Mt. Pleasant's Page All Baseball Stories


Mount Pleasant shortstop Obie Ricumstrict selected by Texas Rangers in 11th round of MLB Draft WITH GALLERY

Can not load XML: XML document must have a top level element. No results

Mount Pleasant High School senior Obie Ricumstrict was selected by the Texas Rangers with the 344th pick in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball Draft Wednesday afternoon.

Ricumstrict was committed to the University of Cincinnati, but with the resignation of Bearcats head coach Ty Neal on May 23 it changed the dynamic of his decision whether to play collegiate baseball or sign professionally.

An agreement is already in place for Ricumstrict to sign with the Rangers organization. He will report to Texas' rookie ball facility in Surprise, Arizona, this weekend.

“Everything I've put into baseball has paid off in the end,” Ricumstrict said. “I'm just very happy right now. It was a surreal feeling seeing my name in the Major League Baseball Draft.”

Ricumstrict is the first player to be drafted straight out of Mount Pleasant High School since the Texas Rangers selected pitcher Tyler Higgins in the 47th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.

Oilers head coach Luke Epple is thrilled for Ricumstrict, while his biggest piece of advice to his standout shortstop is to keep his head up during the trials and tribulations of his initial years in professional baseball.

“I'm obviously very happy for Obie,” Epple said. “He's earned this opportunity. It's going to be quite an adjustment with leaving his family for another state. Derek Jeter wanted to quit professional baseball his first year. It's tough, but I know Obie can handle it and he has the talent to go far.”

A four-year starter at Mount Pleasant after being called up to varsity very early his freshman year, Ricumstrict shined throughout his prep career with both his bat and glove.

Ricumstrict was the shortstop on the Oilers' Division 2 state title-winning team in 2014. He also helped Mount Pleasant to a D2 runner-up finish as a sophomore, while after the Oilers' move up to D1 in 2016 it has resulted in a pair of difficult losses in tough district draws.

As a sophomore, Ricumstrict was second team All-State as he hit .400 with 45 runs and 21 Rbs. He notched 11 doubles, walked 17 times and stole 16 bases in 100 at-bats.

Ricumstrict continued his strong play as a junior, batting .383 with 42 RBIs and 27 runs scored plus 13 stolen bases. He had 10 doubles, three triples and four home runs.

This season, he hit .368 with 20 extra-base hits including four home runs. He drove in 34, while stealing 24 bases.

Aside from prep baseball, Ricumstrict has played an extensive amount of travel baseball which has helped him get notice from MLB clubs.

“Travel ball helped me a lot,” Ricumstrict remarked. “Playing with Arsenal Baseball, one of the top travel teams in Michigan, was a huge benefit. We traveled to Georgia and Nashville and the showcase tournaments. Playing in the East Coast Professional Showcase definitely helped and so did playing with the Padres scout team. The combination of playing for all those teams really helped my stock rise.”

The Rangers had been in contact with Ricumstrict the past couple of weeks, so being selected by them came as no surprise.

“Any team drafting me would have been a blessing,” he said. “I'm very happy it was the Rangers since it's the team I've been talking to and I had an agreement with.”

In making the jump from high school baseball to the pro ranks, Ricumstrict knows he has plenty to work on as he becomes acclimates with an entirely new level of baseball.

“Developing my strength will be important,” Ricumstrict added. “And then my mental approach at the plate is something I want to get better and stronger at.”

Epple has no doubt Ricumstrict will be able to catch up to fastballs and has the defensive proficiency to succeed, but sees work to be done in an area that almost any player struggles with in their early years of pro baseball.

“He has very quick hands and has no issues hitting 90-MPH fastballs,” Epple said. “And he has very soft hands as a shortstop. Most of his errors this season were on throws and they usually came on an off-balance throw after making a tremendous play in the field.”

“He'll just need to get a better feel for hitting off-speed pitches and that is something that comes with time. The more at-bats he gets, the more he'll figure it out.”

Ricumstrict is the son of Central Michigan University defensive line coach George Ricumstrict, a former All-Mid-American Conference linebacker for the Chippewas.

Last Updated: 6/14/2017 1:29:41 PM EST