Eshelman always under control
Asking Thomas Eshelman to choose between getting the last out to secure a berth in the College World Series for Cal State Fullerton or the joy of being drafted No. 46 overall by the Astros on Monday in the First-Year Player Draft is as an unfair as asking a parent to pick his favorite kid.
The fact they both happened pretty much simultaneously for Eshelman makes for a heck of a story, and one the 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-hander will never forget. Though he’s a starter, Eshelman closed out the Titans’ win over Louisville in the NCAA Super Regional on Monday and was in the post-game meeting when he got another thrill.
“My strength and conditioning coach came up to me and said, ‘Hey, you just became an Astro,’” he said. “That kind of poured over me a little bit. I didn’t really tell anyone and then everyone went into the locker room and found out and came back out and gave me a huge hug. It was fun to kind of be a part of and experience that.”
Astros scouting director Mike Elias sees Eshelman as someone who could move quickly through the system. He throws in the low 90s mph range, but has shown impeccable control throughout his college career with 18 walks in 370 2/3 innings to go along with 313 strikeouts. This year, he’s 8-5 with a 1.58 ERA in 17 starts heading to Omaha.
Once he signs, he’ll join a growing group of impressive pitching depth in the Houston organization, including two that recently graduated two to the Major Leagues from Double-A – Lance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez.
“I know the Astros are an up-and-coming organization,” Eshelman said. “I know they have a lot of young talent. One of my teammates from a couple of years ago, [2014 Astros draft pick] J.D. Davis is in [Class A] Lancaster with the Astros, and I’m sure I’ll get the lowdown from him. I know they like to move players up pretty quickly and I’m looking forward to getting out there and putting my nose to the grind and working hard for whatever team I’m on at that moment in time.”
So, Thomas, which experience was greater? Clinching a spot in the World Series or getting drafted?
“They’re both equal,” he said. “I wasn’t really a top recruit coming out of high school, whether it be the draft or college. Cal State Fullerton gave me the opportunity to come here and for me to do well and the Astros gave me an opportunity with the organization. I hope to do the same thing I did in college and continue to get better and make the big league roster one day.”ore out of him than what he’s given us.”