DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Blake Burkhalter was drafted in the second round of the MLB draft that kicked off Sunday night. Burkhalter was drafted by his childhood favorite team, the Atlanta Braves.
A dream has become a reality for Burkhalter, who pitched at Auburn as their closer this season and recorded the second most saves in the country with 16.
Burkhalter shot up the draft boards after Auburn made a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. Burkhalter closed out some crucial games for the tigers, and now, he says the Braves may have a different role in mind for the second-round draft pick.
“They are kinda looking at me as a possible starter, which I am excited for,” Second round draft pick, Blake Burkhalter said. “It will be a fun experience to go out there and do that.”
Burkhalter graduated from Northview High School in 2019, and even though a lot of people in the Wiregrass are Atlanta Braves fans, hopefully, Burkhalter will give them another reason to watch.
“Everybody is just going to be more excited and pumped up,” Burkhalter said. “Hopefully people will get to travel to some games and watch me play some.”
Burkhalter was named to three second-team All-American teams and was also second-team All-SEC.
Being from the Wiregrass, Burkhalter says he loves the area and that he wants other players to know that this dream is possible.
“I mean it is possible,” Burkhalter said. “I grew up playing in the same ballparks as all these other kids and had a good time doing it.”
Burkhalter grew up an Atlanta Braves fan and became a huge fan of Tim Hudson, who later would go on to be Burkhalter’s coach, and has taught lessons that will last a career.
“He has been a great mentor with me here at Auburn,” Burkhalter said. “The stuff he has taught me I mean I am going to carry it with me the rest of my career as a player.”
The MLB draft will wrap up on Wednesday, Burkhalter will not be awaiting more information on when to report to play rookie ball for the Gulf Coast League Braves, just outside of Orlando.