Miami standout on being drafted top 10, joining Trout, Ohtani on Angels: ‘It’s surreal’

Sam Bachman drafted: Reaction

Pitcher Sam Bachman is RedHawks first-ever first-round pick in baseball

OXFORD – Red balloons decorated the sidewalks outside of Miami University’s Goggin Ice Center. RedHawk cheerleaders welcomed visitors as they stepped through the arena’s main entrance and graciously offered directions to Sunday night’s main event. Bowls filled commemorative baseballs with “Sam Bachman All-American” on one side and “June 11, 2021 Draft Day, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio” sat on window sills.

Caps for every one of the 30 Major League Baseball teams lined shelves of a coffee table underneath a pulldown movie screen hooked up to a laptop.

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Close to 150 people, including about 70 members of Miami baseball right-handed pitcher Sam Bachman’s family, were on hand at the arena’s Club Lounge to watch MLB’s annual first-year player draft. They were anticipating that the Fishers, Ind., native would become the baseball program’s first-ever first-round draft pick and the 73rd Miami player to be picked since the first draft was conducted in 1965.

They weren’t disappointed. The Los Angeles Angels chose the 6-foot-1, 235-pound junior with their first pick and ninth overall selection – Miami’s highest draft pick in any sport since Wally Szczerbiak was grabbed by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the sixth pick of the 1999 NBA draft.

“It’s surreal,” Bachman, who was the fourth overall pitcher and third right-hander picked, said in a media session about a half-hour after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the pick on an MLB Network short from Denver, the site of this year’s All-Star Game. “It hasn’t set in yet. I’m really excited to get out there and work.”

Miami University pitcher Sam Bachman was selected ninth overall by the Los Angeles Angels in the first round of the MLB Draft on Sunday, July 11, 2021. Miami University photo
Miami University pitcher Sam Bachman was selected ninth overall by the Los Angeles Angels in the first round of the MLB Draft on Sunday, July 11, 2021. Miami University photo

Manfred’s news sparked cheers, tears, applause and hugs in the lounge, where the windows were decorated with red, white and blue bunting, similar to what’s seen at All-Star and World Series games. If there had been room, it might’ve ended up in one of those dog piles normally reserved for championship teams.

Suzanne Bachman, Sam’s mother, used a tissue to dry the eyes of Kevin Bachman, Sam’s father.

“I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen him cry,” Suzanne said. “Every time, it’s surrounded the boys. People say it’s surreal, and that’s exactly what it is.’

Sam’s eyes still were a bit red during the media session.

“Tears are an understatement,” he admitted. “I cried.”

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That the Angels, who include former Most Valuable Player Mike Trout and two-way American League All-Star Shohei Ohtani, picked Bachman wasn’t too much of a surprise. Miami coach Danny Hayden said several scouts from teams picking after the Angels told him they would pick Bachman if he was available, but they didn’t think he’d get past Los Angeles. Kevin Bachman’s suspicions grew after he saw Angels General Manager Perry Minasian at the RedHawks’ game against Ball State.

“I sensed it was coming,” Kevin said, adding about Ohtani and Trout, “That’s pretty good company, isn’t it?”

“I’m excited,” Sam Bachman said. “I can’t wait to sit down with them and pick their brains.”

Sam got a call from his advisors before the pick officially was announced and then had to scramble back to the lounge and make his way through the crowd to a seat on a couch between his parents.

“Everybody kind of knew,” he said while wearing a new Angels’ cap, the color matching the Miami logo on the golf shirt he was wearing. “All you had to do was read the room.”

Bachman has reached 101 mph with his fastball, but relies on his slider as his out pitch. He was named first-team all-conference this past season after going 4-4 with a 1.81 earned-run average and 93 strikeouts in 59-2/3 innings pitched over 12 starts. He was 1-2 with a 3.42 ERA in four starts during the 2020 season shortened by coronavirus protocols and 7-1 with a 3.93 ERA in 14 starts and one relief appearance as a freshman. He was named a freshman All-American, the MAC Freshman Pitcher of the Year and was first-team all-conference.

Miami was a combined 70-57 in his three seasons.

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