South Carolina Baseball: Former Gamecocks named two of MLB's top players

South Carolina baseball alums Christian Walker and Jordan Montgomery were named two of MLB's top players by MLB Network.

South Carolina baseball alum Christian Walker
South Carolina baseball alum Christian Walker / Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina baseball alums Christian Walker and Jordan Montgomery faced off in this past season's World Series. It was Montgomery and the Texas Rangers who went home with the trophy, but both former Gamecock teammates showed themselves to be among the best players in the game during the MLB postseason.

Both players were named on MLB Network's list of baseball's top-100 players.

Montgomery, now a free agent set to command a lot of money on the open market sometime in the next month, slotted onto the list at #90. He is the 20th-ranked pitcher on the list (though, 2-way star Shohei Ohtani is ahead of him and will not pitch in 2024 due to injury) and the 5th left-handed starting pitcher. He was unranked before last season.

Walker, coming off his second Gold Glove and another All-Star snubbing, was picked as the 58th-best player in Major League Baseball. He is the 6th first baseman on the list (however, part-time first basemen Cody Bellinger and Yandy Diaz were also ahead of him). He was #88 on last year's list.

Both players belong on the top-100 list, and Walker's spot seems fair. However, Montgomery belongs higher up in the rankings. This is especially true when one considers the fact that Tyler Glasnow (74) and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (61) are ahead of him as starting pitchers. Glasnow is extremely injury-prone and has never started more than 21 games in his 8-year career. Yamamoto is a rookie coming over from Japan, never having thrown a pitch against MLB competition.

Regardless of where in MLB Network's final rankings Walker and Montgomery finished, they both certainly belonged on the list. Another former South Carolina baseball star likely feels snubbed after being excluded.

Three-time All-Star Whit Merrifield, despite having a multi-year run on the list that ended last year and then following that up with an All-Star Game appearance in 2023, did not make the 2024 version of the top-100. His role as a utilityman likely hurts his chances to be included on a list like this, but even so, Merrifield likely belongs with his fellow Gamecocks.

Opening Day for the Major League Baseball season will be March 28th with all 30 squads in action.

Next. South Carolina Baseball: Gamecock legend signs new contract with World Series contender. South Carolina Baseball: Gamecock legend signs new contract with World Series contender. dark