Biloxi Shuckers

Cowbell call-up: Former Mississippi State pitcher Woodruff promoted to Shuckers

Mississippi State's Brandon Woodruff pitches against Florida during the first inning at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college baseball tournament Friday, May 23, 2014, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Mississippi State's Brandon Woodruff pitches against Florida during the first inning at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college baseball tournament Friday, May 23, 2014, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) AP

You may hear some cowbells in the bleachers for Shuckers games at MGM Park in the near future.

Former Mississippi State hurler Brandon Woodruff was transferred to Biloxi from Class A Brevard County (Fla.) on Tuesday. The right-hander from the tiny town of Wheeler is 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in eight starts this season.

Woodruff will be the first Mississippi native and first product of a Magnolia State college to play for the Shuckers, a team in its second year of existence.

Woodruff's hometown of Wheeler is located in Prentiss County in the northeast corner of the state, about 25 miles north of Tupelo.

Woodruff, who was an 11th-round draft choice by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2014, has a 9-10 record in 43 appearances in the Brewers organization.

He proved adequate in his first two seasons in the minors, checking in with an ERA of 3.28 at the Rookie level in 2014 and 3.45 at Brevard County last season. With 49 strikes and only 10 walks in 44 1/3 innings this season, Woodruff is on his way to a breakout season.

Javier Salas was moved to the disabled list to make room for Woodruff, who stands 6-foot-4, 215 pounds.

Woodruff will make his first start for the Shuckers on Thursday in a road game against the Tennessee Smokies in Kodak, Tenn.

Woodruff played at MSU from 2012-14 and his pitching numbers there don't exactly jump out at you. He had a 3-6 record with a 4.70 ERA in 34 appearances, including 18 starts in his career with the Bulldogs.

His best season came as a freshman when he went 1-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 12 appearances. His ERA increased to 4.34 in seven appearances as a freshman and 6.75 as a junior in 15 appearances.

While he never quite grew into the ace that many expected at Mississippi State, he always had traits that drew the attention of major league scouts. He threw a fastball that registered between 91-93 miles per hour, topping out at 96. Woodruff also features a changeup in the low 80's that can be frustrating for hitters.

Woodruff, who was drafted out of high school in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers, has proven more efficient as a pro with a 5-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio this season.

He joins a staff that already features one of the top pitching prospects in the Milwaukee organization, left-hander Josh Hader, who is 1-1 with a 0.89 ERA in eight starts.

The Shuckers have relied on quality pitching to keep their spot atop the Southern League South. They have a batting average of .237 to rank eighth in the league while sporting a team ERA of 3.49 to rank third.

A good example of the Shuckers' struggles at the plate came Monday night in a 1-0 loss in 10 innings to the Chattanooga Lookouts.

The Shuckers (22-15) held a half game lead on Pensacola (22-16) in the Southern League South headed in Tuesday night's contest.

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