COLUMBIA — South Carolina knew it would lose a lot, because it was supposed to lose a lot last year. It was great to have all those players return this season, but the Gamecocks knew it would result in a large defection this year.
The Major League Baseball draft, shortened from 40 rounds to five last year due to COVID-19 and expanded only to 20 this year, didn’t spare the Gamecocks. By the time the third and final day ended on July 13, USC had eight players and three commitments drafted, almost all who are expected to leave.
The one that might not leave, left-handed pitcher Julian Bosnic, was drafted in the 16th round by San Francisco. He has leverage to return and not cost himself any money, as he redshirted in 2019 and was given a free year of eligibility due to COVID in 2021.
A weekend starter to begin the season, Bosnic was moved to the bullpen to end it and posted impressive numbers. He was a mere 4-2 but had a 2.84 ERA, four saves and struck out 78 in 50⅔ innings, with opponents only hitting .133 off him.
Teams in the SEC, in one of the most rugged years the conference has ever had, batted just .127 off him.
If Bosnic was to return, he would almost assuredly be a weekend starter with rising sophomore Will Sanders. Players drafted after the 10th round can only get $125,000 as a signing bonus before teams have to begin dipping into their bonus-pool money, and the Giants may not be able to give Bosnic what he’s requesting.
Then again, in a 20-round draft, teams may not be wasting draft picks on guys who are tentative to sign.
• USC pitcher Daniel Lloyd (Summerville High School) went in the 14th round to Baltimore. The right-handed reliever posted a 3.07 ERA with two saves and 42 strikeouts in 41 innings. Opponents mustered just a .206 average against him.
• Clemson pitcher Mack Anglin went in the 13th round to Washington. One of the Tigers' two main weekend starters along with fellow draftee Keyshawn Askew, Anglin was 2-6 with a 3.99 ERA this season. He struck out 75 in 56⅓ innings.
• Clemson pitcher Davis Sharpe also went in the 13th round, drafted by Cleveland with the No. 396 pick. Sharpe went 4-1 on the mound and also hit .211 with three home runs in 23 games.
• Clemson right-hander Carter Raffield was drafted in the 14th round by Cincinnati. He was 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in eight appearances.
• Clemson catcher Adam Hackenberg was picked in the 18th round by the Chicago White Sox. He batted. 258 with three homers and 17 RBIs.
• Clemson commitment Will Taylor was selected by Texas in the 19th round. Taylor, who has already enrolled at Clemson and is expected to play football and baseball, was a first-round prospect.
Generally, if highly rated prospects fall, they have told teams to meet a high signing bonus and teams have declined. Still picking them is a courtesy, to perhaps let the player know they'll be watching when they again become draft-eligible in three years.
• Wofford left-hander Hayes Heinecke was drafted in the 13th round by St. Louis. He was 2-4 with a 4.40 ERA and had 43 strikeouts in 43 innings.
• Charleston Southern's R.J. Petit, a 6-8 right-hander, was picked in the 14th round by Detroit. He was 6-5 with a 2.79 ERA and struck out 75 in 84 innings.
• Coastal Carolina right-hander Alaska Abney was chosen by Cleveland in the 15th round. He was 3-2 with a 4.99 ERA and struck out 68 in 48 innings.
• USC Upstate right-hander Alex Garbrick was picked by Philadelphia in the 17th round. He was 7-3 with a 3.39 ERA, striking out 74 in 66⅓ innings.
All draftees have until Aug. 1 to accept their positions or play college ball.
Bishop England pitcher Daniel Brooks, a College of Charleston commitment, was not drafted. He is expected to enroll for the fall.
“Some of the scouts he was talking to were saying his signing bonus number was too high, so I don’t know if that will be met the rest of the draft,” Brooks’ father, Steve Brooks, said. “But he’s happy to be going to College of Charleston.”
Not that it was surprising given his position, but USC’s Brett Kerry will accept his draft selection and head to professional baseball. “Yes, he’s leaving,” a source close to Kerry told The Post and Courier.
Kerry bounced between starter and closer for all of his three seasons at USC, pitching where he was needed the most. Although that coach’s decision may have hurt him in the draft, he was still valued with a top-150 pick and went to the L.A. Angels in the fifth round.
Slot value for Kerry is $390,400, but he is expected to get more from the Angels’ bonus pool.
Kerry was 5-1 this year with a 2.15 ERA, striking out 84 in 541/3 innings. Starting the season as the Gamecocks’ closer, he was moved into the starting rotation late in the year.
His first start was at Kentucky, where he twirled a four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts. His only postseason start was held to less than three innings due to neck tightness, but USC won that game before losing the next two.
Kerry gained the reputation as being at his best in the biggest situations, starting when he relieved at Clemson as a freshman, struck out seven in 31/3 innings and picked up the save. Kerry pitched against national championship finalists Vanderbilt and Mississippi State this season and gave up a scant seven hits and one run in 112/3 innings while striking out 16.