After the first 36 picks came and went on day one without any Wolfpack baseball players being taken, four representatives of the NC State program were selected on day two of the MLB draft. One notable exclusion from this bunch was sophomore catcher Luca Tresh, who remains undrafted heading into the final 10 rounds despite ranking as the No. 101 prospect in the draft.
Sophomore center fielder Tyler McDonough was the first to come off of the board, going in the third round to the Boston Red Sox with the 75th overall pick. McDonough slashed .339/.423/.631 in his sophomore season for the Pack, tying with Tresh for the team lead in home runs at 15.
McDonough projects to provide plenty of utility at the professional level, as his speed and glove play well in any spot in the outfield. Although the switch-hitter showed more aggression at the plate in 2021, he lacks big-league pop in his bat, prompting comparisons to Chicago White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton and Texas Rangers third baseman Brock Holt in the long term.
Just 14 picks in the third round, freshman shortstop Jose Torres was selected by the Cincinnati Reds with the 89th overall pick. As NC State’s highest-ranked prospect at No. 69 heading into the draft, Torres nicely showcased his smooth fielding abilities throughout the 2021 season such that scouts agree he is fit to play the position at the major league level, which is uncommon for college shortstops.
The main area of improvement for Torres is at the plate, where he is currently rated as below average both in hitting for contact and power. However, the Marylander showed some progress in that facet of his game this past season. Torres hit 10 home runs in his second season with the Wolfpack, including a go-ahead homer off of Arkansas righty and SEC Player of the year Kevin Kopps in the third game of the Fayetteville Super Regional to send NC State to the College World Series for the first time since 2013.
In the fourth round, the Colorado Rockies picked up junior left-handed pitcher Evan Justice with the 140th overall pick. The only Wolfpack pitcher selected on day two, Justice wields a quality fastball in the mid-90s as his primary pitch. Justice put his heater to good use in the 2021 postseason, posting a 2.08 ERA with 20 strikeouts in five NCAA tournament appearances.
Justice’s arsenal also includes a slider that clocks in in the low 80s, providing good contrast between that and his fastball. He will strictly remain a relief pitcher going forward, but a relief pitcher with good potential if he can produce in the professional ranks.
Although junior first baseman Austin Murr won the 2021 Rawlings Gold Glove Award at first base, he projects as an outfielder in the future. Taken in the sixth round by the Detroit Tigers with the 165th overall pick, Murr was the last Wolfpack player taken on day two, but his professional projection is still nothing to sneeze at.
The Minnesotan slashed .319/.376/.504 in 2021 for the Pack, showing good gap power with 16 doubles and three triples, that latter total tying with Torres for the team lead. With only one fewer at-bat than McDonough on the year, Murr was a stalwart in the Wolfpack lineup and could continue to play that role in pro ball for the Tigers organization.
The third and final day of the 2021 MLB draft will begin at noon on Tuesday, July 13. It will include the completion of rounds 11 through 20, with coverage streaming live on MLB.com.