GamecockCentral - MLB Draft questions raised as Super Regionals loom
baseball Edit

MLB Draft questions raised as Super Regionals loom

Gene Cone is one of a few Gamecock players that could potentially be drafted this weekend.
Gene Cone is one of a few Gamecock players that could potentially be drafted this weekend.
Paul Collins/GamecockCentral.com

Draft Tracker | Practice Photo Gallery

With college baseball players getting ready for one of the biggest college baseball weekends of the year with Super Regionals in full force, they are having to focus on something else now, too: the MLB Draft.

The draft, which started Thursday, runs through Saturday and is going on during games. And every year, players are drafted during practice, before games, after games and even in between innings.

“You’re going to have the kids on the field competing when the draft is occurring. And I can’t image for the sake of communication that that’s ideal for anybody,” Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday said. “The idea would be for them to communicate at a time when a kid’s not running down a fly ball when his name’s called.”

Different teams combat the timing in different ways with the draft going on during both South Carolina and Oklahoma State’s practices at Founders Park Friday.

South Carolina had strength and conditioning coach Billy Anderson monitoring draft-eligible players’ phones. When a player would get a text or call from a team, he would hand over the phone.

Such was the case for Braden Webb, who was drafted about 20 minutes into practice by the Milwaukee Brewers. He was able to take the call on the field.

Holbrook said he does that because he wants players to have a “sense of joy” about being drafted. But did add, he still has some reservations about the draft’s timing.

I could stand up here and talk about that for a long period of time and it wouldn’t do anything but get myself in trouble,” he said. “Do I think it’s the right timing? No. Does it put us a little bit of a difficult spot as a team with some of the other teams playing today? Yes. It’s not a great system, at all. Not even close. But we’re not playing today and that makes me feel better about the situation.”

Oklahoma State tells scouts to contact the parents of prospects and do all dealings with them if the player is practicing or in a game.

There are many proponents lobbying to move the draft. There are college sports—football, basketball, and baseball—and baseball is the only one of the three to have the draft with the college season still going on.

The NFL draft happens in April, three months after the college season ends, and the NBA has their draft in June, four months after the Final Four. This added wrinkle for college coaches makes dealing with players different before Super Regionals.

“It’s the system in place so you have to manage it because it’s a reality,” Holliday said. “Is it a good system? No, it’s horrible. No other major NCAA sport plays its championship with the draft occurring simultaneously. The fact we can’t find a two or three day window on a massive calendar so these two things don’t have to overlap is an insult to all the great people that oversee both of these things.”

Through the first 185 picks in the draft, five players between the current South Carolina and Oklahoma State rosters have been drafted. Two—Webb and Cowboy starting pitcher Hatch were both drafted in the third round and could pitch against each other tomorrow.

Other players include Dom Thompson-Williams from South Carolina and Donnie Walton and Remey Reed from Oklahoma State.

With round 10 being finished Friday and the remaining 30 rounds still to go tomorrow, it’s likely both Gamecock and Cowboy players could have their names called during tomorrow’s game.

Gene Cone, who could potentially be drafted Friday or Saturday, said he's not thinking about it and focusing on the three-game series. Hatch echoed that, but with pro futures looming for many players, it could be too much to focus on.

“You have to take it one at a time. You don’t focus on it,” Hatch, who was drafted 45 minutes before State’s practice Friday, said. “You take it as it comes and just focus on the game and get mentally prepared for the game tomorrow.”

Not a GamecockCentral.com member and want to get all the scoop? SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Never miss a moment with the GamecockCentral app: App Store - Google Play