This year, the Statesmen heard senior right-hander Garrett Pickens's name called as the Toronto Blue Jays selected him in the 29th round of the 2013 MLB Draft this weekend.
Delta State head baseball coach Mike Kinnison said the opportunity for Pickens is a great one.
"We are proud that Garrett has the opportunity to continue his baseball career,” Kinnison said. “I looked at it closely and I believe he was the only player from our conference (Gulf South Conference) to get drafted. It says something about him in a conference with as many good ball players that he was selected.”
Pickens had a strong year for the Statesmen in relief coming off a medical redshirt year after having Tommy John surgery.
"This season, Garrett worked out of the bullpen for us, coming off a year where he had Tommy John surgery. He worked extremely hard to get back to form and had a strong senior year for us," said Kinnison.
Pickens made 17 relief appearances for the Statesmen and posted a 3-2 record with four saves in 19.1 innings of work. In those 19.1 innings, he gave up just three runs, one earned, for a 0.47 ERA. He yielded just seven hits and walked six batters with 19 strikeouts. Opponents hit a measly .113 against him.
With the program seeing another player drafted, Kinnison said its very rewarding and a credit to the program’s ability to develop players once they arrive on DSU campus.
"We certainly appreciate that pro scouts give our guys a good look,” Kinnison said. “We work extremely hard to improve our players, so it's certainly meaningful for our program to place players in the pros to give them a chance to move on to the next level.”
As far as Pickens's pitching goes, Kinnison said his fastball is tough on hitters.
"He has a really good live fastball with natural movement on it,” Kinnison said. “A lot of pitchers have to work to achieve that kind of movement. He is going to have to develop secondary pitches, but that will come. He has a velocity in the upper 80s with good natural movement, and I think that is what the scouts really liked about him.”