Twins take McCallum in fourth round, Decker in 27th

Junior Derek McCallum was selected 132nd overall in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft.

Junior All-American Derek McCallum was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the fourth round of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft early Wednesday morning. âÄúHonestly this morning everything started happening pretty quick, and then I heard my name get called,âÄù McCallum said. The second baseman made his mark with the Gophers breaking the single-season record in RBI with 86 âÄî an improvement from 1999 when Robb Quinlan drove in 84. McCallumâÄôs batting average was the highest in a single-season by Minnesota since 1994, and his home run total was the highest since 1998. McCallum was also the leader in the Big Ten for home runs, slugging percentage, RBI, hits and total bases. He had the second highest batting average and on-base percentage. On a national level, McCallum was second in RBI and fifth in RBI per game (1.46). McCallumâÄôs talent was recognized several times throughout his collegiate career as he was a unanimous First-Team All-Big Ten selection, and one of only two players to be named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team and an NCAA Regional All-Tournament team. He was also named a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association First-Team All-American according to an announcement made by the NCBWA earlier today. âÄúItâÄôs been exciting to get the attention for it, I donâÄôt know if IâÄôm really all that deserving of it but itâÄôs been fun, just part of the experience,âÄù he said. This selection makes McCallum the highest drafted Gopher since 2004 when the Twins selected Glen Perkins in the first round. âÄúGoing into the draft I had heard I would be between the third or fifth round. I was obviously thrilled about the fourth round pick, and I couldnâÄôt be happier about the Twins picking me,âÄù McCallum said. McCallum has been wrestling between playing his senior season with the Gophers or moving on to the professional level. This high draft selection may help sway his decision. âÄúIf the opportunity is right and the offer is right I think this is the time to take off school and put it on the back burner for a while,âÄù he said. The Twins are planning to make a visit to McCallum within the next week to discuss a signing bonus number and where he will be sent to begin training. Minnesota teammate Eric Decker was also drafted by the Twins in the 27th round, an improvement from his draft position in 2008 when the Milwaukee Brewers took him in the 38th round. Decker said he is excited about being drafted, but his selection is quite the gamble for the Twins. Since deciding to return for his senior year to play football for the Gophers, DeckerâÄôs career as a baseball player has been put on the back burner. Decker said he spoke with one of the TwinsâÄô scouts a few days ago and discussed his decision to play football. Despite the possibility of his football career hurting his draft position, the Twins took a chance on the outfielder. âÄúThey still gave me a chance and weâÄôre going to work things out and see what happens, but my focus right now is definitely working to get ready for football,âÄù he said. âÄúThey understand that, which is nice.âÄù Decker, who also plays wide receiver for the Gophers, is only the third Minnesota athlete to letter in football and be taken in the MLB draft.