The Texas Longhorns can now look ahead to the 2024 baseball season.
Jim Callis of MLB.com reported on Tuesday that Texas outfielder Dylan Campbell had signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. According to Callis, Campbell received $500,000 to sign with Los Angeles. Campbell will forgo his final two years of collegiate eligibility.
Earlier this month, Campbell was selected by Los Angeles with an additional fourth-round pick in the MLB Draft. With Campbell’s selection, Texas extended its streak of having a player drafted to 59 years.
A deadline for MLB draft picks to decide whether they’ll turn pro or return to college is set for 4 pm CT on Tuesday. All six of the Longhorns who were taken in the 20-round, 614-pick draft have made their plans known.
Who won’t return to UT? Campbell joins four other draftees as Texas Exes
Before the Dodgers used the 136th overall pick on Campbell, the outfielder put together one of the better all-around seasons in recent memory at Texas. Campbell hit .339 with 13 home runs, 50 RBIs, 65 runs scored and 26 stolen bases. He also had a 38-game hitting streak that was both a Texas and Big 12 record. Defensively, Campbell recorded eight assists from out in right field.
The Chicago White Sox used a sixth-round pick on UT left-handed pitcher Lucas Gordon. The 179th overall pick was also the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in 2023. As the ace of the UT pitching staff this spring, Gordon went 7-2 with a 2.63 ERA and 103 strikeouts.
Right-handed pitcher Travis Sthele entered his third year of college as the Longhorns’ Sunday starter. Sthele was eventually moved to the bullpen and finished the season with a 5.75 ERA. After missing the 2021 season with an elbow injury, the San Antonio product appeared in 36 games for the Longhorns. Washington selected Sthele in the 12th round of the MLB Draft with the 345th overall pick.
Like Sthele, Zane Morehouse moved to the bullpen after starting this past season in UT’s weekend rotation. Morehouse finished the year with a team-high seven saves and seemingly found his groove in the postseason. Over five appearances and 14 1/3 innings in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments, Morehouse allowed just four earned runs.
A fifth-year right-hander, Morehouse was selected by Cleveland in the 14th round with the 428th overall pick.
Raised in California, catcher Garret Guillemette spent his first two years of college at USC. But he may be a Texan now. Guillemette transferred to Texas for the 2023 season and then hit .298 with a team-high 60 RBIs. One of his 11 homers was a memorable walk-off against Texas Tech. The Houston Astros then used the 464th overall pick in the 15th round on Guillemette.
Although he never played at Texas, Travis Sykora can still be counted among the Longhorns’ losses since he was a member of UT’s 2023 recruiting class. The talented pitcher from nearby Round Rock High signed with Washington after the Nationals made him the draft’s 71st overall pick. Sykora confirmed to the American-Statesman that he signed for $2.6 million.
Who is returning? For starters, two key pieces of UT’s pitching puzzle
Texas pitchers Lebarron Johnson, Jr., (8-4, 2.91 ERA in 2023) and Tanner Witt (2-1, 10.97) were both considered top-200 prospects by MLB.com. So was Will Gasparino, a high school outfielder that Texas had recruited out of California. All three players will be wearing UT uniforms in 2024.
Johnson and Gasparino went undrafted, but Baltimore took a shot at trying to entice Witt to go pro. But one day after the Orioles selected Witt in the 18th round, the pitcher tweeted that he had “unfinished business” at Texas. Witt missed most of the 2022 season after having Tommy John surgery, and he was unable to return to his pre-injury form over the six appearances that he made late in the 2023 season.
The return of Johnson and Witt gives Texas a solid foundation for its pitching plans. Gasparino should contend for playing time in an outfield that will now be missing Campbell and Eric Kennedy, a fifth-year stalwart who signed with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent.
Three undrafted veterans have also announced that they’ll be back at Texas next season. Left fielder Porter Brown, third baseman Peyton Powell and second baseman Jack O’Dowd combined to start in 184 games this spring. Brown was a unanimous selection to the Big 12’s all-conference team while Powell beat out Campbell for the team’s batting title.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Who is leaving, returning to Texas baseball team after draft deadline