Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Two-Day Shortened MLB Draft Begins Tomorrow

I had the privilege of being at Texas A&M’s Blue Bell Park in mid February and

watching the best college pitcher in tomorrow’s major league draft beat Army early this


Left-hander Asa Lacy, who incidentally was born just north of Blue Bell Park, is

considered the top pitcher in this year’s draft by DraftSite.com and is expected to be

chosen by the Miami Marlins as the No. 3 overall player in the first round.

I heard rumors that he was the best pitcher in the nation while at College Station

for the three-game series between the Aggies and Army. But oftentimes when talking to

an Aggie there may be a little exaggeration about the talent level of one wearing a Texas

A&M uniform.

But it didn’t take long for me to see that Lacy was the real deal, popping his fast

ball at 97 and 98 miles per hour consistently in the 45-degree night air.

Army got around half dozen base hits off Lacy and scored two earned

runs—which incidentally were the only two earned runs Lacy surrendered during the 24

innings he pitched during the abbreviated collegiate baseball season.

My grandson, Logan Smith, may have been fortunate to be named the starting

pitcher of the Saturday night game, being tagged with the 6-5 loss after giving up four

unearned runs thanks to three errors and a couple of mental boo-boos by his teammates in

one inning.

DraftSite.com rates Lacy as having the best arm in his class and at 6-4, 215

pounds has more than filled out his frame. His fastball can range from 90-98 mph and is

complemented by a “filthy” slider, plus a change-up and a power curveball.

In only four starts, Lacy struck out 46 batters (14 against Army), walked eight and

allowed two earned runs in 24 innings. And the Marlins could very well miss out on

drafting Lacy if Detroit or Baltimore decide they want him first.

As far as our Houston Astros are concerned in the 2020 draft, MLB

Commissioner Rob Manfred stripped them of their first and second-round picks as

punishment in their infamous sign-stealing episode in 2017 and 2018.

So, Houston won’t pick until the third round and will have four picks in the five-

round draft.

Today, General Manager James Click gathered his scouts and other front-office

personnel for a trial run of their virtual draft room. They’ll follow along, cross names off

the board and debate selections on a night where they won’t actually pick, according to

Sunday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle.

“When it comes to a five-round draft with four picks for us, it honestly simplifies

it a little bit,” Click said. “It can just be about taking the best talent possible because in

those early rounds, that is the tool that we’re all looking for.”

Houston’s first pick is 72 nd —a compensatory selection after Gerrit Cole declined

its qualifying offer and signed with the Yankees. If not for that, the Astros wouldn’t

select until the 101 st slot, the article added.

Tomorrow’s opening rounds are expected to be college-heavy because more video

exists on college players, especially those in premier conferences. In both the 2018 and

2019 drafts, nine of the Astros first 10 selections were college players.

And because Houston is without first or second-round picks, its signing bonus

pool is a major-league low $2,202,600. The Astros first selection at No. 72 carries just an

$870,700 slot value. Teams are subject to penalties if they exceed their bonus pool.

The Astros’ farm system is rated as the fifth worst in the sport. Outfield depth is

depleted, as is left-handed pitching. Houston spent its last two first-round picks on

position players—first baseman Seth Beer in 2018 and catcher Korey Lee in 2019. The

first four picks last year were collegiate position players.

The first-round of the draft can be seen 6 p.m. tomorrow on the NFL Network and

ESPN and 4 p.m. Friday on the MLB Network and ESPN2 for rounds 2-5.

KWICKIES…Former Palestine High School and NFL great Adrian Peterson

predicted this weekend that there will be league-wide kneeling for the National Anthem

this season—if there even will be an NFL season.

Live PGA-Tour golf begins tomorrow at the Colonial in Fort Worth featuring

Texas Longhorn Jordan Spieth and Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler in the field of

golfers-only—no fans.

And speaking of Oklahoma State, the school was fined $10,000 and its men’s

basketball team was banned from the upcoming postseason Friday after the NCAA found

that former assistant coach Lamont Evans accepted up to $22,000 in bribes intended to

help steer athletes to certain financial advisers.

Former West Orange-Stark and Lamar star pitcher Jack Dallas played in last

weekend’s Collegiate Summer Baseball Invitational in Bryan. The four-team tournament

featured some of the nation’s top talent hand-picked by the team’s coaches. Some 70

different Division I schools from across the country were represented in the tourney.

Former Houston Astros Roy Oswalt and Jose Cruz along with former Houston

Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile are among nominees for potential selection to the Texas

Sports Hall of Fame.

Although most NFL players are eager to get playing again, according to an

Associated Press survey, but there are some who expressed worry about resuming the

sport without a virus vaccine.

JUST BETWEEN US…Kolbe Aven, who is the grandson of Judge Pat Clark, is

considered one the best high school catchers in South Florida. He is the son of former

West Orange-Stark and Lamar University baseball star Bruce Aven, who coincidentally

was his high school baseball coach. Kolbe, who has an academic scholarship to Furman

University, visited the campus and fell in love with it. He talked with the baseball coach

who said he wanted him to go to the next level of his career at Furman. A couple of

weeks ago, the coach called Kolbe and sadly informed him that Furman was dropping

several sports, including baseball. Kolbe heard of a small school 10 minutes from his

home—Nova Southeastern University—and contacted the baseball coach, who told him

he already had a starting catcher but would get back with him in a couple of weeks. He

called back within an hour after checking Kolbe’s baseball and academic records and said

he wanted him on the team.


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