BROOKINGS – The Washington Nationals selected South Dakota State junior pitcher Brady Stover Wednesday in the 31st round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
Stover was picked with the 933rd pick and found out from former teammates about the selection.
“It’s a funny story,” Stover said. “I was at a golf simulator, having an off day and I didn’t really check my phone much of the day. I looked at my phone and some of my teammates from my freshman summer ball team, the San Diego Wave, were Snapchat messaging me and congratulating me. So then I went on the MLB draft tracker and saw my name.”
Stover said before the offseason, he had 12 to 15 teams contact him, so he had a pretty good feeling about it.
“This past season went well, except I had a little injury that put me out for a month and a half. But the Nationals still believed in me and saw what I could do,” he said.
Stover only saw action in nine games in 2019 due to the injury. He went 1-4 with an ERA of 8.82. He has a career ERA of 5.09. Batters have a .227 batting average against him and he has 118 strikeouts, including 63 in his sophomore season. He had a 13.09 strikeouts per nine innings pitched that season.
Getting drafted does not mean Stover automatically has a spot in the Nationals minor league system. Stover said right now him and his advisor are trying to work out a deal with Washington.
“Right now we’re negotiating a price with the Nationals and we’re going to see if we can agree upon a price. If we don’t then obviously I will be back and play my senior season with SDSU.” Stover said.
If Stover were to get signed by the Nationals he would likely start out with the Hagerstown Suns, Washington’s Class-A team in Hagerstown, Md., or the Auburn Doubledays, which is their Class-A Short-season team in Auburn, N.Y.
Stover said his summer plans may take turn if he does reach a deal with the Nationals.
“I was planning on playing for the St. Cloud Rox, which is the Northwoods League team there, but if we reach an agreement then I will be heading to wherever the Nationals want me to play this summer,” he said.
Stover is the 15th Jackrabbit drafted into the MLB, with the last one coming in 2017 when catcher Luke Ringhofer was selected in the 13th round by the Baltimore Orioles. Stover said it meant a lot to him to be the 15th guy to get drafted from SDSU.
“I saw a stat that 11 of the 15 have been pitchers. So I think that’s a really big honor to be from this university that breeds pitchers. It’s good for recruiting because you can come to SDSU and grow and become a big leaguer. It feels good to be on the same list as some of the greats that have come through here,” Stover said.
Some of those SDSU pitching greats are Blake Treinen who is the closer for the Oakland Athletics, Caleb Theilbar who is on the Detroit Tigers Triple-A team the Toledo Mud Hens and Layne Somsen who is on the Los Angeles Dodgers Double-A team the Tulsa Drillers.
If Stover comes back to SDSU and does not reach a deal with the Nationals he will still be able to enter next year’s draft and get drafted by a different team.