Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
When the Los Angeles Dodgers selected left-handed pitcher Maddux Bruns with the 29th pick in the 2021 MLB Draft on Sunday, he became the first high school pitcher taken by the team since J.T. Ginn.
L.A. picked Ginn with the 30th overall selection in 2018 but he elected not to sign and went to Mississippi State. Ginn ended up being drafted in the second round by the New York Mets in 2020.
Bruns, who went to high school at UMS-Wright Preparatory School in Alabama, has also verbally committed to Mississippi State. However, Dodgers director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino is confident they can keep the high school pitcher away from Mississippi State this time.
The 29th pick has a slot value of $2,424,600, and the Dodgers have a bonus pool of $4.646 million, which ranks 29th of the 30 clubs.
Along with Gasparino, Bruns also said he is expecting to sign with the organization, but he did leave the door open to attend college.
“We’ll see what happens,” Bruns said. “I think I’m going to be a Dodger, but if things don’t work out, we’ll go to school. Whatever happens, happens. I think it will work out.”
Bruns had some pre-draft contact with the Dodgers and said they were the team he wanted to go to, which could help their chances of signing him.
“I just see they keep all their draft picks and it seems like most of them are there for the rest of their career,” Bruns said. “I wanted to be a part of that. It’s a good team and good organization.”
The southpaw has a fastball that ranges from 91-93 mph, to go along with a slider in the mid-80s and a curveball that is in the 70s.
“The velocity actually climbed up last summer, and I think that was the adjustment period he went through,” Gasparino said. “I think he just wasn’t sure what to do with it and how to handle it. Looking back, what felt more like a normal progression that he kept getting better and better and better as we scouted him.
“It definitely wasn’t like, ‘Hey, Maddux Bruns, February 1, he’s our pick,’ but as the season wore on, as we saw him and got more comfortable with him, the family and performance, he became a player we were really comfortable with.”
As with many young pitchers who have great stuff, there have been concerns with Bruns’ control and ability to find the zone, but the Dodgers believe he is already making progress on fixing the issue.
“It was more fastball command. We feel very comfortable — especially now — with his breaking ball command,” Gasparino noted.
“I think even he would tell you the slider is a pitch he really relies on and can throw in the zone. But again, I think the walks and strikeouts total he put up this year gives you a good indication of some of the ability and problems he solved.”
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