BLACKSBURG – On Day 2 of the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, a pair of Virginia Tech players – pitcher Ian Seymour and catcher Carson Taylor – were picked, extending the Hokies’ streak of at least two players selected in the MLB draft to 12 consecutive years. It also marks the first time in school history that two Hokies were taken within the top four rounds of the same draft.
Seymour, a junior southpaw from Westborough, Massachusetts, was taken with pick No. 57 of the second round by the Tampa Bay Rays. He became Tech’s highest drafted player since lefty pitcher Joe Saunders was the No. 12 overall pick of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels. He’s now also the seventh-highest draft choice ever at the school. In its history, the Rays have only chosen one other Virginia Tech player – pitcher Jesse Hahn with pick No. 191 in round six of the 2010 MLB Draft.
Taylor, a sophomore from Duluth, Georgia, was selected with pick No. 130 in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is now the 12th highest Tech player taken and the first catcher since Mark Zagunis (2014, Chicago Cubs, 78th), who was later converted to an outfielder. The Dodgers have taken four players now in its draft history, including Franklin Stubbs (1982, 19th), Steve Domecus (2010, 292nd) and Saige Jenco (2016, 731st).
In Tech’s history in the draft, three times there’s been three or more Hokies taken in the Top 10 rounds (1982, 3; 2010, 4; 2013, 3), but two Hokies had never before been taken in the Top 5 rounds. Stubbs and Brian Rupe (1982, seventh round, pick 162) are still the two highest Tech draft selections combined by pick (181), while in 2010, Austin Wates (third, 90) and Hahn were the earliest, by rounds, before this year’s draft.
SEYMOUR – During the 2020 season, he was closing in on 200 career strikeouts (191 when year ended) and was on pace to challenge the school record for most strikeouts in a three-year career at the school held by Saunders (2000-02), who ended with 255.
He was the first pitcher at Tech, since Saunders, to post four career games with 10 or more strikeouts, which included setting the school record for most strikeouts in an ACC regular-season game. At No. 29 Georgia Tech on March 8, Seymour struck out 14 Yellow Jackets over six innings of work.
A 2020 NCAA Division I Third Team All-American, Seymour was twice named a Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week (Feb. 24 & March 9), while starting all four games he appeared in, which was tied for the most on the team, and recorded a team-best two quality starts.
He finished with a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched and struck out a team-high 40 batters, while walking just five. He posted a 3-0 record, which led the team in wins, and combined on one shutout – at Louisiana (Feb. 23) after tossing the first six frames.
Seymour struck out at least six batters in all four outings, leading the team, which also included 11 Ragin’ Cajuns in a game at Lafayette. He struck out the side six times during the year and held opponents to a .181 batting average, second-best on the team among pitchers with at least 4.0 innings thrown.
He had a total of 16 scoreless innings, including a 11.1 consecutive, and also threw eight perfect frames (first) and, at one point, retired 10 straight batters (first). In the NCAA, he finished the year ranked in six categories – fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (17.70), 18th in strikeouts, 23rd in wins, tied for 29th in starts, 51st in strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.00) and 101st in WHIP (0.89).
TAYLOR – He was one of four Hokies to start all 16 games in 2020 and led team in almost every offensive category while finishing ranked in the NCAA in 13 categories. During the season, had a team-best seven multi-hit games, including two with four, added a team-high four multi-RBI games, including a career-high five, and led the team with five multi-run scoring games, scoring a career-high tying four times once.
Also, a 2020 NCAA Division I Third Team All-American, he ended the season on a career-best six-game hitting streak, as he raised his batting average from .364 to .431. In fact, Taylor entered the Bryant series with a .308 batting average and raised it 123 points over the last nine games of the year. He also reached base in the last 12 games played.
Taylor led the team with a .431 batting average, 25 hits, seven doubles, one triple (T-1st) and hit two home runs (second) for a team-best 40 total bases and a .690 slugging percentage. He added team-highs with 19 runs scored, 20 RBI, and 12 walks, one was intentional. He was hit by three pitches (T-1st) for a team-best .541 on-base percentage, hit one sacrifice fly and was 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts.
He scored a team-high four game-winning runs and tied for the team-best with two game-winning RBI. In the field, he did not commit an error in 137 chances for a 1.000 fielding percentage and threw out two base stealers. Also, just before the season ended, Taylor was named to teh 2020 Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List.
In the final NCAA rankings, he was 27th in on-base percentage, 32nd in batting average, 34th in doubles, 35th in RBI, 37th in RBI per game (1.25), 45th in runs per game (1.19), 49th in runs, 50th in hits, 59th in doubles per game (0.44), 64th in slugging percentage, 69th in hits per game (1.56), 70th in total bases and 81st in toughest to strikeout (11.6 per at-bat, just five times).
Tech’s string of 12 straight years with multiple choices in the MLB draft is the longest stretch ever in program history. The longest prior to the current streak was a pair of three straight drafts with at least two picks – the 1981 through 1983 drafts and the 1988 through 1990 drafts.
In all, Tech has had multiple players chosen in 27 of the 56 years of the draft. Also, during its current run (since 2009), the Hokies have seen 33 different players chosen in the draft with 26 of them never being drafted prior to their arrival in Blacksburg, including both Seymour and Taylor.
In the 56 years of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, 81 Hokies have been chosen a total of 108 times, while overall, Tech has had 118 total draft choices. For more information on the Hokies’ history in the draft, CLICK HERE.