Any fan can understand and appreciate the excitement of the ASBA Draft but sometimes understanding the roster rules in professional softball can be complicated. Here’s some info to help you understand the Protected Player rules and how they apply in 2019.
Teams may protect up to 5 players from their 2018 roster but they must forfeit a draft choice according to the following guidelines to do so:
Player 1 = 4th Round Selection
Player 2 = 5th Round Selection
Player 3 = 7th Round Selection
Player 4 = 8th Round Selection
Player 5 = 10th Round Selection
Here is the list of players who have been protected by their team for the 2019 season:
Kaleigh Todd, 2B, University of South Alabama
Todd joined the ASBA after a historic career for Coach Becky Clark’s Jaguars. She was First Team All-Sun Belt for the third-straight year, started 163-straight games, and led the program in all-time multi-hit games (61), career hits (226) and career stolen bases (74). She is one of just four players in South Alabama history to eclipse the 200-hit mark for her career and she is equally gifted on the defensive side of the ball.
Success followed Todd to the professional ranks. After being selected in the 9th Round of the 2018 ASBA Draft, she helped lead Moh-BEEL! USA to the best record in the league while being named to the ASBA All-Star Team and Second Team All-ASBA. Moh-BEEL! USA will forfeit their 4th Round pick in 2019 to protect the Bessemer, Alabama native in hopes of winning the ASBA Championship Rings that eluded them in 2018.
Madison Ragan, Pitcher, Jacksonville University
Winning is anything but foreign to Ragan who was a member of the Chipola College 2015 NJCAA Division I National Championship run. The rare player who can compete at the highest level both in the box and in the circle, Ragan went on to tally 96.1 innings and 349 plate appearances during her time at Jacksonville.
Her 13th Round selection marks the latest 2018 draft pick to be protected but she was worth the wait, belting five homeruns as a batter and only allowing one homerun all summer as a pitcher. The Field will forfeit their 4th Round pick in 2019 to protect Ragan, the only returner from the 2018 ASBA Championship roster.
Kaylee Prather, OF, University of Texas at Tyler
Prather was an NFCA All-American at UT Tyler, finishing her collegiate softball career in 2017 before competing for the Patriot Track and Field program in 2018. Prather helped lead her team to the 2016 NCAA DIII Softball National Championship as a junior and set multiple single-season records during the 2017 season, including hitting .500 and having 89 total hits.
The First-Team All-American and American Southwest Conference Player of the Year was selected in the 11th Round of the 2018 ASBA Draft, named an ASBA All-Star, named Second Team All-ASBA, named to the ASBA’s All-Defensive Team, and named the ASBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. The E1 Pro Ballers will forfeit their 4th Round pick in the 2019 ASBA Draft to protect Prather in hopes of completing their worst-to-first turnaround this summer.
McKayla Taylor, IF, University of Pittsburgh
Taylor, the former Pittsburgh Panther, will once again sport the E1 logo in 2019. Last season Taylor slipped through the cracks of the inaugural ASBA Draft, was selected as an inactive reserve, and was then subsequently traded to the E1 Pro Ballers in enough time to be in the starting lineup on opening night. But don’t let her indirect route fool you, Taylor blasted 4 homeruns and 15 RBIs despite her team finishing in last place.
Taylor, a shortstop throughout her college career, spent time all over the infield with the ASBA and started in every single game except one. The E1 Pro Ballers will forfeit their 5th Round pick in 2019 to protect Pitt Softball’s all-time leader in assists and RBIs who is currently playing professional softball overseas in Europe.
Stephanie Texeira, P/1B, Florida International University
The legend of Stephanie Texeira will continue in the ASBA this summer. An All-Conference USA honoree during all four of her collegiate seasons, Texeira led the ASBA in RBIs (39) and runs scored (30) while hitting .405. She also found herself thrust into the pitching rotation despite not having pitched since High School and she still managed to throw to a 3.53 ERA. Texeira leveraged her elite performance in the USA to earn an opportunity to play overseas where she has garnered numerous honors this offseason in New Zealand.
The first baseman was awarded the ASBA MVP honor and was also selected to the ASBA All-Star team, First-Team All-ASBA, and the All-Defensive team after being selected in the 8th Round in 2018. Moh-BEEL! USA will forfeit their 5th Round pick in 2019 to protect the league’s reigning MVP.
Maddy Grimm, IF/DP, Kent State
After spending one season with the NPF’s now-defunct Akron Racers, Grimm was taken in the fourth round of the inaugural ASBA Draft. Her career numbers at Kent State are staggering, she hit .330 with 172 runs, 198 hits, 43 doubles, four triples, 69 homeruns and 192 RBIs. She is the Golden Flashes’ all-time leader in home runs and RBIs, she was a three-time first-team NFCA All-Midwest Region selection, she was the 2017 MAC Player of the Year, and she earned three first-team All-MAC honors.
Grimm tied for the league lead in the ASBA last summer with ten homeruns. She also was named to the ASBA All-Star team and First Team All-ASBA while aiding Moh-BEEL! USA to the best record in the league. Moh-BEEL! USA will forfeit their 7th Round pick in 2019 to protect Ligonier Valley High School’s most decorated female athlete ever.
Savannah Horvath, IF, CSUN
The seventh and final protected player in 2019 is another Moh-BEEL! USA standout. Horvath came to the ASBA after being named Big West Player of the Year in 2018. As a senior she led the conference in homeruns (16), runs (60), total bases (132), slugging percentage (.781) and on base percentage (.507) while ranking second in doubles (16), third in RBI (41), and second in stolen bases (24). Her four consecutive First Team All-Conference selections marks only the ninth player in the history of the conference to achieve such a lofty plateau.
The consistent realization of accomplishment was not left behind in the college ranks. Horvath exploded onto the pro softball scene after being selected in the 5th Round of the 2018 ASBA Draft. She was named the first ever ASBA All-Star Game MVP, ASBA All-Defensive Team, and First Team All-ASBA while, of course, helping Moh-BEEL! USA to the best record in the ASBA. Moh-BEEL! USA will forfeit their 8th Round pick in the 2019 ASBA Draft to protect CSUN’s all-time homerun leader.
The 2019 ASBA Draft will be held on June 5th at Moe’s Original Bar B Que in Downtown Mobile (701 Spring Hill Ave, Mobile AL 36602). The ASBA runs softball operations on a completely decentralized basis and gives their Head Coaches total autonomy over their roster, strategy, and related affairs.
Opening Day is right around the corner and so begin the 2019 ASBA storylines. Will Moh-BEEL! USA’s Core Four live up to their titanic championship-or-bust expectations? Who will prevail in the arms race known as the ASBA Draft? And can the E1 Pro Ballers make the epic turnaround from worst in 2018 to first in 2019? Only one thing is certain this summer in the ASBA, the softball will be fun to watch.
Games are played at Pat Hicks Softball Field, 1 Gator Circle, Satsuma AL and all the ASBA action can be seen on the ASBA Network all year long, visit asbasoftball.com/network to register.