High school baseball: Honeycutt drafted by Giants

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2021

By Mike London

SALISBURY — The 20-round Major League Baseball draft was nearly over on Tuesday afternoon when Vance Honeycutt’s name was called by the San Francisco Giants.

Of the 612 players picked, Honeycutt was the 596th chosen.

The recent Salisbury High graduate is in summer school at UNC, and it seems unlikely he’ll pass on the college experience in Chapel Hill

There are no slot values set by MLB for the 20th round. That’s just for the first 10 rounds.

Still the Giants will make an offer, and it’s an option for Honeycutt and his family to consider. At the very least, it’s a tremendous honor for anyone to be drafted out of the high school ranks.

That Honeycutt was drafted wasn’t a shock. Salisbury coach Mike Herndon said scouts were buzzing around Salisbury games and practices late in the season.

Honeycutt’s infield throws are at 86 mph, and his exit velocity as a hitter is close to 100 mph.

Honeycutt played in a couple of American Legion contests before he headed to summer school. Rowan County coach Jim Gantt allowed him to do that mostly because scouts had requested an opportunity to observe him in live games. He homered against Davidson County.

A four-year varsity player, Honeycutt was the Mark Norris Memorial Award winner as Rowan County Player of the Year for the 2021 high school season despite getting to play only 12 games in a condensed season. Honeycutt batted .548 (17-for-31) for the Hornets with four homers, three doubles and two triples. He walked 13 times, scored 23 runs and stole 18 bases. He also had one pitching victory.

Honeycutt, who caught UNC’s attention with his summer  and fall work for the South Charlotte Panthers showcase program, has grown to 6-foot-3, 195 pounds in the past year while maintaining exceptional speed. He could end up as an outfielder at UNC or eventually in the pro ranks, although Herndon, who coached Kansas City Royals star Whit Merrifield in high school, believes Honeycutt can enjoy a long, productive career as a shortstop.

Honeycutt achieved lasting fame as a Salisbury Hornet with his work at quarterback for the 2AA football state champions. He threw 11 touchdown passes and ran for 24 touchdowns as a senior. In the state championship game — he was MVP — he ran for four TDs and threw a touchdown pass. He also was Salisbury’s punter.

Honeycutt was named the Male Athlete of the Year for the Central Carolina Conference.