Crawford picked in 25th round of MLB draft

Alec Crawford, who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies, was the only player on the Gophers’ roster to be drafted.

Joe Perovich

Alec Crawford waited through 24 full rounds of Major League Baseball’s 2014 First-Year Player Draft before getting the good news he was waiting for.

In the 25th round, Crawford’s moment came. The senior starting pitcher was drafted 743rd overall by the Colorado Rockies, which left him feeling “excited, pumped, thankful [and] blessed,” he said.

“Being able to continue to play the sport I love, and getting a chance at trying to make it to [Major League Baseball] and playing at the highest level of competition, it’s unreal.”

The draft, which began Thursday, spanned three days. At about 9:30 a.m. on the draft’s final day, Crawford said, a Rockies scout called him.

“He asked me if I was interested in playing for the organization and if I was healthy. I said yes to both, of course,” Crawford said.

At 2 p.m., Crawford got a call from the same scout, who told him he had been selected by the organization.

Gophers pitching coach Todd Oakes said he was confident the senior would be drafted.

“You just don’t know if it would be the 10th round or the 30th round. It’s definitely a waiting game,” Oakes said.

Head coach John Anderson called Crawford a “competitor” and said he “just wanted an opportunity.”

The Rockies officially signed Crawford, who will now join the lower ranks of the organization. He said Sunday that he would likely start in Grand Junction, Colo., with their Rookie team, the Grand Junction Rockies.

“I was just happy for an opportunity, and I’m very thankful that the Rockies gave me that opportunity,” Crawford said.

Crawford, Minnesota’s Friday starter, finished the season with a 3.79 ERA and a 4-2 record in 15 games.

Crawford pitched at Des Moines Area Community College, a junior college, before transferring to Minnesota for his junior and senior seasons.

He battled an injury in his junior season but pitched in 10 games, nine of which he started, and posted a 2.28 ERA.

“I’m sure the minor league managers will be [fighting] over him after probably about a year,” Anderson said. “They’re all going to want him on their team. Hopefully he pitches well enough, so maybe someday he’ll be labeled a prospect because I’m sure he’s not right now, but he’s going to have to prove them wrong.”

That appears to be the attitude Crawford is taking with him to the minors.

“I’m still hungry. I don’t feel like I’ve made it yet,” he said. “But it’s another step in the right direction.

And if baseball doesn’t work out for him, Anderson said Crawford is still “situated pretty well.”

“He can relax and go out and play baseball and see how long he’ll be able to have that. He definitely has that degree to fall back on, so he’s prepared for whatever happens,” Anderson said.