Two members of the Michigan baseball team heard their names called on the third and final day of the MLB draft. In the 15th round, fifth-year shortstop Benjamin Sems was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the 440th overall pick. In the 19th round, senior right-hander Blake Beers went to the Oakland Athletics with the 578th overall pick.
Sems played his first four years of college baseball at Kansas, and earned the starting shortstop job in each of his final three years there. His defense and on-base ability improved every year, and by his senior year had become his best attributes. Sems was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team in 2019.
In his season with the Wolverines, Sems improved as a power hitter while retaining his keen eye and contact-hitting skills. He slashed .314/.389/.479 and hit to all fields. On defense, he made acrobatic grabs with regularity and had a hand in 23 double plays. Sems was named to the all-Big Ten Second Team at the end of the 2021 season.
The Rockies may be an ideal landing spot for Sems, as their current star shortstop Trevor Story isn’t planning on resigning there. If his power-hitting abilities continue to develop in the minors, Sems could be snaring web gems and launching extra-base hits in the hitter-friendly Coors Field in a few years.
Beers heads to the pros after a disappointing senior season and an inconsistent college career. As an underclassman, he allowed 15 walks and 20 earned runs over 22.2 innings. But he turned things around as the No. 3 starter in a pandemic-shortened 2020 season, pitching to a 3.13 ERA with 21 strikeouts in his four starts.
Beers began the 2021 season in the starting rotation and made five starts, none of them quality. Michigan coach Erik Bakich used him as a middle reliever from then on, and Beers made a positive impact in that role, holding opponents scoreless in five of his eight appearances.
He has tantalizing stuff, including an upper-90s fastball and a knee-buckling slider, but lacks elite command. With the right development, Beers could be getting outs in the Athletics bullpen before long.