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MLB draft preview: Eight locals who could be selected

Carson McCusker
Carson McCusker is a Spanish Springs High alum who has played for Oklahoma State the last four season. (Oklahoma State athletics)

This year's Major League Baseball draft is 15 rounds longer than last year's selections but 20 shorter than usual. The draft, which begins Sunday, will be 20 rounds long and could include a number of local players, although none are locks to be picked (no local made ESPN's list of top-200 prospects in this year's draft). Here is a look at the local products who could be selected in this year's draft, which will run three days (the first round is Sunday; rounds 2-10 are Monday; and rounds 11-20 are Tuesday).

Jace Avina, Spanish Springs High: Avina has ascended from walk-on verbal commitment to Nevada to being one of 88 high school players invited to the inaugural MLB draft combine last month, which offered a chance to boost his stock. The 6-foot-1 outfielder was named the Northern 5A offensive player of the year and could be selected in this year's draft.

Dillan Shrum, Nevada: A 6-foot first baseman, Shrum had an excellent fifth-year senior season at Nevada, leading the nation in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. He was named the Mountain West player of the year after hitting .468/.527/.968 with 15 homers and 15 doubles in 36 games and should get selected next week.

Tyler Bosetti, Nevada: Bosetti has one year of college eligibility remaining, but he jumped onto the national scene by homering in an NCAA-record nine straight games en route to All-American honors. A shortstop/third baseman, Bosetti could return for another year at Nevada, but it's unlikely he'll have as strong a season as he had in 2021 (1.028 OPS, 11 homers).

Owen Sharts, Nevada: Sharts was a high-level prospect coming out of high school who turned down big money to play for Nevada. It hasn't worked out great as Sharts has gone 5-12 with a 5.55 ERA in 24 starts while struggling with his control prior to undergoing season-ending elbow surgery in the middle of the 2021 campaign. A team could try and scoop him up at a bargain price, although he has two more years of college eligibility left if he opts to use them.

Joshua Zamora, Nevada: Zamora has been a consistent producer for Nevada the last four years, earning all-conference honors three times. The infielder has slashed .315/.392/.523 in his college career with 29 homers and 34 doubles in 158 games. He has one season of college eligibility left but could turn pro if drafted. Like Sharts, Zamora played in the Cape Cod League in 2019, so he's had solid exposure to pro scouts.

Dario Gomez, Nevada: A JuCo transfer, Gomez burst onto the scene for Nevada this season and hit .393 with six homers, 24 extra-base hits and 12 steals. He also played a solid center field and has a nice mix of speed, defense and power. He led the team in strikeouts (40) and walked just five times, so there are things to work on at Nevada if he's not drafted this season.

Jake Jackson, Nevada: Jackson said shortly after his NCAA Regional start he was transferring to Baylor, but there's a long shot chance he's drafted (he'd have a better chance at 40 rounds). Jackson doesn't strike out a lot of guys (161 Ks in 216 career innings), but he's a workhorse who has posted a 5.46 ERA pitching at elevation in the MW, so he could have a suitor.

Carson McCusker, Oklahoma State/Spanish Springs High: McCusker is a 2016 graduate of Spanish Springs who was a 26th-round pick out of Folsom College in 2017. He opted to go to Oklahoma State and has been productive in the Big 12 ever since. He's out of eligibility and his future in pro ball depends on this draft. A 6-foot-8, 250-pound outfielder, McCusker hit .294/.367/.519 with 23 homers and 68 extra-base hits in 147 games with the Cowboys.


Columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @ByChrisMurray.

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