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houston-astros 1The Houston Astros drafted Angel Ibanez, 2009 Sharyland graduate and University of Texas Pan American junior third baseman, Wednesday.

UTPA Bronc Head Coach Manny Mantrana said Ibanez has come a long way since he started playing for the Broncs.

“Angel has a lot of God-given talent,” Mantrana said. “He’s really come a long way, mentally and physically, since he was a freshman.”

But for Ibanez, Mantrana said this is a great opportunity.

“For Angel and his family, it’s a great day,” Mantrana said. “Being drafted means that someone in major league baseball believes in you.”

And there’s plenty to believe in.

Ibanez hit .332 with five doubles, four triples, three home runs, 38 RBI and 38 runs scored during his junior season with the Broncs. During his three years at UTPA, Ibanez hit .337 with 23 doubles, 13 triples, 11 home runs, 111 RBI and 124 runs scored in 157 games. He has a career on-base percentage of .384 and a slugging percentage of .467, according to UTPA athletics.

Ibanez has been difficult to strike out with 42 strikeouts in 630 at-bats, and he ranked 45th in the nation by averaging one strikeout every 14.9 at-bats this season. Last year, he was 17th in the nation with one strikeout per 18.4 bats. This season, Ibanez didn’t strikeout in any of his first 66 at-bats, a span on 15.5 games. He only had two multi-strikeout games giving him a total of three in his career.

As a junior, Ibanez played 20 games at third base, 21 in right field and nine in center field. As a sophomore, Ibanez played in 51 games at first base and two at second base. As a freshman, Ibanez played in 37 games at second base, five at shortstop and three at second base, according to UTPA athletics.

Ibanez is currently playing for the Asheboro Copperheads of the Coastal Plains League, where he is hitting .333 (4-for-12) with a double, two walks and a run scored in four games. He has played two games in left field and two games in right field.

Ibanez is the 32nd Bronc to be selected in the MLB Draft and the first since 2006 when the St. Louis Cardinals drafted pitcher Roberto Gomez (24th round, 736th overall) and the New York Mets selected pitcher Tim Haines (27th round, 824th overall).

He is the seventh infielder drafted out of UTPA and the first since the Oakland A’s selected George Williams (24th round, 645th overall) in 1991. Ibanez is the first Bronc ever selected by the Astros.

If he makes it to the majors, he’ll be the fifth Bronc to do so. Four have done it before, including Williams, who played for the A’s from 1995 through 1997 and the San Diego Padres in 2000; catcher Dan Firova played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1981 through 1982 and the Cleveland Indians in 1988; infielder Wayne Tyrone played for the Chicago Cubs in 1978, and outfielder Jim Tyrone played for the Cubs in 1972, 1974 and 1975 as well as the A’s in 1977.

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