The 2017 MLB draft was held on Monday-Wednesday this week. As expected, two high profile recruits that were signed by Alabama, Bubba Thompson and Jacob Heatherly, were taken early and will forego college to sign professional contracts.
Thompson, an outfielder out of McGill-Toolen High School in Mobile, was the 26th pick of the first round, chosen by the Texas Rangers. The slot money for that postion is listed at 2.45 million dollars. Thompson announced on Twitter that he would sign.
Heatherly, a left handed pitcher out of Cullman, was a third round pick, 77th overall. The 77th pick is slated to be paid $743,000. Heatherly looks poised to sign as well.
Two current players, Garrett Suchey and Chandler Taylor, and three incoming junior college transfers, Dylan Cyphert, Josiah Breaux, and Alex Valverde were also selected. Cyphert, a left-handed pitcher from Gulf Coast CC, was taken by the Miami Marlins in the 17th round- 509th overall. Cyphert tweeted “So thankful and excited for this opportunity!! Gonna be a Marlin.”
Suchey, a junior right-handed pitcher, was chosen by the Kansas City Royals in the 26th round as the 780th pick. Suchey led the Tide in innings pitched with 72 last season and had a 2-7 record with 73 strikeouts and had four saves. Suchey will negoiate and my guess is that he leaning toward signing.
Taylor, a draft eligible sophomore, was a 27th round pick by the Minnesota Twins, number 796 overall. Taylor was second-team All SEC last season with a .282 batting average and 16 home runs. If his price is not met, he can come back, have a huge junior season, and still have leverage to go after next season. Taylor is playing in the prestigious Cape Cod League this summer, and will be a participant in the home run derby at the College World Series this coming week.
Junior College outfield Josiah Breaux, out of Texas, was a 36th round pick (1073) of the Philadelphia Phillies. Breaux is a powerful outfielder who would be a big piece of he chooses to bypass signing and comes to school. I have no feel on his status.
Right-hander pitcher Alex Valverde out of Miami Dade College was a 22nd round (649) pick of the Tampa Rays. Valverde is a hard throwing arm that would be a welcome addition to the Tide. He was 8-1 with 4 complete games this past season with a 1.80 ERA. In 85 innings pitched, he had 92 strikeouts to only 20 walks. Again, I have no idea of his intentions.
Overall, the Tide didn’t take nearly as big a hit as they could have. Pitcher Jake Walters, shortstop Chandler Avant, first baseman Cody Henry, and first baseman/outfielder Hunter Alexander were all draft-eligible and were not selected. Walters had announced via Twitter that he was returning for his senior season. Incoming freshman, Sam Praytor, is a highly thought of catcher but also was not drafted.
With Walters returning the Tide has a legitimate SEC starter returning, a guy that can take the ball on Friday night and give the team a chance every time out. If Taylor comes back he will be one of the top powers hitters in the nation. Avant, Henry, and Alexander are all proven players that should help give new coach Brad Bohannon a powerful lineup.
Now it is just a wait-and-see game on who signs, and who shows up on campus. After the oversigning fiasco under former coach Greg Goff, Bohannon has his hands full trying to make the numbers work, but I have confidence that he will. Teams are allowed 35 players, 27 of which can be on scholarship (well, divide 11.7 scholarships). Before the draft, the Tide was sitting at 43 guys on aid and several walk-ons. Fall practice will be in essence a tryout camp.
‘Bama Baseball Fever, Everybody can catch it now!
Roll Tide Roll