June 24, 2020—Cypress Ridge High School alumnus Kyle Gruller signed with the Houston Astros as an undrafted free agent on June 18 following the conclusion of the 2020 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
MLB revamped the draft due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the event from its typical 40 rounds to just five on June 10-11. The plan also allowed baseball teams to sign an unlimited number of undrafted players for up to $20,000 each. Gruller agreed to terms with the Astros on June 15 and signed three days later.
He's among 13 draftees and undrafted free agents signed to the Astros as of June 23.
"It's surreal and it's definitely an experience to know you're going to live your childhood dream of playing professional baseball," said Gruller, adding he received the news while eating breakfast. "The scout called me from the Astros and basically said he was going to offer me. I said 'Let's do it.' I've been a fan and it's the hometown team."
A 6-foot-3, right-handed pitcher, Gruller recently completed his collegiate career at Houston Baptist University. He posted a 2.40 ERA in two seasons and earned All-Southland Conference third team honors in 2019. Gruller played his first two seasons at Wharton County Junior College.
At Cypress Ridge, Gruller earned All-District 17-6A second team honors as a junior in 2015 and honorable mention in 2016.
"Our district has a ton of talent so I really tried to work hard and be the best," Gruller said. "I wasn't the biggest guy but I worked hard."
The Ridge Point Panthers' COVID-interrupted journey to the UIL state baseball tournament, had they reached the semifinals again as they did in 2019, would've continued June 12 on a perfect, unseasonably cool day in Round Rock.
Roger Smith sits down with 2020 RPHS grad Jacob Garcia (St. Edwards commit) and junior-to-be Justin Vossos (committed to Texas A&M) to talk about the Panthers' unfinished season in this episode of the VYPE Summer Series presented by Xfinity.