After a mostly forgettable season in 2017 for Ohio State baseball, the club’s 2018 prospects may have taken a hit on Wednesday as Seth Lonsway, the top prospect in the Buckeyes’ incoming recruiting class, was selected in the Major League Baseball draft by the Cincinnati Reds. A left-handed pitcher, Lonsway was taken in the 19th round, No. 557 overall.
The signing bonus value of Lonsway’s pick does not have an assigned value by MLB, as it falls outside the first ten rounds. After being projected as high as the third round, the question is now whether or not his slide down the draft board will be enough to land the young man in Columbus.
Generally speaking, high school pitchers selected early in the draft tend to end up passing on college to get into a pro system and begin the years-long process of developing towards the big leagues. Is the 19th round high enough in this case? Or could Lonsway determine that his stock will rise with a little college experience?
Ranked the top high school draft prospect in the state of Ohio by Baseball America, and the 148th prospect overall according to MLB Pipeline, Lonsway’s commitment to Greg Beals and the Ohio State program represented a major recruiting victory. After a year in which the Buckeye pitching staff was battered to the tune of a collective 5.32 earned run average, the 6-foot-1, 160-pound southpaw from Celina, Ohio figured to make a push from day one to be a part of the weekend rotation.
As Beals said when Lonsway signed with the Buckeyes, “I see Seth making an immediate impact to our pitching staff.”
That now rests on Lonsway’s decision.
"If everything doesn't work out as planned, I'll go to Ohio State and be a Buckeye," Lonsway told Colin Foster of The Daily Standard, a publication based in Celina, prior to the draft. "I'll get a good scholarship at Ohio State and have three good years, and then hopefully get drafted my junior year out of Ohio State.”
Lonsway sits in the low 90s with his fastball and can touch the mid 90s, has a 12-to-6 curveball with good depth, and a “filthy” slider, according to Prep Baseball Report. That would be a welcome addition to a staff that must rebound next season if the Buckeyes hopes to return to contention in the Big Ten.
Ohio State finished 2017 with a 22-34 record, its worst mark during Beals’ tenure at the helm. Going 8-16 in conference play, the team failed to qualify for the Big Ten tournament and an opportunity to defend its title from the season prior.
Now the program waits on its biggest recruit in the past four classes.
We wish Lonsway the best of luck regardless of what his decision ultimately turns out to be, and hope he puts together a long, successful career.