Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich was one of the best collegiate pitchers in the country, but he was not selected in the 2018 MLB draft for reasons beyond his on-field ability.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Heimlich was not picked during the 40-round draft. The Beavers ace pled guilty to molesting his six-year-old niece when he was a teenager before attending Oregon State, though he has since publicly said he is innocent.
Danny Moran of The Oregonian reported on the incident in 2017 by obtaining court documents revealing Heimlich was 15 years old at the time.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times noted the left-hander signed a guilty plea at 16 years old that included a letter of apology and the requirement he register as a sex offender in addition to probation and counseling.
"For me, there are too many red flags," a major league talent evaluator said of the possibility of drafting Heimlich, per Shaikin. That talent evaluator granted he believed a team would select the pitcher during the 2018 draft, although that did not turn out to be the case.
Heimlich told Kurt Streeter of the New York Times he did not molest his niece, saying "nothing ever happened." However, the girl’s mother said, "There is no way he didn’t do it," pointing to the specificity of her daughter’s descriptions of the incident.
The Oregon State product also denied the crime in a lengthy feature by S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated.
On the field, the southpaw put together a 15-1 record with a 2.42 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 111.2 innings.