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Three SoCon pitchers taken on day two of MLB Draft
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 06/13/2017
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Furman's Will Gaddis
Courtesy: Southern Conference
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Furman's Gaddis selected by Rockies in third round of MLB Draft

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Furman right-handed pitcher Will Gaddis has been selected by the Colorado Rockies in the third round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft, it was announced Tuesday.

Gaddis was the 11th pick in the third round and 86th overall selection. He is the highest draft selection in Furman baseball history, a distinction previously held by catcher Don Leege – an eighth-round pick (144th overall) of the San Diego Padres in 1972. Left-handed pitcher Nate Smith was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the eighth round (247th overall) in 2013.

As a junior the Brentwood, Tenn., product posted a 9-3 record and 1.89 earned run average in 2017, with his wins and ERA topping all Southern Conference starters. In 105 innings of work he surrendered only 81 hits and 16 walks while striking out 89. Opponents hit just .213 against him.

His stellar 2017 campaign helped key Furman to a 33-28 record and a 14-10, third-place SoCon finish, with the 33 wins tying the school season victories standard. Gaddis went 6-0 in his final six starts as the Paladins registered a league-best 22-8 record over their final 30 games en route to a SoCon tournament runner-up finish.

Gaddis' 1.89 ERA this spring was the lowest by a Paladin starting pitcher since All-American Tom Mastny, an 11th-round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays, posted an NCAA-leading 1.09 mark in 2003.

The two-time first team All-SoCon selection and 2016 SoCon Pitcher of the Year (10-3, 3.45 ERA) was named league pitcher of the month for May after going 4-0 with a save and 0.95 ERA in six appearances for the Paladins, limiting the opposition to just two extra-base hits over that span.

Several of Gaddis' 2017 season statistics rank among the best in Furman history, including wins (9/T5th), innings (105.0/4th), strikeouts (89/T8th), and strikeouts/walk ratio (5.56/1st). Career-wise, in three seasons, he attained a number of Furman top-10 rankings, among which are starts (43/T7th), wins (22/T3rd), winning percentage (22-12, .647/4th), innings (288.1/7th), ERA (3.43/9th), strikeouts (234/4th) and strikeouts/walks ratio (3.96/1st).

 

Western Carolina's Sammons picked in eighth round by Twins

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Western Carolina left-handed pitcher Bryan Sammons was drafted Tuesday afternoon on the second day of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The senior was selected by the Minnesota Twins with the 226th overall pick in the eighth round.

Sammons' selection is the highest for Western Carolina since Nick Liles was a seventh-round selection by the San Francisco Giants in the 2009 MLB Draft.

This year marked the second straight season that the Twins drafted a WCU senior pitcher. Last season, RHP Colton Davis was taken with the 753rd overall pick in the 25th round by the Minneapolis-based club. Sammons joins Davis and former Catamount infielder Bradley Strong, who was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2015 but was picked up by the Twins organization and is currently playing for the Fort Myers (Fla.) Miracle Class A Advanced affiliate.

Sammons put the finishing touches on a tremendous career in Cullowhee this past season, posting an 8-3 overall record with a 3.02 ERA while striking out a career-high 108 in garnering second-team All-Southern Conference plaudits as a starter. His 108 seasonal Ks ranked tied for third in the league, and he fanned a career-high 14 in a home victory over The Citadel in late March.

A product of Wilmington, N.C., Sammons finished his career tied for fourth in WCU's career record books with 27 career victories on the mound, matching former Catamount hurler – and a fourth-round draft pick by Oakland back in 1994 – Jason Beverlin (1992-94). His .675 winning percentage ranked him 11th in program history. Sammons struck out 325 over his four-year career, the second-most in the Catamount career ledgers and seventh in SoCon history.

The 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft concludes on Wednesday with rounds 11 through 40, beginning at noon online at MLB.com.

 

Nationals select Samford's Brasher in eighth round

SECAUCUS, N.J. – Jared Brasher's 2017 campaign continued in illustrious fashion Tuesday as Samford's senior right-handed pitcher was selected by the Washington Nationals with the 28th pick in the eighth round (253rd overall) of the Major League Baseball Draft.

With the honor, Brasher became Samford's seventh top-10 round pick since 2012 and the Bulldogs' 20th player drafted in the last seven years. Since head coach Casey Dunn took the reins in 2005, Samford has had 22 players selected in the MLB Draft. Prior to Dunn's arrival, the Bulldogs only had a total of three players drafted.

Brasher, Samford's hard-throwing relief pitcher this season, was an instrumental part of the program since his freshman season in 2014. Upon his arrival, he immediately became a key member of the Bulldogs' pitching staff and has accumulated 177 strikeouts in his career.

Brasher finished his Samford career ranked third on the Southern Conference's active career list in both lowest opponent batting average and fewest hits per nine innings. A member of the 2016 SoCon Spring Academic All-Conference Team, he filled a critical role in Samford's bullpen during the 2017 season, compiling a 3-0 record and 3.74 ERA.

Brasher routinely touched 97 miles per hour on the radar gun this season and tallied 46 strikeouts in only 33 2/3 innings of action.

RoundPickNameSchoolPos.Team
3 86 Will Gaddis Furman RHP Colorado Rockies
8 226 Bryan Sammons Western Carolina LHP Minnesota Twins
8 253 Jared Brasher Samford RHP Washington Nationals
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