Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
top story

Tigers, Gamecocks keep eye on MLB draft beginning Sunday night

Max Wagner

Max Wagner should hear his name called on Sunday night as one of the top picks in the MLB Draft. AP/Sean Rayford

The transfer portal has already gifted South Carolina and Clemson several pieces of their 2023 baseball teams.

It’s time to see who else will or will not be joining.

The 2022 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft begins the night of July 17 and will last through July 19. The first two rounds, including two competitive balance rounds and two compensatory rounds, will be the first night, while rounds 3-10 follow the next day. The draft finishes with rounds 11-20 on July 19.

The most likely player to be picked early in the draft, as previously reported, is Clemson third baseman Max Wagner. The first-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year swatted 27 homers in his sophomore season to go with a .369 average and .496 on-base percentage.

As long as teams don’t consider 2022 a fluke — he hit .214 with two homers as a freshman — Wagner should be selected in the first couple of rounds and start his pro career at 21 years old. Ranked as the No. 66 prospect in the draft by MLB.com, it would take an unexpected slide for Wagner to return to school.

Otherwise, Clemson doesn’t have a lot of draft-eligible prospects who figure to be selected. Friday starter Mack Anglin, a redshirt sophomore, should hear his name called early enough to consider a leap to the pros.

MLB.com has Anglin as the No. 179 prospect in the draft, thanks to his mid-90s fastball and two excellent breaking pitches in his slider and curveball.

Like Wagner, Anglin was a draft-eligible sophomore in 2021 but wasn’t picked until the 13th round. He was also on the draft radar coming out of high school, but his commitment to Clemson took him off teams’ boards. At 22 years old, it would make sense for Anglin to sign this time around.

A couple of other names to watch are lefty pitchers Geoffrey Gilbert and Ryan Ammons, but they’re third-year sophomores who aren’t likely to hear their names called early, if at all.

There are a couple of Clemson recruits, though, who may get picked off by MLB teams. Brock Porter, the Gatorade player of the year out of Michigan, is considered the No. 11 prospect in the draft by MLB.com. The likelihood of the 19-year-old throwing a pitch for the Tigers is almost non-existent.

Porter, who helped St. Mary’s Prep win three state titles during his career, posted a 9-0 record with a 0.41 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 58 innings last season. The 6-4 righty also registered three no-hitters. With a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and tops out in the triple digits, Porter has the tools to be a top-end power pitcher at the next level.

Clemson may lose a second pitching prospect in lefty Tristan Smith from Boiling Springs. Ranked as MLB.com’s No. 46 prospect in the draft, Gatorade’s South Carolina player of the year has a plus fastball and slider. It depends on his asking price, but there is a good chance Smith will receive enough compensation to skip college.

The one Clemson prospect who may be drafted, but might be inclined to return to school, is Jack Crighton, a former Michigan recruit who Erik Bakich recently flipped to Clemson. Crighton, a third baseman, was teammates with Porter at St. Mary’s. He’s a line-drive hitter with quick hands, according to MLB.com, and succeeds with a gap-to-gap approach. He’s a good athlete, too, having played basketball in high school, and should fit well defensively at third base.

But Crighton is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 220 prospect in the draft, which may not command the kind of bonus money that would pull him away from Clemson. He has the potential to develop into a top-round pick and re-enter the draft process in 2025.

South Carolina shouldn’t see much defection from either its prospect list or current team, at least through the draft. There are only two players that should hear their names called over the next three days.

Commitment Eli Jerzembeck of Charlotte, a right-handed pitcher, is likely the only recruit that will be drafted high enough to skip college. He is projected to hear his name called sometime on the first night of the draft, and with the lowest signing bonus slot value of the night set at just over $800,000, he is expected to get enough to bypass college.

Current second baseman Braylen Wimmer could also get a call on the second day of the draft, but he may not be as picked as highly as he was once projected. If Wimmer lasts past the fifth round of the draft, it’s likely he comes back to school.

The Gamecocks added 10 transfers from the portal to their incoming class, so that may cause other recruits to decommit and head somewhere else. But for draft considerations, Jerzembeck and Wimmer should be the only two that get picked.

One former Gamecock, left-handed pitcher Julian Bosnic, could also be drafted. He was going to be the top starter for USC’s pitching staff this year but instead missed the entire season due to injury, a forearm issue becoming a minor surgery.

Bosnic was thought to be going to pro ball whether or not he was drafted this year, but he surprisingly entered the transfer portal. He has committed to Arkansas next season if he stays in college.

• The Citadel's Ryan McCarthy played this summer in the MLB Draft League, a league for draft prospects. Through 36 games, the 6-2, 225-pound outfielder is batting .279 with three homers and 22 RBI, tied for second in the league.

• College of Charleston's most likely draft prospects include pitcher Ty Good, catcher/first baseman JT Marr and pitcher Caswell Smith. 

 

 

 

 

Follow David Cloninger on Twitter @DCPandC.

From Rock Hill, S.C., David Cloninger covers Gamecock sports. He will not rest until he owns every great film and song ever recorded.