Ohio State baseball entered the offseason with optimism despite its disappointing 2017 campaign. The 2017 Buckeyes went just 22-34, 8-16 in conference play, and missed out on the Big Ten tournament, but head coach Greg Beals and his coaching staff put together a quality recruiting class to help bolster the 2018 squad.
That class may have taken a hit on Wednesday, as pitcher Xavier Moore of Amherst (OH) Steele High School was selected in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Texas Rangers. The 6-foot-3 right-hander was the 494th overall player selected.
Moore, the fifth-ranked high school player in the state who Prep Baseball Report says is a “wiry-athletic frame, long limbs, wider shoulders, plenty of room for physical development,” sits in the low-90s with his fastball, and can touch the mid-90s. He also possesses a sweeping slider and a splitter, and PBR notes “with his frame and athleticism, it’s easy to dream on more velocity in the coming years.”
Beals echoed those sentiments in November when next season’s class was announced, saying, “Xavier is a long and lean athletic guy on the mound. He has a very fast arm and tight breaking ball. Xavier’s length and athleticism and fast arm are a great combination for a pitcher.”
Joining Moore in the Ohio State freshman class of ‘18 is also lefty Seth Lonsway (drafted in the 19th round). The pair formed an enticing tandem for the program, one that could mature and develop together to eventually lead the Buckeyes’ rotation.
That bright future may be in doubt now for the scarlet and gray with both players being drafted. While the signing bonus value of Moore’s pick does not have an assigned value by MLB because it falls outside the first ten rounds, a player with his high ceiling could command a decent amount.
Regardless of whether Moore finds himself in rookie ball or on campus in Columbus, we wish the young man the best of luck in his career.