Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich not selected in MLB draft

NEW YORK -- Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who as a teenager pleaded guilty to molesting a 6-year-old relative, was not selected in the Major League Baseball draft for the second straight year.

Heimlich is a two-time Pac-12 pitcher of the year for the Beavers and is regarded as one of college baseball's top players, but his troubled past has given big league teams pause.

The 22-year-old left-hander was expected to be drafted early last year until The Oregonian reported Heimlich admitted to the crime when he was 15. After pleading guilty, Heimlich was sentenced to two years' probation, among other requirements.

He did not play for Oregon State last year in the second round of the NCAA tournament or the College World Series. He returned for the 2018 season and helped the Beavers to a No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

Heimlich pitched seven innings, giving up six hits and striking out three, to pick up the win Saturday night as Oregon State routed LSU 14-1 in the Corvallis Regional. He has a 15-1 record with a 2.42 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) this season.

In June 2017, the victim's mother expressed dismay that Heimlich was allowed to pitch for Oregon State, telling The Oregonian, "I'm appalled that the college he's going to would even have him on their team."

Heimlich recently insisted in stories by Sports Illustrated and The New York Times that he was actually innocent and said he pleaded guilty because of poor legal advice.

"I know the truth of the situation," Heimlich told Sports Illustrated in a cover story earlier this month. "I can't convince you. I can't convince the readers. But I know the truth, and I'm confident in that. And if I'm not focused on what other people say and what other people read, ultimately I'm going to be all right."

The three-day draft concluded Wednesday night, with 1,214 players selected.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.