Benton native drafted by Royals
Arkansas State pitcher and Benton native Andy Ferguson was selected in the 18th round by the Kansas City Royals in the 2011 MLB draft.
“I’m relieved,” Ferguson said. “It feels great. I don’t even know how to put into words of how I feel right now.”
Ferguson was the 546th overall pick in the draft but as of press time he was unsure of the details of his contract. The Kansas City organization was supposed to call him Tuesday night with the details, but Ferguson said through a text message that he had not heard from them yet.
Ferguson was following the draft online when he saw his name pop up. That’s when the club called him to congratulate him.
“It all happen kind of fast,” Ferguson said. “It was crazy.”
Ferguson joins former ASU first baseman Murray Watts, who was selected in the 28th round of draft last year by Kansas City.
“I talked to him earlier this week,” Ferguson said. “It would be pretty good if we play together again.”
Ferguson turned in one of the most dominating performances on the mound in the Sun Belt Conferenct tournament, striking out 11 batters in a complete-game shutout over Louisiana-Lafayette. Ferguson gave up just four hits and walked just two batters to earn the victory.
Ferguson led ASU with 80 strikeouts and a 7-4 record on the year, pitching 88.1 innings with a 3.57 ERA.
After the game against Louisiana-Lafayette, ASU head coach Tommy Raffo called Benton head coach Mark Balisterri and told him that “Andy had just pitched one of his best games of his career.”
“It was an incredible way to end it,” Balisterri said.
He started in 14 games for ASU and struck out a league-high 14 batters against Middle Tennessee in the regular season. Ferguson had two complete-game wins for ASU thisseason, a team high.
Ferguson was the highest drafted Arkansas State players since third baseman Brad Hayes was drafted by Kansas City in the 12th round of the 2004 draft.
“If you think about all the great players that have come through Benton, not many get an opportunity like this,” Balisterri said. “We are very proud of him.
“He is a great young man. It means a lot to me and a lot to our program.”
Ferguson was a four-year starter at Benton High School as a pitcher, second baseman and shortstop. He finished with a 7-1 record and .8 ERA as a senior. He was named to the 6A All-State and All-Conference teams in 2006 and 2007. He is the son of Kent and Mitzi Ferguson.
“I couldn’t be happier for him,” Balisterri said. “It gives me goose-bumps just thinking about it.”