Lukas Schiraldi, an All-American junior college pitcher who signed with Texas last fall but was drafted by the Washington Nationals earlier this month, will play for the Longhorns next season rather than sign a professional contract.
“He’s going to school,” Schiraldi’s father, Calvin — the former Major League player who starred for the Longhorns’ 1983 national championship team — told the American-Statesman on Tuesday.
The decision won’t be official until July 15, the MLB deadline for drafted players to sign a professional contract.
Schiraldi, a 6-6 right-hander from Cedar Park who played at St. Michael’s, was drafted by the Nationals in the 35th round, the 1,066th overall pick of the 2013 draft. He just completed his sophomore year at Navarro College in Corsicana.
But he was ranked by Baseball America — a leading industry publication — as the No. 162 overall prospect the week of the draft; a discrepancy that large between pre-draft ranking and eventual draft position is usually an indication that a player asked for more money than teams are willing to pay.
This past season at Navarro, Schiraldi was 10-0 with a 1.88 ERA during the regular season. His post-season statistics were not available Tuesday.
Next season, Texas will return starting pitchers Dillon Peters and Parker French, both of whom will be juniors, as well as John Curtiss, who missed his sophomore season because of elbow surgery. But the Longhorns saw their closer and one regular starter from this year’s team get drafted.
Texas coach Augie Garrido was philosophical Tuesday while discussing the possibility that Schiraldi would pitch for the Longhorns.
“You can’t be sure,” Garrido said. “I believed Josh Bell was coming.”
Back in 2011, Bell — an outfielder from Dallas Strake Jesuit — insisted he would come to Texas as a freshman. He even enrolled in summer school that summer. But the Pittsburgh Pirates, who drafted Bell in the second round of that year’s draft, provided a $5 million incentive for him to change his mind.
When Calvin Schiraldi pitched for the Longhorns, Roger Clemens was his teammate. Now their sons might be teammates. Kacy Clemens, a pitcher and first baseman from Houston Memorial, was drafted by the Astros in the 35th round; Roger Clemens said recently that Kacy would play for the Longhorns.
Four Longhorns and five Longhorns signees were drafted this year. The Longhorns were closer Corey Knebel (first round), third baseman Erich Weiss (11th), outfielder Mark Payton (16th) and pitcher Nathan Thornhill (24th). Knebel has signed with the Detroit Tigers; the other three may still return to the Longhorns.
The drafted recruits, in addition to Schiraldi and Clemens, were pitcher Trey Ball (first round), pitcher Blake Goins (12th) and infielder Andy McGuire (36th). Ball is expected to sign with the Boston Red Sox, but the others remain in limbo.