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Alex Santos, a lifelong Yankees fan, drafted by Astros

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Moments after the Astros logo popped up on the screen, cheers followed — from Yankees fans.

Houston might have gained some supporters from The Bronx on Thursday. At least, the Astros gave Alex Santos’ friends and family members something to think about after selecting the fireballing right-hander in the compensation portion of the second round (72nd overall) of the 2020 MLB Draft.

“I’ve been a Yankees fan my whole life, but I’m going to have to deal with it now,” the Mount St. Michael High School star, who grew up a five-minute drive from the Stadium, said in a phone interview. “They went with some other guy. Everything works out for a reason, and I’m happy I’m in the position I am in now.”

The plan is for Santos to sign and bypass his scholarship to Maryland, he and his father, Alex Santos Sr., said. The signing bonus slot money where he was drafted is $870,700.

In the time since he was selected, Santos heard from a lot of family members, coaches and friends. The decision about which team they will now root for was mixed. The Astros eliminated the Yankees from the postseason in 2017 — the year they won the World Series but were found to have cheated by stealing signs — and 2019.

Alex Santos
Alex SantosPhotos courtesy Alex Santos Sr.

“A couple of them are Astros fans. A couple of them said it’s hard to get away from the Yankees, but they’re Alex Santos fans,” he said.

“I was really excited, super emotional,” said Santos, who became the first Mount St. Michael player to be selected directly out of high school since Collin Mahoney (48th round) in 2001. “I got to spend it with family, coaches, friends. Best time ever. It’s something I will never forget.”

Santos, ranked 45th by Baseball America and 56th by MLB Pipeline entering the draft, becomes the first pick made by new Astros general manager James Click — Houston didn’t have any selections in the first two rounds due to punishment for the electronic sign-stealing scandal. The selection was a compensatory pick from the Yankees in exchange for losing free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole.

If the family had its preference, Santos would be playing for the hometown Yankees or Mets. But the Astros aren’t so bad, either. They are known, after all, for getting the most out of pitchers, and will eventually need to replenish their rotation with Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke getting up in age.

“I’m going to go out there and show everybody what I’ve got,” the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Santos said. “I strongly believe the major leagues are going to come my way.”

Asked if the family now pulls for the Astros, Alex Santos Sr. joked he would have to sleep on it. He still plans to root for the Yankees.

“It’s going to be tough when he comes to Yankee Stadium three years from now and he’s got to pitch against my team, you know,” the elder Santos said jokingly. “But I guess I’ll be wearing a Houston Astros jersey.”

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