03/24/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Grant Desme, PRIEST? A's Top Prospect RETIRES To Pursue Faith

Grant Desme, a top-eight prospect in the Oakland Athletics farm system, has retired from baseball to become a Catholic priest.

In 2007 Desme said that "above all, my faith comes first and I dedicate myself to church." The A's were likely not counting on him to take the statement so literally, so soon. The 23-year-old outfielder led the Arizona Fall League in home runs and won the league's MVP award. He won the 2007 Big West Player of the Year award when he played at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The AP has more:

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 RBIs 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 RBIs 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.