Great news struck the USC Baseball team on the second and third day of the 2018 MLB Draft when juniors Solomon Bates, Lars Nootbaar and Dillon Paulson were drafted. Bates and Nootbaar were called in the eighth round, while Paulson went in the 13th round.
As the No. 226 overall draft pick, Solomon Bates went to the San Francisco Giants. Coming from Victorville, Calif., Bates sat out his freshman season and started twice as a sophomore, throwing 36 total innings. Halfway through this past season, Bates moved into the starting rotation from the bullpen and defined himself as their go-to Sunday starter, ending the season with a 3.14 ERA and 79 strikeouts. He was a crucial leader in their win over No. 2 Oregon State at the end of the season, pitching seven shutout innings.
Lars Nootbaar was drafted No. 243 by the St. Louis Cardinals. Hailing from El Segundo, Calif., Nootbaar played 33 games and started in 29 of those as a true freshman. He started in 54 games during his sophomore season, accumulating seven home runs and 33 runs and finishing as an All Pac-12 Honoree. He ended with 34 RBI, the second-best on the team. As a junior, Nootbaar continued to lead the team at first base and in all three outfield positions. This diverse player finished his collegiate career with a total of 14 home runs and 74 RBI in three years. He is the second player from USC to be selected by the Cardinals in the last three years, following the footsteps of Jeremy Martinez in 2016.
Dillon Paulson will stay in Los Angeles as the No. 404 pick by the Dodgers. From Encinitas, Calif., he played the majority of his 40 games as a freshman at first base. Paulson remained consistent, appearing in 41 games as a sophomore. As a junior, he ended with 10 home runs, 41 RBI and a .993 fielding percentage. This first baseman also scored a team high 35 runs this past season, bringing his total runs scored to 55 in three years. Along with Bates, he received All Pac-12 Honorable Mentions for the 2018 season.
With the addition of these three men, 333 MLB draft picks have now come from the USC baseball program. The Trojans also hold the college baseball record for the most players to compete in the MLB with 111 players. These juniors will continue to represent USC as they look to find success in the major leagues.