By NEMS Daily Journal
Mississippi State junior pitcher Chris Stratton is expected to be taken in the first round as the Major League Draft begins tonight.
The Tupelo product has been projected to go in the middle of the first round.
If he does, Stratton would be the first Bulldog taken in the first round since 2003, when pitcher Paul Maholm went to Pittsburgh with the eighth overall pick.
The draft begins at 6 p.m. and the other 39 rounds will be held Tuesday and Wednesday.
Stratton, a right-hander with command of four pitches, was 11-2 with a 2.38 ERA this season.
He struck out 127 with 25 walks in 1092⁄3 innings, and teams hit .211 against him.
He was named the SEC pitcher of the year and is a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which goes to the country’s best amateur baseball player.
Stratton’s last start was in Friday’s 5-0 loss to Samford in the NCAA regional. He deflected draft questions after the game.
The Bulldogs’ season ended on Sunday afternoon with another loss to Samford.
The Astros have the No. 1 pick and Stanford right-hander Mark Appel is considered the likely top choice.