UTM pitcher Mills likes Royals’ deal
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 12:00 pm
Alec Mills, who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft, will forgo his senior season at UT Martin to sign with the Royals.
All juniors who were drafted on June 4-6 have until July 13 to decide if they will return for their senior year of college or sign with their respective team.
Mills, who was the first Ohio Valley Conference pitcher selected in the 2012 draft (22nd round), signed on the dotted line on Sunday. He is expected to report to the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer League in time for their season-opener on June 18.
“Other teams treated Alec like a prospect, but it was the Royals who really courted him and treated him like a high round pick,” Skyhawk head coach Bubba Cates said. “When he was negotiating a contract, knowing that Kansas City was genuinely interested in him made the decision easier.”
Mills was UT Martin’s staff ace in 2012 — his first season as a full-time starter. He notched team-highs in victories (four), games started (14), innings pitched (89) and strikeouts (74). His 6.36 innings pitched per game and 74 strikeouts ranked third and sixth, respectively, in the OVC, while he also ranked in the league’s top-10 in least walks per nine innings (2.63, sixth) and ERA (3.94, ninth).
Cates believes Mills made the correct choice in signing with the Royals, who compete in the American League Central. The 6-4 Clarksville native boasts an impressive repertoire of a low-90s fastball, a devastating change-up and late-breaking slider.
“Alec is ready to start a professional career,” Cates said. “He has continued to mature and improve right before our eyes, and he’s still not finished physically. Another big factor that caught the scouts’ eyes was his look — he always looked comfortable and in control when he was on the mound.”
During his three-year tenure at UT Martin, Mills left a permanent mark on the record book. His 165 career strikeouts and 67 appearances both rank fifth all-time in Skyhawk history, while he also accumulated 13 victories (seventh-most) and 192 innings (eighth-most) in a UT Martin uniform.
His 30 appearances in 2011 are the most in a single-season in Skyhawk history, while his 74 strikeouts this past spring are the second-highest total by any UT Martin hurler.
Mills also pieced together quite an impressive resume off the diamond, garnering a 3.18 overall Grade Point Average as a Health and Human Performance exercise science major.
“We are excited for Alec but we hate to see him go,” Cates said. “He is a really good student and is close to getting his degree. He was a big leadership guy for us – his influence on the younger guys was tremendous. He was a difference-maker for us in more ways than just pitching on Fridays.” Published in The WCP 6.14.12