A trio of Texas Longhorns baseball juniors will not be returning to campus, opting instead to sign contracts with pro organizations following the MLB draft.
Starting outfielders Patrick Mathis and Travis Jones, and starting pitcher Connor Mayes all have decided to move forward with their professional careers, according to Orange Bloods and multiple sources.
Mathis was drafted in the 22nd round by the Houston Astros, his favorite team. The junior hit .245 and launched seven homers in an injury plagued 2017 season.
His shining moment came in Texas’ winner’s bracket NCAA tournament when his two out diving catch prevented Long Beach State from winning in the bottom of the 9th. Texas would go on to win the game.
Connor Mayes was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 24th round of the draft. The Austin native was not on most draft boards at all, so he jumped at the opportunity to go pro.
Mayes will be best remembered for his excellent Big 12 tournament performances as a freshman and sophomore. He never got his footing his junior year, as he only pitched for a 6.00 ERA in 27 innings, mostly in a mid-week role.
Travis Jones was also taken by the Royals, but in the 29th round. Jones was one of Texas’ most potent hitters, but a late season slump led to his final batting average being only .253 on the year.
Even though Jones was a later draft pick than Mathis and Mayes, he may be the player the Longhorns miss the most. The left fielder would’ve been a nice spark in the top half of the order for David Pierce in 2018.
Texas JUCO commit Blake Pflughaupt, who is a left-handed pitcher, also decided to go pro by signing with the Tampa Bay Rays. Pflughaupt would’ve been in line for a massive amount of innings at Texas. It is a huge surprise that he will not be coming to the forty acres.
These players won’t be the only Longhorns to sign pro contracts this season. Kyle Johnston, Nick Kennedy and Tyler Schimpf are among the additional Texas players with huge decisions ahead of them. Stay tuned.