Michael Brewer was in McAlester this time last year. This year, he is a Texas Rangers draft pick.
Brewer played for Team Missouri in the 2018 Junior Sunbelt Classic, pitching a complete-game one-hitter against Team Georgia on the way to a Sunbelt All Tournament Team selection.
This year, the Texas Rangers thought highly enough of Brewer to pick the right-hander in the 32nd round of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Being selected by Texas gives Brewer a choice of whether to sign or to honor his commitment to the University of Southern Mississippi.
"I think, developmentally, going to college is better because you get that collegiate atmosphere," Team Missouri coach Tom Scarbrough said. "You get strength and conditioning programs. You have time to make mistakes."
There's no telling for Scarbrough if a player is going to get drafted, but he remembered when the 6-foot-4-inch righty donned a navy cap and red shirt a year ago in the Sunbelt Classic.
The Missouri coach described him as looking like an "alpha dog." He said Brewer didn't talk and came to Sunbelt for business, and that he handled that business against Georgia.
His host parent, Chad Gragg, remembered him as a great kid who was mannerly and easy to get along with. Gragg's daughter Carsyn, was 14 at the time. His son, Stephen, was 11 at the time. He said Brewer was great with both of his children, and his son especially was excited.
"They're like superheroes to kids that age," said Gragg, who likened Brewer to being like a big brother to his son.
Gragg said his son was excited, but wasn't sure if he understood the exact magnitude of being drafted.
He knew Brewer had the frame to get drafted and the skill set to be successful after high school. Gragg said it would be awesome if Brewer did play for the Rangers, as the family would have a chance to see him in person.
If he does one day reach the majors, he got some exposure in Sunbelt beforehand and formed a connection with the Graggs, who have now been part of Sunbelt for four years.
"It's an absolutely wonderful to be a part of, for them and for us," Gragg said.
Contact Corey Stolzenbach at CStolzenbach@mcalesternews.com