Calling it the "chance of a lifetime," Citadel first baseman Chris McGuiness said Tuesday that he will give up his senior season of college baseball in order to sign with the Boston Red Sox.
McGuiness, a junior from James Island High School, was picked in the 13th round of last week's Major League Baseball draft by the Red Sox, but could have returned to The Citadel for his senior season.
Instead, he will sign for what he expects to be a six-figure bonus and report to Boston's Class A team in Lowell, Mass., to begin play in the short-season New York-Penn League.
"This has been a dream of mine since I was little," said McGuiness, who batted .367 with 15 home runs and 59 RBIs for The Citadel last season. "It's something you work toward, and you don't know what might happen in the future. Playing ball at The Citadel was a great experience, but this was an opportunity I could not pass up."
At 6-foot and 190 pounds, McGuiness bats left-handed and demonstrated a plate discipline last
season that should serve him well in pro ball. He led the nation with 65 walks, and his on-base percentage of .520 was among the best in Division I baseball.
"Chris will have a successful career in pro baseball," Citadel coach Fred Jordan said. "At what level it ends, no one can know right now. But he can definitely hit and be a corner outfielder or play first base.
"That organization (the Red Sox) really likes his patience and discipline at the plate. When you show patience like that with a metal bat, it only enhances his ability with the wood bat."
McGuiness said negotiations with the Red Sox went smoothly.
"I told them if they met what I wanted, it would not be a tough decision for me," he said. "I made it clear what I needed, and they ended up meeting that, and everything fell into place.
"I'm anxious to get up there and see what the competition is like. I know I will have to step it up, but at the same time, it's the same game I've been playing my whole life. I just want to do well and move up as fast as I can."
McGuiness was the 408th player taken in this year's draft. According to Baseball America, last year's 403rd pick received a signing bonus of $125,000, and the 407th pick got $100,000.
Jordan still is awaiting a decision from junior catcher Richard Jones, who was a ninth-round pick of the Cubs. Jones is playing for the Thomasville (N.C.) team in the Coastal Plains League. And Jordan said senior outfielder Sonny Meade, who was not drafted, is pursuing a free-agent deal.
Senior pitcher Matt Crim, drafted in the 21st round by the Braves, will report to Atlanta's rookie league team in Danville, Va. Senior pitcher Wes Wrenn, taken in the 35th round by the Mets, will start his pro career with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League.
Dalles to sign with O's
South Carolina catcher Justin Dalles has agreed to terms and will sign a contract with the Baltimore Orioles.
Dalles was selected in the sixth round of last week's draft —the fourth time in his career that he has been drafted.
Dalles is scheduled to report to the Aberdeen IronBirds of the New York-Penn League.