WILMINGTON — A childhood dream was realized for Steven Linkous when his named was called on day three of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft in June. Now, the Leland native and former UNCW standout is gearing up for a late February trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, and Spring Training as part of the Colorado Rockies organization.
Linkous recently shared his thoughts on life in baseball. From a scrappy infielder competing for Wilmington Post 10 and North Brunswick High School, to his transition to outfield midway through his college career under Coach Mark Scalf on the local campus, the speedster from across the bridge talked about lessons learned along the way and his development as a player and young man.
“You see all these guys on TV as a kid, you model you’re game after a certain player, baseball is always something I’ve wanted to do,” said Linkous. “The real turning point for me came sophomore summer, going into junior year and after a really good junior season at UNCW; it started to click with me that I could possibly take my game to the next level.”
Linkous credits his growth to a variety of things, including people who helped him through the years.
As a senior at UNCW, Linkous started all 60 games in lead-off spot for Seahawks. He led the nation with a school-record 78 runs scored, while finishing second in the CAA with a .374 batting average. He stole 29 bases to lead UNCW and set a school record with 12 career triples.
Linkous took a big step toward a becoming a potential draft prospect in the summer of 2014 while competing for the Wilmington Sharks of the Coastal Plain League. It was during those few months the lightning fast Linkous gained the confidence needed to help him swipe 30 bags as a junior for UNCW. He played in some of college baseball’s largest arenas, including a memorable NCAA Regional against LSU in Baton Rouge during the 2015 season.
“There are so many things I can say about the coaches at UNCW,” Linkous said. “Everything they did, they wanted you to become the best person you could become. They always tried to put you in the best situation as a player. The skills they’ve given me have helped me so much.
“The biggest thing they drove into me is learning accountability,” he said. “Helping me learning to understand who I am in baseball and in life. Understanding to never settle for less, always go out and get it and you’ll be successful.”
After joining the Boise Hawks in the Class A Northwest Short League following his selection in the 22nd round of the draft, Linkous stole 30 bases in 56 games and hit .253. He joined UNCW teammate Jared Gessell in Boise to begin their journey in pro ball. Gessell was also picked by the Rockies on day three of the draft in the 23rd round.
Leading up to his trip to Arizona for the start of spring training next month, Linkous and former teammate Gavin Stupienski are currently roommates in Wilmington. They’ve been seen working out at UNCW on a daily basis as Stupienski sets his sights on Arizona Diamondbacks spring training.
Listen to the complete interview between Linkous and PortCityDaily’s Joe Cats here.