RUSTON, La. – After concluding his two-year career as one most consistent pitchers in Louisiana Tech history, David Leal was rewarded on Wednesday evening, as the Oakland Athletics selected the southpaw with their 38th round pick in the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Leal becomes the seventh Bulldog drafted over the last four seasons, and the first ever Tech player drafted by Oakland.
“We are so very proud of David,” head coach Lane Burroughs remarked. “He is the epitome of what hard work and dedication to one’s craft looks like. This young man came into our program and changed his body, overcame a significant foot injury and absolutely attacked the game with a relentless work ethic. He found a way to get better every day, and is one of the best I’ve ever seen at commanding the baseball.”
Command the baseball he did – as the 2018 Second Team All-Conference USA selection finished his career with an absurd strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7.10 (135 K’s to 19 BB). Leal gave the Bulldogs 142.2 innings across 21 starts over his two-year career, while posting a 2.71 earned-run average over that time.
Among all NCAA Division 1 active players, Leal owns the second lowest walks allowed per nine innings at 1.20.
“This has been a great feeling to finally get that phone call”, said Leal. “I’m very fortunate and thankful for this opportunity and excited to see what lies ahead in my career.”
The Houston, Texas, native also earned 2018 Second Team All-Louisiana honors, and was named an ABCA/Rawlings Second Team All-Region Selection following a junior campaign that saw him lead the team in innings pitched (87.1), while posting the second best WHIP in C-USA and 14th best nationally (0.90).
“I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to come to Louisiana Tech, Leal added. “I knew I would have to work extremely hard to help the program, and I’m just so thankful for my coaches and teammates for helping me along the way. Obviously the injury set me back a little this year, but I had so many people supporting me and encouraging me, which made my recovery much easier.”
Leal dealt with adversity in this his senior season, as the left-hander was forced to undergo foot surgery less than a week prior to the start of the 2019 campaign – one in which, Leal was slated to be Tech’s weekend ace.
The senior bounced back quicker than expected and gave the Bulldogs four consecutive quality starts to end the season – tossing three complete games and allowed just eight runs over his final four starts – all against conference opponents.
For his career, opponents mustered just a .216 average of the left-hander.
“He is what our program is all about,” Burroughs concluded. “Tremendous character and makeup, great student, selfless and just a wonderful teammate. He is the ultimate competitor and undoubtedly will go down as one of the best to ever step foot on the mound for the Bulldogs.”