FILE - Mississippi State right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton is being projected as a first round draft pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. Photo by: MSU athletics
May 10, 2012 8:53:31 PM
STARKVILLE - Several sources inside the Major League Baseball scouting community have told The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog Thursday night that professional organizations are confident in the willingness of Mississippi State University right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton to sign a professional contract.
"I honestly haven't thought about the draft or anything like that since the beginning of this season," Stratton said. "I know that hard to believe but I really haven't worried about it and let others handle that right now. Don't get me wrong, I see the scouts all along the back wall at home - they're hard to miss," Stratton said after a victory over Tennessee on April 19.
Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis projected Stratton as the 16th overall selection in the 2012 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals. In his first mock draft for Baseball America this summer, Callis has six college and one left-handed high school arm projected to be taken in front of Stratton in what is considered a college pitcher heavy draft that top this season.
"Stratton commands four average or better pitches and would be the best value on the board in this scenario," Callis stated in his mock draft.
Multiple scouts for professional franchises that have seen Stratton pitch at Dudy Noble Field and on the road this season have told The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog that they're "nearly 100 percent confident" in Stratton's ability and willingness to sign when the draft rolls around next month.
"(Chris) and everybody in his camp have all told us he can't wait to sign to play professional baseball and I've spoken to him a lot," a MLB scout, who requested to not be named, told The Dispatch.
Stratton is one of 14 pitches in Division 1 college baseball with at least nine wins this season as the Tupelo native sports a 9-0 record and 2.19 ERA in 2012.
"I'm just focused right now on giving my team a chance to win every time I go to the mound on a Friday night in the Southeastern Conference," Stratton said. "That's a big enough responsibility right there. I'd love for us to get to another Super Regional and even Omaha."
The right-hander, who is tied for third in the country with LSU's Kevin Gausman with 101 strikeouts, will get the baseball Friday night at the University of Florida when the Southeastern Conference series that represents a rematch of the 2011 Gainesville Super Regional begins at 6 p.m.
"It's those special moments when you get to coach elite players doing elite things," MSU baseball coach John Cohen said after Stratton's complete-game shutout victory against Ole Miss on April 27. "It's hard to imagine a lot of pitching performances like that one tonight going on in this country."
With a month left in his college season, Stratton continues to rise up the draft boards of several clubs but the quickness to which he's generated momentum has some in the scouting community as to whether he can produce consistent results at the next level. Or is this simply a great college season from a pitcher with high-level stuff.
"I gave him a first round grade," a MLB scout told The Dispatch. "But what I'll say about Stratton is our concern about him is this - does he have the overall resume of a first round draft pick? No. However, what he's done in less than a year to get his mechanics back and the work he's put into his craft at MSU is really impressive."
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