Texas Rangers

Should Rangers draft NCAA ace who admitted to molesting child at age 15?

Luke Heimlich, who last pitched at Oregon State in 2018, remains off limits for MLB teams. The Texas Rangers had no interest in Heimlich last season, and although he is a free agent they have no interest in him now.
Luke Heimlich, who last pitched at Oregon State in 2018, remains off limits for MLB teams. The Texas Rangers had no interest in Heimlich last season, and although he is a free agent they have no interest in him now. Albany Democrat-Herald via AP

The Rangers have gone crazy with right-handers so far in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, which resumes Wednesday morning, and amateur scouting director Kip Fagg said one reason for that is a lack of depth with left-handers this year.

Fagg remained ecstatic with the Rangers' first-round pick Monday, because he never dreamed that righty Cole Winn would still be available. Fagg said on Tuesday after Rounds 3-10 that the Rangers have pretty much been able to take everyone they wanted.

The draft has 30 rounds to go, and they will be completed Wednesday. It would be an upset if the Rangers didn't find one left-hander in the remaining pool of draft-eligibles to select.

But they won't be selecting Luke Heimlich.

For those who don't know Heimlich, he is a star lefty at Oregon State who was expected to be selected in the first round last year. That was before it was revealed that he is an admitted child molester.

He was accused at age 15 of assaulting a 6-year-old niece and later pleaded guilty to one count of felony child molestation. Despite the plea, he claims innocence and said the plea was the quickest way to end the ordeal for his family.

Oregon State claims it was unaware of the crime when it signed Heimlich but allowed him to return to the team this season after taking a leave of absence following the revelation of his record.

The program stands behind the person Heimlich has shown himself to be while on campus and on the team. He hasn't had any subsequent troubles with the law and is no longer required to register as a sex offender.

Heimlich again claimed his innocence last month to the New York Times even though he had to write a letter to his victim admitting his guilt as part of the plea agreement.

Yahoo Sports reported on Tuesday that Heimlich is expected to be drafted, and Heimlich told the Times that he has been in contact with several teams this season.

The Rangers, though, aren't one of them.

General manager Jon Daniels told his scouting department that Heimlich was off limits even though the Rangers could acquire a premium talent at a bargain price. And it's not like the Rangers haven't dealt with troubled players in the past (Josh Hamilton, Matt Bush).

But they have never added an admitted child molester, and they aren't about to start with Heimlich.

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