NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Three Vanderbilt junior pitchers heard their names called on the second and final day of the Major League Baseball Draft – including Tyler Brown who went with the 101st overall pick – as an SEC-best four student-athletes were picked overall in the five-round event.
Brown was taken late in the third round Thursday by the Houston Astros. Three picks later, Jake Eder was selected with the 104th pick (fourth round) by the Miami Marlins. Mason Hickman was taken with the 154th pick in the fifth round by the Cleveland Indians.
The trio moved Vanderbilt’s total to 40 pitchers picked in the draft during the last decade. The Commodores’ four selections ranked tied for second nationally, matching Michigan and Oklahoma.
Brown, a right-hander, becomes the seventh Commodore to be drafted by the Astros and first since fellow righty Matt Ruppenthal went to Houston in the 17th round during 2017. Eder, a southpaw, is the fifth Commodore in three years to be taken by Miami including three who signed a season ago. Hickman, a righty, is the first Commodore drafted by Cleveland since Taylor Hill in 2010.
In the shortened 2020 season, Brown made seven relief appearances. He currently ranks second in Commodore history with 21 career saves, helped in large part by setting a program record with 17 in during Vanderbilt’s run to the 2019 College World Series title.
Brown did not allow a run in 15 of his last 16 appearances in 2019 and logged three saves without permitting a run at the College World Series. In SEC outings, he posted a 2.82 ERA including nine saves in 13 appearances.
Eder went 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA and finished second on the squad with 27 strikeouts in four starts during 2020. The production followed a season in which the Ocean Ridge, Florida, product posted a 2.97 ERA and finished second among relievers with 39.1 innings pitched.
The Calvary Christian Academy product helped Vanderbilt to its second national title in six seasons. Eder logged two saves and a victory alongside a 3.00 ERA in three NCAA Tournament outings. Eder logged a three-inning save in the clinching victory in the College World Series finals against Michigan.
Hickman boasts a 19-2 career record alongside a 3.13 ERA. During the shortened 2020 season, the Hendersonville, Tennessee, native went 2-0 with a 0.48 ERA in three starts. The right-hander posted a 26-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, allowing just one run in 18.2 innings.
As a sophomore, Hickman finished 13th nationally in strikeouts (129) and was fourth in the SEC for ERA (2.05). The Pope John Paul II product allowed two-or-fewer runs in 12 of his last 13 starts including notching the College World Series-clinching victory, fanning 10 Michigan batters.
On Wednesday, Vanderbilt junior Austin Martin became the sixth Commodore to be selected in the top-five overall. The utility player was drafted as a shortstop by the Toronto Blue Jays. The junior made 16 starts in Vanderbilt’s shortened, 18-game 2020 season and led the Commodores in hits (20) and runs (15) while hitting .377 and slugging .660.