MSU signee Ginn, Ole Miss’ Hoglund opt for college instead of MLB

Published 6:34 pm Saturday, July 7, 2018

JACKSON (AP) — The signing classes for Mississippi State and Ole Miss’ baseball teams got a boost this week, when a couple of players spurned the major leagues for college life.

Pitcher J.T. Ginn announced he will not sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers and will instead attend Mississippi State. Meanwhile, Ole Miss’ top pitching signee Gunnar Hoglund turned down the Pittsburgh Pirates to play for Ole Miss.

Ginn, a 19-year-old from Brandon High School, was selected with the 30th overall pick in last month’s amateur draft, which has a slot value of $2,275,800.

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He posted on Instagram, “I had a lot to think about over the last month” and added “after giving it a lot of thought I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of playing college baseball for the Mississippi State Bulldogs!!!”

As compensation for not signing Ginn, the Dodgers would receive the 31st pick, and the corresponding bonus pool money, for next summer’s draft.

The deadline for draft picks to sign, unless they have exhausted college eligibility, was 4 p.m. Friday. Two other first-round selections failed to come to agreements: pitcher Carter Stewart (picked eighth by Atlanta) and shortstop Matt McLain (25th by Arizona).

Stewart is also committed to Mississippi State, but could enroll in a junior college and re-enter the draft next year.

Stewart, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound right-hander, has a fastball that clocks in at 98 mph.
Meanwhile, Hoglund — who was the 36th overall pick in the draft, which came with a recommended signing bonus of $1,967,900 — failed to agree to terms with the Pirates.

That means Hoglund will be at Ole Miss for at least the next three seasons. Players that attend four-year schools aren’t eligible to be drafted until they’re three years removed from high school or 21 years old, whichever comes first.

Hoglund, who has already enrolled in summer school at Ole Miss, could immediately contend for a spot in a weekend rotation that needs three new starters with the draft claiming Ryan Rolison, Brady Feigl and James McArthur.

Houston Roth, Will Ethridge and Jordan Fowler are already on the roster and will be heavily in the mix, but Hoglund showed elite command this spring of a three-pitch repertoire that includes a fastball that sits in the low 90s, posting a minuscule 0.27 ERA in 52 1/3 innings, with 105 strikeouts and just two walks.

He’s part of a talented group of incoming arms that includes Arkansas prep left-hander Kaleb Hill and junior college transfer Zack Phillips, both of whom could also make a push for a rotation spot. had Hoglund ranked as the No. 66 overall prospect heading into this year’s draft — the second-highest ranked Ole Miss signee behind Hattiesburg outfielder Joe Gray, who signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for the full slot value of $1,113,500 after being selected in the second round.

Just four first-round picks failed to sign in the six previous years of the current draft system of bonus pools: pitchers Mark Appel (taken eighth by Pittsburgh in 2012), Phillip Bickford (10th by Toronto in 2013), Brady Aiken (first by Houston in 2014) and Kyle Funkhouser (35th by the Dodgers in 2015).

The Oxford Eagle contributed to this report.