It appears Coastal Carolina will have had the services of shortstop Jordan Gore, relief pitcher Will Latcham and second baseman Wood Myers for just one season each.
All three have a year of eligibility remaining after transferring to CCU but were selected Wednesday on the final day of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft.
The Chanticleers may never have the services of Carolina Forest High pitcher Bryar Johnson or catcher Logan White of Mountain Pointe High in Phoenix – commitments who were also drafted Wednesday – and a fourth year of work at CCU finally got pitcher Andrew Beckwith the call he had hoped would come a year ago.
Gore, a native and resident of Conway, was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 19th round with pick No. 556. Both Latcham and Myers were selected by the St. Louis Cardinals – Latcham in the 17th round with pick No. 514 and Myers in the 29th round with pick No. 874.
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Both Beckwith and Johnson were taken by the Kansas City Royals – Johnson in the 20th round with pick No. 600 and Beckwith in the 32nd round with pick No. 960 – and White was a 39th-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
CCU has had at least three players selected in one draft 10 times since 2002. The most is seven, and CCU has now had six players drafted in two consecutive years. On Tuesday, outfielder Billy Cooke was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the eighth round and pitcher Alex Cunningham was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the ninth round.
Glory be to God. I’m getting the opportunity I always wanted and I’m going to make the most of it.
CCU pitcher Andrew Beckwith
Gore transferred to Coastal Carolina from South Carolina, and in his one season with the Chants the switch-hitter batted .318 in 57 games with 69 hits, 12 doubles, three home runs, 29 RBI and 38 runs scored.
Gore planned to speak to a Twins representative Wednesday night about his next step. “I’m pretty sure I’m going [pro]. It’s about that time,” Gore said.
At Conway High, he had at least a .415 batting average in his final three seasons, including at least .480 in his final two years, and was rated the No. 7 high school draft prospect in South Carolina by Diamond Prospects.
He was not drafted, however. “If I would have gotten drafted out of high school it probably would have been as a pitcher,” Gore said. “I’m really glad I went the college route. I think it helped me a lot.”
In his two years at South Carolina he batted less than .260 in each season, and after sitting out the 2016 season at CCU per NCAA transfer rules he required Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in the spring of 2016.
Gore addressed what led to his success this season. “My work ethic, honestly,” he said. “I was young at USC. I got to learn from those guys last year in the offseason when no one was looking and I think that helped me. The guys that won the national championship, they set the bar so high and showed you what Coastal’s all about. They made you better, no doubt about it.”
Latcham is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound hard-throwing right-handed reliever from Briarcliffe, Pa. He pitched two seasons at Cumberland County College before transferring to CCU, and was named the No. 11 draft prospect in the Sun Belt Conference by D1Baseball.com prior to the start of the 2017 season. He led the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III with 128 strikeouts in 2016.
“It’s just a dream come true for me,” said Latcham, who said he plans to sign with the Cardinals. “I was disappointed I didn’t get drafted out of junior college but I got to go to my dream school and everything worked out. I emailed coach [Gary Gilmore] probably five times [in high school and junior college] before he even answered me.”
Latcham missed 25 of CCU’s first 35 games because of shoulder pain but finished the season strong, pitching in eight of the final 21 games while going 3-0 with two saves, a 1.04 ERA, 17 1/3 innings pitched, 11 hits, two earned runs, four walks, 22 strikeouts and a .183 opponent batting average.
For the season, he threw 25 2/3 innings in 14 appearances, allowing 16 hits, three earned runs and six walks with 29 strikeouts and a 1.05 ERA.
Myers is a left-handed batter who had Coastal’s second best average this season at .330. The Chapel Hill, N.C., native played two years at North Carolina, broke his leg ironically in a game against CCU as a sophomore, was granted a medical redshirt year and attended Chipola junior college in Florida in 2016.
In his one season with the Chants, Myers had 70 hits in 212 at-bats, 11 doubles, six homers, a triple, 43 RBI and 44 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 14 attempts. Myers could not be reached Wednesday.
Beckwith was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 College World Series to cap a tremendous junior season that included a 15-1 record and 1.85 ERA, yet he went undrafted last year.
In the College World Series, he was 3-0 with two complete games and a 0.76 ERA in 23 2/3 innings, and he went 5-0 with a 1.96 ERA in the 2016 postseason. But the World Series occurred after the draft.
“I kept telling myself after last year the draft is out of my control. I still believe that to this day,” Beckwith said.
Beckwith, who changes arm angles and speeds and expects to be a long reliever in pro baseball, went 8-2 with a 4.34 ERA this season, with three poor outings out of 20 appearances inflating his ERA. The Blythewood native was 32-9 with a 2.74 ERA in 102 appearances at CCU.
“Glory be to God. I’m getting the opportunity I always wanted and I’m going to make the most of it,” Beckwith said. “I’m very excited. I’ve waited my whole life for this. I didn’t think it would ever come true but I’m getting my opportunity.”
Jordan Gore’s CCU career
Wood Myers CCU career
Will Latcham’s CCU career
Andrew Beckwith’s CCU career