Tech’s Klein reportedly signs with Nationals

Texas Tech's Brian Klein (5) points to the sky after hitting a home run during a nonconference game Feb. 20, 2018 against New Mexico State at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park. Klein reportedly signed an undrafted free against deal with the Washington Nationals on Thursday, according to D1Baseball co-managing editor Kendall Rogers. (Photo: Brad Tollefson/A-J Media)

Brian Klein will reportedly not return for his senior season, signing to play for the Washington Nationals on Thursday, according to D1Baseball co-managing editor Kendall Rogers.

Klein, who could have returned for a fifth season due to the NCAA approving an extra year of eligibility, elected to start his Major League Baseball career.

The left-handed hitter stepped into role of the starting second baseman as a junior and was the only player to start all 66 games en route to the Red Raiders claiming a No. 8 national seed and being one of the last four teams left in the College World Series.

As a senior, Klein hit a team-best .391 to go along with 13 RBI, 10 doubles and one home run. In the 2019 campaign, he helped the Red Raiders to a 46-20 overall record, the program’s third Big 12 title in four years and the school’s fourth College World Series in six seasons.

The Keller, Texas, native also started and played in all 19 games to help Texas Tech notch a 16-3 record before the COVID-19 cut his senior season short.

Klein joined teammate John McMillon, another draft-eligible senior who chose to forgo an extra year in Lubbock for a chance to join a Major League Baseball organization.

McMillon, a right-handed pitcher, signed late Sunday as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Royals organization, according to a Tweet by Baseball America.

McMillon, who was not selected in the five-round Major League Baseball draft last week, is the third Red Raider to join a professional team following Clayton Beeter (Los Angeles Dodgers, Competitive Balance Round B with pick No. 66) and Bryce Bonnin (third round, No. 84, Cincinnati Reds), who were selected last Thursday.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the MLB shortened its draft from 40 to five rounds in an effort to lessen the burden on the league’s clubs — a move that figures to save teams about $30 million.

As part of the March 26 agreement to shorten the draft, MLB teams were limited in the amount that they can offer undrafted players to sign — a maximum of $20,000.

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