It was an uneventful Day 2 of the MLB draft for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks had one current player or signee drafted, with USC closer Tyler Johnson being selected by the Chicago White Sox in the fifth round with the 147th overall pick.
Johnson was expected to go sometime between rounds two and four but didn’t mind waiting a little longer and is happy with where he ended up.
“The draft is unpredictable. Everyone knows that,” Johnson said. “Would I have liked to go earlier? Sure, everyone would, but I was excited to be where I was. God has a plan for each and every person. I’m blessed to be a part of the White Sox organization.”
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Johnson is planning to go to Scottsdale, Ariz., on Thursday and finalize his contract before beginning his pro career.
Slot value for Johnson’s pick is $339,800, but he is expected to receive more than that.
“Them liking me, as well as having a strong player development program will suit me well,” Johnson said. “I am excited to embark on this opportunity in front of me.”
Johnson was one of three South Carolina pitchers drafted in the first five rounds, joining Clarke Schmidt and Wil Crowe, who were selected on Monday.
Schmidt was taken in the first round with the 16th overall pick by the New York Yankees, while Crowe was selected by the Nationals in the second round with the 65th overall pick.
“Just really happy for all three of them,” USC pitching coach and interim head coach Jerry Meyers said. “I probably would have taken Tyler Johnson a little earlier than that myself, that’s just me being around him all the time.”
This marks the first time since 2008 South Carolina has had three players selected in the first five rounds.
That season, Justin Smoak, Reese Havens and James Darnell were selected in the first two rounds.
Unfortunately for USC, its stud pitchers were rarely healthy at the same time this year. Schmidt made nine starts before being lost for the season with a torn UCL, while Johnson missed nearly six weeks with arm soreness. Crowe pitched all season, his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Meyers admitted it was disappointing the staff had tough luck as far as injuries, but said it does no good to wonder what could have been.
“I try not to look at it that way,” he said. “I’m just proud of those guys and happy for them and trying not to look back.”
In addition to Schmidt, Crowe and Johnson, South Carolina had six signees listed on Baseball America’s top 500 prospect list, but only one has been selected to this point.
Catcher Luis Campusano was picked early in the second round, but infielder Noah Campbell (No. 112), outfielder Kyle Jacobsen (No. 155), pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski (No. 173), pitcher Logan Chapman (No. 202) and outfielder Ian Jenkins (No. 419) haven’t been selected.
That could be good news for USC. The longer the draft goes without their names being called it’s likely they won’t get their asking price to turn pro and will instead wind up in Columbia.
So far 315 players have been selected with rounds 11-40 to take place on Wednesday.
In addition to the signees, 2017 players LT Tolbert, Alex Destino, Jonah Bride, Madison Stokes, Brandon Murray, John Parke and Josh Reagan could be picked.