Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year and Texas Longhorns signee Kyle Muller heard his name called later than expected Thursday night, as he was taken with the 44th overall pick by the Atlanta Braves.
The Dallas Jesuit senior was projected as a mid to late first round pick in most mocks. Sports Illustrated's Chris Crawford had Muller going 21st to the Blue Jays, while several other experts predicted he would fall to the Rangers with the 30th pick. Muller's hometown team ultimately selected fellow high school LHP Cole Ragans, who is committed to Florida State.
@Braves you won't regret it! #MLBDraft @kylemuller19 pic.twitter.com/cCXQGurwXK— Jesuit Baseball (@jcpbaseball) June 10, 2016
Teams passing on elite high school talent is often a sign that they think the player may go to college. Muller has also thrown a whopping 257 pitches in his last two games, which may been a red flag to potential MLB suitors. That said, it's still a long shot that Muller will ever play a game in burnt orange. Muller told Dallas News that it was "for sure" difficult to not hear his name called in the first round, but that he's focused on winning a state championship right now and not his decision to go to college or forego for the pros.
Muller would be crucial to a developing Longhorns team under a new coach. Not only would he be a likely weekend starter to replace the now graduated Ty Culbreth, but the large framed 18 year old also has fantastic power on offense that was missing last year from a small ball Texas squad.
Here are his stats for this year as of Monday:
The 6-foot-7, 245-pound left-handed pitcher and outfielder has led his school to a 34-8-2 record, along with a Class 6A Region 2 championship. He has contributed to his school tremendously on the mound and at the plate.
On the hill, he has an 8-0 record, along with a miniscule 0.46 ERA, as well as 133 strikeouts, while allowing just 26 hits and 15 walks, in 76 innings pitched. He has also thrown five shutouts, including two no hitters, en route to the Class 6A state semifinals this weekend.
In the batter's box, he has batted .396/.482/.848 (1.331 OPS) over 166 plate appearances, along with 15 home runs, eight doubles, five triples and 52 runs batted in, in 44 games played. He has also stolen 20 bases in 21 attempts on the season.
Rounds three to ten will take place today, with coverage beginning at noon CT. The next Longhorns to be drafted may also be high school commits -- outfielder Conner Capel and pitcher Mason Thompson could both feasibly go in the third round, which would harm Texas' chances of landing either. Current Longhorns that could be drafted relatively early include juniors Tres Barrera, Kacy Clemens, and Zane Gurwitz.