COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Clemson ace Daniel Gossett is ready to begin his pro career and couldn’t think of a more meaningful organization to be part of than Oakland.
The junior right-hander was chosen in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft on Thursday night. He knows the “Moneyball” A’s are famous for using under-valued players to great success.
“Getting selected by them means they’ve seen something impress and not just relying on projectability,” said Gossett, who at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds understands he’s not the 6-6 dominator on the mound teams look for.
Still, Gossett’s fastball improved as the year went on touching 95 mph late in the year as he improved his technique and strength. Gossett finished 7-2 this season with a 1.93 ERA. His 107 strikeouts were the most by a Clemson pitcher since former big-leaguer Kris Benson struck out 204 in 1996.
He made 50 appearances, 41 of them starts, in 282 2/3 innings of work the past three seasons. He had an overall mark of 23-9 with two saves.
Gossett was the fifth Clemson player taken in the first or second rounds in the past seven seasons.
“I feel like I’ve worked hard for my dream to have a career in the major leagues,” he said Friday. “I’m living in the moment and feel very honored.”
Gossett said there’s always a chance he could return to the Tigers for his senior season, but believes things will go smoothly and he’ll soon be part of the A’s system.
While Gossett was excited by his selection, he’s still disappointed at how the Tigers season ended. Clemson was ranked among the top 15 for much of the first month or so of the season until a second-half slide left them as the final team selected for the 64-team NCAA tournament.
The Tigers flamed out quickly in last week’s Nashville Regional, getting pounded by Oregon 18-1. Then Gossett, in what’s likely his final college start, couldn’t hold off Xavier, which eliminated Clemson 6-4 last Saturday. The Tigers finished the season 36-25.
Gossett said the players understood they didn’t perform to capabilities and perhaps even got stung by the high expectation they had for themselves. There were so many times, Gossett said, where Clemson seemed a key hit or clutch play away from success that would’ve gotten the ball rolling its way.
“May have gotten a little bit comfortable,” he said. “I believe that it happens.”
Gossett also heard some of the critics calling for a change in leadership. But the righty from Lyman says he wouldn’t have change a thing about his college career and is confident the current staff, led by Hall-of-Famer Jack Leggett, will get things straightened out.
Gossett understands the dissatisfaction by fans this year and why some were very critical of Leggett.
“I think that’s what happens, someone’s looking to blame someone,” Gossett said. “But it comes down to players performing and doing their jobs.”