Hokie history made in MLB draft

Photo courtesy of VT Athletics – Virginia Tech’s Ian Seymour (left) and Carson Taylor were both drafted in this past week’s Major League Baseball draft.

 

On day two of the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, a pair of Virginia Tech players, pitcher Ian Seymour and catcher Carson Taylor, were selected extending the Hokies’ streak of at least two players selected in the major-league draft to 12. History was made in that it was the first time that two Hokies were taken in the top four rounds of the same draft.

Seymour, a junior southpaw from Westborough, Mass., was taken with pick No. 57 in the second round by the Tampa Bay Rays. He became Tech’s highest drafted player since lefty pitcher Joe Saunders was the No. 12 overall pick of the 2002 MLB Draft.

Taylor, a sophomore from Duluth, Ga., was selected with pick No. 130 in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is now the 12th highest Tech player taken and was the first Hokies catcher drafted since Mark Zagunis (2014, Chicago Cubs, 78th), who was later converted to an outfielder.

During the 2020 season, Seymour was closing in on 200 career strikeouts with 191 when the year was shortened) and was on pace to challenge the school record for most strikeouts in a three-year career at the school held by Saunders (2000-02), who ended with 255.

Seymour was the first pitcher at Tech since Saunders to post four career games with 10 or more strikeouts, which included setting the school record for most strikeouts in an ACC regular-season game against 29th-ranked Georgia Tech on March 8. He struck out 14 Yellow Jackets over six innings of work.

A 2020 NCAA Division I Third Team All-American, Seymour was twice named a Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week (Feb. 24 and March 9), while starting all four games he appeared in, which was tied for the most on the team.

He finished with a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched and struck out a team-high 40 batters, while walking just five. He posted a 3-0 record, which led the team in wins, and combined on one shutout, at Louisiana (Feb. 23) after tossing the first six innings.

Seymour struck out at least six batters in all four outings. He struck out 11 Ragin’ Cajuns in the game at Lafayette. He struck out the side six times during the year and held opponents to a .181 batting average, second-best on the team among pitchers with at least four innings thrown.

Taylor was one of four Hokies to start all 16 games in 2020. He led the team in almost every offensive category and was ranked among the NCAA leaders in 13 categories. During the season, he had a team-best seven multi-hit games, including two games with four hits. He had a team-high four multi-RBI games that included a career-high five in one game and led the team with five multi-run scoring games, twice scoring four times.

Taylor was a 2020 NCAA Division I Third Team All-American. He ended the season on a career-best six-game hitting streak that raised his batting average from .364 to .431. Taylor entered the Bryant series with a .308 batting average and raised it 123 points over the last nine games of the year. He also reached base in the last 12 games played.

He led the team with a .431 batting average, 25 hits, seven doubles, one triple (T-1st) and hit two home runs (second) for a team-best 40 total bases and a .690 slugging percentage. He added team-highs with 19 runs scored, 20 RBI, and 12 walks. He was hit by three pitches (T-1st) for a team-best .541 on-base percentage, hit one sacrifice fly and was 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts.

He scored a team-high four game-winning runs and tied for the team-best with two game-winning RBI. In the field, he did not commit an error in 137 chances for a 1.000 fielding percentage and threw out two base stealers.

Just before the season ended, Taylor was named to the 2020 Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List.

In the final NCAA rankings, he was 27th in on-base percentage, 32nd in batting average, 34th in doubles, 35th in RBI, 37th in RBI per game (1.25), 45th in runs per game (1.19) and 49th in runs scored.

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