Brady Rodgers, the newest Astro (Photo: ASU)
With 100 former players having made the big leagues, Arizona State is unquestionably a Major League Baseball factory. That is a fact that has not relented at all in the 2012 MLB Draft, with shortstop Deven Marrero's selection in yesterday's first round, 24th overall, by the Boston Red Sox being the first of several Sun Devils taking the next step.
With the first pick in the third round (96th) overall, the Houston Astros took Sun Devil ace and Texas native Brady Rodgers. The 6'2", 198-pounder developed very well over his three seasons, becoming an All-Pac-12 first teamer this past season, going 10-3 with a 2.27 ERA and struck out 79 while only walking 16. He has a smooth delivery, a low 90s fastball, a good changeup and a solid curveball, and pounds the strike zone. With his polished skillset, Rodgers should be able to find his way to the big leagues sooner rather than later.
Just 12 selections later, the Chicago White Sox took slugging second baseman Joey DeMichele. He is one of only six players in school history to lead he team in batting average for two straight years, this year posting a .336 average, along with six home runs and 47 RBI. He's a very good contact hitter with solid upside who could develop into a high-average, moderate-power everyday player at either second, third or utility role.
The final Sun Devil taken in the third round will be staying home, so to speak. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted pitcher Jake Barrett 120th overall. The versatile Barrett did everything during his ASU career, starting as a setup guy in 2010, moving into the rotation the next season before becoming the team's closer this past season. He posted a career record of 11-8 with 13 saves, a 3.38 ERA and a 151-40 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He brings low-to-mid 90s heat and his ability to throw strikes and not issue walks will help him find a spot in a Major League bullpen.