One of the most controversial prospects in draft history was not selected by an MLB team. Oregon State left-hander Luke Heimlich did not land with any team in the 40 rounds of the 2018 MLB Draft.
On talent, Heimlich was considered potential late first-round pick. He's an advanced southpaw who posted a 2.34 ERA with 365 strikeouts in 360 innings and four years with the Beavers. Heimlich's performance and talent is undeniable, and he is the kind of polished college hurler who tends to climb the minor league ladder quickly.
There is more to the story, however. Heimlich is a convicted sex offender who pleaded guilty to a felony count of molesting his 6-year-old niece when he was 15. His hand-written guilty plea included the words: "I admit that I had sexual contact with my niece." The charges stemmed from incidents in 2009 and 2011.
As part of a plea deal, reached when Heimlich was 16, one of the charges was dropped and he was placed on two years' probation, took court-ordered classes and had to register for five years as a Level 1 sex offender, a designation the state of Washington uses for someone considered of low risk to the community and unlikely to become a repeat offender.
Heimlich also had to write a letter apologizing to his niece.
Heimlich's case might never have been made public if not for the fact that, years later, while pitching for Oregon State, he failed to update his whereabouts for a state registry of sex offenders, which led to a police citation, which in turn tipped reporters to his case.
Furthermore, Heimlich steadfastly denies molesting his niece, despite the guilty plea and legal proceedings. Here's more from the New York Times:
"I always denied anything ever happened," he said. "Even after I pled guilty, which was a decision me and my parents thought was the best option to move forward as a family. And after that, even when I was going through counseling and treatment, I maintained my innocence the whole time."
There was no interaction with his niece that he could imagine would have been misinterpreted, he said, adding, "Nothing ever happened, so there is no incident to look back on."
In recent days several MLB team executives told reporters, including Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, they would not personally draft Heimlich, but did expect to hear his name called at some point.
MLB teams -- and pro sports teams in general -- have shown they will overlook ugly legal situations when it can benefit them on the field, but Heimlich still couldn't find a team willing to use a draft pick on him in 2018.