For the second consecutive year, USC Aiken’s baseball program has developed a 10th-round draft pick.
Pacers reliever Taylor Grover was the seventh pick of the 10th round in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Friday, going to the Boston Red Sox.
USC Aiken second baseman Stephen Carmon also went with the seventh pick in the 10th round in 2012 to the San Diego Padres.
“I think it does a lot for our program,” USC Aiken head coach Kenny Thomas said. “Two years in a row having a 10th-rounder is an accomplishment.
“It’s exciting for him, and I think it’s well deserved. I think he’s got to make a decision. If he chooses to sign, I think he’ll do a great job.”
The 6-foot-3 reliever wasn’t on many radars out of Midland Valley High School, but Thomas said he saw potential in the right-hander.
After combining on 39 appearances out of the bullpen between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Grover turned a corner with 31 appearances over 291/3 innings in 2013. Grover had a 0.92 ERA with 37 strikeouts, recording 11 saves and was named to the Division II third-team All-American.
Thomas described Grover as a “self-made guy,” coming to the park early and working on improving every day. Thomas said he made and developed himself into a prospect.
“I truly love the game,” Grover said. “Like I told my family, it’s literally what I want to do with life. I told myself I wasn’t having regrets. I worked my butt off, and I’ll keep doing it now.”
Grover throws a mid-90s fastball with a hard slider that Thomas described as “nasty.” If Grover signs, he will likely remain in the bullpen.
“I know (the Red Sox) have been hot on me,” Grover said. “I spoke with their scout many times, and they seemed to really like me. I know they were pushing hard for me. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the organization.”