In 50 years of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, 15 local players had been selected directly out of high school.
Dylan Thompson is thrilled to be No. 16.
The Socastee pitcher and Coastal Carolina signee was picked in the fourth round by the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, the 125th overall name called in the 2015 draft.
“It was breathtaking. It was unbelievable,” Thompson said. “I don’t say all the work’s done. It’s just the beginning. But it felt great, that’s undeniable.”
In that same realm is the decision he must make in the next two months. The first Socastee player ever selected out of high school, Thompson and his family will now have to decide between a path straight to professional baseball or college. Thompson, who signed with Coastal Carolina in November, verbally committed to the Chanticleers in September of 2013. He never wavered off that pledge, saying all along that he was sticking with coach Gary Gilmore’s program.
However, he has much more to think about now. The 125th pick in the Major League Baseball draft commands a $448,000 slotted signing bonus, in addition to salary and other potential revenue streams. Thompson has until 11:59 p.m. on August 15 to make a formal decision.
“With where he went and the opportunity, I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t [sign],” Gilmore said. “That was his goal to be in that area [of the draft] and I feel for sure that he’ll move in that direction. He knows he has a home if he chooses to go a different way, but I feel for sure that was what his goal was to go early like that. I feel for sure he’ll take it.”
Said Thompson: “Nothing’s concrete. I’m on the fence. I still need to talk to my family. I still have a little while. Right now, I’m just kind of enjoying the moment.”
It’s one that came about after the 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-hander shot up the various projections and scouts’ pecking order throughout another spectacular season. As a senior, he was 5-1 with a 1.28 ERA while striking out 58 batters in 43 2/3 innings. He gave up just eight earned runs and was named to the Class AAAA All-State teams and this week’s N.C.-S.C. Select series.
He was also 5-1 with a 1.75 ERA as a junior and 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA during his sophomore season. Between the three years, he struck out 173 opposing hitters.
While he played shortstop and was consistently among Socastee’s top hitters, it was his continued development on the mound that made him so attractive to major league clubs. He already throws a fastball in the low 90s, a change-up, curve, slider and cutter.
“Heck, with DT, you just have to be so happy for him and his family. They’re awesome people, an awesome family,” Gilmore said. “It’s a dream come true to get drafted period, let alone be a significant draft pick for an organization. Hopefully, that young man will stay healthy and we’ll all see him in the big leagues one day.”
Thompson is the second-highest local player ever drafted straight out of high school. Last year, Conway pitcher Grant Holmes became the area’s first ever first-round draft pick.
In addition to Holmes, only three others had been picked up in the first 10 rounds – Kevin Woodall, Sr. (Georgetown, 1990), Jimmy Hickman (Loris, 1975) and Richard Rowe (Georgetown, 1969).
Thompson, through his success so far, has now added his name to the list. He’s done it while continuing his same quiet demeanor.
“If he was just walking around, you wouldn’t know any of this is going on,” Socastee Athletics Director Tim Renfrow said. “… He had a lot of people talking to him. Kids handle that differently.
“I think he’s very talented and has been. He’s going to get better and better – he’s going to get bigger and stronger. I’ve watched him since Little League. Those scouts saw something and can make him into a very good baseball player.”
Staff writer Ryan Young contributed to this report.
Contact IAN GUERIN at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grand Strand high school Major League Draft picks since 2000:
Player, School, Position, Year, Round
▪ Dylan Thompson, SOC, P, 2015, 4
▪ Grant Holmes, CON, P, 2014, 1
▪ Erich Knab, CF, P, 2012, 13
▪ Tanner English, STJ, OF, 2011, 13
▪ Paul Faulk, NMB, OF, 2009, 38
▪ Colby Holmes, CON, P, 2009, 47
▪ Ben Henry, LOR, P, 2007, 16
▪ Todd McCraw, STJ, C, 2006, 41
▪ Forrest Beverly, CON, P, 2002, 17
▪ Jason Farrand, CON, C, 2002, 50
▪ Paul Hazeres, CF, P, 2001, 39
▪ Jason Bellamy, CON, P, 1998, 14
▪ Kevin Woodall, GT, SS, 1990, 6
▪ Sean Hardwick, NMB, P, 1989, 34
▪ Jimmy Hickman, LOR, OF, 1975, 9
▪ Richard Rowe, GT, SS, 1969, 9
▪ Source: According to Baseball-Reference.com