Playing Major League Baseball has been on Kris Anglin’s mind for as long as he can remember.
He has visualized it since he first picked up a baseball, and even imagined what it would be like to hear his name called during the annual MLB Draft.
On Tuesday, the former Frontier standout pitcher discovered what that feels like firsthand when he was selected in the 16th round by the Atlanta Braves on the final day of this year’s draft.
“It was crazy,” Anglin said. “I mean that’s what I dreamed about my whole life. And for it to come true, I really don’t have any words for it to be honest with you. I’ve been thinking my whole life about what I would do if my name was to get called, and I didn’t do any of that (Tuesday).”
As day three of the draft moved past the halfway point, Anglin was starting to wonder if he would even be chosen, and was caught a bit off guard when his baseball advisor alerted him that his time might be close.
Anglin hopped off his couch and retrieved his father, who was on the phone in another room, and helped direct about a dozen or so of his family members to the TV.
Sure enough, Anglin’s name was called, and it was nothing like Anglin could even imagine.
“When my name popped up on the TV I kind of did a double-take, and I was like, ‘Is that really my name on the TV?’” Anglin said. “Because I knew that a bunch of people were watching it that I’ve played baseball with for a while, and then that started crossing through my head. Dang, my buddy and close family, everyone is watching … It was just surreal for me.”
Anglin said his mind began to drift off as he tried to take in the moment.
“I was like OK and kind of froze,” Anglin said. “Whenever I kind of came back to, I was like looking around and everyone had their phones out videoing, it was crazy. I had a bunch of my family around, it was awesome. It was crazy just to see my whole family there, and super excited for me because they’ve been supporting me since (I was little) and growing up.”
With his recognizable shoulder-length blonde hair as a calling card, Anglin wasted little time attracting attention, breaking into the Titans varsity starting rotation as a freshman.
Although he was 1-9 that first season, the talent was undeniable.
He was 6-3 with a 2.01 ERA as a sophomore and then helped lead Frontier to the Central Section Division I final with a solid junior campaign. In just four appearances in 2020 prior to the shutdown due to COVID-19, Anglin was 3-0 and did not allow an earned run in 18 innings pitched.
The 5-foot-10 left-hander originally committed to play at Cal State Bakersfield, but when rumors began to circulate that there would be no baseball in California for the upcoming 2021 season, Anglin shifted his focus to where they were playing — Texas.
Anglin enrolled at Howard College, a national junior college located in Big Spring, Texas, and committed to play at Texas Tech just prior to his season.
“He didn’t know if California was going to be open and I heard Texas was,” said Anglin, who was 7-0 with a 3.91 ERA in 66⅔ innings this season for the Hawks (37-13). “I just decided to go over there and try to make something happen out of what I’ve got. I definitely didn’t want to sit out and not play.
“It was a big decision and I’m just happy I went to that junior college over there because that coaching staff and living that life was completely different. It honestly helped me get my name called because it changed me as a complete person.”
Anglin says the grind of playing a JC and being away from home helped him grow up.
“It made me learn who I was a little bit,” Anglin said. “I mean obviously I don’t know who I am completely yet, because I’ve only been away from home a little over a year. But for me to be on my own it was a different experience and especially with that kind of baseball. Junior college baseball is what everyone says it is, not all glitz and glamour.
Now Anglin has to make another big choice in deciding whether to sign with the Braves or to head to Texas Tech next season.
“I’m just kind of weighing my options right now,” said Anglin, who still has the shoulder-length blonde hair and was known as 'The California Kid' around Howard's west-Texas campus. “I don’t know 100 percent of what I’m going to do yet. I’m still discussing with my family and seeing what they’re most comfortable with. And what’s best for all of us in the long run.”