Unwilling to 'let it go', former HBU standout achieving his dream in Astros organization

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Thursday, June 30, 2022
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Houston Astros pitching prospect Jacob Coats says he has a lot of people to prove wrong and a few to prove right.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Astros pitching prospect Jacob Coats' game plan does not feature a contingency plan.

"I worried that if I have a backup plan, then when things get tough I'd say it's just time to go do whatever," Coats admitted during a Zoom interview with ABC13.

And things certainly got tough for the minor league pitcher. The former HBU standout underwent multiple surgeries in college, and despite leading the team in strikeouts - he was not drafted or signed by any of the 30 Major League Baseball teams.

"Everybody was asking me 'What's next?'" Coats recalled. "You should have seen the looks on their faces when I said, 'I'm just going to keep training and keep trying to play baseball.' They thought I'd lost my mind. You just can't let it go, you know?"

Through six months of work with Tread Athletics, Coats increased his fastball velocity from the low 90s to near 100. His father was filming - kind of - the first time he threw 98 miles per hour.

"I kicked my leg and it's 98 and he flips out," Coats explained about his dad and the video. "He was supposed to record it, get the radar gun on camera, but he completely forgot. He was showing me and freaking out himself. The camera was all over the place. So, we stopped in the bullpen and I gave him a hug. It was a surreal moment. But then on the drive home, I decided I need to get some real video for scouts and start sending that out."

Now, with a big-league fastball, Coats would post videos on social media for MLB scouts. After watching him throw, in January, the Astros signed Coats to a minor league contract. Just recently, he was promoted from Class Low-A Fayetteville to Class High-A Asheville. Coats is just three steps away from the Majors.

"I truly believe God has blessed me with a great gift of not only having athletic ability to play, but sending me the people in my circle to keep supporting me and encouraging me to keep trying," he said.

Coats' dreams - and his pitches - are moving too fast to worry about a fallback plan.

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