The MLB draft. For teams, it’s a chance to recruit new talent and make someone’s dreams come true. It’s three days full of excitement as athletes crowd around their TVs and computers waiting for the day their name will be called. In 2010, over 1,500 names were called including current MLB players Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. In the 23rd round, pitcher Alec Asher was selected by the San Francisco Giants out of Lakeland Senior High School.
“That was my whole goal was to play professional baseball and signing at 18 was really exciting,” Asher said.
Things were in place as Asher agreed to sign with the Giants and take a physical. However, the physical revealed a bone spur in his elbow which led to the Giants not signing him.
“When I got out there, they did x-rays and MRIs and stuff like that as part of the normal protocol and they found it. I didn’t even know I had it. We were hanging out for a couple of days and they let me know,” Asher said. “The doctor called me and said ‘Hey. We’re not going to sign you. We’re sorry things didn’t work out.’ It was disappointing. I was really excited and it was like my dreams were shot down real quick.”
Disappointed but determined to make it, Asher decided to go to Santa Fe Community College before transferring to Polk State College which was closer to home.
“I didn’t have a lot of offers to big D-I schools out of high school and I wanted to be able to get drafted every year,” Asher said. “You can do that when you go to a junior college. I wanted my shot at getting drafted every year.”
Asher put up impressive numbers while at Polk State College earning a Rawlings Gold Glove award and was named a First Team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American and the Suncoast Conference Pitcher of the Year. As part of the 2012 Polk State College baseball team, Asher and his teammates won the Suncoast Conference Championship, the Florida College System Activities Association State Championship, and advanced to the NJCAA World Series for the first time ever in the school’s history.
His patience and hard work resulted in being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2012 draft in the fourth round. Asher said his second draft day was even better than the first.
“It was definitely better because I kind of matured a bit in the process. Obviously going higher and all that made it a better experience,” Asher said. “My family was happy and was so supportive through both days. I’m happy it worked out and I think it worked out for the best.”
Asher spent the 2012 campaign with the Rangers’ short-season team in Spokane before skipping a level to advance to High-A Myrtle Beach. He said it took awhile to adjust to his first full season in professional ball.
“It was difficult at first. I didn’t really know what to expect being a starter and going out there for my first full season. Staying healthy was a big challenge because the season is so long,” Asher said. “A lot of people don’t realize you get one, maybe two days off so preparing for the grind of the season is tough. Then you have to work on what you’re struggling with. I struggled around June last year pretty bad. I was like God, I don’t know if I can do this but then all your teammates and coaches help you through it and it ends up working really good.”
During his 2013 season in Myrtle Beach, Asher compiled a record of nine wins and seven losses with an earned run average of 2.90. He pitched in 133.1 innings allowing 120 hits while walking 40 and striking out 139. He said this season he’s looking forward to exceeding his goals and hopes the team can win it all in 2014.
“I’d like to win a championship this year. I think the guys we have are a lot of the guys we had last year and we had a pretty good team,” Asher said. “That’s the main goal and to win baseball games, progress, and get better.”