Samford right fielder Brandon Miller was selected in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. Miller, who was taken with the 144th overall pick, is the highest draft pick in
Samford history in any sport. Football's Corey White was the previous highest pick, taken in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints earlier this year.
The previous highest draft pick for baseball was Michael Marseco, who was taken in the 11th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. Miller is coming off a phenomenal senior season in which he led the nation in home runs with a Samford-record 23. Miller also ranked second in the Southern Conference and 15th in the nation in runs batted in with a school-record 65 RBI.
Also this season, Miller batted .301 with 17 doubles and a .650 slugging percentage. Miller also led the SoCon in total bases (160), and he ranked third in the league in runs scored (58). Miller came to Samford as a junior out of Northwest Florida Community College. In his first season in a Samford uniform, Miller, a native of Tyrone, Ga., hit 16 home runs and drove in 43 runs.
For his career, Miller is Samford's all-time home runs leader with 39 homers. This marks the second time Miller has been selected in the MLB Draft. He was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the 33rd round out of high school in the 2008 MLB Draft.
Pitcher Josh Martin became the third Samford player to be taken in the top 10 round of the Major League Baseball Draft when the Cleveland Indians selected him in the 10th round Tuesday afternoon. Martin joins Brandon Miller, who was taken by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round and Lex Rutledge, selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth round, as the first three top-10 round picks in the history of Samford baseball.
Martin ended the 2012 season tied for the national lead in wins with a 12-2 record. Martin led Samford in strikeouts with 95, and he posted a 3.35 earned run average in 110 innings or work. Martin was named the Most Outstanding Player for the 2012 Southern Conference Tournament. Martin earned the win in Samford's first-round, 7-0 win over Western Carolina. He also started the Bulldogs' championship game win over Georgia Southern.
For his career, Martin, a native of Enterprise, Ala., is Samford's all-time leader in wins with 24. This marks the second-straight season Martin has been drafted. He was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 25th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft.
In addition to the three top-10 round picks by current Samford players, Bulldog signee Zachary Lovvorn from Oxford High School in Oxford, Ala., was taken in the sixth round by the Kansas City Royals.
Samford junior relief pitcher Lex Rutledge was selected in the sixth round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. Rutledge, a native of Tupelo, Miss., is only the second player in Samford history to be taken in the top 10 rounds of the MLB Draft, joining teammate Brandon Miller, who was selected in the fourth round by the Washington Nationals earlier on Tuesday.
Rutledge had one of the best freshman seasons in Samford history. He posted a record of 5-1 with 11 saves and a 1.71 earned run average. Rutledge was named a third-team All-American following the 2010 season. Rutledge led the team in strikeouts in both of his first two seasons. For his Samford career, Rutledge is tied for third in school history in saves with 12. He has also posted 196 strikeouts in his three seasons in a Samford uniform.
This marks the second time Rutledge has been selected in the MLB Draft, as he was selected out of high school before electing to attend Samford.
Photo Courtesy: Brandon Miller, Samford Athletics