Mark Kingston: ‘A lot of impact players coming in’ for USC
The Cincinnati Reds picked their fourth South Carolina baseball player or signee of the 2019 MLB Draft, taking redshirt sophomore catcher Luke Berryhill in the 13th round on Wednesday.
Graduating senior TJ Hopkins, high school signee Tyler Callihan and JUCO commit Ivan Johnson were drafted on Day 2 in rounds 3-10, all by the Reds.
Berryhill emerged as one of the Gamecocks’ steadiest offensive threats this past season, leading the team with 49 RBIs and finishing second with 12 home runs and 33 walks. He hit .271 with a .538 slugging percentage while also catching nearly every game for Carolina.
Shortly after Berryhill was selected, his battery mate, junior pitcher Reid Morgan, was selected by the Seattle Mariners with the No. 396 pick overall.
Morgan came to USC projected to be a bullpen arm but emerged as the team’s most consistent starter after a torrid start to the season. He finished the year with a 4-6 record and 3.80 ERA. He struck out 70 batters and walked just 17 across 87 2/3 innings of work.
In the 21st round, South Carolina junior college signee Andrew Peters, a right-handed pitcher, was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays. Peters threw just two innings this past season before undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he was previously ranked as one of the top JUCO recruits in the nation.
USC senior Jacob Olson, who played both right field and third base for the Gamecocks, was taken in the 26th round by the Chicago Cubs. The versatile Georgia native was listed as a catcher for his draft position.
Over three seasons, Olson hit .260 with 31 home runs and 100 RBIs. More than 43 percent of his hits at South Carolina went for extra bases. As a senior, he led the team in home runs with 13.
In the 28th round, Carolina signee Brennan Milone, an infielder, was picked by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Milone was a top-150 prospect entering the draft.
JUCO signee Noah Myers was selected in the 30th round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Myers, an outfielder, hit .397 with 60 RBIs and eight home runs while stealing 77 bases in 57 games for Wabash Valley Community College this past season, as his team went 55-4 overall.
Brannon Jordan, another junior college signee, was taken in the 31st round by the Tampa Bay Rays. The right-handed pitcher accumulated a 4-2 record and 2.48 ERA at Cowley Community College, striking out 47 in 32 2/3 innings while walking just 11.
Senior reliever Ridge Chapman came off the board in the 34th round, taken by the Los Angeles Angels despite missing almost all of this past season with a forearm injury. He was drafted in the 17th round of the 2018 draft but reportedly failed his physical with the Washington Nationals, forcing him to return to school.
When healthy, Chapman can throw in the upper 90s and dominate out of the bullpen, and coach Mark Kingston said in his postseason press conference Tuesday that he hoped to have Chapman play a major role for the Gamecocks as a fifth-year senior in 2020.
Thomas Farr, one of the top junior college prospects in the country and a South Carolina signee, was chosen by the Texas Rangers in the 37th round. Farr battled injury throughout this past season at Northwest Florida State. Jeff Heinrich, another JUCO player, was taken in the 40th round by the San Francisco Giants as a third baseman.
The deadline for eligible players drafted to sign a deal is July 15.
GAMECOCKS IN THE MLB DRAFT
Tyler Callihan, Cincinnati Reds, No. 85 overall*
Ivan Johnson, Cincinnati Reds, No. 114 overall*
TJ Hopkins, Cincinnati Reds, No. 264 overall
Luke Berryhill, Cincinnati Reds, No. 384 overall
Reid Morgan, Seattle Mariners, No. 396 overall
Andrew Peters, Tampa Bay Rays, No. 638 overall*
Jacob Olson, Chicago Cubs. No. 792 overall
Brennan Milone, Los Angeles Dodgers, No. 851 overall*
Noah Myers, Toronto Blue Jays, No. 897 overall*
Brannon Jordan, Tampa Bay Rays, No. 938 overall
Ridge Chapman, Los Angeles Angels, No. 1,021 overall
Thomas Farr, Texas Rangers, No. 1,105 overall
Jeff Heinrich, San Francisco Giants, No. 1,196