COLUMBIA — Nick Neidert has a South Carolina baseball logo as the background on his Twitter page. But the hard-throwing right-hander will probably never make it to USC.
Neidert, one of the top signees in South Carolina’s 2016 recruiting class, was the first player with Gamecocks connections to go in this week’s Major League draft. The native of Lawrenceville, Ga., was taken Monday by the Seatle Mariners in the second round with the 60th overall pick. According to Baseball America, that selection carries with it a signing-bonus slot value of $1.02 million.
Neidert, 6-1 and 185 pounds, has a fastball clocked as high as 96 mph by Perfect Game. He was the first USC signee or player to go in the draft, which began Monday with the opening 75 picks. Rounds three through 10 will be held Tuesday beginning at 1 p.m., and rounds 11 through 40 will be conducted Wednesday beginning at noon.
Neidert was ranked No. 55 in Baseball America’s projection of the top 500 draft picks. Other USC signees likely to be drafted include left-handed pitcher Logan Allen of Fletcher, N.C. (projected at No. 128), right-handed pitcher Cody Morris of Leland, Md. (No. 266), and infielder L.T. Tolbert of Wren High School (No. 279).
The top-rated USC players in the draft are junior left-handed pitcher Jack Wynkoop and senior first baseman Kyle Martin, who could each go Tuesday.