Cubs 2014 22nd round draft pick 1B Joe Martarano will be attending Extended Spring Training in Mesa and will be pursuing a pro baseball career full-time after spending the past four years attending college and playing linebacker at Boise State. He played baseball part-time in the Cubs organization in 2014-15, but decided to concentrate on school and football last season.
The 6'4 240+ Martarano was a two-way star football player (QB-LB) at Fruitland HS (Idaho), earning Gatorade Idaho Player of the Year and Idaho 3-A State Player of the Year honors in 2012 while also being named an Honorable Mention Parade All-American and signing an NLI with Boise State. And (BTW) he was also a third-baseman on the Fruitland baseball team, and was rated one of the top 150 players in the nation by Baseball America going into the 2013 draft.
So Martarano was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 13th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, but (as expected) did not sign, turning down a $100K bonus offer from the Phils while opting instead to attend Boise State and play football. (Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen refused to allow Martarano to play football at BSU if he signed with the Phillies).
Because Boise State does not have a baseball team, Martarano was once again eligible for selection (as the rare draft-eligible freshman) in the 2014 draft (normally a player attending a four-year college is not eligible for selection in the MLB First-Year Player Draft until after his junior year or when he turns 21, whichever comes first), and the Cubs selected him in the 22nd round and signed him a month later, even though Martarano hadn't played baseball in more than a year and appeared to be fully-committed to playing college football.
The deal was possible only because the Cubs and new Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin (Chris Petersen's successor) agreed to let Martarano play football at Boise State (with football being his #1 priority), with the opportunity to play pro baseball in the summer if he was so inclined, and defer his decision about which sport to pursue professionally until he completed his college career.
Because he was a two-sport player, Martarano's signing bonus (by rule) could be spread over several seasons (either three, four, or five), and in Martarano's case, it was spread over four years (2014-2017). However, he remains under club control at least through the 2020 season (or longer if he is added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point), giving him at least four seasons to metriculate in the art & science of baseball and (hopefully) advance upward through the Cubs system.
The 22-year old Martarano suffered a season-ending injury (broken leg) in a game versus UNLV last November, and while that is a concern, he is supposedly 100% ready to rock & roll and is enthusiastically fully-committed to playing baseball going forward.
From what I remember of him when he was at Extended Spring Training a couple of years ago, Martarano has plus raw-power (at least in BP) and Cubs coaches said his make-up is "off the charts." (Sound familiar?).
Now he just has to work on becoming the best baseball player he can be.