Keene Swamp Bats President Kevin Watterson said on Tuesday he was hoping to see at least 10 team alums hear their names called in this year’s MLB Draft.
After four were taken in the draft’s second day Tuesday and eight more former and current Bats were selected on the final day Wednesday, the result exceeded Watterson’s expectations.
Selected on Day 3, were: Florida Southwestern State pitcher Ryan Gusto in the 11th round (346th overall) by the Houston Astros; Boston College pitcher Matt Gill in the 27th (804th) by the Cincinnati Reds; Florida International outfielder Lorenzo Hampton in the 28th (831st) by the Miami Marlins; UConn infielder/outfielder Michael Woodworth in the 29th (884th) by the Oakland Athletics; Grayson County College catcher Cordell Dunn Jr. in the 30th (892nd) by the Detroit Tigers; West Virginia pitcher Sam Kessler in the 34th (1,012th) by the Tigers; Indiana pitcher Cam Beauchamp in the 36th (1,080th) by the Philadelphia Phillies; and Florida Southwestern pitcher Marc Davis in the 38th (1,152nd) by the Chicago Cubs.
Those whose names were called Tuesday are: Butler pitcher Ryan Pepiot in the third (102nd) by the Los Angeles Dodgers; Georgia pitcher Tim Elliott in the fourth (126th) by the Seattle Mariners; St. John’s pitcher Gavin Hollowell in the sixth (189th) by the Colorado Rockies; and Franklin Pierce pitcher Zach Hart in the 10th (310th) by the Cleveland Indians.
The two most interesting Day 3 selections are Dunn and Davis, who were slated to join the Swamp Bats this summer. Neither player has officially decided whether they will sign with the team that drafted them, and both can decide to return to college and re-enter the draft again next year if they want to pursue a potentially better selection spot (and, as a result, a bigger payday).
Dunn — who was selected in the 19th round (579th) in the 2017 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays after graduating from Center Hill High School in Olive Branch, Miss. — has signed with Memphis State, and could continue his college career there now that he’s finished his junior college career at Grayson County. Davis has played only one of his two seasons of eligibility at Florida Southwestern, and could return there next season.
Dunn, Gusto, Hampton and Woodworth all played for the Bats last summer; Gill, Kessler and Beauchamp played in 2017.
Dunn (.321/.388/.507, seven home runs, 24 RBI) made the NECBL All-Star Game as a reserve, and Hampton (.258/.330/.506, five home runs, 19 RBI) won the home run derby. Woodworth (.287/.363/.370, 19 runs scored, 15 steals) was an early spark, but suffered a midseason injury, and Gusto (5.2 innings, 9.52 ERA, 11 strikeouts) left early.
In 2017, Gill (18.2 innings, 7.23 ERA, 22 strikeouts) and Beauchamp (17.2 innings, 8.66 ERA, 15 strikeouts) had up-and-down seasons out of the bullpen, while Kessler (eight innings, 3.37 ERA, seven strikeouts) got out to a good start but also left early.