Wolf, Bergert, Carr lead list of baseball draftees
The player receiving the best news and the largest bonus if he signs a professional contract is WVU’s tall left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf. Wolf was selected in the fourth round by San Diego after displaying his strikeout talents in both the virus-shortened 2020 season and in 2021.
Wolf had a 6-5 record in 89 innings pitched in 2021. He had wins over Texas in his final two starts of the season, which saw him strike out 104 in those 89 innings. His ERA was 3.03. In the curtailed 2020 season, Wolf showed a 3-1 record with a sharp 1.05 ERA. The Ghana, Ohio, native is 6-foot-7 and would command a useful bonus if he signs a professional contract.
Ryan Bergert, who enjoyed a very successful freshman season in 2019, was a sixth round selection of San Diego. He could return to WVU and pitch again in the 2022 season if he doesn’t sign a professional contract.
Bergert was very successful — especially for a freshman — in 2019, when he showed a 2-0 record and a sparkling 1.85 ERA as the Mountaineers earned a berth in the NCAA tournament and actually hosted one of the 16 Regionals.
Last year, he posted a 2-1 record and 2.92 ERA in the bob-tailed season.
During the off-season, Bergert had an operation that idled him for the entire 2021 season. He hasn’t pitched since the spring of 2020. Should he decide to forego any remaining college eligibility, his position in the draft should also allow him to sign a contract that would give him an advantage over any players taken by the Padres in later rounds.
The third day of the 2021 draft saw two WVU pitchers selected — Madison Jeffrey in the 15th round by the Dodgers and Adam Tulloch in the 17th round by the Dodgers.
Jeffrey pitched in high school for Cabell Midland before landing in Morgantown. He is currently on the roster of the West Virginia Black Bears, who play in Morgantown as one of six teams in the Draft League and managed by former Mountaineer Jedd Gyorko.
Jeffrey had a 2-2 record in 2021 for the Mountaineers and finished with a 6.75 ERA. If he signs, he will likely report to a Low A league, Rookie League or even to spring training in 2022.
As a 17th round pick, Tulloch has a very steep road to the major leagues. His bonus would be miniscule if he received one. In 2021 for the Mountaineers, his record was 0-4 and his ERA was 6.27.
Shepherd outfielder Jared Carr was taken in the 13th round by Philadelphia. His best season with the Rams came in 2019 when he hit a robust .428 (86-for-201) with six homers, 37 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 14 tries.
In the virus-shortened 2020 season, the St. James School graduate batted .318 (21-for-66) before playing his second season that summer in the Coastal Plain League, a league for players with remaining collegiate eligibility.
As a senior in 2021, Carr finished his final Shepherd season with a .375 batting average and a team-leading 11 home runs. He was successful on 25-of-30 stolen base attempts and drove in 41 runs.
With the 2021 professional season moving swiftly to its end-of-August conclusion, Carr could possibly be assigned to the Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League, the Lakewood (N.J.) Blue Claws of the South Atlantic League or the Gulf Coast League Phillies in a Rookie League.
Carr should command some bonus money, but has little leverage since he has expended his collegiate eligibility.
Wolf, Bergert and Carr would seem to have the least-cluttered paths in professional baseball toward a reward in the big leagues. But health, injury-free seasons and performance (statistics) will eventually determine where they go and how high they can soar on baseball’s flight path.