Daniel Gossett, acquired by the Athletics with the 65th overall pick late Thursday night out of Clemson, hopes he's the next budding star on the West Coast.
Meanwhile, South Carolina landed a trio of Day 2 picks in the MLB First-Year Player Draft Friday. The Gamecocks' stars in the battery were selected quickly: catcher Grayson Greiner was a third-round pick (No. 99 overall) to the Detroit Tigers, and left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery was taken in the fourth (No. 122) by the New York Yankees.
Detroit also took USC third baseman Joey Pankake in the seventh round. Later on, a pair of Clemson seniors were drafted in second baseman Steve Wilkerson (Orioles, eighth round) and closer Matt Campbell (Dodgers, ninth round.)
In three consecutive years in the late 1990s, the Oakland Athletics drafted Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito.
Those three starred in the big leagues, paving a reputation for their "Moneyball"-famous organization to continue rolling out top arms drafted like Trevor Cahill, Huston Street, Andrew Bailey and Sonny Gray.
"I'm humbled by the arms they throw out, it's ridiculous," Gossett said Thursday afternoon. "Absolutely, they've put out some really good arms over the last 10 years. It's a fantastic opportunity to train with their coaches, train with their people, and the opportunity to become one of the better pitchers to come through that organization and better myself as a pitcher."
As a second-round selection, Gossett said he's still considering returning to Clemson for his senior year, though it's likely he's pitched his last game at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Montgomery could end up with the Charleston RiverDogs, the Yankees' Class A South Atlantic League affiliate, as soon as the next week or two.
The RiverDogs stand to benefit from the draft soon as their parent club made a run on SEC pitchers. Along with Montgomery, the New York Yankees also picked Mississippi State pitchers Jacob Lindgren in the second round and Jonathan Holder in the sixth.
Down the road, high school right-handed pitcher Austin DeCarr, a Clemson commit out of Connecticut taken No. 91 overall by New York, also could adorn a Charleston uniform.
Also in the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays used their third-round pick (No. 83) on Virginia-based lefty Nick Wells, a College of Charleston signee.
The lone first-round pick with in-state connections was shortstop Michael Chavis, Clemson's top 2014 recruit out of Marietta, Ga., drafted 26th overall by the Boston Red Sox.
According to Clemson, Wilkerson and Campbell became the school's first seniors in eight years to be drafted in the top 10 rounds after going undrafted their junior years. Wilkerson hit .317 with a team-high six homers and 42 RBIs; Campbell produced eight saves with a 4-0 record and a 0.84 ERA.
The only South Carolina prep taken in the first 10 rounds went early: right-handed hurler Grant Holmes out of Conway, drafted No. 22 overall as the Dodgers' first-round pick.
Rounds 11 through 40 are Saturday.
According to Baseball America's projected slot bonuses by pick, Gossett looks to sign for a projected $873,300 payday based on his draft position. Greiner should top half a million dollars and Montgomery will collect more than $400,000, while the later picks on Day 2 will stick in the $140,000 to $165,000 range.
Clemson's highest-drafted pitcher in seven years - and the first in-state product at the college level taken in the 2014 draft - Gossett couldn't help but gush over "an unreal experience" of launching his pro career.
Gossett was a 16th-round selection by the Boston Red Sox in 2011, but his stock soared upon his 2014 campaign (7-2, 1.93 ERA), recording the school's first sub-2.00 ERA since Mike Sullivan (1.98) in 1979 - a 35-year span.
"The dream is to be on the big stage. You want to be in the majors," Gossett said. "So as of right now, this is step one. This is the starting line of my dream. Now I've got that opportunity to chase my dream. So I'm more than happy, I'm blessed, I'm honored."
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