Alabama pitcher Jake Walters was the 13th pick of the ninth round (267 overall) in the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, going to the Miami Marlins. Walters is the first player taken in this year’s draft from the 2017-18 Crimson Tide roster.
Walters, the Tide’s Saturday starter in his senior season, made 14 starts during the 2018 campaign and finished tied for the team lead in wins with four, including one complete game shutout. His complete game shutout came in the final start of his career against Ole Miss, where held the then fourth-ranked Rebels to only four hits while recording seven strikeouts to earn SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. In his final season in Tuscaloosa, Walters led the team in strikeouts with 82, while ranking 12th in the conference in that category. He sported a team-low 2.89 ERA (20 ER/62.1 IP) in conference play, which placed him fifth among SEC pitchers.
During the 2017 season, Walters finished 5-5 with a 3.98 ERA (32 ER/72.1 IP), a total that was the lowest by the Tide’s regular starting pitchers. The right-hander ranked second on the team and first among UA starters in strikeouts with 64 and innings pitched.
Walters put together a standout sophomore season, finishing 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA (25 ER/84.1 IP) and a team-leading 84 strikeouts compared to only 35 walks. He improved in conference play, maintaining a league-low 1.93 ERA (13 ER/60.2 IP) with 51 strikeouts compared to 21 walks while liming the opposition to two or fewer earned runs in nine of his 10 conference outings. Walters’ 25 earned runs allowed tied for the fourth-fewest allowed by an SEC arm and his 2.67 ERA ranked seventh among league pitchers during his second season with the Tide.
As a freshman, Walters began his Alabama career in a reliever role before moving into the starter slot, first on Tuesdays and then eventually on Saturdays. The Maylene, Ala., native finished his first season at UA with a 4-4 record and one save across 15 appearances (10 starts) and maintained a 3.36 ERA (21 ER/56.1 IP).
Walters held an 18-18 record and a 3.42 ERA (112 ER/295.0 IP) across 58 appearances – 52 of which were starts – in his four seasons at UA. His 52 career starts ties for first in the Alabama career ranks, while he finished his career ranked third in strikeouts with 292. Walters totaled 295.0 total innings at the Capstone to sit at fourth on the all-time innings pitched list, while facing 1,292 batters across that span – a total that also ranks fourth. Across his four seasons as a starter, he did not allow more than three walks in 40 of his 52 outings and struck out five or more batters in 33 career starts.
The 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft began on Monday evening and will continue through Wednesday.
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