COLUMBIA — Aaron Senne is ready.
On Tuesday, Senne was drafted in the tenth round — 317th overall — by the Florida Marlins after hitting .400 with 16 home runs and 59 RBI last season as a senior for the University of Missouri.
“I’m going to miss this place,” Senne said. “But I have to turn the page and start a new chapter.”
Senne was one of five MU players who were drafted. Junior Brett Nicholas was the highest MU player taken in the sixth round by the Texas Rangers. Nicholas Tepesch was also taken by the Rangers in the 14th round. Michael Liberto was taken in the 21st round by the Kansas City Royals. The last Tiger drafted was Tyler Clark who went to the Detroit Tigers in the 25th round.
Despite all of the success he’s experienced in high school and college, Senne knows he has a lot to prove as a professional baseball player.
“I have to go in there and start over,” he said. “I need to make a name for myself just as I did here.”
Senne, working without an agent as of Wednesday, plans to sign with the Marlins within the week. The specific details haven’t been worked out in his contract, but he expects he’ll begin by playing in the New York-Penn League, which is a short-season A League that primarily features players, like Senne, who have just come out of college.
Unlike the NBA or NFL getting drafted in the MLB means the start of a long journey with, more than likely, several years traveling up the ranks of the minor leagues.
“At the Marlins I’ll be playing for a business,” Senne said. “They want to produce guys to help them in the big league. They’re thinking of the big picture.”
“I’ve always grown up playing for the team, trying to win for the team,” the Big 12 co-player of the year said. While that mentality won't change, Senne understands there will be one fundamental difference.
“You could be on the couch one day and the next day you might be on an a different team. You never know where you’re going to play the next day.”
“The only thing you can do is go out, play hard everyday and have fun.”
Senne is a little nervous about adjusting to the major leagues, but he says he is more confident than ever.
“I know I have what it takes,” he said. “I know that more now than in high school.”
Two things really drive Senne as an athlete.
The first is being a part of a team. Senne tries to be the most complete team player he can be, and favors team success over personal accolades. No. 1 goal is to win championships.
The taste of defeat is the other thing that drives Senne to succeed. Bitter memories of failure date as far back as his days playing travel youth baseball.
“There was a championship game where in the last inning of the game, the last hit sailed over my head and it eventually cost us the game.”
“I remember that like it was yesterday.”
When talking about his 2010 baseball season, one where he was recognized as one of the top players in the country, he mostly sees what he did wrong, not what he did right.
“I look back and I say, I should have gotten a hit there, shouldn’t have had that error, should have hit that ball out.”
Head Coach Tim Jamieson says these characteristics of Senne are what make him such a special baseball player.
“He has the right approach and attitude,” Jamieson said. “He knows what it takes, he’s willing to do what it takes and he has talent on top of all that.”
“That’s why I love baseball, you can never be perfect,” Senne said. “There’s always something to improve on and you can never be satisfied with where you’re at.”
In the highly competitive and cutthroat business of professional baseball, Senne is going to need a mentality like that to get him to the big leagues, a place where he thinks he belongs.
“I want to make it to the big leagues as fast as I can,” Senne said. “I know I have what it takes to make it to the top.”