TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State junior catcher Jeremy Lucas, a 2009 West Vigo High School graduate, was selected with the 383rd overall pick in the 12th round of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft by the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.
ISU junior pitcher Dakota Bacus (ninth round, 289th overall) was drafted earlier Tuesday by the Oakland Athletics.
The MLB Draft, which contains 40 rounds, will continue through today.
“I didn’t expect to drop that low,” Lucas told the Tribune-Star. “Nonetheless, I’m given the chance to play professional baseball. I’m excited for the opportunity to prove myself.”
An Indians scout called Lucas late Tuesday afternoon to give him the news.
“It didn’t really matter to me where I went,” Lucas mentioned. “I was just hoping somebody would give me the opportunity.”
Lucas said he’s thinking about hiring an agent this week to negoatiate with the Indians. He’s on the 2012 Terre Haute Rex roster, but that would change if he signs with the Indians.
Lucas earned numerous awards following a standout junior campaign with ISU, earning the program’s first Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year award this past season. He led the Sycamores in several offensive categories, including batting average (.345), hits (78), runs scored (53), home runs (nine), total bases (122), slugging percentage (.540) and on-base percentage (.443). He also was the only member of the team to start all 60 games as Indiana State ended its season 41-19 with its first postseason appearance since 1995.
Lucas was drafted before coming to Indiana State, as the Baltimore Orioles took Lucas in the 35th round back in 2009. He hit .336 in his first three seasons at ISU, totaling 194 hits in 155 games with 36 doubles, 13 home runs and a .422 on-base percentage, improving his selection by 23 rounds after his time with the Sycamores.
Meanwhile, Bacus was named the MVC’s Newcomer of the Year and a first-team all-MVC selection this past season, going 7-4 with a 2.70 earned-run average. The ISU hurler set the school record for innings pitched in a single season, tossing 1162⁄3 innings with 89 strikeouts and a .240 batting average against.
The Moline, Ill., native and Southeastern Community College transfer led Indiana State to its first outright regular-season conference championship in 2012, tossing a complete game against Missouri State on May 17. Bacus threw three complete games over the season, including shutouts against Western Illinois (Feb. 24) and Evansville (March 23). Against the Purple Aces on March 23, Bacus struck out a season-high 13 batters.
In coach Rick Heller’s three seasons with Indiana State, Bacus and Lucas mark the fifth and sixth players selected in the draft. Jacob Petricka (second round, 63rd overall, Chicago White Sox) and Ryan Strausborger (16th round, 496th overall, Texas Rangers) were picked in 2010, with Colin Rea (12th round, 383rd overall, San Diego Padres) and Blake Drake (22nd round, 681st overall, White Sox) going last season.
Under the terms of Major League Baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement, professional clubs must sign a drafted player by July 13 or the rights to that player are lost and he may re-enter the draft in 2013.