With Mahomes’ breaking through to the Super Bowl, an interesting fact surfaced for Detroit Lions fans this week. Mahomes has a tie to the city after all, being he was drafted by the hometown Detroit Tigers as a pitcher in the late stages of the 2014 MLB Draft.
As a piece by Matthew Schoch of the Detroit News explained, Mahomes was the selection for the team much later on in the draft. Here’s what he wrote:
“The Tigers drafted Mahomes in the 37th round of the 2014 draft, the same class that yielded outfielder Derek Hill, pitcher Spencer Turnbull and catcher Grayson Greiner in the first three rounds.
Mahomes was a high school baseball star in Whitehouse, Texas, and the son of former major-league pitcher Pat Mahomes, but had made it clear to MLB teams that he was planning to play football at Texas Tech. He also pitched in Lubbock a little, but didn’t retire any of the three batters he faced before calling it a career.”
At that time, of course, Mahomes was little known, so few people batted an eyelash to see him selected by the Tigers. That became more the case as Mahomes focused on football. There was little need to think of him as another Russell Wilson, a player who thought seriously about splitting his time between the football field and the baseball diamond. Certainly, he was far from Kyler Murray, who made a highly publicized decision to stick with football last year.
Mahomes was, however, a decent prospect.
Could Patrick Mahomes Have Played for the Tigers?
Baseball ran in Mahomes’ blood. His father Pat Mahomes was a relief pitcher for years with solid statistics, and clearly, he had the gene in him. The younger Mahomes, however, was focused entirely on football, which is something that could have been problematic for his baseball career hopes.
As Detroit scout Tim Grieve said in Schoch’s piece, Mahomes had all the tools to perhaps be successful given what he showed while in high school. Here’s the scouting report he provided:
“I could only speak to what I saw, but he was a kid that was going to pitch in that 89-92 (mph) range. I’m sure there were days where he threw harder than that, I think I saw him touching 93, touching 94. He would shape a breaking ball, he showed you that he had it. It was a little hit and miss, but every third or fourth one, you said, ‘OK, that’s going to be plenty good enough.’ He had a change-up that he really didn’t use a whole lot. It wasn’t one of the bigger classification high schools, so his fastball, curveball and throwing high school-ish decent strikes was plenty good enough to beat the typical team he was going to play against.
The typical game when you went and saw him play, he was so much better than everyone else that he was going to win. He was always the best player on the field.”
Whether that would have translated to MLB, nobody knows. Still, Mahomes was talented enough to get looks and get selected, and if the Tigers had tried to develop him, it’s possible he could have panned out.
Obviously, nobody will tell Mahomes now that he made a mistake considering what he does in the NFL.
Patrick Mahomes vs. the Lions
Just this year, Mahomes led his Chiefs into Detroit to tangle with the Lions, and the game was a very memorable one. In a back and forth affair, the Chiefs managed to pull out the late 34-30 win after the Lions could not stop them on fourth down late in the fourth quarter.
Mahomes himself had a great afternoon, passing for 315 yards and rushing for 54 more. Obviously, he burned the Lions most with his legs considering the late fourth down conversion. By his normal standards, the game was a much lighter effort for Mahomes, given he didn’t throw or run for a touchdown. Afterwards, he was complementary of the Detroit defense.
Safe to say many might consider Mahomes an honorary Detroiter with this fact remembered.