The 2023 MLB Draft starts Sunday, and Clemson baseball could see several players — both current and future — go pro.
Rounds 1 and 2 begin at 7 pm ET Sunday, with Rounds 3-20 set for Monday and Tuesday. Round 1 will air on ESPN, with Round 2 on MLB Network and ESPN+.
Here’s what to know about the Clemson players and commits who could be selected in the 20-round draft.
Caden Grice could go Day 1
Pitcher and first baseman Caden Grice had a breakout season in 2023 as both a starting pitcher and an everyday hitter. Grice led the Tigers’ weekend rotation with a 3.35 ERA and 8-1 record in 14 starts. He struck out a team-high 101 with an opponent batting average of .196 in his first season as a weekend starter.
At the plate, Grice led Clemson in home runs (18) while hitting .307 and slugging .618. He won the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award as the nation’s top two-way player at the end of the season.
It’s unclear whether Grice will be a pitcher or a hitter in the pros, and it might depend which team drafts him. Grice is the No. 124 prospects in the draft according to Baseball America and No. 118 according to MLB Pipeline. He could go as early as Round 2 on Sunday. He could elect to return to Clemson and try to move up in the 2024 draft, but college prospects lose leverage — and thus money — when drafted without remaining college eligibility.
Clemson commits to watch
Two Clemson commits are consistently rated among the top prospects in the draft: Outfielder Dillon Head and shortstop Sammy Stafura. If drafted high, they might choose not to come to Clemson.
Head, a left-handed hitter from Illinois, is ranked No. 27 by MLB Pipeline and No. 34 by Baseball America. MLB.com’s Jim Callis has Head going No. 34 in the supplementary first round to the Minnesota Twins in his most recent mock draft.
New York native Stafura comes in at No. 32 in MLB Pipeline’s rankings and No. 39 in Baseball America’s. Callis’ mock draft has him at No. 26 to the Yankees.
Another commit to watch is right-handed pitcher Aidan Knaak out of Florida. He’s a top-200 prospect, but not as highly ranked as Stafura or Head. Shortstops Tryston McCladdie and Jarren Purify are ranked among Baseball America’s top 400 prospects.
In addition to Grice, two other Clemson players who just finished their junior seasons could be selected: Infielder Blake Wright and catcher Cooper Ingle. Both could be selected in the middle to late rounds and either sign a contract or return.
Ingle was Clemson’s third-best hitter in terms of average (.328). Baseball America has him as a top-200 player, and MLB Pipeline has him at No. 232.
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Wright slashed .250/.326/.401 this season while starting primarily at third base. Baseball America ranks him No. 293 and lists him as a shortstop prospect.
Some of Clemson’s other draft-eligible starters from this season include redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Ryan Ammons, graduate infielder Benjamin Blackwell, graduate infielder Riley Bertram and graduate outfielder Tyler Corbitt.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: What to know about Clemson baseball’s 2023 MLB Draft prospects