In high school, Shea Langeliers was a member of the Keller Indians.
Now, he’s a Brave once again.
The Atlanta Braves selected the Baylor junior catcher with the No. 9 overall selection in Monday’s Major League Draft. Langeliers became Baylor’s 11th player to be taken in the first round (or supplemental first round). He’s also the second-highest BU pick in program history, behind only pitcher Stan Hilton, who went fifth overall to the Oakland Athletics in 1983.
Meanwhile, Langeliers’ teammate Davis Wendzel went No. 41 overall to the Texas Rangers, as the final of the compensatory picks. That gives Baylor two first-round selections in the same draft for the first time in school history.
Scouts were especially in love with Langeliers’ elite defense, which included throwing out 62 of 116 attempted base stealers (53.4 percent) over the past three years.
The draft analysts on the MLB Network seemed to agree with the scouts.
“He not only knows how to lead a staff, but he’s an outstanding thrower with a great arm. I’m talking about a plus-plus arm,” said Joe Girardi, the former New York Yankees manager. “When you talk about framing pitches, he’s as quiet as there is. He gets a lot of low strikes for his pitchers, and that’s something that is measured in the big leagues and is cherished. I think Shea’s going to be a longtime big-league catcher that is very good defensively, and is a plus offensive player as well.”
MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds agreed with Girardi on Langeliers’ defensive gifts.
“Pretty impressive stuff from him on the offensive side, but his money is the defense,” Reynolds said. “He can catch and throw with the best of them. I think you could drop him in a Major League game right now, and he could catch and throw with any big leaguer. He’s that good.”
Langeliers broke the hamate bone in his left wrist early in Baylor’s season, but missed only 10 games before returning. He ended up hitting .308 with 33 runs scored, 10 home runs and 42 RBIs, along with a .904 OPS.
Langeliers showed the full measure of his superior offensive potential when he hit three home runs and an NCAA postseason-record 11 RBIs in a 24-6 win over Omaha at the Los Angeles Regional on Saturday. Braves vice president of scouting Dana Brown told Atlanta’s Fox affiliate WAGA-TV that the Braves were sweating that Langeliers’ huge game might move him up some draft boards.
“We were actually worried that a couple of teams were going to take him a ahead of us,” Brown said. “We sort of put our heads down when he had that big night the other night, with three home runs and all the RBIs. We were like, ‘Man, he may have just played his way into a higher pick.’ But thank God, we had done all the work and we were out front. It was just a sign for us, ‘Hey, you guys are on the right guy.’ We’re excited about him.”
Wendzel, the Tribune-Herald’s Big 12 Player of the Year, hit .367 this year with eight home runs and 42 RBIs, leading the Big 12 in hitting.
The draft will continue through Wednesday.