Courtesy Bellarmine Athletics

In one of the most unlikely years to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft, Brandon Pfaadt became just the ninth player to be drafted out of Bellarmine University when the Arizona Diamondbacks tabbed the right-handed pitcher in the fifth round last night (Thursday). Overall, Pfaadt was the 149th pick of the 2020 draft.

With baseball (and the rest of the world) reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, MLB restricted the 2020 draft to just five rounds with 160 total selections. By comparison, the 2019 draft featured 40 rounds with 1,217 total selections.

Pfaadt, impressive physically at 6-4 and 230 pounds, also impressed scouts with his arm that hurls a fast ball at 95 miles per hour. This past fall, Pfaadt was ranked No. 51 among D1Baseball’s list of top 100 college prospects.

Last summer, the Louisville native had a strong performance in the Cape Cod League, appearing in nine regular-season games for Wareham and posting a 2-1 record with a 2.81 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched. Opposing hitters batted a miniscule .171 against the Trinity (Ky.) High School product.

Pfaadt also was off to hot start in 2020, his junior year at Bellarmine. Before the coronavirus wiped out the remainder of the season, he was 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA and 27 strikeouts and picked up Great Lakes Valley Conference “Pitcher of the Week” accolades in late February.

Bellarmine Coach Larry Owens said, “(Brandon) has great existing tools. He throws strikes and has great command, which will only get better with more experience.” Owens added that being a fifth-round draft choice is a good omen for Pfaadt. “He’s in a great spot,” Owens said. “By being taken in the fifth round, it shows the organization thinks he can help the big league club.”

With the future clouded due to the pandemic, next steps for Pfaadt are not yet determined. Owens said that it’s likely there will be some instructional opportunities in the fall with the Diamondbacks before getting a fresh start at spring training in 2021.


  • Pfaadt is one of four family members to play baseball at Bellarmine. His grandfather (Bob Pfaadt) was a pitcher for the Knights in the early 1960s. (Interestingly, Bob also followed his Bellarmine education with an opportunity in Arizona-attending grad school at Arizona State). Brandon also played with both of his brothers at Bellarmine. His older brother Brady was an accomplished catcher for Bellarmine, graduating in 2018 after earning All-GLVC and all-region accolades. Younger brother Brett was a freshman infielder for the Knights this past season.
  • Beyond baseball, the Pfaadt family is accomplished in other sports as well. Father (Brian) played soccer for Bellarmine, and his mother (Staci) played basketball at the University of Louisville. An aunt, Martha Pfaadt Tedesco played field hockey at Bellarmine.

Bellarmine’s history with players getting drafted:

Brandon PfaadtRHP20205th (149th overall)Arizona Diamondbacks
Michael MessierLHP201615th (463rd overall)Kansas City Royals
Patrick BradyUT201048thSeattle Mariners
Michael ThompsonRHP200947thSt. Louis Cardinals
Todd WellemeyerRHP20004th (103rd overall)Chicago Cubs
Paul BurkeC199834thAtlanta Braves
Pat McClintonLHP199331stColorado Rockies
Scott WiegandtLHP198945thPhiladelphi Phillies
Scott OliverRHP198123rdCalifornia Angels
Special Notes: 1. Current Head Coach Larry Owens (LHP) played a season at Bellarmine before graduating from Armstrong State and being selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 27th round. 2. lists Craig Bragg as being drafted out of Bellarmine in 2000. Bragg actually is a graduate of Bellarmine College Prep (high school) in California.

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