Luke Heimlich, a top college pitcher whose status as a sex offender was revealed by an Oregon newspaper, wasn’t selected in the Major League Baseball draft.
Heimlich, a junior, was, arguably, the nation’s top college pitcher. He finished the season 11-1 with a 0.76 ERA with 128 strikeouts in 118 innings and a WHIP — walks plus hits per innings pitched — below one, at 0.98. Baseball America ranked the 6-foot lefthander as the 31st best prospect in the upcoming three-day MLB draft, meaning he could have been a first-round selection that would have commanded a million-dollar-plus signing bonus. But, after 40 rounds, all teams passed on the talented southpaw.
The Oregonian discovered Heimlich’s past while writing a profile on the a 21-year-old southpaw. The newspaper discovered Heimlich is a sex offender who, at the age of 15, was convicted of inappropriately touching a girl who was between the ages of four and six, according to a report in the Oregonian. The incident happened when Heimlich lived in Washington state, and the newspaper had the disturbing details:
The girl told investigators that inside Heimlich’s bedroom, he pulled down her underwear and “touched her on both the inside and outside of the spot she uses to go to the bathroom,” according to court records. “She said that she told him to stop, but he wouldn’t,” the documents state, and that “it hurt” when he touched her.
Heimlich pleaded guilty to one count of molestation, a class A felony in Washington, and as part of his conviction, he had to register as a sex offender. While most states keep juvenile court records private, Washington allows some to be made public, but that’s not what brought this case into public view. It seems that Heimlich let his sex offender registration in Oregon lapse, and he was caught up in a sweep of the Benton County (OR.) Sheriff’s Department hunting down sex offenders. That record made its way into the Oregon court system, and that’s when the Oregonian made its discovery.
Heimlich was supposed to pitch in the college world series, but asked to be removed from the team. Head coach Pat Casey told the Associated Press he didn’t know whether Heimlich would pitch in the series.
Since Heimlich is a junior, he has the option of pitching in college as a senior, and then entering the 2018 draft.