Once regarded as a top-five talent, USC commit and long-time Trojan supporter Jacob Gatewood (Clovis, Calif.) heard his named called as the 41st overall pick in the 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.
At 6-5, 200 pounds, the power-hitting shortstop prospect dropped farther down than many expected following a somewhat underwhelming senior season, but still represented himself well in New Jersey for the MLB Network's Live First Round studio coverage.
If the name Gatewood rings a bell, well it turns out the USC commit has some unique ties to Los Angeles. The son of Henry Gatewood, the Dodgers First Round Pick in 1982, and born in the same area as former Trojan and current Oakland A's pitcher Ryan Cook, Jacob Gatewood has an experienced circle leading him through the exciting process.
The Clovis High School product turned some heads last summer when he won the All-Star Game Junior Home Run Derby at City Field, which also happens to be the last time he was in the New York area before the actual MLB Draft, and then he turned around and also won the Under Armour All-America Game's Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field.
The talent is certainly there for some immediate minor league success but much like the bevy of players that will be selected over the 39-Round MLB Draft, nothing is for certain at the next level. Gatewoo certainly has his eyes set on playing right away in the minors, which means Dan Hubbs will not be getting his hands on this talented prospect.
Gatewood joins the recent ranks of 2013 First Round Draft Picks Dominic Smith (New York Mets, 11) and J.P. Crawford (Philadelphia Phillies, 16) that have been committed to USC with the larger intention of declaring for the big leagues from the very start.
College Baseball recruiting is a completely different animal than football and basketball, so offering these top-name recruits is seen around the recruiting circles as a positive way to put your name out there, possibly in the hopes of landing talented kids like a Jeremey Martinez (Freshman All-American) for example, who slip below their expected draft grade and decide to play baseball for USC.
While Gatewood loved the Cardinal and Gold, even attending the Stanford/USC game, his chances of playing any games on USC's Dedeaux Field are slim to none. That said, keep an eye out for USC Baseball ace Wyatt Strahan (First Team All-Pac-12 Selection) to hear his name called in the second or third round of the MLB Draft later this weekend.