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Spanish Springs’ Avina competes at MLB Draft Combine

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 9:20 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Jace Avina was one of 91 high school players in the country invited to the MLB Draft Combine in North Carolina.

“It was not something I expected,” said Avina. “It all happened really fast.”

He was informed through an email, and was at the USA Baseball complex just two weeks later, competing against some of the best prospects in this year’s draft.

“It is a big confidence booster, just knowing that I am on that level with all of these other kids that could be first rounders,” admitted Avina.

He just wrapped up a great high school career at Spanish Springs, being named the Northern Offensive Player of the Year as a senior. It’s due to all of the work he put in during the downtime, after his junior season was derailed by the pandemic.

“He would go out there and just spend hours working on his fundamentals. And that’s really all you can do when everything shuts down,” said his father, Armando Avina. “So he stayed sharp on his fundamentals, and really took advantage of that time when everybody else was not doing anything.”

He returned noticeably heavier, and started to catch the eyes of scouts at baseball showcases.

“We just couldn’t be more proud of the player he’s become,” added his father. “But more so of the man he’s become, and the brother he still is.”

Jace has a tight bond with his older brother Austin, who was diagnosed with Autism at two-years old.

“He’s a big motivation,” explained Avina. “I mean, just him having a smile on his face when I’m playing a game, you know it just brings me up and it’s a big motivator for me to get better.”

“He is a guardian angel to our son Austin,” added Armando Avina. “Really growing up, Jace has had to take the role of older brother; being responsible. You see it now how it’s turned him into the responsible person. The loving; the care provider.”

The maturity is one of the reasons he stands out among a crowd of prospects. After committing to walk-on at Nevada, Avina’s stock has risen nationally over the last year. He’s now been offered a scholarship to stay here and play for the Wolf Pack.

“It’s a great coaching staff, and I’m super excited for it,” added Avina.

He grew up a Nevada fan, and his father is an alumni. Armando Avina was the kicker and punter on the Wolf Pack football team back in the early-90s. But there’s a chance Jace could forgo college, if he’s selected in next week’s MLB Draft,

“I just want to put a uniform on, wherever I go. It’s just a dream that I want to play major league baseball,” added Avina. “And it’s a dream that I’m in this situation.”

The Major League Draft runs Sunday, July 11th through Tuesday, July 13th.

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