Tyler Gray got the call from the team and scout he trusted most.
The former University of Central Arkansas right-handed pitcher was drafted Tuesday by the Kansas City Royals in the seventh round, No. 212 overall, of the MLB Draft.
Gray said the draft ended a process that began in February, when Royals scout Matt Price first visited him in Conway.
Gray said Price "kept to his promise" and told him "the truth from the beginning."
"Some people might blow some smoke and tell you what they're going to do and get you more money," said Gray, who was named the Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2018. "From the start, he just kind of put the most interest out than other teams. It just clicked."
It was Price who called Tuesday afternoon to tell Gray the news.
Gray's mother, Mary, posted a Facebook video of Gray propped up on the couch with his cellphone, feet away from a laptop stream of the draft that displayed he'd been selected by Kansas City.
Gray went 6-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 2018, when the Bears went 32-25 and were eliminated by Sam Houston State in their second game of the double-elimination Southland Conference Tournament.
His 248 strikeouts from 2015-2018 rank second all-time in UCA history, and his 3.04 career ERA ranks 13th.
Gray is the 18th player in UCA history to be drafted. Last season, he was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 20th round, No. 586 overall.
Gray's approximate pick slot with the Royals is $201,800, according to MLB.com. His official paperwork had not arrived as of press time.
"I'm not worried about the money," Gray said. "If it was about money, I would have went last year."
Former Arkansas State University right-handed pitcher Peyton Culbertson was helping out his high school baseball team's practice when he got the text from the Miami Marlins.
The Collierville (Tenn.) High School graduate looked at his cellphone, which displayed a text from a Marlins adviser who said he'd been drafted.
"I pulled the draft up on my phone, and there it was," said Culbertson, who was selected in the eighth round, No. 237 overall. "It's hard to explain. It's a great feeling. It's just cool."
Culbertson went 2-5 with a 3.73 ERA during the 2018 season, when the junior split time in ASU's bullpen and starting rotation.
He finished the season as a reliever, and his fastball consistently ranged from 95-98 mph.
ASU went 20-32 in 2018, and the Red Wolves lost 5-4 in 10 innings to Texas-Arlington in a Sun Belt Conference Tournament play-in game.
Culbertson's approximate pick value with the Marlins is $168,400, according to MLB.com
"I'm pumped. Don't know really much about them," he said. "Really excited."
Sports on 06/06/2018
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