The New York Mets welcomed Eric Orze to their organization Thursday night, a resilient young pitcher who is a two-time cancer survivor.
The Mets selected the 22-year-old out of the University of New Orleans in the final round of the 2020 MLB Draft. Making it to the majors is a huge accomplishment for any college athlete but for Orze, the achievement seems more significant.
Orze underwent multiple operations in his battle against testicular and skin cancer, making him unable to compete in part of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season, according to the New York Post.
“This is a kid that will not quit. He really won’t,” Mets vice president of international and amateur scouting Tommy Tanous said on a video call.
Despite missing last season, Tanous said the organization was impressed with Orze’s skill.
“Our scouts fell in love with his split-finger, to tell you the truth,” he said on the call. “He throws a heavy, heavy fastball and he uses that split as his out pitch, his strikeout pitch. He accumulated tremendous numbers this year, and we felt it was a great value there. To get that kind of arm with that kind of out pitch there was a great way to end the draft. So, obviously, this is a high-makeup kid, high-quality kid who happens to have a really gifted pitch.”
The right-handed pitcher went 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings before the season was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“To go through what he went through a couple of years ago, when it would have been easy to stop playing baseball or lose his purpose, and he never did,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen added. “And so, he’s motivated and he wants the challenge of professional baseball, and we’re glad to be able to give him that opportunity.”