Jameis Winston: 5 Reasons Why He Should Pursue Professional Baseball
Jameis Winston Should Forego Football Career for Baseball
When most people look at Jameis Winston, they see one thing, and that is a professional superstar at the NFL level. Of course, those who foreshadow this may not be far off, as the Florida State quarterback won the Heisman Trophy and a National Championship on the back of 4,057 passing yards, a 66.9 percent completion percentage and 40 passing touchdowns. Blessed with great size at 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds and possessing a cannon of a right arm, few doubt the redshirt freshman's future potential on the gridiron.
But what many people do not know is that Winston also has great potential on the baseball field, which the Texas Rangers identified when they drafted him in the 15th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. The two sides were not able to come to an agreement on a contract, but this does not mean that MLB teams do not still have their eye on him.
During the 2013 baseball season, Winston split time between the mound and right field, combining to pitch 27 innings with a very respectable 3.00 ERA and posting a .235 BA at the plate. As a freshman on one of the top collegiate baseball teams in the country, this output is nothing to scoff at; and when one considers that Winston also missed a month in the middle of the season to win the Florida State starting quarterback job in spring football, it looks even more impressive.
Winston will again play baseball in the spring of 2014, and Baseball America has labelled him a third-team preseason All-American at the utility position. Of course, this has stoked massive speculation as to whether or not the redshirt freshman should potentially pursue both baseball and football professionally, but I personally don't think he should.
While many people would think Winston should not pursue both in favor of exclusively playing in the NFL, I actually think he should go the route of playing in MLB. To this effect, I have formed a list of five reasons why Winston should go this route, and why it will ultimately be beneficial to him.
5. Winston Will Have More Time to Develop In Baseball
If Winston is drafted in the NFL, he will be expected to automatically become a starter -- this simply will not happen in MLB. Even if Winston receives a multi-million dollar bonus from a MLB team, he will spend at least one, and likely 2-3 years in the minor leagues. Some may view this as a negative, but for a guy that is a switch-hitter with an explosive bat and the potential to also become a closer at the major league level, stepping out of the limelight could be a good thing.
4. Baseball Provides an Opportunity For a Much Longer Career than Football
The average career length in the NFL is generally around 3.5 years, while in that total rises to 5.6 years in MLB, which is a substantial jump. We have seen two-sport athlete Bo Jackson suffer the perils of physicality in football, in which anyone can have their career end in an instant. Of course, baseball does have serious injuries as well, but few are career-threatening, and a player as talented as Winston will always receive new chances and contracts.
3. Potential Monetary Gain Is Much Greater In Baseball
During the 2013 season, the average salary in MLB was $3.2 million, while it was $1.9 million in the NFL. Sure, both of these are huge totals for any normal person, but considering that an athlete will likely have a shorter career in football than baseball and will not have guaranteed contracts, it is hard to argue against the fact you can make a lot more money playing baseball. Money isn't everything, but Winston will consider it in his future decisions, and baseball provides a firmer financial footing.
2. Winston Will Have More Control Over Career Success In Baseball
While Winston is supremely talented at quarterback, he cannot control how good his offensive line will be at the NFL level, or even the skill players around him. In the past, we have seen such talents as David Carr see their careers go down the drain because of poor teams around them, but these issues are not as prevalent in baseball. Simply put, if you are a great hitter, you can be successful on a poor MLB team, and likewise if you are a great pitcher. This makes it inherently easier for Winston to succeed based on his vast talents in baseball.
1. Winston Won't Have to Worry About Long-Term Head Injuries
In recent years, there have been a number of former NFL players that have been diagnosed with serious head trauma or have reported serious mental issues. Almost each of these instances can be tied back to head injuries suffered on the gridiron. While many current football players say these injuries are worth it for the love of the game, few have the option of pursuing another career as lucrative as the baseball career Winston could have.