TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (ALABAMA ATHLETICS) – Alabama right-handed pitcher Deacon Medders was the sixth pick of the 20th round (593 overall) in the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft, going to the San Diego Padres. Medders is the first player taken in this year’s draft from the 2018-19 Crimson Tide roster.
Medders has provided the Crimson Tide with a reliable arm out of the bullpen in his three seasons at the Capstone. The Tuscaloosa product has limited opposing hitters to a lowly .234 average and punched out 114 hitters while maintaining a 4.02 ERA (49 ER/109.2 IP) across 59 appearances, including six starts. He has added seven saves to his name while going 4-7 overall.
His most impressive effort to date came this season. Medders finished with a 2-2 record and one save across a team-high 24 appearances spanning 31.2 innings. He punched out 51 to lead all relievers in strikeouts while holding the opposition to a .185 average against.
Medders led the Crimson Tide in saves as a sophomore with six, a total that tied for seventh in the SEC during the regular season. He tied for the team lead in relief innings with 39.0 while striking out 30 across his 20 total appearances in that 2018 campaign. In his first season at the Capstone, Medders went 2-1 with a 4.38 ERA (19 ER/39.0 IP) in 15 appearances that included six starts.
Alabama right-handed pitcher Davis Vainer was the 29th pick of the 21st round (646 overall) in the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft, going to the Houston Astros. Vainer is the second player taken in this year’s draft from the 2018-19 Crimson Tide roster, joining Deacon Medders who was selected one round earlier by the San Diego Padres.
Vainer wrapped up his four seasons in Tuscaloosa as one of the top middle relievers for the Crimson Tide. He totaled six saves and held a 3-5 record in 61 outings for his career with one start while maintaining a 4.18 ERA (43 ER/92.2 IP). The Atlanta, Ga., native struck out an impressive 127 batters and limited the opposition to a .217 average.
Steadily improving on his numbers each year with the Tide, Vainer put together a solid redshirt junior campaign. The right-hander went 1-1 with a 3.34 ERA (11 ER/29.2 IP) and struck out 43 batters in his 17 appearances out of the pen. He held opposing hitters to just a .173 average, the lowest among all Crimson Tide pitchers. He also set career-best marks for pitches (73) and strikeouts, with six on two separate occasions, this past year.
As a sophomore, Vainer appeared in 21 games totaling 34.1 innings and finished 2-1 overall. He struck out 40 in that second season. The 2017 campaign, his first active year at UA, Vainer worked as the team’s primary closer. He totaled a team-leading five saves across 23 appearances that year and finished with 44 strikeouts.
Vainer also excelled in the classroom. He earned his undergraduate degree in May of this year and has been selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll on three occasions.
Alabama infielder Morgan McCullough was the 14th pick of the 22nd round (661 overall) in the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft, going to the Los Angeles Angels. McCullough is the third player taken in this year’s draft from the 2018-19 Crimson Tide roster, joining Deacon Medders (Round 20, Padres) and Davis Vainer (Round 21, Houston Astros).
McCullough excelled in his first season with the Crimson Tide. The junior college transfer finished as the team’s overall leader in triples (3) while tying for the lead in multi-hit games (17) and doubles (12) across his 54 games of action – all starts. He ranked second on the Tide in average (.309) and on-base percentage (.417) while also finishing second in walks at 38, a total that tied for eighth in the SEC regular-season ranks. A consistent threat to reach every time at the plate, McCullough got aboard in 51 of 54 starts, including all non-conference pairings and 27 of 30 SEC matchups.
In Southeastern Conference play, McCullough batted .294 (35-119) to rank second on UA. He led the Crimson Tide in multi-hit (10) and multi-RBI (5) games against league opponents while tying for the team lead in hits (35) and tying for second in doubles (5) and stolen bases (4). The junior added 13 RBI to rank second against SEC opposition and contributed 14 runs, good for third on UA.
He came to Alabama after one season at Chipola Community College (Fla.) where he helped the Indians to a 49-17 overall record and an NJCAA National Championship. McCullough began his career at Oregon where he played in 53 total games with 51 starts for the Ducks.
A graduate transfer, Randolph was the Crimson Tide’s closer in 2019 while also seeing time as a starter. He went 3-2 and totaled nine saves to lead the team and rank in the top-10 in the Southeastern Conference during the regular season. Randolph appeared in 23 games with two starts and finished with a 3.49 ERA (15 ER/38.2 IP). The right-hander totaled 50 strikeouts compared to only 15 walks and held opposing hitters to a .187 average this past season.
Randolph transferred to Alabama following a standout four-year career at Wright State in Ohio. He wrapped up his four seasons with the Raiders with a 16-5 record and five saves, maintaining a career 3.05 ERA across 105.1 innings of work. He helped WSU to three Horizon League championships and three NCAA Regional appearances.
Love began his career splitting time as a starter and reliever before transitioning into a weekend starter role this season. He has maintained an 8-7 record with one save across 38 career outings, including 20 starts, totaling 115.0 innings. Love sports a career 4.30 ERA (55 ER) and has struck out 135 batters.
He led all Crimson Tide pitchers in strikeouts in 2019 with 66 across his 60.0 frames. Love ranked second in starts with 13 to go with two relief appearances and sported a 5-5 record. His most impressive outing came against South Alabama on March 2. That start in Mobile saw Love pick up the win with 4.2 shutout frames in which he allowed just one hit and a walk. He struck out a career-high and team-best 11 hitters, including five of the first six batters he faced. He also retired the first eight hitters he faced, using seven strikeouts in the process.
He returned from injury in 2018 to go 2-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA across six appearances, including one start, and 8.1 innings of work. Love’s 2017 season was cut short after undergoing elbow surgery. Prior to his injury, he went 1-2 and struck out 27 batters in 16.2 frames. As a freshman in 2016, Love made 11 appearances with four starts and maintained a 3.30 ERA (11 ER/30.0 IP) with 33 strikeouts. In his four starts as a freshman, he held a 2.81 ERA (5 ER/16.0 IP) with 21 strikeouts and only three walks.
Love has also been impressive off the field. He was selected to the 2019 SEC Baseball Community Service Team for his volunteer efforts at UA. The Gadsden, Ala., native has contributed triple-digit volunteer hours as a member of the baseball team on the way to being name the University’s “Male Heart of Service” recipient in April, presented to Alabama’s top male student-athlete for his dedication to the community. In the classroom, Love is currently pursuing a master’s degree and is scheduled to graduate in December of this year. He graduated from the University with his undergraduate in December of 2018.