**Story by Kyle Heck/photo by Jenny Dilworth**
There have certainly been a lot of South Carolina baseball players selected in the MLB Draft over the years, but the 2017 draft figured to be a particularly interesting one for the Gamecocks.
The first and second rounds were held on Monday evening, and it was indeed an eventful opening day for South Carolina players. For the first time since 2011, the Gamecocks had a player drafted in the first round.
Despite needing Tommy John surgery during the season, ace Clarke Schmidt was the first Gamecock taken off the board as the junior was snagged by the New York Yankees with the 16th pick of the first round. Schmidt is the first Gamecock drafted in the first round since Jackie Bradley Jr. was taken by the Red Sox in 2011.
According to MLB.com, the slot value for the Yankees pick is $3,458,600.
Schmidt had a fantastic season for the Gamecocks prior to his injury, putting together a 4-2 record and minuscule 1.34 ERA in nine starts. Opponents batted just .194 against the righty.
Fellow weekend starter Wil Crowe was the next South Carolina player selected, as the junior was taken by the Washington Nationals with the 65th overall pick in the second round. Crowe was already drafted twice by the Cleveland Indians, once coming out of high school and again after last season. If you're wondering, Cleveland had the 64th overall pick and passed on Crowe. He was taken with the very next pick.
Slot value for that pick is $946,500.
Crowe was consistent again this year, recording a 3.41 ERA in 15 starts for South Carolina. He struck out 90 batters in 92.1 innings pitched.
Ranked as the No. 97 prospect overall, junior righty Tyler Johnson fell down the draft board a little bit, but he was eventually taken in the fifth round by the Chicago White Sox on day No. 2.
Johnson was projected to be a second or early third round pick, but struggled a bit with his command this year. He was taken with the 147th overall pick on Tuesday, and the slot value for that selection is $339,800. While he was taken lower than many projected, he will still likely end his Gamecock career and become a professional.
Johnson primarily served as the Gamecocks' closer over the past couple of years, racking up 19 saves over that time period. He has a high 90s fastball and struck out 40 batters in 26.1 innings pitched this season.
While the South Carolina pitching staff is receiving a lot of well-deserved attention, there are a couple of position players who could hear their names called in rounds 11-40 on Wednesday. Chief among those is outfielder Alex Destino. The junior was high on a lot of draft boards after a sophomore season where he batted .321 with 10 homers and 59 RBI. He took a step back this season, however, batting .255 with 10 home runs and 41 RBI.
Infielders Madison Stokes, Jonah Bride and LT Tolbert are also eligible and could very well be drafted. Other pitchers to keep an eye on include John Parke, Brandon Murray, Colie Bowers and Josh Reagan.
Several incoming recruits are expected to be drafted this week, which could throw a wrench in their decisions to attend school. Catcher Luis Campusano was ranked No. 42 overall by Baseball America, and he was a second round pick of the San Diego Padres.
Pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski, shortstop Noah Campbell and outfielder Kyle Jacobsen are all top-200 prospects as well.
Check below for continued updates of where current South Carolina players and incoming recruits are taken on the final day of the MLB Draft.
Destino was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 14th round of the MLB Draft. The junior becomes teammates with Johnson, who was a fifth-round pick of the White Sox.
Destino was the 417th overall pick after a successful three-year career with the Gamecocks. His best year came as a sophomore in 2016 when he batted .321 with 10 home runs and 59 RBI, both team highs. He slumped a bit as a junior this season, batting .255 with 10 homers and 41 RBI, and that hurt his draft stock. However, it's still likely Destino will turn professional.
Reagan was snagged by the Oakland Athletics in the 15th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. The senior was taken just 24 picks after college teammate Destino after an incredibly consistent four-year career in the Garnet and Black.
Reagan saved his best stuff for his senior season, becoming one of South Carolina's best relievers. Reagan was 6-2 this past year with a 2.72 ERA in 27 relief appearances. He added two saves and allowed just 17 earned runs in 56.1 innings pitched. He struck out 51 batters and opponents batted just .238 against the Lexington native. Reagan becomes the fourth Gamecock pitcher drafted this season.
Left-hander Parke was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 21st round of this year's MLB Draft. Parke becomes the whopping third Gamecock selected by the White Sox, joining Johnson and Destino. The junior was the 627th pick overall, and is expected to make the jump to professional baseball.
Parke's numbers weren't outstanding this past season, but he's long been on the radar of major league scouts because of his mid-90s fastball as a lefty. He was a top-500 draft prospect coming out of high school and didn't allow a run in his first two seasons in Columbia (although he pitched just 12.2 innings). This year, Parke went 2-1 with an 8.53 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched. The Greenville native had a pair of starts and struck out 21 batters in those 25.1 innings.
Other Recruits drafted (will enroll in school unless otherwise noted)
SS Noah Campbell 19th round, No. 564 overall by Milwaukee Brewers
P Corey Stone 27th round, No. 824 overall by Texas Rangers
P Shane Roberts 28th round, No. 842 overall by New York Yankees
OF Kyle Jacobsen 33rd round, No. 984 overall by Milwaukee Brewers
P Logan Chapman 36th round, No. 1067 overall by Cincinnati Reds
P Ridge Chapman 39th round, No. 1181 overall by Boston Red Sox
OF Ian Jenkins 40th round, No. 1187 overall by Cincinnati Reds