An MLB All-Star starter and more draft success: Baylor baseball alums shine
This year marks the first time that Major League Baseball has held its draft in July, coinciding with MLB All-Star game festivities — and Baylor baseball stars were well-represented in both.
First, Max Muncy — the former Baylor standout who has emerged as a star with the Los Angeles Dodgers over the last four seasons — was named the starting designated hitter for the National League in last night’s MLB All-Star Game, batting second in a line-up of baseball’s biggest stars. It was Muncy’s second All-Star game nod, and it comes on the strength of an incredible first half in which the former Baylor all-American has further solidified himself as one of baseball’s best all-around hitters, with 19 homers and 52 RBI, leading the defending World Series champions in numerous offensive categories.
But he wasn’t the only former Baylor star making news. This week’s MLB draft saw two Bears selected by big league organizations, meaning Baylor has now had at least one player selected in each of the last 31 drafts, dating back to 1991.
Fifth-year senior Andy Thomas, a standout catcher who capped a stellar career in green and gold with his best season yet in 2021, was selected in the fifth round by the Seattle Mariners. Thomas put together an all-American senior year, setting new career highs with a .337 batting average, 11 home runs and 60 RBI. He also earned a strong reputation behind the plate, throwing out nearly half of attempted base stealers and guiding a pitching staff that finished with the Big 12’s second best ERA.
He was followed by fellow fifth-year senior Luke Boyd, one of the nation’s top closers each of the last two seasons for the Bears, who went in the 17th round to the San Diego Padres. Boyd joined Thomas as an all-America honoree this spring, finishing his senior year with a sparkling 1.27 ERA, eight saves and 43 strikeouts in 28.1 innings.
This was the fourth time in the last five seasons under head coach Steve Rodriguez that multiple Bears have been drafted; in all, 14 players have been selected in Rodriguez’s six seasons at Baylor.
Sic ’em, Muncy, Thomas and Boyd!