Four years has made a world of a difference to senior pitcher Parker French.
As a freshman, French didn’t know whether he would ever play baseball for Texas. Wednesday, he went in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball draft to the Colorado Rockies.
French was the first Longhorn to be drafted and was the 137th overall pick. He was at Salt Lick Barbeque when he got the news, but he said he had a feeling he would join the Rockies before the official announcement. However, he said that intuition didn’t stop his family from trying to keep his nerves down by taking him out to eat.
While partaking in Texas barbecue with his family, French received a phone call that would indelibly advance his baseball career.
“It was pick 134, and they were 137, and I was ready to go. That’s where I wanted to go, I really felt like I fit in with the organization and gelled with them well,” French said. “I thought they valued me as a player and prospect, so I said yes.”
Earlier this year, French had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Steve Foster, the Rockies’ pitching coach and former MLB player. French said talking with the area scout stuck out to him and contributed to him wanting to sign with the Rockies.
“They valued me as a player — not just a senior sign — and that they saw my leadership and my commitment to the team, which was important as well,” French said.
Although not official yet, French’s contract, as far as he knows, puts his salary at $100,000 a year.
Last year, the Detroit Tigers drafted French in the 19th round of the MLB draft, but he opted to come back to Texas for one more year in order to mature as a player.
“[The wait] was definitely worth it. I think I’ve always thought and believed in myself as that kind of prospect to go in that kind of round range,” French said. “I just needed to perform at a high level consistently, and I felt like I did that my senior year. I improved in all the things I wanted to improve on.”
As a senior, French helped the Longhorns earn the Big 12 championship last month after winning two games including a complete game in a win over Texas Tech. After those games, French received the Co-Most Outstanding Pitcher honor.
Over the past four years, French has started 54 games — the fifth most in school history. French said being a prominent part of the Texas team, especially looking back on his time growing up, has been surreal.
“The funniest thing is that your first- and second-grade teachers — they ask you what you want to be when you grow up, and you say ‘baseball player,’ and they tell you to choose a different job, and I always hated that,” French said. “But it’s kind of funny now to look back and it’s worked out — I am a baseball player.”