draft. The main question MLB scouts will be looking to answer about Sensley this coming season is whether or not he can compete at a high level in Division I Baseball.
If he comes anywhere close to what he did in NJCAA Division II, the answer to that question will be an adamant yes.
With 21 home-runs, 80 RBIs (runs batted in), a batting percentage of .374, an on-base percentage of .466, and 13 stolen bases for LSU-E, he was an NJCAA superstar.
If he can prove that he can continue to succeed at the next level, he has a good chance to get the contract he desires following the 2016 MLB draft.
Sensely has a chance to show the scouts that he can consistently hit at a Division I level. If he can do so, not only does he help his 2016 draft stock, it provides the Cajuns with some strength in their batting lineup, making a strong unit even stronger.
Nobody expected the Cajuns to do what they did last year. The expected rebuilding year turned quickly into another shot in the super regionals before falling short against Louisiana State University.
The expectations in 2016 are much higher as the Cajuns eye an even more successful season. Sensley believes they will exceed expectations.
“I feel with the team we’re going to have, we’ll be able to get there (College World Series) next year and get to Omaha and compete,” Sensley told the Baton Rouge Advocate.
The hopeful words of Sensley are far from a stretch. Being so close the past two seasons, Sensley may be the missing puzzle piece the Cajuns need in order to get over the hump and finally end their 16-year World Series drought.
The devastating end to the 2015 baseball season left Cajun fans thirsty for more. Signs were already pointing up for Cajuns baseball in 2016 before the addition of Sensley. He is simply the icing on the cake.