Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

June 6, 2013

NC BASEBALL: Schiraldi waits for MLB draft call

Corsicana — No one is sweating in the Schiraldi household these days.

Nope, the aces-wild full-house in Austin is as a calm and in control as a pitcher on the mound with an 0-2 count and a 94 mph fastball in his pocket.

That’s the way it is for Navarro College ace Lukas Schiraldi, who is waiting to find out just where he will land in the Major League Draft that began Thursday and continues through the weekend. Schiraldi is projected to be chosen anywhere from the third round to the 10th round.

“I’m not too worried about it. Whatever happens, happens,’’ said Schiraldi, who has already accepted a scholarship to the University of Texas.

“It’s not bad going to Texas,’’ he said casually.  

Going to UT sure didn’t hurt Schiraldi’s dad, Calvin, who along with Roger Clemens, helped lead the Longhorns to the 1983 NCAA national title. Calvin was drafted in the first round, and both father and son know that a big year or two with the Longhorns might send Lukas to first-round status.

 Lukas said his father is there to help him make his decision and when he is drafted that it will be a “family decision.’’ But for now, the Schiraldi family is waiting calmly.

No need to get up in the bullpen just yet.

“He hasn’t said anything ground-breaking,’’ Lukas said. “Just stick to your guns and know that everything is going to work out and it will happen eventually. No matter what happens it will be all right.’’

 It has already been a big week for Schiraldi, who was named to the first-team NJCAA Division I All-American team on Wednesday. He’s coming off an incredible season in which he helped lead Navarro to the College World Series. Schiraldi was perfect in the regular season, going 10-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

“It was a great honor,’’ Schiraldi said of becoming an All-American. “I was a little surprised. It’s a very cool honor to have.’’

Every big league scout who saw him pitch watched the power right-hander get better and better.

“There are a bunch of teams on him,’’ Navarro coach Whoa Dill said. “The Astros, the Rangers, the Brewers, the Phillies really like him, there’s a bunch.’’

There’s a lot to like.

“He’s got a strong arm and he’s 6-6 with a big body and a ceiling as high as you can go,’’ Dill said. “He didn’t pitch until he was 17 because his dad wouldn’t let him, and he has really gotten better and better. His fastball was at 87-89 when he was a freshman and this year he was throwing it at 91 to 94 and touching 95. His mechanics got better and he’s gotten stronger.’’

Schiraldi gives Dill a lot of credit for his rise.

“It was just working with Whoa, working on my mechanics and smoothing things out,’’ Schiraldi said. “Coming in I was throwing over the top like Iron Mike and Whoa moved my arm angle out to three-quarters. That’s when I got more velocity.’’

His fastball coupled with his calm demeanor on the mound, not to mention his strong pedigree, all make Schiraldi a pitcher big league clubs would love to have. But he has a pitch no one has seen — at least metaphorically. That’s Schiraldi’s best pitch — the unknown factor of just how good he might become.

“Because he didn’t pitch until he was 17, he’s got a fresh arm,’’ Dill said. “And his body is getting a lot stronger.’’

There’s more.

“He’s got a big league changeup,’’ Dill said. “If his breaking ball was better he would be projected to go in the first through third rounds. He’s strong and he’s smart, and his demeanor is very calm. He’s unbelievable. He’s very humble. He was raised right. His parents did a great job.’’

And he’s not in a hurry.

Schiraldi has a 3.67 GPA and he grew up a Longhorn fan. If the money isn’t right he could easily opt for Texas, where he would be paired with former Navarro coach Skip Johnson, a renowned pitching coach in his own right.

The Longhorn Nation would embrace him, and he would have a chance to improve his curveball and raise his stock with every breaking ball.

“When you’re pitching you’re not thinking about that,’’ Schiraldi said. “You’re just worried about helping the team win.’’

But as the draft unfolds, it’s obvious Schiraldi is ahead in the count in what appears to be the ultimate win-win situation.

That’s why no one is worried or fretting in the Schiraldi household.

“We’re just going to see what happens,’’ Schiraldi said.

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