The work Levi David put in was rewarded.
As such, David became the 53rd Major League Baseball First-Year Player draftee in Northwestern State history after being selected by the New York Mets in the ninth round of the 2021 draft Monday afternoon.
“I had talked to the Mets and talked to the (Texas) Rangers, and they told me a general plan of what today would look like,” David said. “It never quite turns out like you think it would. I knew I’d probably go in the five to 10 (round) range. Around the fifth round, I sat down and started watching it and waited for phone calls. With every pick, there was a little extra excitement or nervousness. I was really excited to go where I went. I’m truly blessed for it.”
David was a third-team All-Southland Conference selection in his first year as a starting pitcher. His 104 strikeouts tied for the second most in school single-season history while his 15.34 strikeouts per nine innings ranked him third nationally.
In his first collegiate season as a starting pitcher, David limited opposing batters to 5.02 hits per nine innings, a mark that led the Southland Conference and ranked seventh nationally. After making five relief appearances in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, David appeared in 14 games with 13 starts in the 2021 season.
He posted three double-figure strikeout games, including fanning 14 McNeese hitters on May 8, falling one strikeout shy of tying the school single-game record.
His twin 12-strikeout performances at Sam Houston (March 20) and at Abilene Christian (April 2) earned him a pair of Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week awards. In those games, David worked a combined 13 1-3 innings, scattered seven hits and struck out 24 batters while walking just three.
Equally as impressive in the classroom, David owns a 4.0 grade point average, was named first-team CoSIDA Academic All-Region earlier this month, is on the ballot for Academic All-American and was a first-team Academic All-Southland Conference honoree.
A 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander from Waxahachie, Texas, David earned plaudits for his curveball. Opposing batters went 5-for-98 with 80 strikeouts against the pitch in 2021.
“It is so special to see Levi get picked up by the Mets,” head coach Bobby Barbier said. “He has worked so hard for this day and deserves every bit of it.”
David’s selection marked the fourth straight season in which Northwestern State has produced an MLB draft pick, its longest stretch since 2004-07. In those four seasons, the Demons have produced six selections, four of which have been top-10 round choices.
With David’s selection, the Mets nabbed their sixth different Northwestern State draftee, most among MLB teams. Two former Demon right-handers — Adam Oller and Nathan Jones — currently are in the Mets minor league system.
Although Jones, New York’s fifth-round selection in the 2019 draft, and David did not play together in Natchitoches, their shared ties in the Demon fraternity allowed them to connect ahead of the 2021 season.
“Peyton Davis and Cam Parikh are good friends with him and during the break, they took some live at-bats against him, so I got to meet him,” David said. “I got the chance to talk to him going into this spring. We talked about how professional baseball and the draft process worked and what to expect. The advice he gave me and what he explained was what I went through. He’s a good person to know and hopefully we’ll be teammates soon.”
The MLB Draft concludes Tuesday with rounds 11-20.
Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services
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