Being drafted wasn’t even a consideration for Seth Lancaster following his junior season in 2017.
Besides, he had other matters that were more pressing.
After batting .326 as a sophomore to help Coastal Carolina reach the College World Series in 2016, Lancaster had a right eye injury that led to a .250 average as a junior and threatened his future in baseball.
Lasik eye surgery last July cured his eye issue, allowing the graduated senior to have one of the better offensive seasons in the country and again become a pro prospect.
Lancaster was the first member of the 2018 Coastal Carolina team to be taken in the Major League Baseball Draft on Tuesday, selected with the third pick of the eighth round – No. 227 overall – by the Philadelphia Phillies.
“It’s an exciting time in my life. I’m looking forward to it,” said the Hanahan native. “I was just hoping to get the chance to play. I’m happy wherever I went.”
Georgetown native Kevin Woodall Jr., another graduated senior, was the second Chant to go as a 10th-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals at No. 303 overall.
The first 10 rounds of the draft were held Monday and Tuesday, and more Chants are likely to go in the final 30 rounds on Wednesday.
Lancaster, an infielder who played second, third and shortstop over the past three seasons – shortstop this past season – batted .305 in 62 games in 2018 with 69 hits, 20 home runs, 17 doubles, 57 RBI, 81 runs scored, 63 walks and 23 stolen bases in 27 attempts. He also had a team-high .454 on-base percentage.
He helped Coastal (43-19) win the Sun Belt Conference regular-season and tournament titles and host the NCAA Conway Regional as the No. 15 overall national seed. CCU lost to Washington on Saturday and UConn on Sunday to bow out of the regional.
“I was just proud to be a leader on the team and help us host the first regional at the new stadium,” Lancaster said. “I tried to come to work every day and do what I was supposed to do and I think I did a pretty good job of that.”
Lancaster, who is listed at 6-1, 210, finished his season as the only player ranked in the top 10 in NCAA Division I in home runs and in the top five in walks drawn and runs scored. He was also in the top 35 nationally in slugging percentage and total bases.
Lancaster was following the draft at a house with 2018 teammates Kevin Woodall Jr., Matt Beaird and Cameron Pearcey.
“A more fitting ending would have been for us to go a little further in the tournament, but when I got the call I had a bunch of teammates around me,” Lancaster said. “Keeping relationships with my teammates will be something that I make a priority. I made some of my best friends while I was here and I don’t plan on losing touch with them anytime soon.”
Lancaster’s selection at No. 227 has an assigned value by MLB of $180,600. He leaves Saturday to sign his contract in Clearwater, Fla., and he’ll likely either start his pro career there in a rookie league with the Gulf Coast League Phillies or be assigned to the Class A Short Season Williamsport (Pa.) Crosscutters.
A second consecutive season with impressive power numbers led to Woodall being drafted after being overlooked by MLB teams following his junior season.
After leading the Sun Belt Conference with both 18 home runs and 60 RBI as junior, Woodall improved on those numbers with 19 homers and 62 RBI in 2018. He also batted .298 in 62 games as a senior with 73 hits, 71 runs scored, nine doubles, a triple and 44 walks.
His home runs and runs scored ranked in the top 10 in the country, and his RBI ranked near the top 30. Woodall also made just three errors at first base in 478 chances.
Woodall’s No. 303 selection has an assigned value of $138,600. St. Louis’ rookie ball team is in Johnson City, Tenn., and its short season Class A team is the College Station (Pa.) Spikes, which is owned by Greenberg Sports Group, which also owns the Advanced-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty was the first Sun Belt player taken at No. 10 by the Pittsburgh Pirates.