The first two rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft were held Sunday night, and three players tied to Clemson, a pair of signees and a veteran, were chosen. No other players with ties to a South Carolina college or high school. were taken Sunday night from the 70 picks. The draft will resume with rounds 3-10 Monday at 2:00 PM.
The first player chosen with the Clemson connection was signee OF Dillon Head who was taken 25th overall by the Padres. The slotted money for that pick is $3.17 million dollars. Here’s the scouting report on Head from MLB.com.:
Head has top-of-the-scale speed and knows how to use it, especially in center field. His quality reads and routes boost his range, allowing him to chase down balls from gap to gap, and he also enhances his solid arm strength by getting to grounders quickly. His wheels also make him a dangerous base stealing threat and help him turn ground balls into singles. A left-handed hitter, Head generally employs a gap-to-gap approach but can get pull-happy at times. He’s not especially physical but does have plenty of bat speed and can drive the ball to right field. Most scouts think he’ll max out at 12-15 home runs per year, but he doesn’t have to be a big power threat to be valuable.
The second player taken with a Clemson connection was signee SS Sammy Stafura. He went in the 2nd round with the 43rd overall pick to the Reds. The slot for that pick is listed at $2 million dollars. Here’s the MLB.com scouting report on Stafura:
A right-handed-hitting middle infielder, Stafura has gained strength since the summer and that has shown up in his performance. He can drive the ball to all fields, with the ability to hit it hard the other way at times, but it’s strength over bat speed with a bit of a stiff swing, leading some to see him more as a power-over-hit type. Stafura is an excellent athlete and plus runner, one who even played some center field over the summer. But there’s a stronger belief he can stick at shortstop long term, another reason for his helium, with good actions and enough arm for the premium position. It was a little tough to evaluate him this spring because the league he plays in isn’t super-competitive, but there were teams thinking about the Clemson recruit late in the first round as the Draft approached.
And the third Clemson related pick was the veteran lefthanded pitcher and first baseman Caden Grice. He was taken in what’s called Competitive Balance round B by the Diamondbacks with the 64th overall pick. That pick is slotted at $1.21 million dollars. Grice was drafted as a lefthanded pitcher. Here’s the MLB.com scouting report on Grice:
Grice’s 6-foot-6, 250-pound frame provides plenty of strength and leverage, creating raw power that plays to all fields and earns some 80 grades on the 20-80 scale, but his left-handed swing is naturally long and gets out of control. He has toned down his approach some after striking out 97 times in 58 games in 2022, though he still can look helpless against breaking balls. He’s surprisingly athletic for his size, flashing solid speed once he gets going and showing the potential to become an average defender at first base, moving there after playing mostly right field as a sophomore. The arm strength that served Grice well in right also translates to a fastball that sits in the low 90s and reaches 95 mph with some boring action in on right-handers. He shows the ability to miss bats with an upper-70s slider and a sinking mid-80s changeup as well, and while he lacks polish and experience, he could get significantly better if he focused on the mound. The best course of action may be to see how his bat plays in pro ball and use pitching as a fallback option.