More than 1,200 high school and college baseball players were selected in this week's MLB Draft, and for a second year in a row the Pac-12 pitcher of the year, Luke Heimlich, was not among them.
Why is the best pitcher in one of college baseball's top conferences, a guy who this season is 15-1 with a 2.42 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 111 2/3 innings, seemingly blacklisted by Major League Baseball?
It's likely because of a report from The Oregonian in 2017 that revealed Heimlich pleaded guilty to sexually molesting his 6-year-old niece when he was 15.
Heimlich, now 22, admitted guilt in 2012 but has since denied any wrongdoing, telling the New York Times in May that "nothing ever happened."
According to Sports Illustrated, Heimlich entered the guilty plea to avoid a trial and jail time, and that he's claimed his innocence everywhere but the written plea.
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At least one MLB team, the Texas Rangers, made public their organizational decision to keep Heimlich off their draft board, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Beth Davies-Stofka, a writer for Baseball Prospectus and childhood sexual abuse victim, wrote about Heimlich's baseball future and asked: "Do we only care about little girls until we want to win baseball games?"
In Heimlich's case, it's clear that 30 MLB teams care about little girls more than they want to win baseball games.
At Oregon State, however, Heimlich was welcomed back with support from university president Ed Ray, The Oregonian notes, and Heimlich will undoubtedly pitch against the Gophers during their NCAA Tournament series Friday-Sunday in Corvallis, Oregon.
Oregon State is hosting the best-of-three Super Regional series, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.