John Doxakis received little interest from major league teams as a senior at Lamar High in Houston in 2016. He spoke with two teams but went undrafted and honored his commitment to Texas A&M.
Although every baseball player dreams of starting a professional career, Doxakis was eager to attend Texas A&M due to his family’s history at the university. The university’s academics also stood out to Doxakis, who’s pursuing a degree in agricultural business.
In his three years at Texas A&M, Doxakis has refined his skills and improved his MLB draft stock. He’s one of the top college left-handed pitchers in June’s draft class and likely will be an early-round selection.
“I made that commitment to myself to not worry about the draft as long as I can,” Doxakis said.“I am still not thinking about it too much. Obviously, you know it’s there. It hasn’t bothered me this season.”
Doxakis has thrived as Texas A&M’s top starting pitcher this season. In 13 starts, he has a 1.93 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 20 walks allowed in 84 innings.
It’s an improvement from last season when he posted a 2.70 ERA with 92 strikeouts and 29 walks allowed in 93 1/3 innings.
He credits the experience he gained as a freshman when he pitched nearly 50 innings for his success the last two years. He also has enhanced his skills since stepping foot on Texas A&M’s campus. His consistency has been a major factor in his dominance this spring, he said.
“I am just trusting my stuff over the plate and not worrying if they’re going to hit it,” Doxakis said.“I just know that we are going to make them earn everything they get and not give it up for free.”
Doxakis, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound left, has a three-pitch mix, featuring a fastball, slider and changeup. He throws from a low to mid-three-quarters arm slot.
None of his pitches are overwhelming, but he attacks the strike zone with his three offerings. His fastball sits in the low-90s while his slider serves as his outpitch.
“Just being able to throw all my pitches whenever I want is my biggest strength,” Doxakis said. “I think it keeps the hitters guessing and not sitting on one pitch.”
His changeup is average but shows potential of being a reliable pitch. Improving the offering is his top priority, he said.
He wants to develop a consistent grip for the pitch to keep his changeup velocity at 81 or 82 mph. He struggles to maintain a steady velocity with the pitch, as sometimes it creeps into the mid-80s.
“It’s good sometimes, but not as good as I want it to be,” Doxakis said. “I’d like to develop that more. I just need to be able to throw it at the same speed is my goal.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for four years. He’s interviewed 133 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.