OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland Athletics prospect Grant Desme is retiring from baseball to enter the priesthood.
Desme was selected the 2009 Arizona Fall League MVP and was considered one of the top prospects in Oakland's system.
The 23-year-old outfielder batted .288 with 31 homers, 89 RBI and 40 stolen bases in 131 games at Class-A Kane County and Stockton last season. He then hit .315 with a league-leading 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 27 games in the fall league.
Desme said he'd been thinking about the priesthood for a year and a half. "It took me a while to get to," he said on a conference call Friday.
Desme plans to enter a seminary in August and hopes eventually to become a Catholic priest.
"It's about a 10-year process," he said. In a way, he added, it's like "re-entering the minor leagues."
Desme told Oakland general manager Billy Beane about his decision on Thursday. Desme said he had no regrets about walking away from baseball.
"I love the game, but I aspire to higher things," he said.
Desme was a second-round pick in the 2007 amateur draft after being selected Big West Player of the Year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He was ranked as Oakland's No. 8 prospect by Baseball America.
I wish all the blessings in the world to Grant, and applaud him for his moral character in giving up a likely 7-figure bank account to serve God.
On the other hand, this kind of thing can only happen to teams I root for. I will expect to hear any day that our new third baseman, Kevin Kouzmanoff, is suffering from the same spinal disk injury that's crippled Eric Chavez for four years, or some player will be hit by lightning while adjusting the antenna like Bo Diaz was years ago. Or like the Dolphins, where we've assembled a Big Ten all-star team that takes turns alternating between highlight reel plays and blowing a game's crucial play due to utter incompetance ( Ayodele, Fields, Vonte, Ginn, Hartline, Henne, Long, and Cam Wake, you know who I'm talking about).