Like so many draft hopefuls Wednesday night as they watch the MLB Draft, Clemson pitcher Sam Weatherly wishes he were finishing up practice in Omaha and getting ready for the College World Series.
But he isn’t.
Instead, he is sitting by his television at home watching the draft play out.
“It is definitely different from what Logan [Davidson] and Seth [Beer] have gone through,” Weatherly told The Clemson Insider on Wednesday. “They were worried about trying to get us to Omaha and trying to win regionals and get to a Super Regional and everything. Unfortunately, our season was cut short. Of course, I would like to be playing in Omaha right now, but that is not the case.”
Clemson has not played since it came back and beat Winthrop, 3-2, in 11 innings on March 11. Weatherly actually has not played since he stepped on the rubber against Boston College on March 6.
The lefty is not expected to be drafted in the first round on Wednesday, but he does expect to go somewhere in the final four rounds on Thursday. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MLB Draft is only five rounds this year instead of 40.
Draft experts think Weatherly will go in the second round or no later than the third on Thursday. He is the only current Clemson player expected to be drafted.
“I have heard that I am in a good place and that I am in a good position to be selected within the five rounds of the draft this year,” Weatherly said.
Weatherly was off to a potential All-ACC caliber season when he started the 2020 season 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA in four starts. His best game came in Columbia on Feb. 28, when he no-hit rival South Carolina through seven innings of work in Clemson’s 7-1 victory.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound junior had 11 strikeouts in the win.
Weatherly also had 14 strikeouts and allowed just two hits in six innings of work while earning the win over Stony Brook on Feb. 21.
“It is every ballplayers dream to be drafted,” Weatherly said. “Everybody wants to play baseball and then eventually play for money and hopefully have a very successful Big-League career. That has been something that I have dreamed of since I was a little kid.
“It seriously is a dream come true, to be able to go through this whole process with my family and everyone and just seeing how it all plays out. It really is just kind of a dream come true.”
Like Weatherly indicated, the draft process was different for him than those that came before him. Because of the pandemic, Clemson’s season was cut short. He only got four starts, where normally a weekend pitcher could get 14 starts in the regular season, plus, in a Clemson pitcher’s case, at least two more in the postseason.
The Tigers have made the NCAA Tournament every year but one since 1987 and is the only original charter member of the ACC to qualify for the ACC Baseball Tournament every year.
In other words, scouts did not see Weatherly pitch a lot in person. Then MLB banned scouts and GMs from interviewing players in person and holding in-person workouts.
“It has hurt from an aspect where they do not get to know me as well. But, at the same time, I have also been doing a lot of Zoom meetings with teams,” Weatherly said. “I have been meeting with a lot of the higher-up guys from the front office of teams, which has been nice. That is something you usually do not get to do because, usually, you are playing. Usually, you are playing, and you are in the playoffs. You really don’t get to talk to a whole bunch of GMs and scouting directors and people like that, so I have actually had the opportunity to talk with a lot of the guys that are higher up in the scouting departments and in the front offices, which has been cool.”
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