It appears the Southern Miss baseball team will have to replace four pitchers — including its ace — to begin the 2018 season.
Junior left-hander Kirk McCarty, the Eagles’ primary starter this year, is expected to sign with the Cleveland Indians after he passes a physical for the team, USM head coach Scott Berry said on Wednesday.
McCarty was the 222nd overall selection in the seventh round of the MLB Draft last week following another strong season for the Golden Eagles.
McCarty finished 10-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 17 starts this season. He finished a combined 22-4 in three years at USM.
USM junior pitcher/third baseman Taylor Braley has agreed to terms with the Miami Marlins and is expected to sign after he completes his physical with the team. Braley was a sixth-round selection in the MLB Draft.
Junior right-hander Hayden Roberts has signed with the Rockies after he was chosen in the 34th round. Also, USM signee Kyle Keith, a right-handed pitcher out of of Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, has signed with the Texas Rangers after being picked in the 22nd round.
USM returns a pair of pitchers, junior right-hander Colt Smith (6-2, 3.36) and J.C. Keys (3-3, 5.56), who had some success this season as part of the weekend rotation, but McCarty and Braley were the Eagles’ two best starting options throughout a 2017 campaign that finished with a record of 50-16.