Get to know unlikely Draft prospect Seaver King

June 7th, 2024

Just a few short years after he wasn’t recruited by a single Division I program, Seaver King is one of the top hitters in the 2024 MLB Draft crop.

Here’s what you need to know about MLB Pipeline’s No. 13 overall Draft prospect and his unlikely journey toward a professional baseball career.

Position: 3B/OF
Ht/Wt: 6-foot, 195 lbs.
B/T: Right/right
DOB: April 25, 2003
College: Wake Forest
High school: Athens Christian School (Athens, Ga.)
Born: Athens, Ga.
MLB Pipeline ranking: No. 13

He has a familiar name

In baseball circles, the name "Seaver" certainly catches your eye. That's because of Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, a three-time Cy Young Award winner who spent most of his 20 Major League seasons starring for the Mets and Reds. So does King come from a family of New York (or Cincinnati) fans? Not exactly.

Appearing on the MLB Pipeline Podcast back in February, King said his first name is "partially" a nod to Tom Terrific, although not for the reason you might think. His father, Stevie, is actually a Braves fan, and Seaver never pitched for the Braves (although he nearly did.)

"It kind of doesn't line up," King said. "But I think when they were picking out a name, I think my dad mentioned [Seaver] and my mom fell in love with it."

He’s a late bloomer

King was far from a big-time prospect coming out of high school in his hometown of Athens, Ga. In fact, his only offer to play college ball came from Division II Wingate in North Carolina.

King admits that when he arrived at Wingate University, he never thought that transferring to a Division I program would one day be a possibility, much less getting to the professional ranks.

“Definitely stepping on campus [at Wingate], I was committed to be there for four years, kind of be the normal college baseball player, play there four years and go get a job,” King said while appearing on the “ACC Baseball Etc.” podcast.

However, King added 20 pounds to his frame after starting college and began to raise his profile with his performance against Division II competition.

DII dominance

King hit the ground running in his first season at Wingate, leading the squad with a .381 batting average and producing four homers, 18 doubles, 44 RBIs and a 1.089 OPS over 39 games.

In the summer of 2022, King played in the Valley Baseball League -- an NCAA- and MLB-sanctioned wood-bat league -- and earned South Division MVP honors.

King was even better as a sophomore, slashing .411/.457/.699 with 11 homers, 20 doubles, five triples, 53 RBIs, 13 steals and a 1.155 OPS in 50 games.

Historic hitting streak

Amazingly, King hit safely in all but one game during his sophomore season at Wingate, including the first 45 games of the year.

Altogether, King put together a 47-game hitting streak dating back to the final two games of the 2022 season, which stands as the third-longest in Division II baseball history. He fell seven games shy of tying the DII record of 54, set by Kevin Pillar in 2010.

King racked up 143 hits in 89 games over two seasons with Wingate, hitting safely in 79 of his 85 starts.

Taking it to the next level

After his incredible sophomore season, King entered the transfer portal and committed to Wake Forest for the 2023-24 academic year.

Before starting up with the Demon Deacons, though, King had a chance to see how his skills stacked up alongside some of the most talented amateurs in the nation when he made the collegiate national team, a rarity for a Division II player.

Also on that Team USA roster? Charlie Condon, MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall Draft prospect, as well as Jac Caglianone (No. 3), Braden Montgomery (No. 5), Hagen Smith (No. 6), JJ Wetherholt (No. 8) and Trey Yesavage (No. 11).

“I step on the field not really knowing if I belonged,” King told The Athletic's (subscription required) while describing his Team USA experience. “And then first pitch, I was like, ‘All right, it’s time to go’ and kind of turned it on after that.”

King went on to play in the Cape Cod League after finishing up with Team USA, further proving his prowess with a wood bat.

King was undaunted by the jump to Division I, hitting .308 with 16 homers, 64 RBIs and a .954 OPS for Wake Forest to solidify himself as a potential first-round pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. He showed his defensive versatility, too, appearing at four different positions (2B, 3B, SS, CF) in 2024.

History in the making?

When King joined the Demon Deacons, he landed on a roster loaded with talent, even after 10 Wake Forest players -- including Rhett Lowder (seventh overall), Brock Wilken (18th) and Sean Sullivan (46th) -- were selected in last year’s MLB Draft.

King is one of five Wake Forest players who rank 77th or higher on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top 2024 Draft prospects, along with first baseman Nick Kurtz (No. 4), pitcher Chase Burns (No. 7), pitcher Josh Hartle (No. 55) and pitcher Michael Massey (No. 77).

Considering where Kurtz, Burns and King are ranked, Wake Forest is in line to become just the sixth school to have three players taken in the first round in the same year since the MLB Draft began in 1965, joining Vanderbilt (2015), Miami (2008), Rice (2004), Fresno State (1989) and Michigan (1979).

A lofty comparison

Wake Forest associate head coach Bill Cilento sees obvious similarities between King and a certain MLB superstar.

“When scouts ask me about him,” Cilento told The Athletic, “I’m like, ‘I don’t know what Mookie Betts looked like [as an amateur], but that’s gotta be about what he looks like, right?’”

Given King’s athleticism, wiry frame and impressive right-handed stroke, the comparison makes sense.

His mom keeps him going

The road from being a lightly recruited high schooler to a top Draft prospect hasn’t been easy for King, but he has continued to grind in pursuit of his goals. He credits his mother, Kali, for his drive.

“I think that’s really where the chip on the shoulder came from,” King told the “ACC Baseball Etc.” podcast. “All the sacrifices she’s made for me, being able to put me in spots to be able to play when maybe I probably couldn’t have been. I just want to be able to repay her and not take anything for granted and just be able to let her -- because she loves watching me play -- be able to watch me for as long as possible.”

King’s mom has long been a fixture at his games, and being able to have her beside him for this journey is something he cherishes.

“I get to take her on adventures because we love traveling,” he said. “When I was in middle school and high school, we’d always take a Mother’s Day trip … just to go explore, just travel. Being able to have her come to Raleigh and Notre Dame and Boston, and just be able to have her with me and be able to explore these places, not only on the baseball side but just being able to have her be able to travel as well has been really huge for me.

“She’s the one that keeps me going and I’m super thankful for her.”