MIAMI -- The Nationals brought another of their top Draft picks into the organization Monday when second-round selection Jeff Kobernus signed and promptly caught a cross-country flight to begin his pro career.
"I don't know that it's hit me yet that I'm playing professional baseball," the California second baseman said during a layover at New York's LaGuardia International Airport, where he was awaiting a connecting flight to Albany to join his Class A Vermont teammates on the road.
"My dad played pro ball [in the Mariners' system], so it's something I've always wanted to do. I'm really excited and want to get this going."
Kobernus said he signed for a $705,500 bonus, which puts him in the slot for the Draft's 50th selection.
The money wasn't as much of an issue, he said, as the chance to proceed quickly and make sure the rest of his schooling was taken care of. Kobernus leaves Berkeley three semesters shy of earning his degree in American studies.
Kobernus batted .341 for California this season with eight homers and 40 RBIs, settling in at second base after seasons in the outfield and at third. The Nationals project him as a second baseman, which offers the quickest path for him to progress.
"In talking to the Nationals," Kobernus said, "they see me moving up pretty quickly. I just wanted to get out [to Vermont] quick and get things started."
Nationals -- Top five selections
|1||RHP||Stephen Strasburg||San Diego St U
|10||RHP||Drew Storen||Stanford U
|50||2B||Jeffrey Kobernus||UC Berkeley
|81||RHP||Trevor Holder||U Georgia
|112||RHP||Anthony Morris||Kansas St U
|Complete Nationals Draft results >|
Kobernus, one of seven Nats signings on Monday, brings three of the club's four top picks under contract. The exception is Stephen Strasburg, the San Diego State pitcher taken No. 1 overall.
Jeff Shain is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.