Two Tennessee baseball pitchers and an incoming transfer pitcher were selected on the final day of the 2021 MLB Draft.
The Texas Rangers selected right handed pitcher Jackson Leath in the 12th round Tuesday.
Leath arrived in Knoxville as a junior college transfer in the fall of 2019 and impressed in his junior year before COVID-19 ended the season. The Texas native would have been one of the Vols’ best starters in 2021 but a serious hamstring tear ended his season in February.
Leath has top five round talent and could improve his stock with a strong final season. Still, it seems as if Leath will go ahead and begin his professional career.
The Philadelphia Phillies selected Missouri transfer Seth Halvorsen in the 19th round with the 565th pick of the draft. Halvorsen showed his big time stuff as Missouri’s Friday night starter last season but struggled with his command, posting a 4-3 record and 6.00 ERA.
Halvorsen still seems likely to come to Knoxville in the fall, as indicated by D1Baseball’s Kendall Rogers.
The last Vol selected was senior pitcher Sean Hunley. The Tampa Bay Rays selected the right handed reliever in the 19th round of the MLB Draft.
Hunley posted a 3.36 ERA in 72.1 innings pitched in his senior season, earning a team high nine saves.
Tennessee signee Chase Burns, who announced his intentions to enroll at Tennessee in the fall Monday, was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 20th round.
In total, Tennessee had seven current players drafted in the 20-round MLB Draft and four incoming recruits or transfers selected. The seven draft picks is Tennessee’s second most of all time and its most ever in the first 20 rounds.
Major Vol signees Seth Stephenson— junior college infielder— and Christian Moore—prep shortstop— were not selected and will enroll at Tennessee in the fall.
Current Tennessee players that weren’t selected included Camden Sewell, Evan Russell and Luc Lipcius.
The junior Sewell will likely be back at Tennessee and will have an excellent chance to improve his draft stock as a potential weekend starting pitcher.
Lipcius and Russell could both sign undrafted free agent contracts, or return for an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 relief.
Lipcius returning for an extra season would be surprising since he’s already spent five years in Knoxville and his twin brother left school following the 2019 season. Russell mentioned during the College World Series that he may take advantage of his extra season of eligibility.
All draft picks will have until August 1 to sign with the team who selected them.