As expected, South Carolina needs a new second baseman.
Junior Max Schrock signed with Washington on Thursday, agreeing to a reported $500,000 signing bonus. Baseball America’s Jim Callis said that the bonus was the highest given outside of the slot-valued top 10 rounds this year.
Draft picks after the first 10 rounds can be given a maximum of $100,000 unless they are willing to dip into their reserve pool of money left over from other unsigned picks. The Nationals, who drafted Schrock in the 13th round (No. 404) did exactly that.
Schrock confirmed the signing on Twitter, saying he was excited to start his career and posting a picture of him signing a document. The Gamecocks thought Schrock was leaning toward returning to school before the draft, but the amount of the signing bonus – especially for a player who has fought injuries throughout college – was too much to turn down.
Schrock’s decision should be the end of USC’s draft losses. The Gamecocks knew they were losing senior Kyle Martin (fourth round, Philadelphia) and were almost certainly going to lose junior Jack Wynkoop (sixth round, Colorado, signed last week). They also expectedly lost recruits Nick Neidert (second round, Seattle) and Logan Allen (eighth round, Boston).
But the rest of USC’s drafted commitments have already said they’re coming to school.
Right-hander Cody Morris told other media outlets he’s coming, although he won’t be able to pitch this year after having Tommy John surgery. Right-hander L.T. Tolbert announced that he would upholding his commitment to USC, while right-hander Braden Webb did the same, saying it was time to start the road to Omaha.
Catcher Chris Cullen, who coach Chad Holbrook said was a top-four round talent, set his bonus price so high that pro teams backed off, not selecting him until the 38th round. Cullen, who has long expressed his desire to play in college, told the Forsyth County (N.C.) News, “I’m definitely going to college.” Right-hander Adam Hill (39th round, San Diego) also has told other media outlets that he will be at USC.
D.J. Neal, a USC football signee who is already on campus, was drafted in the 32nd round by Atlanta. While he has yet to say so publicly, Neal stands to ignore the position and stay in school. He remains a participant in football workouts and could attempt to walk on to the baseball team in the spring.
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USC IN THE 2015 MLB DRAFT
A look at USC players or commitments who were drafted:
Name, Pos., School, Round (No.), MLB team, Status
Nick Neidert, RHP, Peachtree Ridge (Ga.) HS, 2 (60), Mariners, SIGNED
Kyle Martin, 1B, USC, 4 (114), Phillies, SIGNED
Jack Wynkoop, LHP, USC, 6 (167), Rockies, SIGNED
Commit Logan Allen, LHP, 8 (231), Red Sox, SIGNED
Max Schrock, 2B, USC, 13 (404), Nationals, SIGNED
Commit Cody Morris, RHP, Reservoir (Md.) HS), 32 (973), Orioles
*D.J. Neal, OF, Stephenson (Ga.) HS, 32 (960), Atlanta
Commit L.T. Tolbert, RHP, IMG (Fla.) Academy, 34 (1,019), Mets
Commit Braden Webb, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS, 38 (1,144), Indians
Commit Chris Cullen, C, West Forsyth (Ga.) HS, 38 (1,148), Athletics
Commit Adam Hill, RHP, T.L. Hanna HS, 39 (1,167), Padres
* Has signed with USC for football