Baseball: Texas Christian wins out as Carmel’s Young not ready to turn pro
Although he was drafted by the Rangers, Carmel pitcher Alex Young, seen here during the regional tournament, will be pitching at TCU next season. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 15, 2012 2:48PM
One of the risks to catching high-voltage fastballs?
Sometimes your mitt gets torn.
Just ask Carmel Catholic’s Seamus Quilty, who was forced to become an expert in glove repair after catching many bullpen sessions with Corsairs pitcher Alex Young.
“He broke my glove three times,” Quilty said. “Catching him just stretches out the string. It was hilarious.”
Young can only hope his college teammates have the same rosy disposition of Quilty. The 6-foot-2 lefty will be taking his 90 mph-plus fastball to Texas Christian University this fall after being drafted in the 32nd round (996th overall) by the Texas Rangers on June 6.
The dream-come-true moment for Young was delayed longer than expected. A perfect storm of a strong college offer — full tuition scholarship from TCU — and new, nebulous drafting rules saw the Class of 2012 Carmel grad drop to Day 3 of the draft.
“I got a lot of offers before the draft,” said Young, referring to three major league teams that were prepared to offer him a signing bonus of $1-1.2 million. “Me, my mom (Karen) and my dad (Eric) said it wasn’t that much money to forgo college.”
For Young to be in a position to turn down a million dollars is as much a testament to his talent as to his maturity. A sore-armed junior in 2011 who missed his entire high school season, Young leaped to sought-after senior after an impressive one-inning, three-strikeout performance at an all-star game in Kansas City last summer.
“As I walked off the field, TCU and Oregon are calling, asking, ‘Who’s the kid in the yellow shoes, and why didn’t we know about him before?’ ” recalled Karen Young.
An offer from TCU came in October, and Young accepted it over Kentucky, Nebraska and the closer-to-home University of Illinois-Chicago.
After a winter building his arm strength and refining his breaking pitches, Young entered his senior season ranked as the fourth-best prospect in Illinois, according to Prep Baseball Report. One scouting service, Prospect Insider, had him ranked as the 61st best player in the country.
Young did nothing to squash the hype, finishing his senior season with a team-best 7-1 record. Other statistics were eye-popping: 41 innings pitched, 13 hits allowed, 71 strikeouts. His WHIP (hits and walks divided by innings pitched) was a stunning 0.696. Scouts were lined up two- and three-deep behind the first-base fence at Carmel’s baseball field. Never did the attention derail Young’s steely determination.
“I’d be catching bullpens, and he’d throw a couple of bad pitches, and our coaches (head coach Joe May, assistant Kevin Kristan and pitching coach Mike Miller) would settle him down,” Quilty said. “They knew the mindset of what he was going through.”
During a trip to Wrigley Field with a few teammates in May, Young’s phone kept going off.
“He was walking around the street, and we were making jokes, saying he was getting recruited by the Cubs,” said Carmel teammate Blake Bucsa. “Then, at one point, the Padres were calling him, and we were, like, ‘The Padres are calling him.’ ”
It was all preparation for the ultimate call, which Young received — in his house, alone — by a scout from the Rangers on June 6. With the internet feed turned up, when Young heard his name, he responded like a baseball-crazy kid receiving his first pair of cleats on Christmas morning.
“A pretty sweet moment for me,” said the Hawthorn Woods resident. “When they announced my name, I started running through house going crazy. No one was home. I called my mom and it went straight to voice mail.”
Although Young plans to re-enter the draft the next time’s he’s eligible — after his junior season of college — he’ll never forget the experience of that initial call.
Maybe then he’ll reimburse his high school teammate for all that glove repair work.
“When you get your millions, don’t forget you broke my glove,” Quilty said with a laugh.