Karan Patel makes history as first overall draft pick for Baseball United’s Mumbai Cobras
Patel continues his remarkable journey from cricket to baseball as the first player selected in the new Dubai-based professional baseball league.
In a historic moment for baseball enthusiasts across the globe, Karan Patel has etched his name in the history of the sport. Karan Patel, an American-born baseball pitcher with Indian descent, is the first player to be drafted for the Mumbai Cobras, the first professional baseball franchise from India.
The Mumbai Cobras represent a significant step forward for the sport, and their selection as the first franchise by Baseball United holds a special place in the hearts of Mumbai's fans. The city, known for its bustling energy and diversity, is all set to embrace this new venture, a milestone in a nation where cricket has traditionally reigned supreme.
Karan Patel's journey to becoming the first draft pick for the Mumbai Cobras is an example of his remarkable talent and dedication. He initially made history in the 2017 MLB Draft when the Chicago White Sox selected him in the 7th Round. This marked him as the first player of Indian descent to be drafted into the MLB, a significant achievement in its own right.
Karan’s journey into baseball is deeply rooted in his family's passion for cricket. He credits his father, Kuldeep Patel, for instilling in him a love for the game. Kuldeep, a former cricketer who represented the USA national team, revealed Karan to the world of cricket from a young age.
“Cricket has helped with my pitching abilities in many ways. Being a bowler has helped strengthen my shoulder and helps me spin the ball a different way because in cricket we have the round arm action. I used a lot of those skills and lessons as I transitioned to baseball.” said Karan Patel. (Via Times of India)
Karan's early years were marked by a dual love for both cricket and baseball. His cricketing skills played a significant role in shaping his abilities as a baseball pitcher. He seized his first opportunity to represent the Under-19 USA cricket team. This was just the beginning, as he received additional chances in 2015 and 2016 to showcase his cricketing talents.
“It comes from my dad (Kuldeep Patel), He grew up playing. He made the national team for the USA and just growing up, he always had me around. Slowly I got into it, and then as high school came around, I took it more seriously and got my first opportunity in 2012 to represent the Under-19 USA team. Got another chance in '15 and a third chance in '16.” said Karan Patel after being selected by the Chicago White Sox. (Via Times of India)
Though his father was a selector in the USA Cricket board as well, he could not progress after a certain level in cricket. Then he shifted his entire focus to baseball and his father never refused to support him in any sport he took.
"I used to split my weekends for two sports. On Saturdays, I would play cricket and then go for baseball on Sundays. Baseball was always my first love but I also loved playing cricket. My dad was the selector for the USA national team when I was playing. Then things didn't happen for me. I see a bright future in baseball. But my dad never put any pressure on me," Karan added. (Via Times of India)
Before his professional career, Patel's journey through college baseball was equally impressive. He played for the UTSA Roadrunners (NCAA D-I, San Antonio, TX) from 2016 to 2019, amassing a total of 10 wins and an impressive 243 strikeouts over 243 innings pitched.
His success continued into 2022, where he played in 38 games, primarily for the White Sox High-A affiliate, the Winston-Salem Dash. Patel displayed his versatility, starting four games and finishing five while securing a save in 59 innings pitched. Notably, he struck out 74 batters and had a remarkable opponent batting AVG of just .216 in High-A. He debuted as a pitcher with the Mustangs in 2023 after being drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2019 and pitching for their Rookie Ball team.
Karan Patel's story is one of determination and versatility, transitioning from a young player with a promising cricket career to making history in the world of baseball. His achievements highlight the potential of Indian athletes in a variety of sports, beyond traditional favorites like cricket.
As he takes the field for the Mumbai Cobras the world now knows a new name, a new face, and a new legend in the making – Karan Patel.