When Lake Bachar went to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater following high school, he originally planned to play football only.
But after getting the urge to play baseball again, Bachar joined the UW-Whitewater baseball team his sophomore year in 2015.
A right-handed pitcher, Bachar didn’t realize he’d flourish on the baseball field at the college level, especially after not playing for a year. Although he continued to play football, it appeared his future would be on the mound.
After a strong showing with the Lakeshore Chinooks in the Northwoods League last summer, Bachar jumped onto professional scouts’ radar, due to his mid-90s fastball and promising curveball.
After continuing to impress scouts during his junior season at UW-Whitewater this past spring, experts projected Bachar to get selected in the top 10 rounds in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
The San Diego Padres drafted Bachar with the 144th overall pick in the fifth round.
“They had called two picks before so we kind of had an idea that they might pick me,” Bachar said, who worked out for the Padres prior to the draft. “When we got the call we told them we’d take the deal, but we don’t know if they’d actually take me.
“We were just sitting around the computer and waiting for my name. When they were on the clock and it took them little bit we were like, ‘Oh jeez,’ but when they said my name it was a unreal feeling. It was really crazy. It was unreal.”
Bachar agreed to a deal with the Padres on June 14 with a signing bonus worth $350,000. The deal will also pay for Bachar to attend four college semesters after his playing career is over.
He’s the 13th player drafted in program history and just the third player drafted in the fifth round or higher of the MLB Draft from UW-Whitewater.
Now that he’s signed, he’ll report to San Diego’s rookie ball team the Arizona League Padres, who began their season on June 20. Bachar will have a light workload the rest of the season since he threw 92 2/3 innings at UW-Whitewater this past spring.
“Short term this summer it is just to get better and get a better feel for all of my pitches,” Bachar said. “I don’t really have super high expectations. I just want to get better and move my way up through the minor leagues and prove to the whole system that I can do it.”
Although Bachar’s time at UW-Whitewater is over, it’s a place he’ll never forget.
“I knew I was lucky to play there,” Bachar said. “I’m just glad it all worked out the way it did. I’m grateful for all the opportunities they gave me. I love Whitewater, and I’ll go back there any chance I have.”
Read my previous feature articles on Lake Bachar here:
- Whitewater’s Lake Bachar bursts onto the scene
- Lake Bachar looks to finish season off strong
- Lake Bachar excited for the MLB Draft
You can find more MLB Draft coverage here.