Junior right fielder Tyler Gentry was chosen in the third round of the MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night. Gentry was the 76th player drafted overall. The slot value of the selection is $818,200. I believe it is safe to say that Gentry will leave the Capstone and begin his professional career - if baseball every settles their disputes and the games begin. Gentry became the second highest drafted outfielder for the Tide since the draft began. Joe Vitello was a first round pick, also by the Royals, in 1991.
Gentry is a 6’2’ 210 pound athlete out of Arlington, TN, and came to Tuscaloosa after one year at Walters State Junior College (TN). The big outfielder hit .379 with 18 home runs and 72 RBI and led WSJC to a second place finish in the JUCO World Series. In his first, and only full season, with the Tide, Gentry was the teams leading hitter with a .310 average, home run leader with 13 home run, RBI’s with 42, total bases with 112, and tying for the lead with 12 doubles and 37 runs scored. In the ill-fated 2020 season Gentry was off to a fast start for the 16-1 Crimson Tide squad with a .429 average, four home runs, six doubles, 21 RBI and 42 total bases.
With the length of this year’s draft shortened to five rounds, Gentry will likely to be the only Bama to depart for the pros. Players not drafted are handcuffed by MLB’s decision to cap the money available to un-drafted free agents to a maximum amount of $20,000. Senior C-3B-CF/utility super star, Brett Auerbach has drawn some interest, but may opt to return to Alabama. Several of the incoming freshman would likely to have had a choice to make. With the five round draft, teams were more focused on college players with a proven track record, and the Tide feels confident in getting their 10 new players to campus.
It appears that next year’s draft may be capped at 20 rounds after many years of 40 rounds. Major League Baseball has plans to eliminate 40 plus Minor League teams when play begins again, thus cutting the need for as many players. This very well is shortsighted, given that several Hall Of Fame players were later round picks. For example, Nolan Ryan was a 12th round pick, Albert Pujols 17th round, Ryne Sandberg 20th round, John Smoltz 22nd round, and Mike Piazza all the way down to the 62nd round. Closer to home, the Tide has had Matt Downs picked in the 36th round and David Robertson in the 17th round, both in 2006. Downs carved out a nice five year MLB career and is now head baseball coach at Marion Military Institute. Robertson made his MLB debut in 2008 and is still playing. Most of Robertson biggest moments came as a New York Yankee, first as Mariano Rivera’s set up man, then his successor as closer. In his 12 year big league career, Robertson has earned in the neighborhood of $75 million dollars.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it!