Marlar: Bulldogs make it to the big leagues in MLB draft

Tanner Allen steps on home plate during the Kentucky series this past season.

This past week, the 2021 MLB Draft took place. Several current Bulldogs heard their name called over the three-day period, with numerous commits being selected as well. The draft lasted a total of three days, with Mississippi State University having players taken each day.

The first Bulldog to leave the board was RHP Will Bednar. Originally believed to be a late-first to early-second round pick, Bednar elevated his stock during the team’s national championship run. Bednar finished off his 2021 campaign with a 3.12 ERA and a 9-1 record, according to MSU statistics. He was picked by the San Francisco Giants in the 14th pick of the first round. Bednar was originally picked later in the draft out of high school but decided to come showcase his skills in Starkville. It paid off for the young gunslinger, as his slot value is set at about $4 million.

The second player with ties to MSU to be selected was Maddux Bruns, with the 29th pick to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bruns is currently a high schooler and was committed to play at MSU before the draft.  He is a left-handed pitcher with an elite three-pitch repertoire which MSU could really use in the starting rotation. Bruns carried a 0.86 ERA through his last season, striking out about two batters per inning. Bruns announced Monday to Al.com that he will be foregoing college and signing with the Dodgers for $2.42 million.

James Wood was the next MSU signee to be called, as the San Diego Padres took him with the 62nd overall pick in the second round. Woods is a 6-foot-6 outfielder who played high school ball at the talent factory that is IMG Academy in Florida. Immediately, what stands out about Woods is his immense power and ability to hit the long ball into all fields. It was not expected that he, or Bruns for that matter, would ever step foot on campus. Many mock drafts had him as a first-round pick, and for him to slide to the late second was a surprise to many. However, his pick value is still about $1 million, so do not expect Woods to don the maroon and white anytime soon.

Jordan McCants was the next Bulldog signee taken, and he is another player that not many expected to actually suit up for MSU, making it pretty clear that professional baseball was his goal. Jordan’s older brother, T.J., is a talented infielder at Ole Miss. Jordan had committed to play at MSU when he was in high school, but the uber-talented third baseman was more or less always league-bound. He was selected by the Marlins with the 88th overall pick, which holds a slot value of $678,600.

Then came the moment all MSU fans were waiting for. Tanner Allen was taken with the 118th pick in the fourth round, also to the Marlins. The reigning ABCA player of the year and leader of the MSU roster leaves with arguably the best legacy of anyone in the history of the university. His pick has a slot value of $487,900. Allen was drafted before, both times in the late rounds. This time, though, TA got his payday. Oh yeah, and if 118 sounds familiar, Jake Mangum was also taken with the same overall pick when he left MSU.

The next Bulldog veteran that came off the board was the insanely talented Canadian RHP Eric Cerantola. I, for one, am sad to see him leave, simply due to the fact that he has the most potential out of anyone in the MSU bullpen. Although never incredibly productive at MSU, Cerantola’s arm strength has always been something to marvel at. Any pitcher who can consistently buzz a high 90’s to low 100’s fastball by batters is someone dripping with MLB talent. Hopefully the Kansas City Royals will be able to put him to good use, as they may have wound up with a steal for a $398k slot value with the 139th pick in round 5.  

Later in the same round, Christian MacLeod would hear his name called. MacLeod’s late season performances did him no favors in the draft, but there is still a reason he totaled over 100 strikeouts for the year. When he's on, he’s on. He will be heading to join the Minnesota Twins for approximately $327k with pick 159.

Last, but certainly not least, long time MSU fan favorite Rowdey Jordan came off the board in the 11th round, with the 322nd pick. He will be reunited with his longtime friend and teammate Jake Mangum in the Mets organization, along with Cole Gordon and a host of other Bulldogs. After the 10th round, it is uncertain how much Jordan will sign for. Personally, I do not expect to see him in the maroon and white again next year, but that does not rule out a return for one of the best post-season performers Mississippi State University has ever seen.

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