Local MLB Draft Prospect Ready For His Second Go - myfoxcarolinas.com

Local MLB Draft Prospect Ready For His Second Go

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  • Kacie Hollins

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Ryan Butler, a pitcher for UNCC, was the 207th person to get drafted in the 2014 MLB draft. He's going to play for San Diego.

For Ryan Butler and his dad Mike, playing catch is much more than a pastime. Butler says he used to bug his dad to play with him all the time as a child.

Mike says he wasn't bugging him at all. "I enjoyed being out there in the yard with him. Playing whenever he wanted to. And it was everyday," says Mike.

Butler started pitching when he was 7, and right away his dad noticed something special about his kid. 

"He threw hard. And at a very young age. And he threw accurately. So things like that would get me excited that 'Hey, this little boy has...something," Mike says. 

After two years of college baseball -- one in Virginia and another in Florida -- that ended with Tommy John surgery, Butler was drafted by the Yankees in the 16th round of the 2013 MLB draft. Instead of signing with them, Butler made the decision to return for one more year of college baseball.

His hope was to improve his game enough to get drafted higher in the 2014 draft than he did last year. According to his coach Loren Hibbs, he should get what he's hoping for.

"He physically gotten stronger, he's worked hard in the weight room, he's done everything we asked him to do. And you know as a coach, as a educator -- and I know our assistant coaches feel the same way -- we want him to be rewarded for that," says Hibbs.

Butler says he has no regrets about his decision to play another year. "By the end of the year, I can honestly say I was a completely different pitcher. Same arm, same pitches, but mentally I had just become better," Butler says. "Now I'm just ready to go, I'm ready to compete, and I'm ready to prove that I'm good enough."
 
The MLB draft starts Thursday night. Butler expects to be drafted Friday. To find out where he lands, check back here and to follow the entire draft hop over to www.mlb.com.


 
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