The 2013 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft begins tonight, with 40 rounds stretching through into Saturday. For overall details of the Draft, check out the SBN 2031 MLB Draft hub page.
Tim Jamieson and company will be following the draft to find out which current players and which incoming recruits will be faced with the big decision in the coming days and weeks: Do I chase the Big League dream I've had since t-ball? Or do I don the black & gold and play for Mizzou?
Junior LHP Rob Zastryzny is expected to be the highest current player drafted, likely as high as the third round. Rob Z's negotiating power will not likely get any better if he comes back for another season, so he's probably gone. It may take a few weeks to iron out a deal, but Mizzozu fans probably won't see his black and gold calves on the Simmons Field mound next season.
Rob Z has been in touch w/ all teams, but Royals, Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays have shown most interest. Yankees have 3 1st-round picks— Shawn Davis (@ShawnDizzle77) June 4, 2013
Junior Keaton Steele, the Tigers' all-around pitcher/hitter/defender, is expected to go sometime on day 2 of the draft, not too high, but somewhere in the top 20 rounds. If so, the only real question for Mizzou's Man of Steele will be whether he thinks he can improve his production dramatically in his senior in hopes of moving higher up in the 2014 draft. Realistically, if he does go in the top 20 rounds, it's very likely he won't be back.
Senior OF Dane Opel won't be back whether or not he is drafted. He'll likely hear his name called somewhere in the lower half of the draft. Scouts have been impressed with Dane's tools since high school, but his lack of offensive consistency during his college career held him back from serious consideration for the draft after his junior year. His defense, though, still grabs attention (including this ESPN SportsCenter #1 Top Play), and some MLB organization will likely take a flyer on him, hoping they can teach him to be a more consistently productive hitter.
Junior LHP Jake Walsh and Junior RHP Eric Anderson have been mentioned as possible draft picks this year, but neither would likely be named until the lower rounds. Walsh is the kind of scrappy relief pitcher that gets scouts' attention, but most would rather get him after his senior year, when they won't have to pay as much. The injury-plagued Anderson has every reason to come back for another year, to prove that he can actually pitch through an entire season and be the sort of dominant pitcher everyone has been expecting since he was in high school. A strong senior year as the ace of the Tiger pitching staff could boost his draft ranking by twenty or more rounds.
Junior Catcher Dylan Kelly is the only other current Tiger whose performance has warranted attention from the scouts, but he's probably another player, like Walsh, who they'll prefer to spend a draft pick on after his senior season. Which is good for the Tigers, since DK was a real spark plug and field general for the team this season.
RHP Devin Williams (Hazelwood West, StL) told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his goal in his senior season was to be a first-rounder. All indications are he'll reach that goal. ESPN's Keith law predicts Williams will be taken by the Detroit Tigers. Williams participated in a workout at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, and the local star would be a tempting pick for the Cardinals, who have three first round picks this year. While this is great for Devin Williams, it will probably not be so great for the Missouri Tigers, who will likely lose their top recruit in this fall's incoming class. SBN's Crawfish Boxes has a good profile of Williams.
LHP Jacob Brentz (Parkway South, StL) ws also at that Busch Stadium workout this week. And he also is projected to be a possible first round pack - 2nd round at the latest. Brentz appeared on the scouting world's radar virtually out of nowhere last October, when he participated in the WWBA World Championship Tournament in Jupiter, FL. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it:
On the mound, as a junior at South, Brentz was 1-1 with an 11.31 earned run average in just 4 1/3 innings, with five hits allowed, five strikeouts and four walks.
Before the tournament in Jupiter, Brentz said the highest he’d registered on a radar gun was 92 miles per hour. On Saturday, in front of a group of scouts, he hit 96. On Monday morning, in colder conditions, he hit 94.
It was an unusual turn of events.
Brentz actually did not play for Parkway South this season, even though he attended there as a student. Instead, he made the trip each weekend to Iowa, where he was part of a Perfect Game Wood Bat Scout League, a move aimed at getting maximum exposure to scouts.
The radar readings and the maximum exposure have apparently done their job. Jake Brentz is unlikely to ever wear a Missouri Tiger uniform.
SS/2B Malik Collymore (Port Credit Secondary, Ontaria, CA) committed to Mizzou just within the past two weeks. Unfortunately, that move may have been in part to provide Collymore with negotiating power. Word is he may be drafted in the 4th to 10th rounds this week. It will be interesting to see whether he chooses to go pro or choose Mizzou instead.
An interesting side note on Collymore is that he was part of the Ontario Bluejays, a Canadian elite prep team that played several Fall exhibition games against D-1 opponents two years ago, one of which was against Mizzou. Crawfish Boxes has a great profile on Collymore as well.
None of Mizzou's other signees have generated a great deal of high round buzz. One or two others, including OF Jake Ring from Grant HS in the Chicago area, may be drafted in the lower rounds, but they would be unlikely to get any sort of offers tempting enough to keep them from joining the Tigers this fall.
Another likely draftee of note: RHP Myles Smith, who saw limited mound time as a freshman at Mizzou in 2011, is projected to be drafted as high as the 3rd or 4th round.
The Draft is this Thursday through Saturday, but the signing deadline is not until July 12th, so Tim Jamieson won't have all the pieces to his roster puzzle in place for another five weeks.