Washington State left-handed pitcher Layne Bruner was drafted this morning as the 541st overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles.
This season, Bruner made 13 appearances as a situational lefty, only pitching 10 innings, walking 17 batters and striking out 10, with an ERA of 7.20. He got off to a bit of a rocky start — particularly with the walks, which have been a problem throughout his career (he has issued 63 free passes in 47 innings pitched over three seasons) — but came on strong at the end of the season.
The Orioles have liked Bruner for awhile now: They drafted him out of high school in the 26th round during the 2013 MLB Draft, but he stuck true to his WSU commitment and joined the Cougars later that fall. They obviously see something beyond the numbers that they can work with.
Standing 6’2 and weighing 190 pounds, Bruner throws a fastball in the 88-90 m.p.h. range and has a good curveball in his arsenal. If he can bulk up a little bit, it’s possible his fastball could be thrown at 89-92 m.p.h. regularly.
With still one year of eligibility remaining with the Cougars, the Orioles have until July 15 to negotiate a contract and signing bonuses to Bruner. If a deal is struck between both parties, Bruner would forego his senior season at Washington State and likely join the Aberdeen Ironbirds, the Orioles’ short-season A ball affiliate in Aberdeen, Md.
Regardless if he signs or not, congratulations to Layne on a great accomplishment.