Three Cougars Picked In Top Eight Rounds Of MLB Entry Draft
Senior CF Marty Gantt (North Augusta, S.C.) was picked in the seventh round (242 overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays. Junior RHP Christian Powell (Greenwood, S.C.) followed just eight picks later in the eighth round (250 overall) as the Minnesota Twins drafted him. Senior RHP David Peterson (Walnut Creek, Calif.) was also tabbed in the eighth round (269 overall) by the Atlanta Braves.
Named the unanimous SoCon Player of the Year and All-SoCon First Team selection, Gantt led the team with a .373 batting average and scored a SoCon-best 68 runs which ranks seventh in the country. Gantt hit 11 home runs, posted 46 RBIs, and stole 29 bases while posting a league-best on-base percentage of .485. Gantt is a Louisville Slugger Third Team All-American, drafted for the first time in his career.
Powell was picked as the SoCon Pitcher of the Year by the league's coaches after leading all SoCon pitchers with an ERA of 2.69. The staff ace of the league's best pitching staff (3.21 ERA), he finished the season with a record 9-4 with 29 walks and 77 strikeouts. Powell was selected to the midseason Pitcher of the Year watch list and tabbed All-SoCon First Team. Powell was drafted out of high school in 2009 to the Cleveland Indians in the 47th round.
Converted to a closer in 2012, Peterson finished the season with a team-best 10 saves which ranked third in the conference. Peterson was picked for the midseason Stopper of the Year watch list and finished with a 3.40 ERA and a 1-3 record. He struck out 40 batters this season and finished with 211 for his CofC career, ranking third all-time. Peterson moved up 41 rounds from the 2011 draft where he was picked in the 49th round by the Houston Astros. He was also drafted out of high school in 2008 by the Cincinnati Reds in the 40th round.
The Cougars tied a program record with three players drafted in the first eight rounds of the MLB Draft. The only other time that CofC put three players in the top eight rounds came in 2005 when Brett Gardner (third round), Brett Harker (fifth round) and Ryan Edell (eighth round) were all drafted.
The 2012 MLB Draft continues on Wednesday at noon with rounds 15-40.