19-year-old taken in MLB draft but will return to college

Cody Thorn

Technology has changed almost every facet of life, including the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.

Just ask Matt Sample.

The 19-year-old right-handed pitcher from Pea Ridge, Ark., was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 49th round of the draft Friday afternoon.

How did he find out?

None other than a text message on his cell phone.

“I found about 6:30 p.m.,” the Crowder College player said Friday. “It’s pretty exciting. I was happy I got picked — that is everybody’s dream if they are a baseball player.”

Sample, prior to the draft, was regarded as a pitcher who could go pretty high in the draft, but fell in large part because he informed scouts he would return to college even if he was drafted.

“I want to come back and win a national championship at Crowder,”  Sample said. “All the scouts appreciated when I told them I was coming back. It was better to tell them up front then wait to the last minute.

“I gotta just come back and get better, that is all there is to it.”

Crowder coach Travis Lallemand said Sample “is one of the most talented arms that we have had in my seven years here. We are excited to have him back and it’s an excellent opportunity to develop and get picked in the top 10 rounds next year. He has that kind of ability. I think this is big for him, confidence-wise."

“I talked to the scout that turned him in, Dustin Smith, and I knew him because his brother was my age and we grew up together in Girard (Kan.). He called me and told me that weren’t planning on signing him, but now they get Matt on their radar.”

Neosho Daily News