Three varsity Bulldogs were named by professional clubs over the three days, and none were surprises. Junior first baseman and SEC Player of the Year Brent Rooker became the 14th Mississippi State player drafted in a first round. His selection by Minnesota was the second time the Twins spent a draft on this Dog as Rooker was eligible after the sophomore season.
Waiting a year proved wise as Rooker went from the 38th round to the first.
Rooker was supposed to be taken early. The question was how highly would his teammates Ryan Gridley and Jake Mangum be called. Both had to wait to day-three. But shortstop didn’t have to wait long, as he was taken in the 11th round by Oakland. A junior, Gridley was first-team All-SEC at his position with a much-improved offensive game which raised him nearly into top-ten-round range.
Had he been healthy all his sophomore season, Mangum could have been right up there with Gridley and potentially a second-day selection. The broken left (throwing) hand knocked Mangum out of the starting pitching rotation he’d worked his way into, and impacted his batting for weeks. Mangum wasn’t able to defend his 2016 SEC batting title as a result, though watching teammate Rooker take it was consolation.
This did push him down to a 30th-round call by New York’s Yankees, and Mangum is expected to return for a junior season.
The longer-term challenge for Coach Andy Cannizaro is how much of his debut recruiting class will pass on college. By the end of Wednesday, a total of ten fall signees or spring commitments had been drafted. More importantly, six of those were taken in the first twelve rounds.
Two went in the second round; junior college first baseman Rey Rivera and high school outfielder Quentin Holmes. In the fourth round high school pitcher Troy Bacon and juco pitcher Pearson McMahan joined them.
All are now expected to bypass college baseball, as is the surprise call of the Dogs’ draft days with juco first baseman Tyreque Reed going in the eighth round. With his 12th round selection, prep pitcher Bryce Hutchinson is at least a question mark in this regard.
The good news on this front was it took until the late-30s rounds for any other Mississippi State signees to be called. Barring a serious surprise all those five should be coming to college.
The full listed of drafted signees/commitments:
JC 1B/OF Rey Rivera, 2nd-#57 Detroit; HS OF Quentin Holmes, Cleveland 2nd-#64; HS RHP Troy Bacon, Atlanta 4th-#110; JC LHP Pearson McMahan, Colorado 4th-#116; JC 1B Tyreque Reed, Texas 8th-#254; HS RHP Bryce Hutchinson, N.Y. Mets, 12th-#367; HS OF Tanner Allen, Chicago Cubs 36th-#1,095; HS OF Josh Hatcher, Los Angeles Angels 39th-#1,165; HS RHP Chad Bryant, Texas 39th-#1,184; HS OF Jordan Anderson, Texas 40th-1,214.
OFFICIAL BULLDOG BASEBALL SIGNEES 2016-17
(Does not Include Spring Commitments)
*OF/IF Tanner Allen L/R Mobile, Ala., UMS-Wright Prep
*OF Jordan Anderson R/R Madison, Ala., James Clemens HS
*P Troy Bacon R/R Tampa, Fl. Santa Fe College
*P Chad Bryant R/R Thomasville, Ala., HS
IF Justin Foscue R/R Huntsville, Ala., Grissom HS
C Marshall Gilbert R/R Trevor, Wis., Logan College
*OF Josh Hatcher L/L Albany, Ga., Lee HS
*OF Quentin Holmes R/R East Elmhurst, NY, McClancy HS
*P/1B Bryce Hutchinson R/R Port Orange, Fla., DeLand HS
IF Rowdey Jordan S/R Auburn, Ala., HS
P Jared Liebelt R/R Aurora, Ill., Waubonse CC
OF/1B/P Owen Lovell R/R Cullman, Ala., HS
P John Mason R/R Tampa, Fla., Wallace State CC Ala.
*P Pearson McMahan L/R Middleburg, Fla., St. John’s River State
1B Alex Pener S/R Overland Park, KS, Scottsdale AZ CC
*1B/OF Rey Rivera L/R Toa Alta, P.R., Chipola FL JC
P Zan Stephens R/R Live Oak, Fla., Suwannee HS
P Cam Voss L/L Fredonia, NY, Niagara Cty CC
IF Jostan Westburg R/R New Braunfels, TX HS