A question that’s come up far too often in the recent past is coming up again ahead of the MLB Draft. How do teams assess a player who has criminal history in his past? It’s a question now being asked about Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich.
Heimlich’s crime is a serious one. The specifics can be found in a report by Danny Moran and Brad Schmidt of The Oregonian. But for those unfamiliar with the story: “As a teenager, Heimlich pleaded guilty to a single charge of sexually molesting a 6-year-old female family member.”
Obviously baseball takes a backseat to the significance of the crime. Still, it’s worth asking. Heimlich was on track to be a drafted high. Does this change that?
Keith Law of ESPN spoke on “Outside The Lines” on the matter. According to him, it’s wiping Heimlich entirely off of some team’s draft boards.
— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) June 12, 2017
“I felt like he was probably going towards the end of the second round, early third round. That seemed to be a pretty good consensus. When news broke, however, and I immediately started to some teams, some scouts who were actually in draft rooms at that point, and said ‘What are you doing with this player?’ every team I spoke to, which is not to say all 30 teams, but a sampling of the teams, they all said that they had just taken him off the board, entirely.”
That’s certainly notable.
Best guess at this point is that he’ll fall but will be drafted at some point late. The NBA draft is only two rounds, while the NFL and NHL have seven round drafts. But MLB’s draft goes 40 rounds. So at some point, someone will take a chance on Heimlich’s talent. If he pitches well enough, he’ll work his way through the minors.
But Heimlich’s fall will cost him money and a lot of it. While that’s certainly not the most important element of his crime, it’s one that can’t be overlooked.