Braves draft Samuelson

Herald-Argus File PhotoAndy Samuelson, a 2017 La Porte graduate, was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 12th round Wednesday. The former Slicer pitcher played at Wabash Valley College the last two seasons and had committed to North Carolina State.

When Andy Samuelson found out Wednesday afternoon that he had been drafted by the Atlanta Braves, the La Porte graduate wasn't even the first in his family to know.

"My brother (Tommy) told me," Samuelson said. "He must've pulled it up on his phone. He texted me, you should check it out."

Listed at 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, the left-handed Samuelson was taken with the 367th pick of the draft, the 20th pick of the 12th round. 

"I was in contact with a few teams," Samuelson said. "Atlanta was one of them. Recently, I'd talked to the Rangers. The Astros called today. There was the Red Sox, Dodgers, a few others. I didn't know exactly when it was going to happen. They just told me I was on their board. I'm just excited they took a chance on me."

Samuelson, who just turned 20, went to Valparaiso University out of high school, but stayed there just a semester. He transferred to junior college power Wabash Valley, where he spent the last two seasons. He was 1-0 in 16 relief appearances with a 2.93 earned run average and 29 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings, though he did walk 13.

"They like that I'm a left-hander and I have a plus curve ball," Samuelson said. "I've been up to 93 (miles per hour), but I'm going to keep working on it. It's not where I want to stay. I can still get bigger and stronger."

As Samuelson spoke Wednesday night, he was awaiting a call from the Braves to work out contract details and what comes next. He had already spoken to North Carolina State, where he was committed to continue his collegiate career, letting them know of his plans to sign.

"They seemed happy for me," he said. "Of course they wanted me to come, but they were respectful of my decision. They weren't going to force me to do anything. I told them I wanted to sign and they said best of luck. I was thinking a little bit about giving it a chance, but I wasn't going to dwell on it too much. This is a chance I've been waiting for, to play pro baseball, and I was going to take it as soon as I get it."

Like a lot of little kids, Samuelson grew up wanting to play Major League Baseball. It became more of a possibility last fall, participating in showcases.

"I started getting phone calls, emails, texts," he said. "I'm thinking, whoa, there's actually a real chance of this happening, I better get to work."

Now it's a reality.

"They're all excited," Samuelson said of his family. "My mom's a little nervous, but that's how moms are. It's a lot of hype. It hasn't really all set in, but I'm starting to realize more that it's happened. It's crazy."

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