Since his earliest days playing any sport, Terry Sanford baseball standout D.J. Herz has always played at the highest level. Now that he’s been drafted by the Chicago Cubs to play Major League Baseball, his father, John Herz said, that’s likely to continue.
While a final decision hasn’t been reached, the senior Herz, who is also representing his son in negotiations with the Cubs, said both are leaning toward signing a contract and starting D.J.’s professional career in the minor leagues as soon as possible.
D.J. was the 252nd player chosen in the draft, going to the Cubs in the eighth round.
“He’s really ready to get started,’’ the elder Herz said of his son. “That’s just D.J.’s makeup. He’s always played up, always played with the best. He’s ready to continue that trend.’’
D.J. was a three-sport athlete during the majority of his high school career at Terry Sanford, starting at quarterback in football, playing guard in basketball, and pitching and playing in the field for the baseball team.
This past season, the young Herz was voted Player of the Year in the Patriot Athletic Conference. He led Terry Sanford to the regular-season title, a 24-3 record and the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs. For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs were eliminated by the eventual state champion, New Hanover.
On the mound, Herz was 8-1 with a 0.51 earned run average and a Cumberland County Schools best of 106 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. At the plate, he batted .419 and drove in 26 runs. He had a county-best 13 doubles and tied for the lead in home runs with four. He also shared the lead in triples with three.
Herz’s father said the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursued his son hard and was still hopeful of getting him to play for the Tar Heels this fall.
But the senior Herz indicated the preference is to focus on professional baseball and forego a college career.
Once D.J. makes a final decision to sign, he will likely be assigned to one of Chicago’s rookie league teams, which are located in Arizona.