George Washington University redshirt senior left-hander Bobby Lucas Jr. lost his breath for a moment when the Washington Nationals called to tell him he had been selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The Nationals selected the talented southpaw from Baltimore’s Calvert Hall College High School, in the 27th round. Lucas concluded his GW career with 12 victories and 233 strikeouts in 193.2 innings. He appeared in 81 games with 25 starts.
“It was something unreal, to be honest,” Lucas said. “I couldn’t speak or talk for five minutes after I found out. For so long you know you have the potential, but to finally get the call, it was very special.”
Lucas admitted getting a little emotional too, when he found out he was picked by the Nationals.
“I started talking to my dad about it and we remembered when I was 10 years old and I was scared to play baseball because I thought I would get hit by the ball,” Lucas smiles. “That is the main reason I became a pitcher, and the fact that I was left-handed.”
Lucas finished the season with a record-setting performance in a 2-1 win over the Temple Owls on May 21. Lucas struck out a career-high 11 batters for the victory. Lucas said he wanted to end the season on a high note after the Colonials struggled at times.
“Coming into that game, I was feeling a lot of pressure,” Lucas said. “Coaches and administrators were pumping us up for that game. It was senior day. When I was warming up, I said to myself, ‘This is nothing different than I what have done before.’ I really had a good game, but a ton of credit goes to my teammates for making big plays and the bullpen that solidified the game.”
Lucas has a two-seam fastball, which runs from 88 to 92 mp,h and a slider, which he can throw for strikes and is an out pitch. He also has a changeup, which he continues to concentrate on improving.
“I feel like I can get anybody out,” Lucas said. “I have absolute confidence in my stuff. After high school, though, I learned I can’t throw the fastball by everyone, so I have worked on my slider.
“This season was a good year. I felt healthy the whole season, rather than prior injuries when I had to fight through injuries.”
Lucas was a reliever for most of his career in Foggy Bottom, but this year coach Steve Mrowka made him starter.
“Coach told me I was a starter. I was shocked because I had come back from an injury and wasn’t allowed to throw on the side,” Lucas said. “It was a big adjustment. The learning curve was steep. It was definitely a challenge to stay mentally together and remember what worked in weeks three through five if I found myself struggling in week seven.”
But Lucas started to get into a groove making 13 starts, and ended the season well with the win over Temple. Then, at a workout in front of Washington Nationals officials last week, his fastball was clocked at 92 mph.
Lucas also worked very hard in the classroom while at George Washington. Armed with a pair of degree - a bachelor’s in business and finance, and a master’s in human and organizational learning - Lucas is ready and excited for this next challenge of a professional baseball career.