UT’s Andy Cox surprised to be seventh-round pick

Andy Cox had every reason to believe the Major League Baseball draft would be a three-day process for him. The Tennessee senior left-hander figured someone would give him an opportunity to play professional baseball, but he didn’t expect it to come in the first 10 rounds.

But he received a call on Friday afternoon that told him things would move much faster than he expected.

“It was pretty surprising and shocking,” Cox said. “The Reds, I haven’t talked to the Reds all season. … The Reds scout called me in like the fourth round and he was just like, ‘I have you on my top senior list. I’ll call you back again. We’re going to most likely take you. No guarantee.’ I was like, ‘OK, sounds good.’ Then in the fifth, sixth round they called me again and said. ‘We’re going to take you next round.’ I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t expect to go that high. I was just praying for an opportunity no matter where it was.”

The Reds came through and picked Cox in the seventh round, 30 rounds higher than he went last season to the Oakland Athletics before he decided to return for his senior season.

Cox said he had been getting calls from the Cubs, Indians, Brewers, Giants, Tigers and Mariners but not the Reds. However, he said both he and the scout who signed him were excited that he and third baseman Nick Senzel would be in the same organization.

“When I found out the Reds were going to take me, I called Nick,” Cox said. “We were just so pumped for each other knowing that we get to be teammates again and see each other grow through this journey.”

Cox said he doesn’t know if the Reds want him to be a starter or a reliever at the next level, but he knows he has to improve his control after a 3-6 season in which he posted a 6.72 ERA, walking 50 batters but striking out 66.

“I just think throwing more strikes and just keeping the mentality that I know I deserve to be there,” Cox said. “A change-up, if I’m starting, a key change-up would be nice, but if I’m out of the bullpen, I can live off of two pitches, especially if it’s a lefty specialist kind of thing. But just throwing strikes and having fun.”