Texas’ Bryce Elder selected in 5th round of MLB draft

Nathan Han

The Atlanta Braves selected former Texas right-handed pitcher Bryce Elder with the 156th pick in the virtual 2020 MLB draft Thursday night. 

Elder was the only Longhorn from the 2019-2020 Texas baseball roster to be selected in the shortened draft. 2020 Texas signees Carson Tucker (23rd pick, Cleveland Indians), Jared Jones (44th pick, Pittsburgh Pirates), Jared Kelley (47th pick, Chicago White Sox) and Petey Halpin (95th pick, Cleveland Indians) were also selected out of their respective high schools. 

Elder dominated on the mound to start the 2020 season at Texas before his junior year was stopped short due to COVID-19 concerns. In four starts, he posted a 2.08 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 26 innings and held opposing batters to a .191 batting average. Elder’s 2020 performance was good enough to earn him second-team All-American honors.

“I don’t even think Bryce was at his best yet in the spring,” Texas pitching coach Sean Allen said in a podcast with OrangeBlood’s Dustin McComas on May 28. 

The two-year Friday night starter for Texas and Decatur High School alumnus was a late addition to the 2017 signing class and had an up-and-down freshman season out of the bullpen. By his sophomore season, Elder was one of the Longhorns’ best arms. 

“We signed (Elder) in late June after his senior year in high school baseball,” Allen said in an interview with The Horn before the spring season. “He comes in here and was solid as a freshman mostly as a bullpen piece. Then all of a sudden, he just works himself into the Friday night role last year and will fill that role again this year. Yes, he has good stuff … but what makes him great is his mentality.”

Elder leaves Texas with a career 3.42 ERA in 144 and 2/3 innings pitched along with 149 strikeouts.