Marsalis Holloway 34th round pick for Kansas City Royals

Friday, June 15, 2012
Marsalis Holloway Photo submitted

Sometimes it takes the right combination of talent and college to produce a pro player. For Marsalis Holloway, it was the combination of raw talent and Columbia State Community College that made him a 34th round pick for the Kansas City Royals.

Holloway, a Dominion Christian high school graduate, originally signed with Darton College out of High School and he readily admits it was a mistake.

"I chose the wrong school," Holloway said.

Noting that he didn't really take classes seriously and his grades faltered, he found himself ineligible to play for Darton by the spring semester of his freshman year. "I was taking summer classes trying to make up some of the work," he said. And, admittedly, the skinny, 5'10" player did not have the physical frame that is normally associated with major league players.

But Coach Mike Corn learned from major league scout Sean Gibbs that Holloway was, "a diamond in the rough" and saw a lot of potential in Holloway.

"Sean Gibbs asked me to take a look at Marsalis," said Mike Corn, head baseball coach at Columbia State. "I brought Marsalis to Columbia State because he was an athletic runner who really fits our style of play," Corn continued.

"We make sure that our players take care of business with grades and classes at Columbia State. He spent the spring semester on the main campus in Columbia, and juggled 14 semester hours, finishing the semester with a solid grade point average."

"I think that Marsalis benefited from that discipline as well," Corn said.

Holloway ended the spring 2012 campaign hitting in the .330 range with 16 stolen bases.

"We couldn't be more excited for Marsalis having his hard work pay off," Corn said.

The next step for the draftees is signing with the Royals. After the players are signed, they'll go to mini-camp, and after a couple weeks, it's off to short-season teams.

"More than anything, we want them to get their feet wet in professional baseball this summer. That's really the goal," said Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo. "Understand what our routines are, what the early work schedule's like. Get accustomed to playing every day. More than anything over the years I've been involved with this, that's the biggest adjustment, (for) high school players in particular, but even college players. You get six off days every summer. That's it. That's the biggest adjustment."

Columbia State's 2012 season included a record 38-game home winning streak and a single-season record of 43 wins. They became the 2012 Tennessee Community College Athletic Association conference champions.