Kansas City sees UTM’s Mills as good weapon in arm’s race
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 12:00 pm
For the second year in a row, UT Martin baseball program has produced a selection in the Major League Baseball draft as junior right-handed pitcher Alec Mills was chosen by the Kansas City Royals in the 22nd round (673rd overall selection) Wednesday.
A year after UT Martin senior infielder Trey Karlen was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2011 draft, Mills was the third player from the Ohio Valley Conference taken in this year’s draft behind All-OVC first teamers Richie Rodriguez (ninth round, New York Mets) and Ben Waldrip (10th round, Colorado Rockies).
All in all, a dozen OVC players were chosen in the 2012 MLB Draft.
“We sure are happy for Alec,” Skyhawk head coach Bubba Cates said. “You’re always excited to get drafted and to have an opportunity at the next level. That’s every baseball player’s dream growing up. Alec is going to weigh his options and see what his best path is from here.”
In his first season as a full-time starting pitcher, Mills was as durable as they come in 2012, compiling a team-high 14 starts and ranking third in the OVC in innings pitched per nine innings (6.36).
The Clarksville native also ranked in the top-10 in the league in strikeouts (74, sixth), least walks per nine innings (2.63, sixth), total innings pitched (89, eighth) and ERA (3.94, ninth).
Mills conceded three or fewer earned runs in nine of his 14 starts this spring, while going at least six frames in 10 of those starts.
The 6-4 righty fanned five or more batters in nine starts, including a season-high eight in just five innings against Arkansas-Little Rock on March 2. He did not allow a home run in 292⁄3 innings over his first five starts of the season and got stronger down the stretch, posting a miniscule 1.28 ERA over 281⁄3 innings in four starts from April 20 through May 11.
Overall, he registered a 2.8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (74 strikeouts against 26 walks) and limited right-handed batters to a .251 batting average.
Mills ranks fifth on the program’s all-time career list in strikeouts (165) and appearances (67). His 13 victories are the seventh-highest in UT Martin history, while his 192 innings pitched rank eighth in the program record book.
He appeared in a program-record 30 games as the team’s primary set-up man in 2011 and his 74 strikeouts this season are the second-most in any season in Skyhawk history.
Currently, Mills is a part of the Madison (Wis.) Mallards of the Northwoods Summer League, where he has a 1.39 ERA over two starts. In 13 innings pitched, he has scattered only eight hits while striking out 17 batters against only one walk.
On Opening Night against Battle Creek on May 30, he struck out 13 batters over seven innings in a Mallards victory.
Mills also caught the attention of scouts last summer when he competed for the Brazos Valley Bombers of the Texas Collegiate League.
While there, he earned all-star accolades and led the TCL with a 1.98 ERA over 59 innings (eight starts, three relief appearances). He set a Brazos Valley all-time record with 55 strikeouts (with only seven walks) and led the Bombers to the TCL championship series, capping off the best finish in Brazos Valley history. Published in The WCP 6.7.12