08 Jun

box of chocolates

The crop of players harvested out of Mississippi in the 2013 major league draft, conducted 10 years ago this week, proved quite fruitful. Of the 10 players drafted out of the state in the first 10 rounds that year, nine made the majors and five of those are still playing. That’s pretty impressive. Hunter Renfroe, the 13th overall pick from Mississippi State, now mans right field for the Los Angeles Angels. Tim Anderson, chosen 17th overall from East Central Community College, is an All-Star shortstop for the Chicago White Sox. Mike Mayers (third round, Ole Miss), Adam Frazier (sixth round, MSU) and Kendall Graveman (eighth round, MSU) are currently in The Show. Cody Reed (Northwest CC), Stuart Turner (UM), Bobby Wahl (UM) and Chad Girodo (MSU) also logged big league time. The only one who didn’t get that far was Andrew Pierce, a Southern Miss pitcher drafted in Round 9 by St. Louis. Picked in the third round that year was JaCoby Jones, a Richton High product who was drafted out of LSU and made the big leagues. Quite a few others were picked from Mississippi schools over the 40 rounds, but none made The Show. Overall, that 2013 draft did not produce a bevy of big league stars. Kris Bryant was the second overall pick and Aaron Judge was the 32nd. (Yes, 32nd.) Devin Williams, Cody Bellinger, Jeff McNeil, J.P. Crawford and Jon Gray are among the others from that draft who’ve had some notable MLB success, but that list isn’t very long. The draft is very much like the proverbial box of chocolates. We are about a month out from the 2023 draft, and there are seven current Mississippi players in MLB Pipeline’s latest Top 200 prospects. Ole Miss’ Jacob Gonzalez is No. 15 (down from No. 8 in April), Magnolia Heights’ Cooper Pratt No. 43, MSU’s Colton Ledbetter No. 48, Kemp Alderman — the Ferriss Trophy winner from UM — No. 62, USM’s Tanner Hall No. 92, UM’s Calvin Harris No. 132 and Oxford High’s Campbell Smithwick No. 155. Former USM pitcher Hurston Waldrep, now at Florida, is No. 20. Those rankings are no predictor of where the players might be drafted — or what kind of impact they might have in pro ball. As Billy Beane points out in “Moneyball,” scouts will say they know — but they don’t.

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