NACOGDOCHES, Texas – One of the best pitchers to ever wear an SFA baseball uniform will now get his chance to work his way up through the ranks of Major League Baseball.
And he will do so in his home state.
On the final day of the 2019 MLB Draft, junior right-handed pitcher Alex Palmer became the 20th Lumberjack in the history of the program to join the ranks of the MLB when the Houston Astros drafted him with the 616th overall pick in the 20th round.
“I cannot be more proud of Alex and the work that he has put in this year,” stated SFA head coach Johnny Cardenas. “I have been telling anyone that would listen that he is one of the best – not only in our conference, but in the nation. He just knows how to get people out. He deserves his chance to show what he can do and I cannot be more excited that it is with a progressive development team like the Houston Astros.”
A product of Arlington, Texas, Palmer constructed one of the finest single seasons on the hill in program history during 2019. A true strikeout artist, Palmer racked up 109 of them through his team-leading 107 innings of work. That strikeout total ranked as the second-highest in the Southland Conference and the 38th-highest among all NCAA Division I arms. It also made Palmer the only SFA pitcher in program history to record 100 or more strikeouts in a single season and helped him become the program’s leader for single-season strikeouts.
During his final number in an SFA uniform, Palmer racked up 10 strikeouts in a complete game shutout win over Southeastern Louisiana in the opening game of the 2019 Southland Conference Tournament. That complete game effort was his fourth in a row and his fifth overall in 2019 and those five complete games helped Palmer rank fourth nationally in that statistical category.
Palmer also led the Southland Conference and ranked 18th nationally in WHIP (0.94) while his 5.89 hits allowed per nine innings (20th nationally) were also a Southland Conference-best. As a result of his powerful pitching, Palmer laid claim to the title of 2019 Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year and earned a spot on both the All-Southland Conference First Team and the Southland Conference All-Tournament Team.
With Palmer’s selection by the American League club early Wednesday afternoon, a total of 20 SFA baseball players have now worked their way up to the ranks of the MLB. Of those 20, half have been prepped by Cardenas who completed his 11th season in charge of the ‘Jacks this past May.
2019 also marks the third consecutive season in which a Lumberjack has heard his name called in the MLB Draft. Last season, right-handed pitcher Jake Norton was a 32nd round selection by the Miami Marlins while right-handed pitcher Will Vest was chosen in the 12th round by the Detroit Tigers in the 2018 MLB Draft.