MEMPHIS — Blake Forsythe isn't quite sure whether his name will be called during tonight's first round of Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft or Tuesday, when rounds 2-30 take place.
The former Christian Brothers High School and current University of Tennessee catcher has heard he will likely be taken in the first three rounds, or almost assuredly in the first five.
But one thing Forsythe is certain about is that whatever team selects him, he plans to be on their major league roster sooner rather than later.
"I'm a hard worker, and I'm going to go out there and give it everything I've got," Forsythe said. "Whoever decides to pick me, I'm going to do whatever I can to make it through their system as fast as I can.
"My goal is to play in the big leagues. I don't plan on making a career out of the minor leagues. I can guarantee them I'm going to push myself as fast as I can, or as much as I can, to get to the big leagues and help them out in anyway I can."
Forsythe is one of three local players expected to go high in this year's draft. Ole Miss junior Drew Pomeranz, a left-handed pitcher from Collierville, is expected to be a top 10 pick tonight, while Taylor Morton, a right-handed pitcher from Bartlett and a Tennessee signee, will likely hear his name called Tuesday.
Prior to his junior year at Tennessee this season, the 6-2, 220-pound Forsythe was projected by some as a possible first round pick. He was coming off a sophomore season in which he hit .347 with 15 homers and 46 RBI, and was named a first-team all-Southeastern Conference performer.
But a slow start at the plate this season may have contributed to his slight fall in pre-draft projections.
"I think I was just trying to do a little too much to carry the team, not just trusting myself," Forsythe said. "I was trying to make things happen instead of just letting them happen. I just finally realized I put the work in and I just need to sit back and trust myself and let things happen.
"Sure enough, they did and as it turned out, I finished really strong."
Forsythe is the younger brother of Logan Forsythe, who starred at Arkansas and is now in the San Diego Padres farm system.
In addition to his bat, Forsythe is an excellent defensive catcher.
He threw out 35 percent of would-be basestealers this season. Baseball America rates him the 12th-best catcher in the draft.
CBHS coach Buster Kelso isn't surprised. He put Forsythe on the varsity roster as a sophomore and watched him improve every year.
"By the time he was a junior, I felt like he was one of the top catchers I had ever coached," Kelso said. "As far as draftability, those are hard to project. But when he left here, I thought he was going to be a high draft pick."
In addition to his physical skills, Kelso believes it's Forsythe's leadership skills that set him apart.
"His senior year, we had a very young team, very few seniors," Kelso said. "And he led us to a state championship (in 2007). Without him, we don't even come close. His leadership, compounded by his strong attitude toward the game, it's just tremendous.
"There's not going to be many catchers out there better than Blake, collegiately or high school. He's the type of guy, they'll take him if he bats .250 because he's going to hit home runs. And he's just a good handler of pitchers."
Forsythe said he has received strong interest from several teams. He plans to watch the draft at home with his family.
Forsythe said he plans to remain on an even keel until his name is called. Then, it's time to start that journey to the big leagues.
Other players hoping to be drafted include University of Memphis players Brennon Martin, Tyler Huelsing and Ryan Fraser.
MLB First-Year Player Draft, Secaucus, N.J.
Today: Round 1, 6 p.m., MLB Network, MLB.com
Tuesday: Rounds 2-30, 11 a.m.
Wednesday: Rounds 31-50, 11 a.m.