COLUMBIA — Kyle Martin stayed in college an extra year. Jack Wynkoop seems to be leaving school a year early. For both South Carolina baseball players, the very different decisions will apparently pay off.
Martin, who returned to school after being drafted in the 20th round a year ago, saw his stock rise considerably after a senior campaign in which he led the Gamecocks in batting, homers, and runs batted in. USC’s first baseman was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth round Tuesday, with the 114th overall pick in the Major League draft. Wynkoop, a left-handed junior pitcher for USC, went to the Colorado Rockies in the sixth round, with the 167th overall selection.
Martin was the 599th overall pick of the Los Angeles Angels a season ago, and signing bonuses for players taken beyond the 10th round are capped at $100,000. His fourth-round draft position Tuesday carries with it a signing bonus slot value of $498,200, although clubs can pool their slot money and offer much less, particularly to players who have used up their college eligibility.
Former USC and Bishop England High School star Drew Meyer was among those who offered congratulations on Twitter. “Regardless of signing bonus from last year to this year, (Martin) made the best financial decision by getting his degree,” Meyer wrote. “Can’t play forever.”
The signing bonus slot value for Wynkoop’s sixth-round draft positon is $298,900, and as a junior he has some leverage with a year of college eligibility still remaining. In a post on his personal Instagram page, Wynkoop intimated that he was headed to the pros.
“What a crazy day,” he wrote. “Thanks to the Rockies for giving me a chance to achieve my dream. More importantly thank you Jesus, my family, friends, teammates and coaches that have showed me nothing but love and support. Also, can’t forget the awesome fans that I’ve been spoiled by for the last three years.”
Martin enjoyed a tremendous senior season, hitting .352 with 14 home runs and 56 runs batted in. The Greenville native was one of just three Gamecocks to hit over .300 on a South Carolina team which missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. Martin became the 28th player in school history to reach the 200-hit total with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning May 16 against LSU, his final hit at Carolina Stadium.
Wynkoop went 8-4 with a 3.13 earned run average last season, carrying USC over the final two months as the Gamecocks tried to keep their postseason hopes alive. He excelled in the No. 1 weekend spot after moving there due to the season-ending ligament injury suffered by staff ace Wil Crowe.
South Carolina second baseman Max Schrock, projected as a ninth-round selection by Baseball America, was not drafted in the 10 rounds completed Tuesday. Schrock hit . 352 despite battling Achilles’ and wrist injures the final month of the season. While he could still go Wednesday on the draft’s final day, Gamecocks head coach Chad Holbrook said the junior has expressed a strong desire to return to USC for his senior season.
USC signee Nick Neidert, a right-handed pitcher out of Lawrenceville, Ga., was the 60th overall pick by Seattle in the second round Monday night, and is likely to sign. “I’m still debating, but I think my clear choice is to play baseball for Seattle,” he told The Seattle Times.
Gamecocks signee Logan Allen, an infielder from Fletcher, N.C., went in the eighth round Tuesday to the Red Sox with the 231st overall pick, which carries a signing bonus slot value of $175,100. Infielder L.T. Tolbert, a Gamecocks signee out of Wren High School projected by Baseball America as the No. 279 overall selection, announced Tuesday on Twitter that he would uphold his commitment to USC.