TUSCALOOSA, AL – While the University of Alabama baseball team is getting ready to take on the Tigers of Clemson University in the NCAA Super Regional, a few of the Tide player have something else to think about. The Tide has eight new players in the MLB.
"We are very excited and pleased for all of players and signees taken in the Major League Draft today," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We had six players, three on our current team and three signees, taken in the first 10 rounds. That says a lot about kind of players they are."
Tuesday's draft marked the 32nd consecutive year the Tide had a player drafted, dating back to 1979. Out of the eight drafted five were current players, marking the third time in five years UA had five or more players taken in the draft.
For some of these players, this wasn't the first time they were drafted. Junior right-handed pitcher Jimmy Nelson heard his name called in the 2007 draft when the Cincinnati Reds took him in the 39th round. Nelson was one of the Tide's strongest pitchers going 8-3 on the year with a 3.92 ERA in 17 games this season.
Another player taken is Josh Rutledge. The shortstop was drafted by the Colorado Rockies joining former Alabama standout Kent Matthes, the 2009 SEC Player of the year. Rutledge was the Tide's second-leading hitter with a .365 batting average and 10 home runs with 69 RBI. Rutledge leads the team in hits (104), RBI (69) and multi-hit games (35).
"It caught me off guard a little bit. I had spoken with 10-12 teams by about 9 (o'clock) and they were all giving me a range where I might fall in the draft. The Rockies were one of those teams and they seemed interested. I was watching the draft on the computer and my name just popped up and that caught me a little off guard. It was nice to see, though."
The Crimson Tide football team received some attention in the draft as well. Alabama senior defensive back Justin Woodall was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 26th round.