Woodruff Joins Ranks Of Drafted Bulldogs

Baseball drafts more upon perceived potential than any of the other major sports and especially so with pitchers. Brandon Woodruff has lots of that, which is why Milwaukee grabbed the Diamond Dog righthander on day-three of June's Major League draft.

Woodruff was picked Saturday in the 11th round, the 326th overall selection. This, after a Mississippi State career disrupted by injury and slowed by recovery. During all of it Woodruff worked over-time to regain his opportunity for a professional career. This is Woodruff's second time to be drafted. Out of Wheeler (MS) High School he was picked in the fifth round by Texas in 2011.

A combo-player as a 2011 freshman Woodruff worked as either a corner outfielder (playing 16 games) or as a pitcher. And, either as a reliever or mid-week starter. He went 1-2 in 12 games with a 2.65 ERA as a rookie, striking out 37 with 17 walks. Early in the sophomore season Woodruff was on the verge of cracking the weekend rotation after an excellent start and win at South Alabama.

That same long stint though exposed elbow issues that were inevitably going to happen as determined by examination and surgery. Woodruff missed the rest of 2013 and will always be recalled as a ‘what if?' in terms of making an ultimate difference at the College World Series. Before surgery he was 1-1 in seven games, 18.2 innings with a 4.34 ERA.

This past junior season he was 1-3 in 15 outings and six starts, working 37.1 innings with a 6.75 ERA. His 29 strikeouts were balanced by 25 walks, which epitomized a player still trying to regain his pre-injury stride. But even in his last two outings, each featuring excellent velocity and base hits off it, Woodruff reminded scouts why he was highly-sought out of high school. His, and Mississippi State's, hopes are time and development produce an even better professional career than circumstances allowed in college ball.

Woodruff becomes the third Diamond Dog drafted, the 22nd of Coach John Cohen's tenure; and the 141st State selection in this draft so far. He joins teammates LHP Jacob Lindgren (2nd round #55) and RHP Jonathan Holder (6th, #182) who were both drafted by the New York Yankees.

The only member of State's freshman signee class drafted so far is catcher Chase Vallot who was taken in the first round, #40 overall by Kansas City and is certain to sign a contract.

This first-year player draft runs through 40 rounds today. Bulldogs hoping to see their names scroll across the screen included infielder Brett Pirtle, outfielders C.T. Bradford and Demarcus Henderson, and draft-eligible junior first baseman Wes Rea.

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