It’s been quite a week for Kevin Holcomb.
Now, the Glendale Community College baseball pitcher has quite a decision to make.
Holcomb was selected in the 13th round (406th overall) by the Houston Astros in the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday. The selection after Holcomb signed a scholarship offer with UCLA, the top-ranked team in the nation.
Teammate Casey Slattery. a freshman infielder, was taken in the 38th round (1,138 overall) by the New York Mets.
Holcomb received word that he had been drafted around 9:30 a.m. from Houston amateur scout Tim Costic while the pitcher was returning to Glendale after delivering his scholarship documents to UCLA.
“It’s certainly been a great day,” Holcomb said. “One I won’t forget. [Costic] had called me earlier Wednesday and said he’d get back to me and then he called me back a little while later to give me the news of the Astros drafting me.
“It’s all about putting in the hard work and Glendale gave me a chance to get better. The coaching staff worked with me and I’ll always appreciate that.”
Holcomb, 20, helped the Vaqueros win the Western State Conference East Division championship this season. Glendale made its deepest run in the postseason since 2011, advancing to the California Community College Athletic Assn. Southern California Sectionals before falling to El Camino.
Holcomb said he’ll likely reach a decision on what career path he’ll take by the end of next week.
“I’ll let in sink in some more and I’ll be talking it over with my family,” Holcomb said. “The signing deadline for Major League Baseball is July 6, so there’s some time.
“I get to either go a great organization like the Houston Astros or to UCLA and play for coach John Savage, who is one of the very best coaches. It’s a very big decision to make.”
Glendale interim coach Alex Kocol said Holcomb put things together with the Vaqueros and was pleased that he was drafted.
“Kevin reached out to us a couple of years ago and he came in throwing 85-87 miles per hour,” said Kocol, whose team finished 30-17. “He bought into self improvement in the classroom and on the field. That’s the best thing about him.
“To see him get drafted by a team like Houston is unbelievable. I couldn’t be happier for him. It’s mission accomplished. He’s got a great opportunity to start a new career. Those are some special opportunities to either go to a top-ranked program in the country in UCLA, or a great team like the Houston Astros.”
The 6-foot-5 Holcomb, a right-hander, went 6-0 with a 1.80 earned-run average this season. In 18 appearances, he struck out 56 and walked 23 in 50 innings. Holcomb was named to the division’s second team.
If Holcomb chooses to go to UCLA, he will join a program that is currently enjoying a standout season. The Bruins are taking part in the 2019 NCAA Baseball Super Regionals and are facing Michigan.
Slattery, a Harvard-Westlake High product, hit .325 (54 for 166) with a team-best 45 runs batted in after spending last season at the University of California as a redshirt freshman. He contributed 38 runs, 12 doubles and eight triples to receive second-team accolades and earned a gold glove.
“It’s been a cool day,” Slattery said. “First of all, I’m very happy for Kevin and I’d like to see other players from our team some day get drafted.
“I was following the draft online on the tracker and really started to follow it from about the 35th round on to see if I might be picked. i went to Facebook for about five minutes and then I came back to the tracker and saw that I was picked by the Mets. I’ll look over all of my options. I’m not in any rush to make any decisions.”
Said Kocol: “He was the first guy on the field for us all of the time and he was an offensive force. I saw great development from him throughout the season.It’s awesome to see him get selected.”
The last former Glendale college player to be selected was Jared Akins in 2017. Akins transferred to Fresno State and was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 13th round with the 376th pick.