Dodgers select left-handed pitcher Maddux Bruns at No. 29 in MLB draft
The Dodgers added another highly regarded pitching talent to their farm system Sunday, choosing Alabama high school left-hander Maddux Bruns with the 29th pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
Bruns’ selection comes a year after the Dodger drafted Louisville right-hander Bobby Miller in the first round. The 6-foot-2 Bruns was named Alabama’s 2021 Mr. Baseball and Gatorade player of the year after he struck out 102 and gave up six runs across 49 innings for UMS-Wright Preparatory School in Mobile, Ala. He’s committed to play at Mississippi State.
“We thought he was the best high school left-handed pitcher in the draft,” Dodgers director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino said in a videoconference call with reporters Sunday. “It’s power pitches, power body. Everything about power is what he’s about.
The Diamondbacks made their ninth-inning predicament worse by walking Mookie Betts to get to Max Muncy, who capped a 7-4 win with a three-run homer.
Bruns’ best pitch is a slider, and he features a looping curveball. He boasts a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and topped off at 97 mph after his velocity spiked last summer. Gasparino said the bump led to command trouble that he has since improved upon.
Bruns, 19, is the second high school pitcher signed to attend Mississippi State whom the Dodgers have taken in the first round in the last four years. The first — J.T. Ginn — was selected 30th overall in 2018 and opted not to sign with the Dodgers.
The slot value for the 29th pick this year is $2,424,600. Gasparino said Bruns’ initials signs were “very positive,” which increased the organization’s comfort level in selecting him.
“We’ll see what happens,” Bruns said in a conference call with reporters Sunday. “I mean, I think I’m gonna be a Dodger, but if things don’t work out we’ll go to school.”
Bruns’ father, a big Atlanta Braves fan, named his son after Greg Maddux. The son also grew up a fan of the Braves.
The Dodgers matched a franchise record by hitting eight home runs and an L.A. team record by scoring 22 runs in a rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I am,” Bruns said before correcting himself. “Or I was.”
Bruns is the first left-handed high school pitcher drafted in the first round by the Dodgers since Clayton Kershaw went seventh overall in 2006. Kershaw, it turns out, is the pitcher Bruns said he emulates. He wanted Kershaw’s 12-6 curveball, and he got it. He likes the way he pitches. He likes his demeanor. He aspires to replicate him. The bar is high.
“I could definitely see how he would think and model his game [after Kershaw],” Gasparino said. “Let’s hope he has even part of that career.”
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