Major League Baseball sent a message this week as Luke Heimlich, a star Oregon State pitcher and one of the best prospects available in the 2018 draft, wasn’t selected in any of the 40 rounds.
— Oregonian Sports (@OregonianSports) June 6, 2018
Heimlich is the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and posted a 15-1 record with a 2.42 ERA in 2018. But MLB teams were unwilling to look past his 2012 guilty plea to sexually abusing his 6-year-old niece that was uncovered last year by The Oregonian.
From The Oregonian:
Heimlich closed the regular season on a streak of seven games with 10 strikeouts or more, winning all seven of those starts. He then led OSU to a 14-1 victory against LSU in the Corvallis Regional on Saturday night.
Based on talent alone, Heimlich would have been a first- or second-round pick. But The Oregonian/OregonLive reported in June 2017 that Heimlich had pleaded guilty as a teenager in 2012 to one count of sexually molesting a 6-year-old female family member.
The 2017 MLB Draft came days after The Oregonian/OregonLive’s report, and all 30 teams passed on Heimlich then, as well.
Debates on social media and certainly within clubhouses have raged as to whether Heimlich deserved a shot in the big leagues.
One popular essay on the topic was published by Baseball Prospectus:
— Craig Goldstein (@cdgoldstein) June 5, 2018
In a New York Times report published on May 7, Heimlich proclaimed his innocence despite pleading guilty to molesting his niece.
“I always denied anything ever happened,” he said. “Even after I pled guilty, which was a decision me and my parents thought was the best option to move forward as a family. And after that, even when I was going through counseling and treatment, I maintained my innocence the whole time.”
Nevertheless, it appears MLB has closed its doors on Heimlich … for now.