Three former Crowder players, who all played key roles on two different Region 16 championship teams, were selected on the third and final day of the 2019 MLB Draft.
Ross Carver went off the board first Wednesday, selected by the Texas Rangers in the 23rd round with the 685th overall pick. Just a couple years earlier, Texas picked Aaron Ashby in the 25th round (764th overall) and Ashby chose to come back for another season at Crowder; Ashby dramatically improved his stock and became a fourth round pick last June.
Elvis Peralta and Kyle MacDonald, formerly the right side of the Crowder infield (MacDonald first, Peralta second base) during that magical JUCO World Series run in 2017, were separated by a mere 31 picks — Peralta 794th (26th round) and MacDonald 825th (27th round) overall, Peralta selected by the Oakland Athletics and MacDonald by the New York Yankees.
— Carver impressed the scouts enough at multiple games this season, including his sensational 14-strikeout performance Apr. 26 with Carver and the radar guns focused against Fort Scott at historic Joe Becker Stadium. Carver reached his 14 strikeouts in six innings.
In his next outing at Joe Becker, Carver threw a gem against Jefferson in a Region 16 elimination game. Carver allowed two runs (both earned) on five hits with 13 strikeouts and two walks over nine innings. He basically shut down a Jefferson offense that averaged 8.3 runs.
“Wow,” Crowder head coach Travis Lallemand said of Carver’s performance against Jefferson. “13 strikeouts, two walks, that’s one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen. He absolutely buried them in counts and every pitch was productive. There were very few pitches that he gave hitters off. That’s why it’s one of the most dominant, not just the results but the process involved and what he was able to do around the zone. They were sitting in 0-2, 1-2 counts all day long.”
Carver’s performance against Fort Scott was only his second turn back after being out of the rotation several weeks due to injury.
On the season, Carver finished with a 8-2 overall record and a 4.20 ERA with one save and 113 strikeouts over 64 1/3 innings.
Carver ranked 10th overall in strikeouts and second in strikeouts per nine innings at 15.81. He marked the second season in a row a Crowder pitcher made a name in strikeouts.
Ashby led NJCAA Division I in strikeouts (156) and Ks per nine (18.80) last season.
During his freshman season, Carver put together a 5-3 record with a 4.89 ERA and 76 strikeouts and 32 walks over 57 innings.
Carver signed a national letter of intent back in November with NCAA Division I Dallas Baptist. Now, he faces that decision to sign with the Rangers or attend Dallas Baptist.
— Peralta recently finished his redshirt junior season at NCAA-I Marshall and he made an impact for the Thundering Herd all season, including the Conference USA tournament.
In three games of the tournament, Peralta hit .429 (6 for 14) with a .529 on-base and a .571 slugging percentage. Peralta came through with both a 4-6 performance at the plate and the game-saving defensive play in a 12-inning victory over Louisiana Tech. This game lasted 4 hours, 49 minutes, longest C-USA tournament game ever played.
Peralta finished with a .357 average, 80 hits (third best season in Marshall history), 42 RBI, a .425 on-base and a .571 slugging percentage, and he participated in turning 38 double plays en route to being selected all-Conference USA first team.
In his sophomore season at Crowder, Peralta hit .381 (99-260) with 76 runs scored, 21 doubles, nine triples, 11 home runs, 74 RBI, 31 walks and 43 strikeouts, and 30 stolen bases in 33 attempts.
Peralta became arguably the most popular player at the 2017 JUCO World Series and won the tournament’s most outstanding hitter award.
Peralta also won Region 16’s player of the year.
— MacDonald finished his collegiate career with a .301 average, 53 hits, 12 doubles, two triples, five homers, a .417 on-base, a .477 slugging, and a .987 fielding percentage in his senior season at Arkansas State.
In two seasons with the Red Wolves, MacDonald hit .331 with 117 hits, 24 doubles, four triples, 20 homers, 95 RBI, and 64 walks.
“We are very proud and excited for Kyle MacDonald on being selected by the New York Yankees in the 2019 MLB Draft,” Arkansas State head coach Tommy Raffo said in a media release. “He has a great opportunity to continue his baseball dream and career with a first-class organization.
“Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in general studies this spring and we have watched him develop tremendously in the classroom and on the field, which resulted in such opportunity today. We are very proud of the work ethic he displayed here, and we wish him the best at the next level.”
MacDonald earned the Sun Belt Conference top newcomer in his first season with Arkansas State.
In his sophomore season at Crowder, MacDonald belted a Crowder record 15 home runs and he added 68 runs scored and 73 RBI in 68 games. MacDonald helped Crowder to a 54-14 record.
— Since 2014, at least two players associated with Crowder have been selected in the draft for every year but one.
The Boston Red Sox picked southpaw Jalen Beeks in the 12th round in 2014 and Beeks reached the big leagues last season. On July 25, 2018, Boston traded Beeks to the Rays for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. Since his trade, Beeks has won all nine decisions with Tampa Bay and he’s 4-0 overall with a 3.63 ERA and 43 strikeouts and 16 walks over 44 2/3 innings this season.
The San Francisco Giants selected southpaw Mark Reyes in the 22nd round in 2014. Reyes played four seasons in the Giants organization and his best season — a 9-6 record with a 2.13 ERA — was 2015 for the Augusta GreenJackets in the South Atlantic League.
In 2015, Colorado and Tampa Bay selected Sam Hilliard and Ethan Clark, respectively, in the 15th round and Minnesota picked Crowder recruit Kyle Wilson in the 19th round. Wilson came to Crowder and played on the 2017 JUCO World Series team. Andrew Schwaab signed with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent.
Hilliard has reached Triple-A and he’s batting .261 (62-238) his first 59 games this season with 48 runs scored, 16 doubles, three triples, 18 homers, 52 RBI, and 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts for the Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado). Hilliard ranks among Pacific Coast League leaders in several offensive categories.
Minnesota also selected Hilliard in the 31st round in 2014, but he chose to attend Wichita State, where he played one season.
In 2016, Toronto picked pitcher Connor Eller in the 22nd round and Baltimore selected Zach Matson in the 24th round. Matson received a midseason all-star selection this season in the South Atlantic.
Additionally, Seattle picked Crowder recruit Tyler Duncan in the 30th round in 2016. Duncan played two seasons at Crowder and recently completed his junior season at Arkansas State.
In 2017, Washington selected former Neosho and former Crowder standout Trey Turner in the 10th round, Texas picked Ashby in the 25th round, and the New York Mets picked up Wilson in the 35th round. Turner and Wilson both signed with their respective organizations.
Last year, Milwaukee selected Ashby with the 125th overall pick.