Michael Helman was anxiously waiting to hear his name in the Major League Baseball Draft when he soon noticed an abnormal amount of activity on one of his social media accounts Wednesday.
"It was kind of weird because I started getting more followers on Twitter, like Twins Daily and some other things involved with the Twins," the Lincoln Pius X graduate said Thursday. "Immediately after that I got a call saying, 'Congratulations, you're going to be drafted by the Minnesota Twins.'"
Helman is likely to pick up more followers of the Twins variety in the coming months.
After a big junior year at Texas A&M, which included all-Southeastern Conference honors, Helman said he will sign with Minnesota. He'll head to Minneapolis next week for a physical and paperwork before making his way to Tennessee to begin play in the Twins' farm system.
A day earlier, Helman's roommate Nolan Hoffman, another Lincoln native, was drafted in the fifth round by the Seattle Mariners. Helman didn't hear his named called during the second day (rounds 4-10), but it didn't take long for him to come off the board Wednesday. The Twins selected him in the 11th round.
"Honestly, I was expecting anywhere from fourth to the 10th round," Helman said. "I got calls in those rounds, and really didn't have the great offers that I could confidently say yes to. But at the same time, it was good to wait. I couldn't be happier.
"I'm really glad it was the Twins. They seem like a great organization. It was a great feeling."
After producing two impressive seasons at Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College — and after being named NJCAA player of the year — Helman emerged as one the top players in the SEC with the A&M Aggies. He finished second in the league in batting at .369, and he led the Aggies in runs scored (61), hits (92), doubles (17) and total bases (131) while playing alongside fellow Lincoln natives Hoffman (a junior) and Logan Foster (a sophomore).
"Texas A&M was probably the best choice I could of had outside of junior college," said Helman, who received second-team all-conference honors at second base. "The coaches were amazing and were so great to me. They're not just great coaches, they're great men. They all took a chance on me and I'd tried to repay them as much as I could with the way I played and hopefully my attitude and character. I just really enjoyed being around that coaching staff."
Helman was a standout hitter and pitcher at Pius X, where he earned Super-State honorary captain honors a senior. He didn't have any collegiate offers out of high school until finding a home at Hutchinson, where he blossomed into the nation's top junior college hitter.
"I think my whole path for high school to junior college to a Division I school, that whole path prepared me because I took it one step at a time," Helman said. "After seeing the pitching in the SEC, I feel prepared and I feel like I can go in and play my game (in pro ball)."