June 11, 2016
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama baseball had five players taken on day three of the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The Crimson Tide had six players drafted across the three-day event for a second consecutive season.
The day featured five players drafted to MLB teams, including: Nick Eicholtz (Miami Marlins, 13th Round), Will Haynie (Colorado Rockies, 16th round), Matt Foster (Chicago White Sox, 20th round), Colton Freeman (Chicago Cubs, 20th round) and Geoffrey Bramblett (Kansas City Royals, 30th round). Thomas Burrows was drafted on day two of the draft in the fourth round by the Seattle Mariners, rounding out the six Alabama players selected.
Eicholtz wraps up his three-year career at the Capstone at 10-6 with a 2.91 ERA (46 ER/142.1 IP) and limited the opposition to a .219 average against. He recorded 39 total appearances on the mound, making 26 starts, and struck out 103 batters. Eicholtz improved on his stats each season with the Tide and blossomed into one-third of the Crimson Tide’s standout weekend rotation in 2016.
Alabama’s Sunday starter during the 2016 campaign, Eicholtz shined in his final season. The junior right-hander set career-highs in nearly every pitching metric, finishing with a team-low 2.30 ERA (17 ER/66.2 IP) across his 12 starts, a total that ranked third among all Southeastern Conference starters. Eicholtz limited opposing hitters to a .227 average and recorded 38 strikeouts in the process.
In conference play, the Odessa, Fla., native allowed only 15 earned runs across his 51.0 innings of work for a 2.65 ERA that ranked seventh against SEC opponents. He did not allow more than one earned run in seven of his nine conference starts, and tossed a gem in the SEC Tournament against Kentucky to advance the Crimson Tide to the double-elimination portion of the tournament.
Haynie, one of the most reliable backstops in the country during his time at Alabama, was the Crimson Tide’s primary starter at catcher in each of the last two seasons. Haynie finishes his three years in Tuscaloosa with 21 career home runs and 66 RBI while adding 61 runs scored. He led the Tide in home runs in each of the last two seasons, collecting a career-high 10 by the end of his junior campaign. Defensively, he cut down nearly 33 percent of runners and maintained a .992 fielding percentage behind the dish while managing the Tide pitchers.
Putting together his best season in 2016, Haynie led the Tide in home runs with 10, including eight of which came during conference play. He notched a career-long nine-game hitting streak along with a five-game streak in 2016, and batted .308 with a home run, two RBI and a team-high three runs scored in the SEC Tournament. Haynie set single-game career-highs in hits (3), home runs (2) and RBI (5) in 2016, and tied career-high marks in doubles, runs scored and walks for a single game.
In perhaps the best weekend of his career, Haynie erupted for three home runs, eight RBI, three runs scored and three walks at Arkansas from May 13-15. He batted .364 against the Razorbacks, led the team in total bases (13) and slugging percentage (1.182) and recorded at least one hit and RBI in all three games. The junior added his first career grand slam against the Hogs as part of a two-homer, five-RBI day in game two of the series in Fayetteville.
Foster leaves Alabama after spending one season in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide’s primary setup man, Foster finished with a team-high five wins and two saves in his 25 appearances and maintained a 2.92 ERA (13 ER/40.0 IP) out of the bullpen. He limited opposing hitters to a .231 average against and did not allow a home run all season, despite entering in numerous high-pressure situations.
In his longest career outing at Alabama, Foster tossed 5.0 innings of scoreless baseball against the nation’s No. 4 team in the Florida Gators at the 2016 SEC Tournament. Following a short outing from the UA starter, Foster entered out of the pen to limit the Gators to only three hits and issued two walks while striking out three across his season-high 74 pitches of work.
He came to the Capstone out of Gulf Coast State College as the top junior college transfer. Foster tossed 105.1 innings and struck out 115 batters over 16 games of work at GCSC. He was named Panhandle Conference Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore thanks to his 3-1 record with 46 strikeouts and a 2.09 ERA spanning nine appearances, seven starts.
Freeman finishes his three years at the Capstone having seen limited playing time. He pitched in 15 total relief outings spanning 16.0 innings. In that time, Freeman went 1-0 and struck out 27 batters while holding opposing hitters to a .125 average. The left-hander redshirted his first season on campus before making three appearances in 2014, five in 2015 and a career-high seven in 2016.
His junior season proved to be his best, as Freeman went 1-0 and worked 9.2 innings across seven appearances, striking out 18 batters and walking only three. He allowed just four hits in 33 at-bats (.121) and did not allow an extra-base hit all season. Freeman collected his first ever win on May 17, throwing a career-long 3.0 innings and striking out three against Samford. The Spain Park product struck out at least two batters in every appearance in 2016 and was the only member of the Alabama bullpen to not allow a run all season.
One of Alabama’s most reliable arms during his three-year career at Alabama, Bramblett leaves the Capstone with an 18-9 overall record and a 3.40 ERA (86 ER/227.2 IP) across 47 career appearances, 35 of which were starts. He held opposing offenses to a .234 average and struck out 192 batters compared to 75 walks allowed. The third-year starter began his career as a midweek starter and progressed into the Tide’s Friday night arm in his final season at UA, providing Alabama with a chance to win each time out.
Building into a more significant role each year at Alabama, Bramblett had arguably his best season in 2016. Starting each Friday night for the Tide, he finished 5-4 with a 2.99 ERA (30 ER/90.1 IP) and 74 strikeouts compared to 31 walks. His .226 average against was a team-low, while he led the team in innings pitched. Despite a lack of run support in many of his starts, the Crimson Tide was able to win eight of his 15 outings, with Bramblett claiming the win in five of those games. He did not issue more than four walks in a game in 2016 and allowed more than five hits on only five occasions. Bramblett twice tossed 8.0 innings, a season-long by any member of the Tide staff, and held a season-high three-game winning streak across his starts from March 4-31.
All undergraduate players are able to return to the University if they have remaining eligibility, to continue their careers at Alabama.
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