While the NC State baseball season has ended, some of the players still have an important date coming up: the MLB draft from June 3-5. Junior shortstop Will Wilson will be the first Pack player off the board late in the first round.
Will Wilson, Shortstop
Wilson hit .335 this season with 16 home runs, 57 RBIs and a .661 slugging percentage. He led the team in home runs, doubles (20), total bases (146), batting average and slugging percentage. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year made just six errors heading into the NCAA Greenville Regional before making three errors in the first game.
The NCAA Greenville Regional -- talk about an anomaly for Wilson. In game one against Campbell, he faced MLB draft prospect Michael Horrell and went 0-4 with four strikeouts. In the field, he made three errors and probably wanted to forget any part of that game ever happened.
Game two against ECU’s top pitcher Jake Agnos wasn’t any more kind to the shortstop. He went 0-3 with a walk but again, it was a tough matchup and both games were against really good pitching. Despite the slow weekend, Wilson is still one of the best players in the country.
Listed as the 21st prospect for the 2019 MLB draft on MLB’s 2019 Prospect Watch list, he is almost certain to go in the first round. Picks 18-23 belong to the Pirates, Cardinals, Mariners, Braves, Rays and Rockies. He is the fourth highest ranked shortstop and the second highest shortstop out of college behind UNLV’s Bryson Stott.
Wilson’s description on MLB’s website has him at a 50 overall on the 20-80 scale. For reference, the top four projected picks are all listed at 60 overall. The bio recognizes his “surprising power” and reliable play on defense.
“Will Wilson is one of the best players in the country,” said Campbell head coach Justin Haire after the conclusion of the game with NC State in the Greenville Regional. “I’ve known Will for a long time. We recruited him hard… Will is a really good player and I’m sure he will bounce back. I’m sure he will feel really happy on Monday when his name is called pretty high.”
Evan Edwards, First Baseman
Senior first baseman Evan Edwards could be the next player chosen because of his pure power and plus defensive ability. Edwards hit 14 home runs (second to Wilson), had a .330 batting average (second to Wilson), 76 hits (second to freshman Tyler McDonough), 60 RBIs (led team), 139 total bases (second to Wilson), a .604 slugging percentage (second to Wilson) and a .455 on-base percentage (led team).
Just as important, Edwards started 61 of 61 games and didn’t make a single error all season. In fact, at times during the year, his defense was almost as impressive as his offense and it's hard to think of a time he didn’t make the tough play.
His NC State career is over, ending with a moonshot homer in his final NC State at-bat, but he will certainly be drafted on Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s most likely to see his name in the first ten rounds, probably late in the night on Tuesday where rounds 3-10 are drafted. Last season, Brett Kinneman went in the seventh round so expecting him to be somewhere around there is probably a safe bet.
After those two, it’s much more difficult to figure out who else will be called and when, but there are a number of players that have the opportunity to get a ring from an MLB club.
One of those guys is redshirt senior Nolan Clenney. The reliever posted a 2.25 ERA this year in 14 appearances and was one of the best options out of the bullpen early in the 2019 season. A later round, in the 20s or 30s, could be possible.
Redshirt sophomore Dalton Fenney is another guy in a similar position but he does have the choice to return to school. Feeney was used a little more than Clenney this year, collecting 23 appearances with a 1.86 ERA. Based on stats and the fact that he was drafted in the 40th round out of high school in 2016 by the Detroit Tigers, Feeney could be the first Pack pitcher drafted this year
Junior Kent Klyman presents an interesting case for a draftee and could be called based on his tools and size. The 6-foot-7 lefty had a dominant sophomore year with a 2.34 ERA in 61.2 innings and as a relief pitcher, 61 innings is insane. Only two Pack pitchers this year got to that number and they were both starters.
He took a step back this year with a 3.41 ERA in 29 innings but the talent is certainly still there. Along with Feeney, Klyman could go fairly early on Wednesday. Probably the last possible draftee is junior Jason Parker who had a good season in the Friday starting spot for NC State.
Parker finished the year with a 4.38 ERA in 16 starts and 76 innings pitched. He was much better at the beginning and middle of the season but still put together a good overall product for MLB teams to look at. Parker would go late on Wednesday, mid to late 30s.
The 2019 MLB draft starts Monday at 7 p.m. with the first two rounds on MLB Network and streaming on MLB.com. Rounds 3-10 are Tuesday at 1 p.m. and rounds 11-40 are Wednesday at noon.