By Chuck Reherman
At the end of his sophomore season, Josh McMinn had a huge decision to make.
Whether to continue his collegiate career or sign with a major league baseball team after being drafted.
McMinn, a Southwest Covenant Schools grad, chose to stay at Oral Roberts University and went on to have a stellar career with the Golden Eagles.
With his collegiate days now behind him, the next decision for McMinn will have to come after he plays a “waiting game” of sorts.
McMinn finished his career with the Golden Eagles this past weekend after falling to the University of Omaha in the finals of the Summit League Conference Baseball Tournament at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa.
With his collegiate career in the books, McMinn’s next step is to wait for the Major League Baseball draft and hope his baseball fortunes continue. The MLB draft is June 3-5.
McMinn, who was drafted in the 36th round of the draft by the Minnesota Twins in 2017, looks to see his name roll across the screen and get that call or text that a major league team is interested in his services.
“I’ve had teams call or text like they do every year,” McMinn said. “After last year, you never know what’s going to happen. I have confidence someone will pull the trigger.
“However I do plan on playing this summer so I’m staying in shape and getting ready for a call next week,” he said. “Yeah I’m just keeping my arm and body in shape and preparing for next week. It does not matter to me which team decides to take me. I will be ecstatic and give 100 percent effort no matter who it is.”
McMinn had no regrets about his decision to stay in college after his sophomore season and saw it as an opportunity that helped him grow mentally and physically and be more prepared to move to the next level.
In his final outing of his college career, McMinn struck out 10 over eight innings and led ORU to a 5-2 win over South Dakota State in its opening game of the 2019 Summit League Baseball Championship.
McMinn went right innings and allowed seven hits to beat the No. 2 seeded Jackrabbits. It was one of McMinn’s best performances of the season. He gave up a two-run, wind-aided home run in the bottom of the second and held SDSU off the scoreboard his last six innings allowing the offense to score the final five runs of the game.
The 10 strike outs were a career high for McMinn, who had a nine strike-out performance earlier in the year and had two other eight-strike-out games during his career.
He finished his senior season with a 7-5 record (ORU finished the year 27-24) as one of the team leaders on a young Golden Eagle squad. He worked 91 innings in his 15 appearances on the mound and had 92 strike-outs and a 4.75 earned run average.
“The results were not always how I wanted them to be but I pitched pretty well,” McMinn said. “I thought my stuff improved this year. I had a rough stretch in conference that lasted a few weeks.
“Going through those “slumps” and learning how to get out of them is just part of it,” he said. “But throwing well in the tournament and putting my team in the best position possible was a great way to go out.”
Even though the 10 strike-out game was one of his bests, McMinn felt he had a better game earlier in the season.
“I had a game week three against University of Purdue where I went 8.2 innings,” he said. “I was much sharper in that game with all my pitches.
“Against SDSU my arsenal wasn’t as sharp but my fastball command was what got me through,” he said. “The SDSU game was a bigger game since it was in the tournament of course, so it was nice to win that one.”
McMinn would have liked to have been playing this weekend in a regional tournament somewhere, but only Omaha was the lone Summit League team to advance to a regional.
“It was really disappointing,” he said. “We’d won that for the last 20 years of being in that conference. We had a lot of young and new guys this year, I think there were 24 new guys and their growth throughout the season was huge for them individually. We had freshmen throw back to back complete game shutouts to get to the finals of the tournament. It’s going to be exciting following them get back to dominating the Summit League.”
McMinn finished his career with ORU with a 28-15 overall record. He made 71 appearances and 48 starts. He pitched 322 innings over that time with 291 strike-outs and a 3.75 ERA.
“I was extremely blessed to get to play for all four years in significant roles,” McMinn said. “I got to play with and compete against first round draft picks and other big prospects. The biggest thing for me was the relationships I made with the players on the four teams I was on. I learned from wise leaders and tried to pass it down to the young guys this year.
“On the other hand, it is pretty cool looking back and seeing my name in the record book next to some legends,” he said. “I think my biggest individual accomplishment is my performance in the conference tournaments. I ended 4-0 in it. Pitching at my best in the biggest moments to help my team get to the regional is one of my proudest accomplishments.”
By Chuck Reherman