In a 2020 MLB draft shortened year, with just six picks in five rounds for the New York Mets, they inked their first two undrafted free agents yesterday, as University of California two-sport star Brandon Mcllwain and University of South Alabama right-hander Drake Nightengale both agreed to terms with the team.
However, the Mets have yet to make the deals official, though each player announced their signings on Twitter.
The Mariners selected the 22-year-old Mcllwain as a Draft-eligible sophomore in the 26th round of the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft, but he chose to return to Cal as a redshirt junior after missing most of the previous season due to injury.
Mcllwain, who graduated from Cal last month with a degree in Political Science, batted .200 with one home run and four stolen bases in 16 games due to the season-shortened Coronavirus pandemic.
Mcllwain, a Pennsylvania native, possesses a great deal of athletic talent, as he also started football games behind center for both Cal and the University of South Carolina, which he attended as a freshman.
In 2019, McIlwain hit .258 with two dingers and eight RBI with 18 starts in 20 games before an injury in late April cost him the remainder of the campaign.
As a quarterback for the Golden Bears in 2018, McIlwain played in 10 contests with two starts and completed 62 percent of his passes for 762 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Additionally, he amassed 403 rushing yards and four touchdowns, which were two shy of Cal’s school record for a quarterback.
The 6-foot, 195-pound Nightengale, a Tommy John survivor, posted a 3.52 ERA and registered 91 strikeouts as a junior. His ERA was fourth in the Sun Belt Conference.
The Hattiesburg, Miss., native paced the Sun Belt Conference in opposing batting average (.196).
–Jerry Del Priore