Esteban Gomez heard he could be drafted as high as the eighth round. Instead, the Bishop Ford first baseman was taken by the Houston Astros in the 35th round on June 9.
But the senior slugger wasn’t disappointed.
“I’m still happy and excited,” said Gomez. “I was just happy to be picked. It’s an honor.”
Gomez became the first player drafted directly out of Bishop Ford since pitcher Ron Marietta was picked by the Detroit Tigers in the ninth round of the 1995 draft. Marietta didn’t sign, instead heading to Arizona State and eventually St. John’s University.
It is likely Gomez will follow suit. He has already locked up a scholarship to San Jacinto College in Texas, one of the top junior colleges in the country and its doubtful his signing bonus will come anywhere close to his scholarship offer.
But Gomez, the second player from Bishop Ford picked by the Astros – pitcher John Halama (23rd round, 1994) was the first – is keeping his options open.
“I just have to see what the offer is, what they’re willing to give and just take it from there,” Gomez said. “I’m going to listen to the advice my family gives me, but ultimately it’s going to be my decision.”
Either way, Bishop Ford coach Mike Hanrahan said Gomez is in a win-win situation.
“There’s many variables to his decision,” Hanrahan said. “My advice would be to take everything into consideration. Either way he wouldn’t be wrong. He’ll have a bright future either way.”
Gomez drew interest from about 10 teams, including the Yankees, Mets, Phillies and Red Sox. But the Astros were the most aggressive suitors.
“They seemed to be the most interested ones,” Gomez said. “They actually came to my house.”
Gomez batted .421 with a team-high 11 doubles, drove in 21 runs and was one of the most feared batters in the CHSAA. He helped lead the Falcons to its deepest postseason run since 1995, when Marietta pitched Ford to the city championship game.
But Gomez struggled down the stretch, which might explain his drop to the 35th round.
“The way he started out in the first half and the middle of the season, hitting line drives all over the place, going 4-for-4,” Hanrahan said. “He’s a pure hitter with power. He didn’t get too many pitches to drive, but he did have a drop off toward the end.”
Gomez said he didn’t follow the draft online and was calm the last two days. He was home watching his niece when his phone rang. On the other end of the line was Astros scout John Kosciak.
“I wasn’t nervous, but now it’s starting to hit me that I just got drafted,” Gomez said. “I was just shocked.”