Day-one of the Starkville super regional was day-two of the Major League Draft, and distractions abounded for Diamond Dogs as well as any program still playing. In the case of three State players Friday was still a personal win.
OF/RHP Reid Humphreys was called in the seventh round, #200 overall, by Colorado. Tellingly, the Rockies tagged him as a pitching prospect which is where most believe his professional future lies.
With the very next pick, #201 overall, LHP Daniel Brown was taken by Milwaukee. While Humphreys didn’t have a great game after his selection, Brown did show-off in a relief role as he retired all eight batters faced.
Also going on Friday was OF Jacob Robson, taken in the eighth round by Detroit at #235 overall.
This trio followed the first-day and first-round selection of RHP Dakota Hudson, as he was taken with the last pick of the regular opening round by St. Louis. He was Thursday’s #34 overall pick and became the 13th Bulldog drafted in a first round since 1965.
As of noon (central) Saturday, three more current Bulldogs had been drafted. RHP Zac Houston was taken in the 11th round, #325, by Detroit. 1B Nathaniel Lowe went in the 13th round to Tampa Bay, #390; followed in the same round quickly by 3B Gavin Collins (but tagged a catcher, his former college position) by Cleveland at #392.
The seven-so-far players picked ties 2013 for the largest group of draftees in Coach John Cohen’s tenure, and is one short of the eight taken off the 2013 team. The record is 13 players but that was in 1966 when the draft had not just ordinary rounds but multiple draft periods over the year.
Also, this is a total turnaround from 2015 when no Bulldog players were drafted, which had not happened since 1976. There were other players who should get a draft call before the forty rounds are done, including a few seniors.
Most of these taken as of this writing are underclassmen and all are expected to sign contracts, with Houston the best hope to hold. Mississippi State has planned accordingly for both their replacements as well as where to apply their scholarship aid to younger or newer Bulldogs.
However, a fair share of that money was meant to go to a couple of very high-profile signees. And after as the draft grinds on the recruiting class is taking hits, just as Cohen anticipated.
The twist is that Mississippi State does not announce signees or signing classes. Still, enough media lists are available to track them and Genespage.com counts 16 recruits or commits. Eleven are high schoolers, five transfers as either sophomores or juniors.
Two were taken on day-two and thus are believed likely to sign contracts. Walker Robbins, a lefthanded pitcher/first baseman at George County High School, was grabbed with the last pick of the fifth round by St. Louis. That was #166 overall and with a signing bonus slot of $315,000 he was reported ready to take the money today and move on to pro ball immediately.
Also Friday, in the ninth round Colin Holderman was taken by the New York Mets at #280. He is one of the transfers Cohen reportedly signed, a righthanded pitcher from Heartland (IL) C.C. and formerly a player at Southern Illinois.
Saturday, righthanded pitcher Graham Ashcraft of Huntsville, Ala., was taken in the 12th round by the Dodgers.
Meanwhile, drafted or not or not-yet, the Diamond Dogs have pressing afternoon business. They are back on Dudy Noble Field at 5:00 playing to keep the season alive after Friday’s 1-0 loss to Arizona. A victory will send the super regional into a Sunday rubber game.
Cohen had not announced a starting pitcher for game-two. Nor had Arizona.