COLUMBIA - South Carolina's talented junior class is about to splinter.
The MLB First-Year Player Draft begins 7 p.m. tonight with the opening two rounds. Rounds three through 10 will be held starting 1 p.m. Friday, and rounds 11 through 40 will begin 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Gamecocks could have six juniors signing professional contracts this summer: catcher Grayson Greiner, third baseman Joey Pankake, left-hander Jordan Montgomery, center fielder Tanner English, closer Joel Seddon and first baseman Kyle Martin.
Greiner is expected to be taken in the first three rounds, and perhaps the second. Pankake and Montgomery are expected to be draft in the top five rounds, while English could be taken in the top 10 rounds. Seddon and Martin will likely be drafted in the teens.
Here are four quick questions with MLB.com senior writer Jim Callis.
How do scouts react to Grayson Greiner's size at 6-foot-5?
"It's kind of big for a catcher. You don't see a lot of catchers who are really that big, but I do think guys feel more confident in his defense and his offense. He moves pretty well for his size, he's agile, he receives well. It's not like he has trouble getting a lot of balls You look at it because it's kind of an outlier as far as the height goes, but he does a pretty decent job back there.
What position does Joey Pankake play at the next level?
"I think you try to run him out there as a third baseman. He doesn't have great hands, so I think a lot of people think he winds up in the outfield. You try him at the more challenging position first, obviously. I think if you surveyed - at least the scouts I talk to - I think they see him more in the outfield. Ideally, it would be great if he could play second base at the pro level. I don't think anybody really sees that happening, at least not at the higher levels."
Jordan Montgomery had some inconsistencies early in his junior season, but overall he's proven to be a big-game pitcher. How do scouts evaluate him?
"You've gotta look at the whole picture. He's a guy who, I don't think there's a true out pitch. Change(up) is probably his best pitch, but he throws strikes, he mixes four pitches. It's a different guy, but he's kind of like Michael Roth in that he pitches better than his stuff, and he really knows what he's doing on the mound. I think Roth's command was kind of otherworldly when he was at South Carolina. I don't think Montgomery's is that good, but they're in a similar mold."
What is Montgomery's ceiling as a professional pitcher?
"I think a No. 4 or 5 starter. He doesn't have that out pitch, and the fastball is kind of fringy, so I don't think you can project him toward the front of the rotation, but a 4 or 5 starter."
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