COLUMBIA — Has Jack Wynkoop, the junior pitcher who carried South Carolina during the final month of the college baseball season, played his final game at Carolina Stadium? If a draft projection released Tuesday is any indication, you’d have to think so.
The lefthander was the top-rated draft-eligible Gamecock, and third-rated overall player from the state of South Carolina, in Baseball America’s annual ranking of the top 500 Major League draft prospects. The three-day draft begins Monday.
The top Palmetto State prospect according to Baseball America is Wando High School outfielder Kep Brown, rated No. 89 overall. Clemson second baseman Tyler Krieger was next among players with state ties at No. 109, while Wynkoop was slotted at No. 116 — which according to the draft order, is a fourth-round selection owned by the Miami Marlins.
Wynkoop begins a run of three consecutive Palmetto State pitchers, with Clemson’s Zack Erwin at No. 117 and College of Charleston’s Taylor Clarke at No. 118. Two other USC players made the top 500, senior first baseman Kyle Martin at No. 240 and junior second baseman Max Schrock at No. 281.
Wynkoop this past season finished 8-4 with a 3.13 earned run average, leading USC to wins in four straight starts as the Gamecocks clawed briefly into NCAA Tournament contention. South Carolina ultimately finished 32-23 and missed the postseason for the first time since 1999.
Martin returned to USC after being drafted in the 20th round last year by the Los Angeles Angels, and enjoyed a tremendous senior campaign which included team-bests in batting average (.352), home runs (14) and runs batted in (56). Schrock battled injuries over the final month of the season, but still hit .330 with six homers and 34 RBI.
The complete list of players in Baseball America’s top 500 with state ties is below:
No. 89 Kep Brown, OF, Wando High School
No. 109 Tyler Krieger, 2B, Clemson
No. 116, Jack Wynkoop, LHP, USC
No. 117, Zack Erwin, LHP, Clemson
No. 118, Taylor Clarke, RHP, Charleston
No. 167, Steven Duggar, OF, Clemson
No. 234, Carl Wise, 3B, Charleston
No. 240, Kyle Martin, 1B, USC
No. 258, Eli White, SS, Clemson
No. 277, Blake Butler, 2B, Charleston
No. 281, Max Schrock, 2B, USC
No. 343, Matthew Crownover, LHP, Clemson
No. 408, Champ Rowland, SS, Charleston