Brazelton a Devil Ray

June 5, 2001 · MT Media Relations
After a stellar summer with the USA National Team and perhaps the finest season in Blue Raider baseball history, Dewon Brazelton made history once again by becoming the first Blue Raider to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays took Brazelton with the third pick in the draft.

Brazelton became the school's first-ever first round pick in the draft.

"I couldn't be more excited to be a Devil Ray and I'm so thankful that they gave me an opportunity, " Brazelton said. "I also want to say that it was a pleasure playing baseball at Middle Tennessee and I want to thank Coach [Steve] Peterson and Coach [Jim] McGuire for helping me get to this point."

Brazelton's stock rose all season as he posted a 13-2 record and a 1.44 ERA in what became his final season in a Blue Raider uniform. During the course of the year he set the single season and career strikeout records with 154 and 335 respectively. He leaves the program in the top five in every statistical category for pitchers.

He was named Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year for his efforts and has been named first team All-American by both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball Weekly to this point. He has also been a semifinalist for both the Dick Howser Award and the Rotary Smith Award, given to the top collegiate player in the country.

As the season progressed media outlets all around the country became interested in Brazelton's unique story on his rise to collegiate baseball stardom. He was featured in stories in Sports Illustrated, Baseball America, Baseball Weekly, and Collegiate Baseball among others. He has also been featured on several draft-related internet sites and has been the focus of draft stories in newspapers across the country the past couple of weeks.

Brazelton noted that he felt like he had a great opportunity to pitch in the Major Leagues very quickly.

"I think that the Devil Rays believe that I am only a couple of months away from the big leagues. I hope I get the chance to learn under fire. I'm sure I'll get beat up at first because it takes a while to learn what to throw."

Head Coach Steve Peterson weighed in on Brazelton's ascension to the top of the baseball heap by saying, "Dewon is off and running. I'm sure he'll get the negotiations over with quickly and get on to beginning his career. I'm happy for him and I know this will be a very exciting time for him."

Brazelton speculated that he could be sent to the Devil Rays' Class A affiliates in either Charleston, S.C. or Bakersfield, Calif. Tampa Bay's Class AA affiliate is in Orlando, Fla., and is a member of the Southern League, which could put Brazelton in close proximity to home with road trips to Chattanooga, Jackson, and Huntsville, Ala.

Brazelton's selection gives the Blue Raiders a draft selection in each of the last six seasons and 14 of the last 15. The 2000 Blue Raider draft class included infielder Bryan Peck and catcher Josh Pride. Both players were taken by the Colorado Rockies in successive rounds.

In developments later in the afternoon, second baseman Josh Renick was selected with the first pick of the 11th round by the Minnesota Twins and right-handed pitcher Jason Moates was picked by the Detroit Tigers in the 20th round.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.