By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Brandon Woodruff had just returned from a Baldwyn pizza joint on Tuesday when he heard someone say his name on a friend’s computer.
He rushed over, sat down, “and watched them talk about me on the Internet.”
The “them” were baseball analysts covering the second day pof the Major League baseball draft. Woodruff, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound pitcher and outfielder from Wheeler High School, was selected in the fifth round by the Texas Rangers (174th overall).
Woodruff was expecting the Rangers to draft him, but still, it was an exhilarating moment.
“I was overwhelmed,” he said. “I never thought coming from where I am to get drafted high as I did. So it was pretty cool.”
There is no guarantee Wood-ruff will go pro just yet, though. He’s already signed with Mississippi State and has a big decision to make.
Woodruff said whether he signs with the Rangers will depend on whether the money is right. He plans on talking with the team soon. The deadline to sign draft picks is Aug. 15.
“If it’s not what I want, I’ll go to Mississippi State,” he said.
Woodruff was drafted as a pitcher but has convinced the Rangers to give him a shot to play outfield and hit. He was 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA and 51 strikeouts as a senior and he hit .618.
Wheeler coach John David Horn thinks Woodruff is a better hitter than he is a pitcher.
“He’s probably the most natural gifted player I’ve ever been around, especially at the high school level,” Horn said. “He’s all the time working, trying to better his game. His work ethic is going to be the key factor that’s going to continue his career.”
Wheeler is a Class 1A school, but Horn thinks Woodruff can play at any level.
“Playing during the summers and playing against good competition, I’ve shown I can play with good competition,” he said. “I think they know I can play with the best.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.