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2015 MLB Draft: Oakland Athletics select San Diego State P Bubba Derby

The powerful righty helped the Aztecs to a surprise conference title in 2015, and now he'll try to find a role at the professional level.

Kenny Olinger

With the 188th pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, the Oakland Athletics tapped perhaps the Mountain West's top pitching prospect by selecting San Diego State right-hander Bowdien "Bubba" Derby.

Derby threw 103 innings for the Aztecs this season, averaging well over a strikeout per inning with 131 punchouts altogether, with an 8-4 record, a 3.32 ERA and a .250 opponents' batting average. He pitched especially well in the postseason, closing out New Mexico in the MWC tournament and leading San Diego State to their lone victory in the Lake Elsinore NCAA Regional against UC Santa Barbara. In the latter effort, Derby tossed a complete game with nine strikeouts and bested Texas Rangers first-round pick Dillon Tate.

Despite the fact that he was a three-time all-conference selection, however, there's a distinct likelihood that Derby will find more success as a reliever at the next level. This may have factored into his ranking at Baseball America, where he was placed 459th among their top 500 prospects and just the 59th-best prospect from California. At just 5'10" and 180 pounds, he would be a max-effort starter if given the opportunity, though as MLB's scouting report notes his fastball was livelier as a closer his freshman year. Either way, expect the Athletics to give him every chance to accelerate through the minor leagues.