Lobos Justin Slaten drafted by team he grew up watching

Local Sports

University of New Mexico pitcher Justin Slaten probably thought he was having an out of body experience. The team the Longview, Texas native grew up watching, the Texas Rangers, called his name in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft.

The Rangers took Slaten with the 86th overall pick, making him the highest Lobo selected since Luis Gonzalez back in 2017.

“It’s just a surreal moment,” said Slaten. “I want to say I’m at a loss for words, earlier when it happened, because this is something you dream about. It’s something that you put all the work in the world for. You know there is nothing in the world that can prepare you for a moment like this. I’m excited that the Rangers see me as a part of their future.”

Lobo Coach Ray Birmingham sees a good future for Slaten. 

“Justin Slaten is one of the classiest kids to ever come through here,” said Birmingham. “We’re very proud of him. He will be pitching in the big leagues soon.” Slaten, who has a 98 mph fastball in his arsenal, posted career-bests in ERA, wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts. 

Lubbock Christian catcher Andrew Pratt was also taken in the draft, a 10th round selection of the Washington Nationals. The former Lobo and La Cueva High star left New Mexico after the 2017 season.

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