LSU Tiger Bradford Leaps to River Bandits

As an 18th round pick, right-handed pitcher Jared Bradford shoots high in his Cardinals full-season minor league debut and culminates a big week for Louisiana State alums.

It has been a big week for former Louisiana State baseball players and the St. Louis Cardinals organization. First, Tigers alum Nick Stavinoha made his long-awaited major league debut on Sunday.

Now, the 40th player of the 51 in St. Louis' 2008 draft class, 18th-round pick Jared Bradford from LSU, has signed with the Cardinals organization. The right-handed pitcher is expected to join the Single-A Quad Cities River Bandits of the Midwest League on Thursday.

Bradford, 22, who will pitch in relief for the River Bandits, is the only one of the 40 signed draftees to initially be assigned this high, at the full-season level, in the organization. The others: Batavia (NY-Penn League) – 16, Johnson City (Appalachian League) – 13 and Gulf Coast League Cardinals – 10.

The Alabama native signed after Louisiana State exited the 2008 College World Series, where he most recently pitched 5.1 innings in relief last Thursday night. Bradford was stellar, holding North Carolina to one unearned run on four hits. He fanned five in the elimination loss for seventh-seeded LSU.

Overall in 2008, the 6-foot-1 Bradford posted a 10-4 record with a 4.48 ERA, striking out 90 and walking 24 in 98 innings pitched in his senior season. He also went 10-4 with a 4.41 ERA and five saves his junior year. At LSU, the sinker-slider-changeup specialist was named All-Southeastern Conference each of the last two seasons.

Prior to that, Bradford was a junior college All-American in his two seasons at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, AL. His 0.63 ERA in 2006 led the JUCO ranks across the USA. Bradford had been selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 21st round of the 2005 draft, but did not sign.



The top two unsigned Cardinals draft picks are first-rounder, third baseman Brett Wallace, whose Arizona State club was defeated in the Super Regionals and Rice outfielder Aaron Luna. The Owls were eliminated in the CWS a week ago Tuesday, but Luna hit his tenth home run of the season in the loss.

Other unsigned picks include three left-handed pitchers and three high schoolers. Several of the latter have declared their intention to attend college, but could still sign a professional contract anytime prior to August 15.

13. Mitch Harris, RHP, Navy – to fulfill service obligation
30. Brett Bruening, RHP, Grayson County College (TX)
31. Justin Leith, LHP, High School, Naples, FL
35. Shane Boras, 2B, High School, Newport Coast, CA
37. Daniel Jimenez, LHP, High School, St. Charles, IL
45. Christopher Taylor, C, UNC Charlotte
46. Brandon Sizemore, 2B, College of Charleston
47. Tony Asaro, OF, UC Irvine
50. Daniel Miranda, LHP, High School, Miami, FL



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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