HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - As the 2017 MLB Draft begins on Monday, a couple of Southern Miss players were nationally recognized as draft prospects.
USM junior pitcher Kirk McCarty is ranked among the top 500 MLB Draft prospects, according to Baseball America.
McCarty led the Golden Eagles with 103 strikeouts in 2017, going 10-2 with a 3.52 earned-run average. The Oak Grove alum has the option to return for his senior season at Southern Miss.
USM senior Dylan Burdeaux enters Monday's MLB Draft after leading the nation with 102 hits.
The most notable Golden Eagle to find success in the major leagues recently is Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier.
The sixth-year player set the American League record for home runs hit by a second baseman (42) in 2016. Dozier, drafted in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Draft, exemplifies what hard work can lead to.
"I think it was good for Brian [Dozier] to be drafted by the Twins," said former USM baseball coach Corky Palmer, who coached Dozier from 2006-09. "I was real happy when he was drafted by the Twins. They seem to promote from within, give their guys a shot if you're good enough. And I think that's been good too that he was drafted by the Twins."
"It's especially cool to see a guy that wasn't necessarily a first round pick, second round pick [have success]," McCarty said. "He was a guy that came here, had a great career and then worked his butt off to get to the big leagues and has had a lot of success there. For all of us it says, we think we got what it takes to play in the big leagues and he's proved it."
The 2017 MLB Draft begins Monday at 6 p.m. on MLB Network and runs through Wednesday.
With the worst record in 2016, the Minnesota Twins have the first overall pick.