The MLB Draft is unlike any other in professional sports. Twenty rounds long, prospects from all over… high school, junior college, all different colleges across the country. Sometimes teams will bank on upside in the draft and projection that a player may have. The Astros did that with Ethan Pecko.
Pecko was a standout high school baseball player and golfer at Ridley HS in Pennsylvania. He started his college career at La Salle University but had Tommy John surgery and was red-shirted. He eventually transferred to Towson where he only pitched in 17.2 innings with a 6.62 ERA in his first season there.
Pecko’s redshirt sophomore season was a lot better. The right-hander posted a 3.21 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 42 innings. He wasn’t done pitching for the year though. Pecko ended up going to the Northwoods League, which is a collegiate summer league for some of the top players in the country. Pecko’s numbers improved there striking out 36 over 26 innings while allowing just 3 runs, good for a 1.04 ERA.
“I just focused on getting better everyday, and enjoying every outing. I wanted to go out there, and really just soak in the experience,” Pecko said. “I felt like I was in a great place mentally and physically, and just came into the summer ball season with a lot of confidence and a lot of trust. I took my highs and lows from the spring season and just tried to build off them every game, and every day while out in Wisconsin,” he added.
I was told the Astros had an eye on Pecko on Towson but when he dominated in the Northwoods League is when they really saw the stuff and the strikeouts continue to emerge. Pecko had some contact with the Astros prior to the draft, but most players don’t have a very good idea on when or where they will get drafted.
“I had spoken with an area scout a couple times who had watched me and liked how I threw, and I knew they (Astros) were a team that may be in the mix come draft week, but conversations remained scattered and very general throughout the process,” Pecko said.
Pecko, who is only 20-years-old, had his dream come true when he was selected by the Astros on Day 2 of the draft in the 6th round. A moment he and his family won’t forget.
“It was a moment of pure bliss, every kid dreams of that moment and I was extremely grateful to see that my hard work and dedication payed off,” Pecko said. “The week leading up to the draft was a very stressful, anxiety filled week because you really don’t know what’s going to happen until your name is called. It was just a super cool moment and I’m glad I got to share it with my parents, brothers, relatives and friends,” Pecko added.
At 20-years-old and only 59.2 college innings under his belt, the Astros are swinging for the upside and potential here with Pecko. The stuff is there as Pecko features a 2-seam and 4-seam fastball that can reach mid 90s and a really good low 80 slider. He also has a chanegup and cutter he can use against left handed hitters. Given the Astros record of scouting, drafting and developing, Pecko will have every opportunity to reach that potential that led to get being selected by the Astros in the 2023 draft.