South Carolina baseball: how will MLB Draft affect recruiting class?

South Carolina baseball. Mandatory Credit, Syndication: The Greenville News.
South Carolina baseball. Mandatory Credit, Syndication: The Greenville News. /

The MLB Draft could affect South Carolina baseball’s ’21 class.

Tonight kicks off the opening round of the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft, and a number of current South Carolina baseball players will hear their names called in the three-day event. Stars like Thomas Farr, Wes Clarke, Julian Bosnic, and Brady Allen will be selected in the earlier rounds, meaning they’ll soon have decisions to make regarding their college futures. Each are considered top 300 professional prospects.

While the Gamecocks will likely see some attrition on the current roster, the draft could also have an impact on the current recruiting class, which ranks 15th in the nation according to Perfect Game.

Mark Kingston and the South Carolina coaching staff will hope to keep the class intact, but there are a few highly rated players that could forego a college career and opt to begin their professional paths.

Let’s take a look at the recruits named in the latest MLB top 250 draft prospects list.

The most highly rated player is middle infielder Cooper Kinney. The left-handed hitter from Tennessee comes in at No. 84 on the list, meaning he could find himself being selected within the draft’s first three rounds. His strengths come on the offensive side of the ball, as he’s considered one of the best pure hitters at the high school level, but his baserunning and defense leave something to be desired. Still, a consistent left-handed bat is always good to have in the lineup.

"“Kinney combines a simple left-handed stroke with plenty of bat speed and a mature approach to repeatedly barrel balls… All of Kinney’s value comes from his bat, however, because he’s a well-below-average runner with fringy arm strength and limited athleticism.”"

Next on the list is infielder/pitcher Michael Braswell. The Georgia native projects to play shortstop at the next level, and he ranks as the 150th-best prospect in the draft class. That rating should put him right around the 5-7 round in terms of a selection. A defensive master, believes that he could go higher should a team take a chance on his offense.

If Braswell attends college, he could factor into the pitching rotation, too. He has a full arsenal of pitches, and a fastball that touches the low 90s. South Carolina may have to wait and see where the utilityman is picked up, though. Anything in those first five rounds could lead to Braswell taking a leap to the pros.

The third and final player in the top 250 rankings is left-handed pitcher Hunter Parks. He’s spent a couple of seasons at Florence-Darlington Tech JUCO, and has seen his draft stock skyrocket. says they expect him to turn pro and opt out of his commitment to the Gamecocks.

His 95-mph fastball helped Florence-Darlington reach the Junior College World Series, and the site believes he has the ability to develop into a three-pitch starter at the professional level. Parks seems like a longshot to land in Columbia.

While only three of the current 19-man class rank in the top 250, a number of others are considered top 500 players by other baseball sites. Pitcher Drew Baker, outfielder Thad Ector, outfielder Elijah Lambros, catcher Cole Messina, and infielder Vytas Valincius are also considered top draft prospects by either Baseball America or Perfect Game.

The MLB Draft is set to take place July 11-13. We’ll keep an eye on all the Gamecocks selected in the upcoming event.

More. Season superlatives for the '21 baseball team. light