Atlanta Braves draft Blake Burkhalter with 76th overall selection

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The SEC’s saves leader from 2022 is staying close to home.

Late Sunday night, Auburn RHP Blake Burkhalter was selected in the second round of the Major League Baseball first-year-player draft by the nearby Atlanta Braves, going 76th overall.

Burkhalter joins an elite company, as he is Auburn’s highest drafted relief pitcher since 1993 when Scott Sullivan was drafted with the No. 62 overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds. He is also the third-highest relief pitcher drafted behind Sullivan and Gregg Olson, who went No. 4 overall to the Baltimore Orioles in 1988.

Burkhalter was one of the most dominant pitchers in SEC Baseball during the 2022 season. In 30 appearances, Burkhalter struck out 71 batters while allowing just seven walks and 19 earned runs over a span of 46.1 innings pitched. He also recorded 16 saves, which was the most among SEC relief pitchers, and the second-highest in the nation behind only Tristan Stivors of Texas State, who picked up 18 saves on the season.

By being selected 76th overall, Burkhalter is slotted to earn a bonus of $859,700.

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A look at Auburn Baseball's top prospects ahead of MLB Draft