When A.J. Minter took the mound for the first time in the TAPPS 3A state semifinal for Bullard Brook Hill, half a dozen scouts whipped out their radar guns to gauge the fireballing lefty in early May.
Minter led the Guard to back-to-back state championships and on Wednesday he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the Major League Baseball draft.
Minter, who signed to play at Texas A&M in November, was chosen late in the 38th of 40 rounds, the 1,174th overall pick.
However, Minter said Wednesday evening he will not be signing with the Tigers, opting instead to go to College Station.
“It’s just too great an opportunity; A&M outweighs the pros and cons of going (pro),” Minter said. “It was a hard decision but A&M’s a great school to go to.”
The Tigers contacted Minter on Tuesday — during rounds 2-15 — to ask what kind of money he was looking for. Colorado, Kansas City and Toronto also came calling, but none offered enough to convince Minter to sign in the earlier rounds.
Thus Minter went undrafted until Wednesday, which included rounds 16-40, when the Tigers opted to call his name.
“It wasn’t what I was hoping for,” Minter said of the offers.
Throughout his career at Brook Hill, Minter pitched in two state title games and one state semifinal. Listed at 5-11, 205 pounds, Minter has been clocked at mid-90s on his fast ball and has trained the last two years with pitching coach Travis Chick, a fellow Whitehouse native and former Mariners pitcher.
As a senior, he struck out 119 batters while walking 19 in 59 2-3 innings. He allowed seven earned runs and 25 hits.
In the aforementioned semifinal, scouts watched Minter strike out 15, giving up two hits in an eight-inning, complete-game shutout. He threw four shutout innings in the 2011 title game, striking out six in the process.
Minter said he can go to Texas A&M and improve as a player and drive up his draft stock by the time he’s a junior and again eligible to be drafted.
“I’m feeling happy with my decision,” said Minter, who will be joined on the Aggies roster by Brook Hill teammate JB Moss. “Most of my friends are going to Blinn and A&M. We’re all going to be down there. They’re all happy.”