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OC Register: Five things we learned from the 2018 Major League Baseball draft

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A total of 1,214 players were selected in this year’s MLB amateur draft. Few will ever play baseball at the major league level, but their individual stories paint a picture about where the sport is today. One player whose name wasn’t called this week tells a story on its own.

Here are five things we learned from the 2018 draft:


It’s easy to see why the two-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year is a free agent.

Heimlich, a senior at Oregon State, sat down for interviews with Sports Illustrated and the New York Times in the past month. Each time, Heimlich denied committing the crime to which he once confessed in writing: molesting his then 6-year-old niece when he was 15.

It didn’t take 30 Ivy League-educated front offices to realize the problem with drafting Heimlich: Many fans would feel conflicted about celebrating a felon’s on-field accomplishments. Some fans are still torn when processing the achievements of Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes and others who have been disciplined under MLB’s domestic violence policy. Expecting fans to sort through their feelings about Heimlich is a bridge too far.

Heimlich’s advocates believed he has been punished enough. As part of his guilty plea, Heimlich was ordered to serve two years’ probation and register as a sex offender.

But each baseball team is a private, profit-making enterprise with an image to protect. There is no such thing as double jeopardy in the court of public opinion. Perhaps Heimlich can begin his career overseas or in an independent league. Then MLB can decide whether his future throwing pitches outweighs his past.


Dillon Paulson won’t have to drive far to meet with the team that drafted him. The USC first baseman was selected by the Dodgers in the 13th round of Major League Baseball’s amateur draft on Wednesday.

Meeting the Dodgers’ right fielder might be awkward. In October 2014, Paulson used a gay slur in reference to Yasiel Puig on his Twitter account. It was the only instance of that slur, or a slur against Puig, on Paulson’s Twitter timeline.

After calling his name, the Dodgers advised Paulson to look through his Twitter timeline and delete anything that could be construed as offensive. Paulson said he didn’t remember what he was thinking at the time of the tweet, but he was embarrassed to see it Wednesday.

“Being young and dumb is not an excuse,” he said in a telephone interview. “I wish it never went out. I was young, thinking it was funny. It’s obviously not funny. It’s not the way I want to represent myself. Not how I want to carry myself.”

A Dodgers spokesperson said the social media accounts of prospective draft picks are monitored as a general policy. This tweet, however, was missed.


This year’s draft produced an amazing crop of names.

Make room in your heart (if not your jersey collection) for the following: A.J. Bumpass (Reds), Alex Royalty (Indians), Hunter Speer (Dodgers), Cash Gladfelter (Mariners), Owen Sharts (Rangers), Jax Biggers (Rangers), Cre Frinfrock (Blue Jays) and Rayne Supple (Rockies).

The best moment of the draft? That would be in the 35th round when Toronto announced its pick, Damiano Palmegiani, as “Chicken Palmegiani.”


Unless you count Tim Tebow, who is hitting .242 for the New York Mets’ Double-A affiliate, we haven’t seen a star baseball/football crossover since the days of Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson.

Kyler Murray could change that. The Oakland A’s took Murray, a quarterback at the University of Oklahoma, with the number-9 overall draft pick. His signing bonus guarantees close to $5 million according to one report and will allow him to play quarterback during the next school year.

Murray appears to be sold on baseball long-term. If it doesn’t work out, he might have a good fallback option.

Each year, it isn’t hard to find high draft picks who don’t specialize in baseball. Michael Grove, the Dodgers’ second-round draft pick, played hockey and football during the offseason. John Rooney, the Dodgers’ third-round pick, played basketball.

And yet, each year, more parents are sold on the idea of travel teams and year-round baseball as a sure ticket to the major leagues. Facts suggest otherwise.


The Dodgers snagged a third-generation professional in the 34th round: North Florida University pitcher Austin Drury. His uncle (Ronald Kelly) and grandfather (Roy Kelly) both played minor league baseball.

The Cardinals got another third-generation pick in the 36th round, UC Irvine third baseman Cole Kreuter. His father is veteran catcher Chad Kreuter, and his grandfather is the Anteater’s retiring coach Mike Gillespie. (Does that make Gillespie the Kreuter recruiter?)

Drury and Kreuter were just the tip of the iceberg. The Houston Astros drafted the brothers of two of their own players, Carlos Correa (C.J. Correa) and Alex Bregman (A.J. Bregman). The A’s drafted Austin Piscotty (brother of Stpehen), while the Marlins drafted Osiris Johnson (cousin of Jimmy Rollins).

Other players were drafted simply to make the rest of us feel old: the Tigers’ Kody Clemens (son of Roger), the Cardinals’ Mateo Gil (son of Benji), the Blue Jays’ Griffin Conine (son of Jeff), the Brewers’ Aaron Ashby (nephew of Andy), the Giants’ George Bell Jr. (son of George Sr.), and the Giants’ Benito Santiago Jr. (son of Benito).

Only one player was drafted to make the rest of us feel young: Beverly Hills High second baseman Cannon King. He is the teenage son of 84-year-old talk-show host Larry King.

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