Encinitas native John Cresto focused on Futures League


He had the opportunity to do exactly what he wanted to do when he grew up. At 18 years old, however, Encinitas native John Cresto decided he would give himself more time to mature.

This summer, the rising sophomore and starting shortstop at Santa Clara University is playing for the Sanford Mainers of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL). Last year, the conversation was a little different.

Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 18th round of the 2015 MLB draft out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, Cresto had a decision to make: do what he’s wanted to do his whole life or further his education. He chose education.

“Yeah there was a good consideration to it,” he said of signing. “In the end, it all worked out. I get to go to Santa Clara – a beautiful university, a great place. There, I’m improving my skills and bettering my mentality for baseball. And hopefully, my junior year, the draft comes again.

We’ll see what happens.”

Typically, it is tough for teams to sway high schoolers drafted outside of the first 10 rounds to sign because there is a signing bonus cap. Essentially, they are only allowed to spend a certain amount and their top priorities tend to be their top picks.

With that in mind, the Cubs might not have been able to make an enticing enough offer to sway Cresto away from school. Not to mention three strong seasons at school could lead to better pro ball opportunities.

Regardless, Cresto is happy with the decision right now.

“I think the decision was great for me to go to school first,” he said. “I’ve got great coaching at Santa Clara. It’s just going to allow me to become mature for the process, my junior or senior year.”

As a freshman at Santa Clara, Cresto hit .263 with six home runs and a .737 OPS in 49 games. Seeing Cresto as part of their team’s future, his coaches sent him and a handful of his teammates to the NECBL this summer.

“It’s one of the best leagues in the country,” he said. “I’m here to get the best experience, face the best pitching and to improve my skills so we can come out on top next season.

“It’s nice,” he added. “I’m seeing very good competition. The pitching is pretty decent and I get to meet all these great guys from all over the place. The coaches are great as well. It’s a good time.”

Through 12 games with the Mainers, Cresto had hit .231 with a .348 on-base percentage. Cresto said this summer he is trying to stay consistent and trust his hands more. As a freshman, he struggled a bit defensively at shortstop. But he is confident he will be able to stick with it.

“Shortstop’s one of the toughest positions on the field,” he said. “But it’s the most fun for me. I feel like if I continue to work on my speed and quickness, I’ll be able to stay with it.”

Even if he does not stick with shortstop, it could be beneficial for him to keep playing it now as shortstops tend to be athletic enough to play nearly anywhere on the diamond.

“You see a lot of the pro teams take shortstops or middle infielders and can move them all around,” said Cresto. “Wherever they want you, no matter the position, it’ll all work out.”