After a record-setting junior year at Penn State the Houston Atros selected catcher Ben Heath with the 153rd overall pick and made him the highest picked Nittany Lion in 34 years. Heath led the baseball team this spring in every meaningful offensive statistical category and did it with class, but his remarkable 19-home run season is what caught Houston’s eye and broke Penn State’s all-time home run record.
Heath is very thankful about his experience in Happy Valley and believes he “developed a lot as a player there.” He also said “I’m a completely different player than when I came to Penn State Looking back, it’s crazy to think of where I’ve come and where I am now. I wouldn’t be here without Penn State and I’m very grateful for that.”
Some of the best news sprouting from this situation (especially for the townies) is that Houston’s farm team, the Tri-City ValleyCats, plays in the same league as the State College Spikes. Its a strong possibility that Heath will find himself in a Tri-City uniform as soon as this summer, so a trip back to Medlar Park might just happen.
Heath isn’t the only Lion to be selected. Teammate Heath Johnson was selected in the 45th round by the New York Yankees. He becomes only the second Penn Stater ever to be selected by the pinstripes.
Incoming freshmen Kyle Redinger and Austin Urban also were selected. Redinger was also selected by the Astros in the 11th round, while Urban was snatched by the Baltimore Orioles in the 27th round.