UF baseball players and recruits among potential draftees
Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 7:01 p.m.
The Florida Gators probably liked it better when Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft was a little bit of a distraction during postseason play. Now that the Gators have been eliminated in NCAA regional play, the draft becomes the focus.
MLB First-Year Player Draft
When: Thursday at 7 p.m.
TV: MLB Network
Even though the Gators do not have any draft-eligible players who are considered elite prospects (and high draft picks), what transpires over the next three days in the draft will go a long way toward determining what this Florida team looks like in 2015.
Florida could lose a handful of top juniors to pro ball, and another highly rated incoming freshman class could take some significant hits.
The Gator expected to hear his name called first in the draft is catcher Taylor Gushue. Coming off a strong junior season in which he was named All-SEC, Gushue could go as high as the fifth or sixth round, according to some projections. If he goes that high, chances are good he'll sign, ending his UF career.
Florida could have six or seven other juniors selected during the 40-round draft, including pitchers Ryan Harris, Bobby Poyner and Karsten Whitson, third baseman Josh Tobias, infielder Casey Turgeon and outfielder Justin Shafer.
Whitson was drafted in the first round by the San Diego Padres coming out of high school, but turned down first-round bonus money to attend Florida, where his career has been hampered by injuries.
Four other UF juniors also were drafted coming out of high school three years ago. Turgeon was taken in the 22nd round by the Mets, Tobias was drafted in the 31st round by the Nationals and infielder Zack Powers was selected in the 28th round by the Pirates.
The Gators also will be keeping close tabs on their signing class over the next three days. Of the 14-member class, five are ranked among the nation's top 100 high school prospects, led by Conway, S.C., pitcher Grant Holmes, who is considered a top-10 prospect.
Other signees who possibly could be drafted are catcher JJ Schwarz, pitcher Alex Faedo, pitcher Weston Davis and shortstop Dalton Guthrie.
Three top area high school players also could get drafted.
Buchholz pitcher David Lee, an FIU signee, could get taken in the late rounds, while Ocala Trinity Catholic teammates Jesse Lepore, a pitcher, and Dash Winningham, a first baseman, are being projected to go between rounds five and 12.
Lapore has signed with Miami, while Winningham has signed with Florida Gulf Coast.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.