DEARBORN — The Texas Rangers drafted Henry Ford College pitcher Kyle Roberts in the fifth round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft.
“The Rangers looked at me last year,” said Roberts, of Dearborn Heights. “It wasn’t too much of a shock because they’ve gotten to know me the longest as a player and a person. They’ve stuck with me since last year. I’m pretty excited to go with them.”
A left-handed pitcher for HFC, Roberts was the 159th overall pick. A 2014 alumnus of Allen Park High School, Roberts graduated with an associate’s degree in Business Administration last month from HFC.
Roberts credits HFC for allowing him to get more reps off the mound, gain more experience when facing better, fiercer opponents and actually maturing as an overall person.
This year marked the first time in more than 20 years that HFC participated in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 12 Playoffs last month in Battle Creek. Even though they went 0-2 against Mott Community College and Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, Roberts is just happy the Hawks made it that far.
“The biggest achievement is turning the program around from a losing team to a winning team,” he said. “Instead of being at the bottom, we’ve changed and we’ve been in the top seven teams in the region for the last few years, and I’m grateful for that.”
Roberts accepted a scholarship to play baseball at Central Michigan University – his dream school – this fall but that’s changed now that the Rangers have drafted him. He left for the Minor Leagues last week.
“During his freshman year at HFC, a couple of MLB teams – the Rangers and the Los Angeles Dodgers – were interested in Kyle,” HFC Athletic Director Rochelle Taylor said.
“Limestone College in Gaffney, SC – a National College Athletic Association Division II program – also offered him a scholarship; however, he decided to remain at HFC and play baseball for the Hawks.
“This past season, scouts from nearly every MLB team would attend games to watch him pitch. He dominated hitters and was awarded All-League, All-Region and All-American honors. We are very proud of his accomplishments as a Hawk and I know he’ll do us proud as a Ranger.”
“Kyle’s a great kid and he’s worked really hard in the weight room this year – and it shows,” HFC head baseball coach Tim Leighton said. “He put on some extra muscle, which increased his velocity. He deserves everything he gets. I’m very proud of him. It was a pleasure coaching him.”
Roberts was a member of the Hawks Academic Team for the Winter 2016 semester. The Hawks Academic Team recognizes its student athletes for earning a minimum of a 3.0 grade-point average during the semester.
Roberts was not the only Hawk drafted last month. The Detroit Tigers drafted HFC alumnus John Schreiber, a right-handed pitcher for the Hawks from 2012 to 2013, in the 15th round. From HFC, Schrieber transferred to the University of Northwestern Ohio on a baseball scholarship. The Gibraltar Carlson High School alumnus received National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics honors this year.