ALVARADO — With the 2017 MLB Draft set to take place this week, many in Alvarado will be tuned in with interest to see when the Indians’ Adam Oviedo is selected.
Oviedo has been on scouts’ radars at an early age, and the interest picked up even more after the talented shortstop verbally committed to Texas Christian University, one of the nation’s most successful baseball programs, after his sophomore season.
The first two rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft will be held Monday with rounds 3-10 taking place Tuesday. Rounds 11-40 are Wednesday.
By most reports, Oviedo could potentially be drafted as high as late in the second round but his most likely landing spot will be somewhere in the third through fifth rounds. The District 8-4A co-MVP is ranked 130th in MLB.com’s 2017 top-200 prospect watch while Baseball America lists Oviedo as the 181st-ranked prospect.
Throughout the 2017 season, numerous scouts were regularly seen at Alvarado games taking notes on Oviedo. For several games, more than 30 scouts were in attendance.
Over the past year, Oviedo has tried out for nearly a third of the teams in MLB, including five teams over the past few weeks after Alvarado’s loss to Abilene Wylie on May 20 in the regional quarterfinals.
“Unfortunately we lost to Wylie — that’s not how I wanted to end my senior season, but it was still a successful year,” Oviedo said. “Since then I’ve been busy working out for teams and preparing myself. Most of the workouts have been in Texas so they’re within driving distance. But it’s been pretty crazy. It’s fun but it’s a process. I know it’s something a lot of kids don’t get to experience, so I’m just taking it all in and hoping for the best.”
Recently, Oviedo has worked out for the Miami Marlins, San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Texas Rangers. He’s also worked out for the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals within the past calendar year.
“It’s an honor to be working out for MLB teams,” Oviedo said. “It’s a huge honor. Honestly it’s hard to put into words. It’s everybody’s dream to do something for a professional sports organization, especially with me at a young age working out for teams while still in high school.
“It’s something I’ve sacrificed a lot for, and my parents have as well so I really appreciate them. My parents have made a lot of sacrifices and put in a lot of time and effort to help get me this far. I can’t put it all into words. I’m living the dream really. It’s been a fun experience. There’s nothing better than just playing baseball.”
Alvarado Coach Will Burnes said it’s been fun for the team and his classmates to follow along in Oviedo’s journey.
“We’re all excited for him,” Burnes said. “He had a workout in Miami recently and they posted some pictures on Facebook, and it’s neat to see all the support around him and everybody cheering him on.
“He’s just an awesome player. What makes him even better is he’s got the abilities but he knows he also has to work for everything. He’s constantly working to make his game better in every area, not just hitting or fielding, but base running, footwork, all the little details. He definitely wants to be a great player and he’s definitely working hard enough to do that.”
A MLB.com scouting report on Oviedo reads, “[Oviedo is] one of the better defensive shortstops available in this crop. Whether a team will have enough conviction that he’ll hit to buy him away from his Texas Christian commitment is another question, however.
“Oviedo has the hands, arm and actions to play shortstop at the next level. He’s an average runner who doesn’t quite have typical shortstop quickness, but his other tools and his instincts enable him to make plays. Scouts rave about his makeup, but questions linger about his offensive ability.”
In his senior season as the Indians’ leadoff hitter, Oviedo batted .436 with 29 RBIs and 41 runs scored with 11 doubles, six triples and six home runs for a .872 slugging percentage. He also drew 26 walks for a .573 on-base percentage to go along with 22 stolen bases on a .957 stolen base percentage. Defensively, Oviedo had 60 assists and 56 putouts with a .921 fielding percentage.
With Oviedo being strong in his commitment to TCU, he said entering the draft he’s still undecided on what path he’ll take — pro or college — but added it would have to be the right opportunity to pass on TCU.
“We’re supposed to have a meeting Saturday with my advisors,” Oviedo said. “We’re still undecided on what’s the right path. Of course, TCU is a great school, but we’ll have to see what happens. [My decision will depend] on what happens in the draft. It would have to be the right opportunity to skip out on TCU. I committed to TCU a couple years back and I’m really looking forward to it. A team would have to show some conviction for me to sign.
“I don’t know what to expect for the draft. The experience has been unforgettable. There’s not many kids that get to go through what I’m going through now. Having a ‘problem’ of deciding between college career or pro, that’s a good problem to have.”
Whether Oviedo goes pro or becomes a Horned Frog, Burnes said they’ll be getting a great kid.
“It’s awesome he’s getting this opportunity,” Burnes said. “It doesn’t matter what you ask that dude to do, he does it to the best of his ability. Whether he goes to TCU or if he gets drafted and goes that route, whoever ends up with him will have a gold mine in Adam.”
Through all of his experiences, including being one of 108 players chosen nation-wide to try out for the USA Baseball 18-Under National Team in 2015 and 2016, Oviedo said his senior season was particularly memorable.
“The thing that sticks out the most from my high school career is probably my senior year,” Oviedo said. “Towards the end of the season you start to realize this is it. Every game in the playoffs is a fight for your life. My senior season was most memorable. There were a lot of scouts at the games. And mostly just coming back from not making the playoffs in 2016 then bouncing back and going three rounds deep. I’d say this year was rewarding with all the hard work paying off in a playoff run.”
Entering Monday’s draft, Alvarado has only had one player ever drafted straight out of high school — Randy Walraven, father of Cleburne Football Coach Casey Walraven, who was a 17th-round selection by the Reds in 1974.
Alvarado's Tyler Bates was drafted by the Angels out of East Texas Baptist University in 2016.
Minnesota has the No. 1 overall choice, followed by Cincinnati, San Diego, Tampa Bay and Atlanta, respectively.