KC Royals make Loftin Baylor baseball’s third 1st-round pick in two years
While there was nothing normal about the 2020 college baseball season, some things don’t change. Talents like Baylor baseball shortstop Nick Loftin get noticed at the next level, and now one of the Big 12’s most feared hitters will get the chance to pursue his big league dreams.
Loftin was drafted 32nd overall by the Kansas City Royals in this week’s Major League Baseball draft — the third Bear selected in the first round in the last two years, following former teammates Shea Langeliers and Davis Wendzel who were picked last year by the Braves and Rangers, respectively.
Loftin began the year with high honors, picked by league coaches as the 2020 Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year. While the season was cut short after just 16 games due to the coronavirus pandemic, Loftin did his part to live up to the lofty billings, leading the team with 15 RBI and hitting just under .300. He also showed off big power in big moments, like this mammoth home run — which flew completely out of Houston’s Minute Maid Park — to spark a come-from-behind win over No. 11 LSU in March. Off the field, Loftin was also a first-team Academic All Big 12 selection.
The Royals were “ecstatic to get Nick,” according to team executives, who described him as a “gamer and a winner… Team USA said he had the best makeup on the field.” Loftin lived up to that billing, both in his three years at Baylor and in his Team USA experience last summer. In all, he hit over .300 for his Baylor career with 14 home runs and 92 RBI.
Loftin’s selection continues a long run of Baylor draftees. Even during a year in which the draft was shortened to five rounds due to COVID-19, Loftin gave the Bears a selection in 43 of the last 45 drafts. He is the 13th Bear ever selected in the first round, and the 2019-20 run marks just the second time in program history that the team has boasted first-rounders in back-to-back years. Eleven Baylor players have been drafted during head coach Steve Rodriguez’s five years at the helm.
“I have a home (at Baylor),” Loftin said in a radio interview with the Voice of the Bears, John Morris. “Not just from the sports side of it… The whole coaching staff has tremendously helped me in my growth as a player and a person, and Baylor as a whole has allowed me to grow in my faith, trusting in Him and playing for Him… It’s been an awesome ride.”
Sic ’em, Nick Loftin!