By: Tyler Hotz (Louisiana Tech Athletics)
RUSTON, La (Louisiana Tech Athletics) – After capping off a sensational career with an All-America senior season in 2021, Louisiana Tech centerfielder Parker Bates became the 75th Bulldog in program history selected in the Major League Baseball Draft on Monday afternoon.
Bates, the first Bulldog selected in the 2021 MLB Draft, was a ninth-round selection of the Kansas City Royals. The Tyler, Texas native was the 259th overall pick in this year’s draft, becoming the first Diamond Dog since Brian Rike in 2007 to be drafted inside the top-10 rounds.
“Parker is the epitome of a Bulldog man,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “Extremely high character, toughness and a work ethic off the charts.
“He consistently got better every year he was in the program. The last two years I thought he played with more of an edge and became a sincere leader on and off the field. He also took his mentality and approach to another level. He’s the kind of young man that makes our job a lot easier. We couldn’t be prouder of Parker and the way he represented Louisiana Tech. He will go down as one of the all-time great Bulldogs.”
The longtime LA Tech centerfielder earned ABCA/Rawlings Third Team All-American honors, South-ABCA/Rawlings All-Region First Team honors, First Team All-Conference USA honors and Ruston NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team honors in 2021. He also earned Collegiate Baseball Third Team All-American accolades following the abbreviated 2020 season.
In 2021, Bates helped lead the Bulldogs to a 42-20 season and a Conference USA Western Division title, the first division title for the Diamond Dogs since 1992. He led Conference USA in on-base percentage (.471) while ranking in the top 10 among conference players in triples (third – four), RBI (fourth – 62), batting average (sixth – .346) and hits (seventh – 79). Bates also topped all conference hitters with a .406 batting average and .523 on-base percentage in Conference USA play.
“I’m just so thankful for so many things and for so many people,” Bates said. “First off, I can’t thank the Lord enough for His goodness and guiding my life along this path.
“I wouldn’t be where I am at without my family, they are my rock and my strongest support system through everything. Also, I can’t thank Louisiana Tech and all the coaches along the way for developing me into the man and player I am today. I’m so thankful for all my friends and family and for all their support as well as all the Bulldog Baseball fans who supported me for five years! I’m proud to be a Bulldog at this moment, and I’m excited for the opportunity to one day bring a championship to Kansas City.”
Bates started 201 consecutive games for the Diamond Dogs to close out his career, finishing with a program-record 226 games played in a LA Tech uniform. He broke the previous record for games played in a Tech uniform in the C-USA title game against Old Dominion, where he posted a 3-for-4 day at the plate with three RBI, a home run and a walk.
Offensively, he posted a .309 career batting average with 169 runs scored, 243 hits, 32 home runs, 49 doubles, six triples and a program-record 45 HBPs. In the outfield, he committed just two errors over five seasons and 226 games. Bates did not commit an error in his final 79 games, which included all 62 games in 2021 and all 17 contests in 2020.
The new Kansas City Royal draft selection is the first Bulldog selected by Kansas City since Kyle Roliard in 2011. Roliard was an 11th-round selection 10 years ago. Bates’ selection also makes him the 39th Bulldog taken in the top-20 rounds in program history.