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Texas RHP Cole Quintanilla selected No. 263 by the Washington Nationals

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The big right-hander was lights out working out of the bullpen in 2021.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Texas v Virginia Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

In the ninth round of the 2021 MLB Draft, the Washington Nationals selected Texas Longhorns right-handed pitcher Cole Quintanilla with the No. 263 pick overall.

A local product out of Cedar Park. Quintanilla had a big-time junior season, going 7-1 with a 0.65 ERA while striking out 94 batters in 53.2 innings pitched, but underwent Tommy John surgery the following year and used a redshirt season on the Forty Acres in 2018 to rehabilitate.

In 2019, Quintanilla was solid out of the bullpen, leading Texas with five saves, finishing the year with a 4.05 ERA as opponents batted .250 against him. During the pandemic-shortened season, however, Quintanilla struggled in his five appearances with an 8.31 ERA, though he did show some promise in a four-inning start against UTSA in which he only allowed one earned run and struck out five.

Well removed from his surgery, Quintanilla broke through as a key piece of the Texas bullpen in 2021, posting a 5-1 record with a 1.35 ERA in 26 appearances. Opponents only hit .165 against Quintanilla, who struck out 42 in 40.0 innings.

Quintanilla’s fastball reached as high as 98 miles per hour this season and his multiple breaking balls allowed him to strike out opposing hitters. At 6’5 and 220 pounds, Quintanilla has prototypical size with good tilt on his fastball and could get a chance as a starter with the Nationals if his off-speed pitches play well.

But he could also advance quickly through the Washington farm system as a reliever after showing tremendous poise under pressure against Mississippi State in the College World Series. In his longest outing of the season, Quintanilla entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs, but was able to work out of the jam with a ground out and two strikeouts that heavily featured his secondary pitches.

Quintanilla eventually gave up the walk-off hit to end the season for Texas as he tired in the ninth inning, but he still had phenomenal year, including not allowing an inherited runner to score over his final 13 appearances.

At 22 years old and with the arm issues in the past, expect Quintanilla to sign with the Nationals. The approximate pick value for the No. 263 pick is $156,600. And, in fact, Quintanilla’s response to his suggestion suggests a quick negotiation process with Washington.

Quintanilla is the third Texas player selected in the draft, joining first-round selection Ty Madden, a right-handed pitcher, and center fielder Mike Antico, who was picked in the eighth round.