Texas Tech right-handed pitcher John McMillon signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, according to Baseball America.
McMillon completed a trio of pitchers that have taken the next step to the MLB, including Clayton Beeter and Bryce Bonnin, who were drafted on Thursday.
The Lufkin native competed in four years of Tech baseball after an illustrious high school career. McMillon was a multi-year letter winner at Jasper High School and was a 2016 All-USA Team honoree. The same year, he was ranked as No. 1 overall catcher in the state of Texas by Perfect Game. McMillon’s game extends further than behind the plate, as he also batted .455 his senior season with five home runs, according to Tech Athletics. In the summer of 2015, McMillon pitched a 3-1 record on the mound with a 1.07 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 19.2 innings pitched.
After his senior season, McMillon was drafted 630th overall in the 21st round by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft.
McMillon’s dynamic abilities transferred to Tech, where he made 24 appearances on the mound his freshman year while also starting 18 games as the designated hitter. The two-way prowess of McMillon resulted in a 1.75 ERA and a 2-0 record over 25.2 innings of play, according to Tech Athletics. McMillon also threw 29 strikeouts with just five earned runs and 12 hits. There was only one other pitcher who had more saves than McMillon during his freshman year, as he ended his campaign with five on the season.
Behind the plate, McMillon had flashes of his power at bat with eight home runs his freshman year and a team-high .586 slugging percentage to go alongside a .229 batting average with 70 at-bats.
The following season, McMillon’s true sophomore year, he made 18 appearances on the mound, 12 of which were starts. Behind the plate, he earned six starts as a designated hitter. His second year at Tech, McMillon pitched his highest ERA between each of his four seasons, averaging a 4.02 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched. However, McMillon placed third on the team in total strikeouts with 73 on the season, according to Tech Athletics.
Although struggling throughout the season as a hitter, McMillon had some timely peaks during the season. Against No. 6 ranked Kentucky, McMillon hit a three-run homer to lead Tech to a 5-3 victory. On the season, he totaled a .143 batting average.
The most recent full season of Tech baseball, 2019, McMillon went back to the bullpen and corner stoned his searing fastball, a pitch that regularly hit 100 MPH on the radar gun, according to Tech Athletics. McMillon appeared in 24 games and became a full-time relief pitcher for Tech, where he struck out 67 batters over 47.2 innings with three saves and a 4-3 record on the season. Opponents hit .201 against McMillon during his junior campaign and earned only 35 walks against him on the year.
McMillon fell just short of numerous records as a senior Red Raider due to the season being ended early by COVID-19. McMillon needed one more save in the 2020 season to match the school record of nine. Also, McMillon needed 14 more appearances as a pitcher to be tied for first place on the program record books.
According to Baseball America, McMillon was one of the most highly touted free agents on the market. Due to COVID-19, the MLB draft was cut down from 40 rounds to just five, leaving players who would typically be drafted, like McMillon, undrafted. Although the circumstances were unusual, the Kansas City Royals still offered McMillon a contract to play professional baseball, which he signed on Sunday.