Coastal Carolina had its third and fourth players taken in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft on Wednesday, as well as an incoming recruit.
Graduated senior catcher Matt Beaird was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 36th round with the 1,075th pick, and junior starting pitcher Jason Bilous was selected in the 13th round (378th overall) by the Chicago White Sox, and said he will forego his senior season with the Chanticleers to pitch professionally.
It’s the second time the Wilmington, Del., native has been drafted. Bilous was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 29th round (882nd overall) out of Caravel Academy in Wilmington despite not pitching during his senior season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2014.
“It’s great. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of since all the way back in high school when I was drafted by the Dodgers,” Bilous said. “These past three years it’s always been in the back of my mind, and for it to finally come true is a dream come true.”
Bilous threw 180 2/3 innings in 45 career appearances at CCU, going 13-6 with a 4.28 earned-run average and striking out 212 while walking 143 and allowing 152 hits. He said he believes his three seasons at CCU have better prepared him for pro ball.
“It has definitely matured me,” Bilous said. “Coming from high school, jumping straight into pro ball after getting hurt [would have been difficult]. Being able to come to Coastal Carolina and slowly get better and face that next level of competition before jumping into pro ball has taught me pretty much everything. I matured a lot and I’m definitely ready for the thrill of pro ball and every day grind of pro ball.”
The 6-2, 190-pound righthander was ranked among the top 200 draft prospects by MLB.com and his fastball has hit the mid- to high-90s on the radar gun. His potential wasn’t entirely realized in college because of control issues.
This past season, he was 7-3 in 16 starts with a 4.00 ERA, 105 strikeouts, 66 walks and 61 hits allowed in 83 1/3 innings, placing him in the top 25 in the nation in fewest hits allowed per nine innings. Opponents batted just .210 against him, and he also threw seven wild pitches and hit 19 batters. He believes his command of the strike zone improved later in the season and will continue to improve on the pro level.
“I do not have too much concern for that,” said Bilous, who said he also looked forward to calling his own game with a catcher rather than having a college coach call pitches. “Toward the end of the season I started figuring out the command and the walks went down. I’ll continue improving on that.”
Before attending Coastal, Bilous was named the top 2015 prospect from Delaware and a Third Team All-America by PerfectGame.org, and was named the “Best Baseball Player from Delaware” by MaxPreps.com.
Entering 2018, Bilous was ranked 57th by D1Baseball.com on is top 100 college prospects list, and prior to 2017, D1Baseball tabbed Bilous the No. 1 pro prospect in the Sun Belt Conference for the 2018 draft.
Bilous is headed to Arizona on Thursday to sign a contract and will likely be assigned to one of the White Sox’s rookie ball teams in Montana, Arizona or the Dominican Republic.
“I know the White Sox have a really good development program thoughout the minor league system so I couldn’t ask for more than that,” Bilous said.
Beaird is at least as valuable defensively as he is offensively. He threw out 23 of 37 runners attempting to steal for a 62.2 caught-stealing percentage this season, and also picked off six runners – three at first and three at second. He owns the CCU record for throwing out runners with 45, breaking Tucker Frawley’s mark of 42. Beaird had 48 assists and just one error in 2018.
At the plate, the lefthander batter hit .252 this past season with 12 doubles, two home runs, 23 RBI and 24 runs scored in 155 at-bats.
Incoming CCU freshman signee Garrett McDaniels of Nichols and Pee Dee Academy in Mullins was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 30th round with the 897th overall pick.
The 6-2, 170-pounder has a fastball that is generally between 86 and 92 mph with sink from a three-quarter arm slot, according to MLB.com, as well as a good curveball and a changeup. He was a two-way player for the 2017 SCISA Class 2A state championship team, and was ranked among the top 100 draft prospects by MLB.com.
Since 2005, 57 Chanticleers have been drafted, including 16 over the past three seasons, and at least five players have been selected in a single draft seven times since '05. On Tuesday, senior Seth Lancaster was taken in the eighth round by Philadelphia and senior Kevin Woodall Jr. of Georgetown was taken in the 10th round by St. Louis.
With the Lancaster and Woodall selections, a CCU player has been taken within the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft for 11 consecutive seasons, totaling 20 players in the first 10 rounds in that time.