SHAWNEE – The Houston Astros Saturday selected Oklahoma Baptist’s Nathan Thompson in Major League Baseball’s amateur draft, making him the seventh player and fourth Bison pitcher to go in the draft in the last three years.
The Astros took Thompson in the 27th round. The 5-10 left-hander was still awaiting word for his assignment Saturday night.
“I had no idea what round it would be,” Thompson said. “I was just watching the draft today and got a text from the scout who watched me a couple of rounds before that that said ‘we going to take a lefty, do you want to play?’ and I responded immediately. About two minutes later he texted again and said ‘we just took you.’ It happened so fast. It was surreal.”
He joins a parade of Bison that where recently selected in the draft. Matt Page was selected by the Washington Nationals, Julian Merryweather went to the Cleveland Indians and Ivan Vela went to the Los Angeles Dodgers three years ago. Last year, Taylor Hearn was picked by the Nationals, Kelvin Rivas went to the Miami Marlins and Keach Ballard was taken by the Houston Astros.
“I really feel honored to be part of that group,” Thompson said. “I’m really grateful to Boss (Head Coach Bobby Cox), Paint (Pitching Coach Cody Painter) and CC (Assistant Coach Chris Cox) for all they’ve done for me the last two years.”
Thompson was an NCCAA All-American and a second-team All-Great American Conference selection. He led the GAC with 126 strikeouts and eight pick-offs. He held batters to a .195 batting average and finished with a 2.81 earned run average.
Bobby Cox said it the draft of Thompson was the result of a lot of work.
“It’s just exciting to see him get a chance to go to the next level,” Cox said. “It’s a thrill for him and his family. He put in a lot of hard work with Coach Painter. This isn’t something that just happens. He was in the low 80s last year and I think he touched 90 this year. But his strength is his command of his pitches. He locates them so well and his changeup is a tremendous plus pitch. The strikeouts , I think, are what caught the eye of the scout. He’s matured so much in the last two years on and off the field.”
Bison first baseman Brandon Cuddy and pitcher Mike Gould drew interest from scouts but went undrafted. They are likely to be offered free agent opportunities.
“You just never know with the draft,” Cox said. “We’re disappointed for a couple of guys. That’s just the way it goes.”