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Texas picks ex-Crater ace Kindreich in 8th round

Biola University left-hander goes No. 224 overall in MLB draft

After giving Major League Baseball scouts something to think about heading into last year’s draft, former Crater High star pitcher Larson Kindreich received good news Monday when he was selected in the eighth round by the Texas Rangers on Day 2 of a three-day draft.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Kindreich was rated as Baseball America’s No. 159 prospect entering the draft and No. 246 on MLB Pipeline, and went to Texas with the 224th overall selection. The left-handed pitcher posted a 3.33 ERA in 54 innings this past season at Division II Biola University in California, striking out 79 against 21 walks.

In his three seasons at Biola — with 2020 shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the 22-year-old Kindreich has posted an 11-5 record and 4.02 ERA as a starter, with 199 strikeouts and 60 walks in 136 ⅔ innings.

Still just a sophomore after spring sports athletes were not charged with a year of eligibility for the 2020 season, Kindreich has the option of signing with the Rangers or the leverage of returning to Biola for a junior season in hopes of raising his profile for the 2022 MLB draft.

The bonus slot value for the 224th pick this year is $191,500.

Kindreich actually became draft-eligible one year ago due to turning 21 within 45 days of the draft date but went unselected in a draft that was shortened to five rounds due to pandemic conditions.

In short order last year, Kindreich gave scouts plenty to ponder after he started the season with 25 ⅔ consecutive scoreless innings and didn’t allow an earned run in all 30 of his innings pitched, setting NCAA-era program records at Biola with each result.

He was named Pacific West Conference Pitcher of the Week three times over the first weeks of the 2020 season and finished 3-1 in five starts with 48 strikeouts and only five walks for the Eagles.

Such numbers weren’t that unusual for Kindreich, who guided Crater to the Class 5A state championship his senior season in 2018 while authoring a streak of 37 consecutive innings without allowing a hit in what is believed to be the longest accomplishment in Oregon history.

He finished that season by not allowing a run in his final 43 ⅔ innings pitched, including seven scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts to clinch the 5A crown with a 2-0 win over Crescent Valley in the Comets’ second straight finals appearance.

Kindreich had a strong showing in the Northwoods League last summer, with his fastball velocity sitting in the 92-94 mph range to go with a blossoming change-up and a curveball that has shown above-average flashes.

This past spring, Kindreich got off to a slow start before rounding into form and showing the potential to be a major league starter with continued development and added consistency.

After taking Vanderbilt ace Jack Leiter with the No. 2 overall pick Sunday, the Texas Rangers followed the pick on Day 2 by selecting University of Oregon outfielder Aaron Zavala (No. 38) in the second round, Houston-area high school shortstop Cameron Cauley (No. 73) in the third round and then five pitchers — including Kindreich — to go with two catchers in the second through 10th rounds.

Have a local story idea? Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Larson Kindreich