The MLB draft took place early this week. Missouri Southern’s Tommy Stevenson was drafted in the 19th round, at pick 574, by the Oakland Athletics.
Stevenson has been at Missouri Southern the last three years and has been a stand-out performer since his freshman year. Stevenson batted at a .350 average with 32 homeruns and 110 RBI’s throughout his career. Stevenson was named to the All-MIAA 2nd team and the ABCA All-Region team last year for the Lions. Stevenson topped many statistical categories for the Lions, and also led the MIAA in on-base percentage despite missing multiple games due to injuries.
Stevenson gives MSSU Head Coach Bryce Darnell and Assistant Coach Nick Tuck credit for a lot of his development over the last few years. In an interview with Nathan Massey of Newstalk KZRG, Stevenson states, “Tuck and Darny are great coaches, they prepared me on and off the field.”
Coach Darnell returned the admiration for Stevenson deeming him, “as good offensively as any player I have coached at Southern.” Darnell was not surprised by Stevenson’s selection and believes his size, abilities, and talent gives him a great shot at making it to the Major League level.
Stevenson listed multiple things he will miss most about being at Missouri Southern including: teammates, friends, coaches, and of course local restaurant Sami’s. He is also looking forward to the next step in his career and it will be coming quickly as he leaves for Arizona later this week.
When it comes to this next step, he is most excited about the rise in competition as he takes on the pros.
When asked about this new competition, Stevenson also mentions being excited about potentially facing another now former Lion, Logan VanWey. VanWey, another highly decorated player in both MSSU and MIAA history, inked a free agent deal with the Houston Astros. VanWey changed from being MSSU’s go-to closer to their game one starter last year. VanWey delivered all season long and had an incredible year for the Lions, which resulted in his signing.
Darnell credited VanWey’s success to his work ethic, talent and ability to battle through the adversity he has faced throughout his career. He believes that VanWey has a great shot to make it to the top due to his lethal fastball-slider combo.
Both players are just beginning their professional careers and have set a great example for current and future Lion baseball players.