TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (UA Athletics) - A total of five Alabama baseball players from the 2018-19 roster were selected in the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Those five joined a group of six incoming signees who were drafted across the league’s three-day event.
The five total selections in the 2019 draft increased the Crimson Tide’s all-time draft pick total to 158 since the event began in 1966. Alabama has now had at least one player selected in 41 consecutive years dating back to 1979 and 48 of the 54 MLB drafts overall. More recently, the Tide has seen 50 players selected in the last 10 years and 85 total across the last 20 drafts dating back to 2000.
Alabama’s first three picks from this year’s roster went in consecutive rounds, starting with junior pitcher Deacon Medders (San Diego Padres, 20th Round, 593 overall). The Crimson Tide then had redshirt junior Davis Vainer (Houston Astros, 21st Round, 646 overall) and junior Morgan McCullough (Los Angeles Angels, 22nd Round, 661 overall) hear their names called to end the stretch. Next to go was graduate transfer Jeremy Randolph (St. Louis Cardinals, 26th Round, 785 overall) followed by redshirt junior Brock Love (Miami Marlins, 34th Round, 1,011 overall) to close out the current roster’s 2018-19 draft list.
The Crimson Tide also saw six members of the most recent signing class selected during the three-day stretch. The signee list includes: CJ Abrams (San Diego Padres, First Round); Antoine Jean (Minnesota Twins, 17th Round); Myles Austin (Milwaukee Brewers, 20th Round); Owen Diodati (Toronto Blue Jays, 29th Round); Jackson Tate (Seattle Mariners, 32nd Round); and Connor Prielipp (Boston Red Sox, 37th Round).
All signees and undergraduate players are eligible to come to the University to begin or continue their careers at Alabama if they elect to not sign a professional contract.
DEACON MEDDERS (20TH ROUND | 593 OVERALL | SAN DIEGO PADRES)
Medders has provided the Crimson Tide with a reliable arm out of the bullpen in his three seasons at the Capstone. The Tuscaloosa product has limited opposing hitters to a lowly .234 average and punched out 114 hitters while maintaining a 4.02 ERA (49 ER/109.2 IP) across 59 appearances, including six starts. He has added seven saves to his name while going 4-7 overall.
His most impressive effort to date came this season. Medders finished with a 2-2 record and one save across a team-high 24 appearances spanning 31.2 innings. He punched out 51 to lead all relievers in strikeouts while holding the opposition to a .185 average against.
Medders led the Crimson Tide in saves as a sophomore with six, a total that tied for seventh in the SEC during the regular season. He tied for the team lead in relief innings with 39.0 while striking out 30 across his 20 total appearances in that 2018 campaign. In his first season at the Capstone, Medders went 2-1 with a 4.38 ERA (19 ER/39.0 IP) in 15 appearances that included six starts.
DAVIS VAINER (21ST ROUND | 646 OVERALL | HOUSTON ASTROS)
Vainer wrapped up his four seasons in Tuscaloosa as one of the top middle relievers for the Crimson Tide. He totaled six saves and held a 3-5 record in 61 outings for his career with one start while maintaining a 4.18 ERA (43 ER/92.2 IP). The Atlanta, Ga., native struck out an impressive 127 batters and limited the opposition to a .217 average.
Steadily improving on his numbers each year with the Tide, Vainer put together a solid redshirt junior campaign. The right-hander went 1-1 with a 3.34 ERA (11 ER/29.2 IP) and struck out 43 batters in his 17 appearances out of the pen. He held opposing hitters to just a .173 average, the lowest among all Crimson Tide pitchers. He also set career-best marks for pitches (73) and strikeouts, with six on two separate occasions, this past year.
As a sophomore, Vainer appeared in 21 games totaling 34.1 innings and finished 2-1 overall. He struck out 40 in that second season. The 2017 campaign, his first active year at UA, Vainer worked as the team’s primary closer. He totaled a team-leading five saves across 23 appearance that year and finished with 44 strikeouts.
Vainer also excelled in the classroom. He earned his undergraduate degree in May of this year and has been selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll on three occasions.
MORGAN McCULLOUGH (22ND ROUND | 661 OVERALL | LOS ANGELES ANGELS)
McCullough excelled in his first season with the Crimson Tide. The junior college transfer finished as the team’s overall leader in triples (3) while tying for the lead in multi-hit games (17) and doubles (12) across his 54 games of action – all starts. He ranked second on the Tide in average (.309) and on-base percentage (.417) while also finishing second in walks at 38, a total that tied for eighth in the SEC regular-season ranks. A consistent threat to reach every time at the plate, McCullough got aboard in 51 of 54 starts, including all non-conference pairings and 27 of 30 SEC matchups.
In Southeastern Conference play, McCullough batted .294 (35-119) to rank second on UA. He led the Crimson Tide in multi-hit (10) and multi-RBI (5) games against league opponents while tying for the team lead in hits (35) and tying for second in doubles (5) and stolen bases (4). The junior added 13 RBI to rank second against SEC opposition and contributed 14 runs, good for third on UA.
He came to Alabama after one season at Chipola Community College (Fla.) where he helped the Indians to a 49-17 overall record and an NJCAA National Championship. McCullough began his career at Oregon where he played in 53 total games with 51 starts for the Ducks.
JEREMY RANDOLPH (26TH ROUND | 785 OVERALL | ST. LOUIS CARDINALS)
A graduate transfer, Randolph was the Crimson Tide’s closer in 2019 while also seeing time as a starter. He went 3-2 and totaled nine saves to lead the team and rank in the top-10 in the Southeastern Conference during the regular season. Randolph appeared in 23 games with two starts and finished with a 3.49 ERA (15 ER/38.2 IP). The right-hander totaled 50 punchouts compared to only 15 walks and held opposing hitters to a .187 average this past season.