Luke Heimlich is still waiting to begin his professional career.
Monday night, multiple media outlets reported that the Lamigo Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League had agreed to a contract with the former Oregon State star pitcher. According to a CPBL official, the league decided to not approve Heimlich’s deal Tuesday morning.
Heimlich, 22, went 36-13 with a 2.49 ERA in four seasons at OSU. He is the school’s all-time leader in strikeouts at 385 and is tied with Ben Wetzler for the most wins in program history.
The left-hander won Pac-12 pitcher of the year in 2017 and 2018, helping lead the Beavers to two College World Series appearances and the 2018 national title.
Heimlich went undrafted the past two years following the revelation of his now-sealed juvenile record and sex offender status. He has denied the allegations in several interviews since, stating that he accepted a plea bargain to protect his family and prevent the case from dragging on.
At last June’s CWS, Heimlich expressed hope that a team would give him the chance to play professional baseball.
Lamigo Monkeys general manager Justin Liu told Focus Taiwan that the organization had closely followed Heimlich for some time and that it is “truly regrettable if a potential first-round pick player has no place to showcase his talent.” Liu also said that the team has received letters of recommendation from OSU in support of Heimlich.
The Kansas City Royals were reportedly in discussions with Heimlich following the 2018 draft, but a deal never materialized.
“We were very interested in Luke last year,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told Fox Sports Kansas City. “And obviously this accusation came out. So we immediately put everything on pause, as we should, to gather facts, gather information. He went out and performed this year. Not only did he achieve athletic excellence, he achieved academic excellence along the way. … I think teams are still trying to find out more and more information. They’re trying to come to grips with this. This is something that happened in their family. Their family has dealt with this. Their family remains very close today, all parties involved.
“It’s a very complex deal.”
Moore has stated the he believes Heimlich has earned the opportunity to pitch in the pros.
“Based on what he has — how he has conducted himself since we’ve known him, for four or five years, and how he’s performed on a baseball field,” Moore said. “That’s as transparent as I can be. That’s my heart in this situation.”