Mississippi State University right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton has been selected by the San Francisco Giants with 20th overall pick.
June 4, 2012 8:24:33 PM
STARKVILLE - Mississippi State University right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton has been selected by the San Francisco Giants with the 20th pick in the first round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.
The junior right-handed pitcher becomes the first MSU player to be drafted in the first round since 2003 when Paul Maholm was selected eighth overall by Pittsburgh. In school history, Stratton is the 10th first round pick joining former MLB All-Star players like Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro.
"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."
Stratton (11-2, 2.38) was one of 11 college pitchers with 11 wins during the 2012 season and was named the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year Tuesday by the league's coaches. Stratton is fifth with 123 strikeouts and leads the SEC with a 2.21 earned run average.
"I think they were just thrilled he was still around (at No. 20)," MLB.com draft analyst Jonathan Mayo said on MLB Network after Stratton was selected. "This guy is going to be a big league starter in the not-so-distant future."
Stratton also became one step closer Tuesday to becoming the second MSU player to win the prestigious Golden Spikes Award. Stratton, right-hander from Tupelo, was also named one of 30 semifinalists for the award that is recognized as the Heisman Trophy for college baseball that former MSU and Major League Baseball player Will Clark won in 1985.
"He's flat out unbelievable and the fact is I get to catch the best starting pitcher in college baseball right now," MSU junior catcher Mitch Slauter said. "I think it's awesome that I'll get to tell my kids one day that I caught Chris Stratton in college because there's no doubt in my mind that he's going to be a big leaguer real soon."
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 the willingness of Stratton to sign a professional contract.
"(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.
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