After watching six of its players get selected in the Major League Baseball draft in 2016, Ohio State baseball did a lot of waiting around this year. The Buckeyes did not have a player picked until the third day, but once recruit Xavier Moore and senior Shea Murray went off the board, things moved quickly.
Junior Tre’ Gantt watched as teammate Jalen Washington was taken near the top of the 29th round, and then quickly heard his own name called. Gantt went with the 882nd pick to the Cleveland Indians at the bottom of the 29th round.
Perhaps no Ohio State player improved more than Gantt in 2017, who had played his way into regular time as a freshman and sophomore, but became a mainstay in his third season. Splitting time between the leadoff spot and two-hole, the Fishers, Indiana native slashed .314/.426/.426 with 13 doubles, two triples, two homers, 18 RBIs, and 14 steals. He led the team with 64 hits and 46 runs scored, and proved to be solid patrolling the outfield.
Gantt had appeared in 84 games prior to this past season, and has to this point slashed .294/.381/.376 with 13 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 18 runs batted in, and 26 stolen bases. It was thought that he was a likely candidate to take over for Washington as a team co-captain next year, but his being drafted now throws that into doubt.
After a disappointing season that saw the Buckeyes fall from Big Ten tournament champions to an 8-16 conference record, Gantt was one of the few bright spots offensively. All-Big Ten accolades are not outside the realm of possibility if he were to return for his final season of eligibility, and his draft stock could improve as well. He entered 2017 as Baseball America’s 19th rated draft prospect in the conference.
Ohio State has now seen three players from last year’s team go in the draft in addition to two recruits. Despite what was often a frustrating season for the Buckeyes, player development has proven to continue to be a strength.
We wish Gantt well as he decides on what his future will hold.