South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks on MLB rosters for Opening Day

South Carolina baseball has several players on MLB Opening Day rosters.

South Carolina baseball alum Christian Walker
South Carolina baseball alum Christian Walker / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina baseball program has put over 60 players onto Major League Baseball rosters in its history, and some of the top players to ever wear garnet and black are currently playing.

MLB Opening Day is today (Thursday), but, due to several factors, the Gamecocks only have 4 players on Opening Day rosters. The list is as follows:

1B Christian Walker: Arizona Diamondbacks

Christian Walker is one of the top first basemen in professional baseball. The former Gamecock took a while to become a Major League starter, but he has become an elite defensive 1st baseman and a consistent power bat who has hit at least 29 home runs in his last three full seasons. Walker has won two Gold Gloves and was considered one of the biggest All-Star snubs the last two years. His Diamondbacks made the World Series in 2023.

2B/UTIL Whit Merrifield: Philadelphia Phillies

Whit Merrifield, like his former Gamecock teammate Christian Walker, took some time to become a starter, but he has been a big-time player ever since. With 3 All-Star Game appearances and several league-leading statistical finishes in steals, doubles, and triples on his resume, Merrifield is an elite utility player who will play his first season with the Philadelphia Phillies this year.

UTIL Jonah Bride: Miami Marlins

After spending several seasons bouncing back and forth between the Oakland Athletics and the Las Vegas Aviators (Oakland's Triple-A affiliate), Jonah Bride was dealt to the Miami Marlins this offseason. Bride's ability to play multiple positions makes him a nice fit for a Marlins team that likely will struggle in 2024. He has played 1st base and 3rd base at the Major League level and has gotten innings at 2nd base and catcher in Triple-A.

SP Clarke Schmidt: New York Yankees

Clarke Schmidt quietly had one of the most consistent seasons among all pitchers in Major League Baseball in 2023. He does not boast elite "stuff," but the New York Yankees starter pitched 15-straight starts (and 22 of 24) with 3 runs allowed or fewer. He did not have more than 3 walks in any game last season and looks poised to have another good year in pinstripes.

Players like Jordan Montgomery (Arizona Diamondbacks, recently signed), Carmen Mlodzinski (Pittsburgh Pirates, injured list), Cody Morris (New York Yankees, AAA), TJ Hopkins (Detroit Tigers, AAA), Wes Clarke (Milwaukee Brewers, AAA), and Carlos Cortes (New York Mets, AAA) all should get Major League time this season. Pending health, Montgomery and Mlodzinski are guaranteed to be major factors for their Big League clubs and are already on their team's 40-man rosters.

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