McEachern’s Alex Speas looks forward after being drafted by Rangers

Thursday’s start to the Major League Baseball draft set off reactions for fans, players and teams across the globe.

For McEachern high school pitcher Alex Speas, the Texas Rangers’ decision to draft him led to an uproar at home.

“I had a lot of my team over from my high school season,” Speas said. “Everybody went crazy. Just being able to sit there and take in the moment with them and hearing my name called at the 63rd pick with the Rangers was exciting and fun. It was a special time to spend with my family and friends.”

The Rangers chose the McEachern senior with the team’s second-round pick. In Speas, Texas adds a 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-hander who started seven games for his high school in 2016 and walked away with three victories, a 3.00 ERA and 34 strikeouts.

Speas entered the draft at No. 36 among Baseball America’s Top 100 draft prospects. He possesses three different pitches: a fastball that hovers in the mid-90s, a curveball and a slider. His biggest knock, according to scouts, has been his control on the mound.

That, however, is something Speas has already been focusing on.

“I definitely have started getting more command with all my pitches,” Speas said. “I feel as I keep developing I could be a starting guy for the Rangers.”

While a professional offer is now on the table, Speas has a decision to make. As an 18-year-old, he must choose between entering the Texas Rangers’ farm system or going to Auburn to play for new head coach Butch Thompson, who was formerly Mississippi State’s pitching coach.

Speas said he will sit down with his family in order to decide which route to take. While he explained he doesn’t have a timetable in mind, July 15 is the deadline for amateur draft picks to sign their contracts with their respective clubs.

Although time will tell whether he sports the Rangers’ royal blue or the Tigers’ navy blue, Speas made it apparent the match with Texas left him greatly appreciative of the extensive lead-up to draft night.

“They’ve always been a contender (at the major league level),” Speas said. “It was a nerve-wracking process, and it took a while. At the same time, it was a fun process to go through. It was exciting to be in a position to be able to be drafted.”