CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - For the second time in as many years a Mississippi State baseball player has had his name called during the first round of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft.
All-American junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe of Crystal Springs, Miss., was the 13th player selected in Thursday night’s opening round of the 2013 MLB draft, chosen by the San Diego Padres. He becomes the 12th Mississippi State player ever selected in the first round and the fourth-highest Bulldog selection, trailing only Will Clark, taken second in 1985, B.J. Wallace, the third pick in 1992, and current Atlanta Braves pitcher Paul Maholm, the eighth selection of the 2003 draft.
“This has been an exciting night for me and my family,” said Renfroe, who watched the draft in his parents’ Charlottesville, Va., hotel room, with family and friends on hand. The Renfroe’s are in Virginia where Hunter and the ninth-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs take on host Virginia Saturday in the opening game of the best-of-three NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional.
“The draft couldn’t have gone any better for me,” he said. “It’s always been my dream to have a chance to play professional baseball, and now it’s like the dream is coming true. And San Diego has an excellent organization.”
Renfroe, a first-team Louisville Slugger All-American and first-team All-SEC selection, paces Mississippi State with a .352 batting average. He’s driven in 58 runs and his 80 hits include 32 of the extra-base variety, most notably 15 home runs, tied for the most in the SEC.
“The entire Bulldog family is so proud of Hunter,” said Mississippi State head baseball coach John Cohen. “He’s been one of our hardest workers and has come a long way in a short period of time. Hunter is very deserving of the distinction of being a first-round draft pick.”
The former Copiah Academy standout, a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection, last month received the C Spire Ferriss Trophy as the Mississippi collegiate player of the year. In the past two weekends he was named to the all-tournament teams at the SEC Baseball Tournament and the NCAA Starkville Regional. He is the first SEC player chosen in this year’s draft.
Renfroe’s selection by the Padres gives MSU first round draft picks in consecutive years. Pitcher Chris Stratton of Tupelo, Miss., was the 20th player (by the San Francisco Giants) chosen in the 2012 draft. State had back-to-back-to-back first round draft selections in 1992 (B.J. Wallace), 1993 (Jay Powell) and 1994 (Carlton Loewer).
The MLB draft continues Friday and Saturday.