WINTER HAVEN — Star Polk State pitcher Alec Asher will continue his career at the professional level, having been drafted on Tuesday by the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers selected Asher in the fourth round; he was the 156th pick overall in this year's Major League Baseball draft.
Asher was at his home in Lakeland, watching the draft with family and friends, when he received the call that the Rangers were going to select him.
"Everyone in the house was yelling and excited. I was just looking at the screen, saying to myself, 'I can't believe I just got drafted, that is me on the screen,'" said Asher, a right-handed pitcher. "The feeling was surreal. It's exciting knowing that your life is about to change."
The days leading up to the draft were nervous ones, Asher said.
"I could hardly sleep at night. I just tried to let the process play out," he said.
Asher said he had a feeling that it would be the Rangers that would select him.
"It is not up to me what team selects me. I just wanted to get selected and have a chance to play. They were the team that showed the most interest in me throughout the season. Prior to the draft, my friends and I made a bet about what team was going to select me. I went with the Rangers so it look like I win," he said
Asher will now wait the Rangers' area scout to present him with a contract.
"Depending on how fast the paperwork gets done, I will head out to Arizona to get my physical and I will play on the Rangers' minor league team, where they will evaluate me and place me on either the rookie team, double-A or triple-A team," he explained.
Asher's father, Bob, was — of course — brimming with pride after Tuesday's news.
"I am happy for Alec. Most importantly, I am happy to see his perseverance and his ability fight his way back. To earn the trust of a team like the Texas Rangers is something special," Bob Asher said.
"I always knew he had something special in him. I enjoy his passion and his intensity to compete."
Polk State Head Baseball Coach Al Corbeil said Asher made a huge impact on the College's program — and he's sure to do the same at the professional level.
"I enjoyed coaching Alec. He was the best pitcher in the state this past year and he is well- deserving of this honor. He is a hard worker and great teammate who will contribute to the Texas Rangers organization," Corbeil said.
This is not Asher's first experience with the MLB draft. In 2010, after graduating from Lakeland High School, he was selected as a 23rd-round pick by the San Francisco Giants. An injury in his pitching arm ended his run with the Giants, and he returned to Florida to play for Santa Fe College.
In 2011, he came home to Polk County to play for Polk State. In his one season with the Eagles, he went 13-1 with a 2.08 ERA while striking out 107 batters and walking only 27 batters. He went 7-for-17 (.412) at the plate, scoring seven runs and driving in seven runs.