The Alabama Crimson Tide had six current players and two recent signees selected in the 2015 MLB Draft held on June 8-10.
The biggest losses among current players were junior shortstop Mikey White, who went in the second round (63rd overall) to the Oakland A's and sophomore outfielder Casey Hughston, who was selected in the third round (96th) by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Senior left-handed pitcher Taylor Guilbeau was picked in the 10th round by the Washington Nationals. Junior infielder Kyle Overstreet, a Gold Glove winning second baseman, was chosen in the 14th round by the San Diego Padres as a catcher. Junior right-handed pitcher Will Carter was also a 14th round selection by the New York Yankees. Infielder Cobie Vance, out of Pine Forest High School in Fayetteville, NC, was a 16th round pick by the Cleveland Indians. Junior CF Georgie Salem was the final Tide player picked, going in the 39th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pennsylvania high school senior Mike Nikorak, who signed with the Tide in the Fall, was the highest drafted, going in the 1st Round (27th overall) to the Colorado Rockies. Nikorak, a 6'5" right-handed pitcher, who has long been considered a long shot to make it on campus, most certainly will not be attending Alabama now. Nikorak can expect a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $2 million dollars. Of course, he has already announced that he will forgo college.
White, a former Mr. Baseball in the state of Alabama, was the second SEC infielder drafted by the A's on the first day. Oakland also took Florida shortstop Richie Martin with the 20th overall pick, lending credence to the thought that White most likely will move to second base. White's slot money in his draft position $979,600.
Hughston, a draft eligible sophomore, turned 21 the day he was drafted. The Mobile native is known as a five-tool player. For those unfamiliar with baseball "tools," a five-tool player is the complete package: These guys can hit, hit for power, run, throw, and field. Casey Baseball can do them all. Hughston's slot money is $592,000, but with the "double leverage" available, Hughston may receive as much as $700,000 to sign.
Guilbeau has the disadvantage of being a senior that was selected after the first day, and most likely will be a "senior sign," which usually means between $2,000 and $10,000. Seniors and players with poor grades are often strong-armed into very low signing bonuses because, short of going overseas, there are no other options available to these players: they cannot return to school and MLB is the only game in town. It's very much a take-it-or-leave-it-proposition. Baseball America has a fascinating article on the dynamics of college seniors and MLB contracts.
Overstreet and Carter, both being juniors, are probably looking at between $50,000-$100,000 each. Vance, as a high school senior, could possible command as much as $200,000 -- a nice amount, but not life-changing money. Carter will have a decision to make concerning his future. Georgie Salem has the talent to have been chosen higher, but probably priced himself out of a higher draft selection by the amount of money he was seeking. Of all the draft picks that have options, Salem is the most likely to be in Crimson and White next season.
Alabama '16 will be a far different club than the one that suited up in Hoover this season. If Salem does return, he will be the leader of the team and the face of the program. Other returning players should include catcher Will Haynie, first baseman/DH Cody Henry, IF/OF Chandler Avant, IF Chance Vincent, and IF Daniel Cucjen. Auburn transfer Conner Short will be eligible after sitting out this past season. Short started at third base for Auburn as a freshman and is the son of former 'Bama All-American pitcher Ben Short. Further, there's also some young help on the way. The Tide's recruiting class is presently ranked in the top 20
As the season approaches, we'll take a closer look at the 2016 Crimson Tide; for now, however, pitching seems to be the strength of the club. Jake Walters, Ray Castillo, Thomas Burrows, Geoffrey Bramblett, Jake Hubbard and Nick Eicholtz will be joined by two players returning from Tommy John surgery, Jon Keller and Mike Oczypok. They round out the rotation, giving the Tide a deep, talented (and healthy) stable of arms.
Finally, 2016 will christen a brand new Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The $42 million dollar jewel will be the most modern, and among the most palatial baseball complexes in the conference and the nation. If you've not seen the New Joe, or you're already excited for next season, you can grab a sneak peek here.
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From the Editor: My special thanks to Roger for a great season of coverage and for all he does to promote baseball for Roll 'Bama Roll, Tuscaloosa, and the Crimson Tide family. Roger is RBR's baseball correspondent, handling pregame writeups, recaps, analysis and does one helluva play-by-play/livetweet (follow Roger on Twitter at @rogerpatmyers.) Feel free to pay your respects to Roger in the comments below -- it's sometimes a thankless task, one that is always time-consuming, yet he pumped out nearly 100 baseball articles for you this season.