Late Thursday night, Clemson ace right-hander Daniel Gossett got a call and a question – one, he’s been ready to hear for a long time.
“I got a call about the 63rd pick and they said, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about taking you,’” Gossett recalled during a media blitz Friday afternoon in Clemson. “’What do you think about that?' I said, ‘Heck yeah man, let’s go.’”
On the other end of the line? The Oakland Athletics, picking at No. 65 – boasting a record currently second only to their Bay Area counterparts (the San Francisco Giants).
“You get that one call and you never know if you’ll actually get picked until your name pops up,” he said. “To see my name pop up was surreal – just a rush of emotion I can’t describe what I felt.”
And then his phone started buzzing and buzzing and buzzing with congratulatory texts for what he says was a solid two and a half minutes at one point.
“It’s kinda crazy,” Gossett said, “but it’s awesome to know you have that many people out there that care about you. It was great to hear from everybody. The support is fantastic.”
Oakland paces MLB with a 2.90 team ERA, posting a league-best .222 opposing average. Gossett says it’s an “ideal” landing spot.
“All I’ve heard over the past couple days is they’ve been just filing out good pitching over the last 10 years,” Gossett said. “That just looks like another blessing to be a part of another organization that is wheeling out good pitching. I hope to take advantage of that.”
He comes from a school that’s produced seven big leaguers in the last 10 drafts.
"We like a lot about him," scouting director Eric Kubota said in his breakdown on the A’s official site. "He's a proven college performer. He's got a fastball that's from 92 to 94. He throws strikes. He's got the makings of an out-pitch breaking ball and a very good changeup. He's a very athletic kid."
The projected slot value at pick 65 is $873,300, and as a junior, he has the leverage of using his final year of eligibility in TigerTown. The margin of error would be thin, however, as just one college senior went in Thursday’s first 74 picks (Maryland RHP Jake Stinnett, 45th in the second round).
“(Clemson is the) greatest experience I’ve ever been a part of,” Gossett said. “Being able to come here and be a part of this famous and nationally renown baseball program. Hall of fame coach and being able to be a part of that and pick their minds and gain experiences and gain friends. It’s unreal. I’m so thankful and so honored and so blessed to be a part of this baseball program.”
Clemson seniors Steve Wilkerson (2B, 8th round, Baltimore Orioles) and Matt Campbell (RP, ninth round, L.A. Dodgers) joined him in the bigs on day two. Wilkerson slipped out of the draft as a junior – the switch-hitter recovering to lead the Tigers in extra-base hits (25) and RBI (42). Campbell had a team-best 0.84 ERA this season, amassing the third-most saves in school history (19) with a 11.1 strikeout per nine innings average over his career.
Earlier Friday, a second signee went in the first 100 picks in Salisbury School (Conn.) right-hander Austin DeCarr in the third round and No. 91 overall to the New York Yankees. Like first-round pick infielder and Clemson signee Michael Chavis to the Red Sox, money is rarely an object for the Bronx Bombers in wooing prospects to an early pro career. DeCarr wasn’t leaning either way publicly going in.
"It's nice to be able to have those options," DeCarr told the Boston Herald. "Playing professional baseball has been something I've wanted to do since I was a kid. If things don't work out there, I'll get a chance to play at a great school."
The draft concludes on Saturday with rounds 11 through 40 starting at 1 p.m.