Missouri State junior Jon Harris, from Hazelwood Central, became the latest Bear to be selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft Monday evening, as the Toronto Blue Jays selected the right-handed pitcher with the 29th overall pick. Harris is the fifth Missouri State player to be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft. Missouri State has produced nine big league pitchers in the last 10 seasons.
Harris becomes the Bears’ highest overall draftee since the Washington Nationals selected Ross Detwiler with the sixth overall pick of the 2007 Draft. The No. 29 overall selection is the third-highest for a Missouri State player, trailing only Detwiler and Brett Sinkbeil (No. 19 overall).
Harris helped anchor the Bears’ weekend rotation throughout the season, finishing the year with an 8-2 mark and 2.45 earned run average en route to earning second-team All-America recognition from Collegiate Baseball. Trailing only fellow Bear Matt Hall (171) and Indiana State’s Jeff Degano (126) in total strikeouts among Missouri Valley Conference hurlers, Harris logged a career-best 116 K’s in 103.0 total innings this spring to rank 12th nationally.
The Cardinals took three players who are looking at SEC schools. They took outfielder Nick Plummer out of Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) with the 23rd overall pick. Plummer says he will pass up playing at Kentucky to start his pro career. He hit over .500 this high school season. The Cardinals picked Plant High School (Fla.) pitcher Jake Woodford with the 39th pick. The 6’5 210 pounder throws a 94 mph fastball. He committed to Florida. At 66th overall, the Cardinals took third baseman Bryce Denton from Ravenswood High School out of Brentwood Tennessee. He was a finalist for Mr. Baseball in Tennessee, hitting .476. He’s given a verbal to Vanderbilt.
The Royals went with three pitchers on the first night. 21st overall, they selected Ashe Russell from Indianapolis. Russell is 6’4 and went 5-1 with a 1.02 ERA and 67 strikeouts. He’s a two-time Player of the Year in Indiana and has committed to Texas A&M. With the 33rd picked, they went back to another Indy prep star in pitcher Nolan Watson. The 6’3 righty was was 6-1 with a 0.68 ERA this spring with 81 strike outs in 51 innings. Their last pick of the night was Josh Staumont, a 6’2 righty from Azusa Pacific University in California. He held hitters to a .155 batting average during his junior season at the D-II level.