On Monday, Texas Longhorns center fielder Mike Antico became the second Longhorns player selected in the 2021 MLB Draft when he was picked in the eighth round with the No. 241 pick overall by the St. Louis Cardinals.
A left-handed hitter from New Jersey who had four productive seasons at St. John’s, Antico came to Austin as a graduate transfer for his final season of eligibility afforded by the coronavirus pandemic.
Replacing Duke Ellis in center field, Antico struggled at the plate to start his career at Texas — his batting average sat at .202 following a game against Stephen F. Austin in early April. But Texas head coach David Pierce stuck with Antico and the 5’10, 210-pounder finally got on track with a 4-for-5 performance against Kansas State that featured two doubles, a triple, and five RBI.
After finally breaking through, Antico finished the season hitting .273, the highest his batting average reached all year, thanks to a strong postseason performance that included 12 stolen bases in the NCAA Tournament as Antico served as a terror on the base paths.
At times, Antico struggled to keep his front half closed, causing him to pull off the ball and making his swing pull-heavy even at its best, but he does have good power that really flashed with the Longhorns — he hit 10 of his 23 career home runs at Texas.
Antico also has a good eye at the plate, drawing 63 walks to notch a .436 on-base percentage in 2021.
After spending five years in college, Antico is on the older side for a prospect, but his ability to perform well in the Big 12 and in the postseason, including at the College World Series, drew the attention of the Cardinals and helped him come off the board before other Texas players rated more highly as prospects.