TAMPA — Carson Ragsdale’s primary concern heading into his redshirt junior season at USF was getting healthy.
The right-handed pitcher missed his entire junior season due to Tommy John surgery, so the MLB draft wasn’t on his mind.
But on Friday, more than three months after his last outing in the shortened 2020 season, Ragsdale was discussing his future pro career with local media after being drafted Thursday night by the Phillies.
“I’m more than happy to be a Phillie,” he said. “And I can’t believe this dream came true.”
Philadelphia spent the 116th overall pick on Ragsdale. His phone was quiet through the first three rounds, but teams came calling when the fourth round hit.
Ragsdale said he didn’t know where he was headed until about a minute before the pick was announced. Surrounded by immediate family, neighbors and his girlfriend at his home, he was overcome by emotion.
“Getting that phone call was incredible,” Ragsdale said. “I just kind of broke down for a minute.”
The Phillies happen to have a Class A Advanced Affiliate in nearby Clearwater, not far from where Ragsdale pitched for the Bulls and went to high school at Bishop McLaughlin.
Ragsdale said he was honored to join a list of pitchers drafted from the Tampa Bay area that includes Jose Fernandez, Lance McCullers Jr. and Dwight “Doc” Gooden.
In addition to putting his name in that class, Ragsdale helped extend USF’s streak of having at least one player drafted to 21 straight years.
“I’m definitely blessed to say I was picked in a five-round draft,” Ragsdale said.
He knew his experience leading up to the draft was different. Ragsdale didn’t have the opportunity to meet with teams in person or do anything close to a normal pre-draft process. He didn’t even get to throw a full season coming off surgery.
But clearly the 19 innings he threw across four starts was enough for Philadelphia. Ragsdale racked up 37 strikeouts, held a sub-3.00 ERA and fanned 10 batters in his final outing of the season at No. 1 Florida.
He believes that game was a key factor in him being selected.
Ragsdale credited the entire USF athletic department, namely athletic director Michael Kelly, coach Billy Mohl and his trainer, for his recovery and being drafted.
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“Without anybody here, I wouldn’t be where I’m standing today,” Ragsdale said.
Because of the strange timing with MLB at an impasse, he doesn’t know what the next step will be. But whatever it is, he’s excited for it.
“I’m ready to get this going,” Ragsdale said. “Go Phillies.”
Contact Kyle Wood at email@example.com. Follow @Kkylewood.