Compiling an 8-0 record with a 1.99 ERA last season, graduate Tony Adler confounded opposing batters like it was his job.
Well, now it is.
Adler was selected by the Houston Astros in the 46th round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft and is one step closer to playing America’s Pastime on the world’s biggest stage.
“I felt mostly relief when [the Astros] called to congratulate me because it was at the tail end of the draft and I didn’t know if I was going to get taken or not,” Adler said. “Now I aspire to succeed and reach the big leagues.”
In the meantime, Adler will suit up for the Greenville Astros of the advanced rookie Appalachian League in Greenville, Tenn.
UTD Head Baseball Coach Shane Shewmake said Adler brought a complement of talent and leadership to his squad last year.
“He was a great influence on our pitching staff because he made the players around him better,” Shewmake said.
Adler is no stranger to the fanfare that surrounds the major league draft. In 1999, after his senior year at Greenhill High School in Dallas, he was selected in the 13th round by the San Diego Padres, but he chose to attend college instead.
“There are certain times I think about what might have happened, but I don’t regret [going to school]. I get another chance now,” Adler said.
His first four years of college ball, first at Rice and then South Carolina, were marred with injuries and surgeries.
Alder said he thinks he slipped so far in the draft this year because teams are wary of selecting a player who has been under the knife.
“I’m a much better player and pitcher now, but I’m five years older and have had three more surgeries,” he said.
Adler viewed his senior year at UTD as his chance to be out on the mound in game situations and not be hurt.
“I got to rack up some innings and get some starting experience,” he said.
Shewmake agreed that gaining experience was the most important goal for Adler last year.
“He had the ability before he got here. His biggest thing was staying healthy,” Shewmake said. “We didn’t have to teach him a thing. I’d like to take a lot of credit, but I can’t.”
Shewmake added that having a player drafted from the UTD baseball team promises to bring only good things to an already wildly successful program.
“Hopefully it will prove to our recruits that this is a place you can come play, get seen and play at the next level,” Shewmake said.
“It shows you don’t have to play Division I to get drafted,” he said.