Signee MacLeod still has sights set on MSU

Staff Writer

Just after Jordan Westburg grounded out to end Mississippi State’s magical run to the College World Series, it was time to turn attention to next season for the Bulldogs.

That includes piecing together spots for the returning roster as well as the nation’s No. 3 signing class that is set to hit campus in July. There are a few drafted players that have not made a decision on whether or not they will be joining the class, but most of the group looks to be staying in tact.

That includes Huntsville (Ala.) left-handed pitcher Christian MacLeod, who announced in the middle of the draft that he was turning down the pros to come to MSU. MacLeod was projected in the first 10 rounds prior to the draft, but he felt a few years on campus would boost his stock.

MacLeod has a strong 6-4, 215-pound framed and projects similarly to outgoing starter Konnor Pilkington. He was selected to the All-State team in Alabama after throwing 55.2 innings with 103 strikeouts, an 8-2 record and a 1.13 ERA this year with Huntsville.

“The season went well," MacLeod said. "We started out pretty slow, but once we hit spring break around late March, we started turning things around. We ended up getting put out in the Elite 8 to a good team, but it was a good season overall.”

MacLeod’s project-ability has MSU fans and even pro scouts excited about what’s to come. He’s throwing 88-91 miles per hour from the left side with a high velocity around 93 with his fastball. Though he’s glad to see the velocity increase, his strength has been in his curveball and his developing changeup.

All of that has MacLeod in position to contribute for the Bulldogs right away as a freshman. He hasn’t yet heard who will be coaching him when he arrives in a few weeks, but he has faith that MSU will make the right hire when the time comes.

“We haven’t talked much about the coaching situation," MacLeod said of his conversation with coaches. "I’ve gone down for a few games and we just talked about MSU and my season. They just wanted to talk about things in the moment. It was good to see the coaches again and to see the stadium.”

As for his role with the team, there was talk early on that he could compete right away for a starting spot in the rotation.

“When coach (Andy) Cannizaro was there, they wanted me to come in and be a weekend starter,"MacLeod said. "I think I would be very comfortable with it. I’ve always enjoyed starting games so having the opportunity as a freshman would be humbling.”

With his senior year and the MLB Draft behind him, it’s time now for MacLeod to focus on what’s ahead in Starkville.

He’ll have the comfort of a fellow Huntsville hurler in Graham Ashcraft, who is expected to return to the pitching staff after sitting out with a hip injury. He’ll also have a talented freshman signing class coming along with him and he is excited about joining forces with it for the next several years.

“There are definitely a lot of good guys for sure," MacLeod said. "I’ve met a lot of them and I’m looking forward to playing with them. Having the stadium the first year is going to be cool. I think everyone is super excited about what’s to come.”