MILWAUKEE — The Astros signed undrafted right-handed pitcher Ruben (RJ) Alaniz for $160,000 on Saturday. He pitched at Juarez-Lincoln High School in La Joya and was discovered by scout Rusty Pendergrass in a tryout camp after the draft.
Alaniz, 18, slipped through the cracks as teams prepared for the draft, but pitched well enough in showcase games this summer that the Astros had to outbid at least two other teams to sign him. His fastball was clocked at 89-95 mph and could more consistent as he fills out physically.
Owner Drayton McLane and scouting director Bobby Heck were effusive in their praise of Pendergrass for getting the deal done.
"Rusty does four or five of these tryout camps, and he got rewarded," Heck said. "Scouting is about identifying talent, but it’s also about building relationships. Rusty did both in this case."
Alaniz got noticed by other teams after pitching a perfect game in an Atlanta showcase game. He’d planned on attending a junior college, but Pendergrass got him signed before Monday’s deadline.
A little snippet from Richard Justice's article, found here. Sounds pretty good to me. Also Heck drops that they're still negotiating with three picks from the draft.