Texas head coach David Pierce talks to players during the first baseball practice of the year on Jan. 24, 2020 in Austin. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Baseball

David Pierce on 2020 recruits: ‘We definitely held on to a few that will compete for roles right away’

Posted July 3rd, 2020

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Story highlights
  • Four high school recruits who had signed with UT were drafted last month. All four players signed.
  • In November, Baseball America ranked Texas' 2020 recruiting class as the best in the NCAA.
  • Houston Episcopal RHP/INF Tanner Witt is among the Texas signees who will make it to campus.

On Friday, Petey Halpin chose the Cleveland Indians over the Texas Longhorns.

A California-raised outfielder who signed with Texas this past fall, Halpin headed into the holiday weekend with a $1.53 million signing bonus after agreeing to a deal with Cleveland. Halpin and fellow Longhorn recruits Carson Tucker, Jared Jones and Jared Kelley were each taken in last month’s MLB draft. Each player has now signed and therefore turned down a chance to play at Texas.

Cleveland used first- and third-round picks on Tucker and Halpin. Jones and Kelley were chosen within four picks of each other in the second round. According to MLB.com, three of the ex-Texas recruits signed for more than their projected slot value.

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Texas recruits in the 2020 MLB Draft

   Signing bonusSlot value
SS Carson TuckerCleveland1st round (23rd overall)$2.0 million$2.93 million
RHP Jared JonesPittsburgh2nd round (44th overall)$2.2 million$1.69 million
RHP Jared KelleyChicago White Sox2nd round (47th overall)$3.0 million$1.58 million
OF Petey HalpinCleveland3rd round (95th overall)$1.53 million$610,800

This quartet of draftees had previously belonged to a 2020 recruiting class at Texas that was rated by Baseball America as the nation’s best. Texas did not expect to hold onto all of its signees, though. In fact, UT coach David Pierce had braced for the drafting of a half-dozen of his recruits.

Houston Episcopal pitcher Tanner Witt, however, was among the promising prospects who was not drafted. He will join eight other incoming freshmen at Texas this fall. Ivan Melendez, an infielder from Odessa College, was also signed in November.

On Friday, Pierce was still pleased with his recruiting haul:

Recruiting never stops and we put ourselves in a positive position with the 2020 class. We will always take some chances on the best players in the country because if you don’t you’ll never get any of them. We definitely held on to a few that will compete for roles right away. The key for us is to not have an entire class of first round picks. Our class has immediate impact arms, speed and some power. I love the balance and the makeup that we are already witnessing from this group.”

Former UTSA pitcher Palmer Wenzel announced this spring that he plans on joining Texas as a graduate transfer. D1Baseball has reported that outfielder Mike Antico will be added to UT’s roster following his graduation from St. John’s University.

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