Halter chooses MSU over professional path

By: 
JOEL COLEMAN
Staff Writer

Mississippi State baseball received good news on Tuesday when signee Gunner Halter announced he will indeed play for the Bulldogs next season as opposed to beginning a professional career.

Halter was a 26th-round selection by the Cleveland Indians in last month’s MLB Draft. However the infielder posted to Twitter on Tuesday that he would instead be calling Starkville home in the months to come.

“Thankful for the opportunity from the Cleveland Indians, but I have decided to go to school,” Halter wrote.

Halter has played for Seminole State College in Oklahoma the last two seasons where he has become an offensive force. As such, Halter could make an immediate impact on the Bulldog lineup in 2019.

This past season at Seminole State, Halter hit .394, blasted 20 home runs and drove in 60. He also stole 29 bases and scored 74 runs.

It marked two years in a row that Halter shined for the Trojans. As a freshman in 2017, Halter batted at a .440 clip with 19 homers, 55 RBI, 14 stolen bases and 78 runs scored.

Halter also could have went pro after his outstanding freshman season. He was a 22nd-round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays organization in the 2017 draft, but elected to return to Seminole State.

While Halter’s greatest impact might come in the field and at the plate for the Bulldogs, he can also pitch. In 2017, the right-hander tossed 20.2 innings and limited opponents to a .237 batting average against him. He finished that season with 27 strikeouts and a 4.79 earned run average.

He followed that up in 2018 by hurling 5.1 innings, allowing eight hits, five runs and five walks while striking out 11 batters.

As Halter brings his services to MSU, there’s at least a chance he could soon be joined by another high-profile Mississippi State signee or two. J.T. Ginn, a right-handed pitcher/infielder out of Brandon, was a first-round selection by the Los Angeles Dodgers last month. Ginn and his father met with new MSU head baseball coach Chris Lemonis last week and to this point, Ginn still hasn’t inked with the Dodgers.

Similarly, another first-round MLB Draft choice, right-handed pitcher Carter Stewart, still hasn’t signed with the Atlanta Braves. MLB.com reports a wrist injury that bothered Stewart towards the end of his high school season in 2018 has slowed negotiations. However, Stewart coming to Starkville still seems like a very long shot with the Braves reportedly having a $4 million offer on the table. Plus, even should Stewart not sign with Atlanta, he could elect to instead go to junior college and reenter the draft next year.

All drafted players have until Friday to sign with the organizations that picked them.

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