CLEMSON, S.C. – Catcher/infielder Chris Williams (Garden Grove, Calif.) and righthander Ryan Miller (Venice, Fla.) will both return for the 2018 season after being selected in the 2017 MLB draft in June. The two were chosen with back-to-back picks in the 31st round, as Williams was the No. 919 overall selection by the Tampa Bay Rays and Miller was the No. 920 overall pick by the Atlanta Braves, but both elected to return to the Tigers for the 2018 season.
“We’re really excited about having Chris Williams and Ryan Miller return for their senior year at Clemson after being drafted,” said head coach Monte Lee. “Any time you can get players of that caliber back, it’s going to make your team better. They will pay dividends for the 2018 team.
“With Chris, we return a middle-of-the-order hitter and front-line catcher who can also play in the infield. He’ll be one of the best offensive catchers in the country.
“When Ryan is healthy, he has the best fastball on our staff. Once he’s fully healthy, he has a chance to be a real force in the back end of our bullpen.”
As a junior in 2017, Williams hit .261 with 14 homers (tied for 10th in the ACC), 14 doubles, 51 RBIs and 29 runs in 49 games (42 starts). Williams, who missed 14 games and 21 starts due to two injuries, was second on the team in homers and RBIs and allowed just 11 steals in 22 attempts as a catcher. In his two-year career as a Tiger, he is hitting .253 with 22 homers, 19 doubles, a triple, 89 RBIs and 63 runs in 106 games (94 starts).
In his first season at Clemson in 2017 as a junior, Miller was 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA, .220 opponents’ batting average and 11 strikeouts against two walks in 11.2 innings pitched over 11 relief appearances. However, he did not pitch after April 2 due to a season-ending injury.
Tiger signees Sam Weatherly (Howell, Mich.), Kier Meredith (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Spencer Strider (Knoxville, Tenn.) will also join the 2018 team after being selected in the draft. Weatherly was a 27th-round pick (No. 819 overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays, Meredith was a 28th-round selection (No. 855 overall) by the Chicago Cubs and Strider was a 35th-round pick (No. 1,062 overall).