After sitting in front of his computer for one day and waiting to see his name flash across the screen, Reggie McClain wasn’t going to let the MLB draft occupy his Saturday.
Instead, the recent Missouri graduate spent his morning and early afternoon going through his typical workout routine in his home of Duluth, Ga. He was ready to hop in the shower around 1 p.m. when the first suggestion came that maybe he should let the draft control his next few minutes.
“I get a text from my adviser telling me, ‘Be waiting for a call soon,’” McClain said shortly after he was selected. “I just kind of sat around, me and my dad, just watched TV.”
McClain’s phone rang a few minutes later. A representative from the Mariners was on the other end. Seattle had used their 13th-round pick to make the right-handed pitcher the 387th selection, making him the first player with ties to Manatee County to be chosen in this year’s draft. McClain previously pitched at the junior college level at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, in Bradenton after he was cut by Georgia following a freshman redshirt season with the Bulldogs. McClain, who missed his senior season with a shoulder injury, came to Bradenton after missing two seasons of competitive baseball.
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McClain went 9-2 with a 2.83 ERA, 64 strikeouts and one save in 76 1/3 innings during his 2013 season with State College of Florida.
“I was hoping that I would get picked yesterday,” McClain said. “When it didn’t happen it was disappointing, but it was out of my control. There’s nothing that I can really control about it. I just tried to keep everything in perspective. I knew my name was going to get called today, so I knew it was going to be a good feeling no matter what once my name got called.”
Entering his senior season with the Tigers, McClain was ranked as the eighth-best senior in the country by Perfect Game and he delivered a solid season as Mizzou’s ace. McClain pitched 101 innings to top 100 for the second straight season and finished with a 3.65 ERA and 94 strikeouts. His hallmark, though, is his command. McClain walked nine batters all season — he was one of two in the country to walk fewer than 10 in at least 100 innings — and posted the third-best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the nation.
McClain expects to take it easy for the rest of the day before celebrating with a barbecue Sunday. Right now, he’s just relieved he doesn’t have to spend the rest of the day waiting.
“Obviously, you’re happy. It’s that little hump making it into professional baseball,” McClain said, “getting past that part, finally knowing where I’m about to be and where I’m headed is just a relief.”