The Alabama baseball team had five players drafted off of their 2021 roster in the recently concluded MLB draft. The draft was held Sunday-Tuesday in Denver in conjunction with the Tuesday night All-Star Game. Second baseman/utility man Peyton Wilson was the first Tide player off the board, and right handed pitcher Tyler Ras was the last. The Tide did lose incoming shortstop Noah Miller, who was the last pick of the first round and is expected to sign for over $2 million dollars with the Minnesota Twins. This is the second highly regarded SS that coach Brad Bohannon has lost in the last three years, the other CJ Abrams who was the 6th overall pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2019 draft. When the teams flash $2 million plus at the players, it is hard for them to turn that down. Abrams had a fantastic start to his career, but recently suffered a broken leg that will keep him out of action for an extended period of time.
Here is a thumbnail of the players picked.
Peyton Wilson, 2B: A second year freshman from Hoover, AL, Wilson played second base almost exclusively this season after being used at second, third, catcher, left field, and center field in his first year. His speed and versatility proved to be a big drawing card for teams and he was picked in the 2nd round, 66th overall, by the Kansas City Royals. The switch hitter was the Tide’s leadoff hitter this year and led the team in several offensive categories. The slot value of his pick was just over $1 million.
Dylan Smith, RHP: A third year junior from Houston, Texas, Smith exploded on to the scene this year after having a minor role in his first two seasons. As the team’s Saturday starter Smith racked up the most innings and strikeouts on the squad. Smith was picked in the third round with the 74th pick by the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are known for picking SEC pitchers, and Smith joins the 2014 2nd round pick from Alabama, Spencer Turnbull in the organization. Smith’s slot value at the pick was $844,000.
Chase Lee, RHP: The McCalla, Alabama product was the next Tide player taken. Lee was chosen in the 6th round, 164 overall, by the Texas Rangers. The crowd favorite with the great back story has already signed with Texas and will start his career in AA with the Frisco (Texas) team. Lee was the closer for Bama. The sidewinder tied for the team lead with seven wins and led the team with seven saves. Lee was a walk-on that tried out as a shortstop before Bohannon suggested he try pitching side armed. After a successful year on the school’s club team, Lee returned, made the team, and became a three year star. If the baseball thing doesn't work out, The Viper - his nickname - can turn to his Aerospace Engineering degree. Lee’s slot value was $312,400.
Sam Praytor, C: Next off the board was All-SEC/All-American catcher Sam Praytor with the 179th pick, also in the 6th round, by the Miami Marlins. Praytor led the Tide with 14 home runs this past season and RBI with 48. The strong-armed backstop from Helena, Alabama is an asset both offensively and defensively at a premium position. The slot value of his pick is $274,800.
Tyler Ras, RHP: The junior from Middleton, New Jersey was selected in the 14th round with the 410th pick by the Colorado Rockies. Ras stepped up as the Tide’s Friday night starter when Connor Priliepp was injured early in the season and tied for the team lead in wins with seven. Ras is expected to sign.
Alabama had several other highly regarded signees in addition to Miller that were under consideration to be drafted. Players like Camden Hayslip, Brandon Clarke, and Luke Holman were the three the staff were most concerned with. All had a particular number it would take for them to not come to school. Holman was the only one picked, in the 20th round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Holman reportedly had a figure of at least $1 million in mind and turned down an offer of $800,000 by a team in the third round. Holman is a native of Sinking Springs, PA, but has Alabama roots. His dad, Craig, is an Alabama native and played baseball at Jacksonville State before spending eight years in the Phillies minor league system.
The Alabama program set some school records with their draft performance. The four players taken in the first six rounds was a first for the Tide, and the five players in the first 15 rounds last happened in 2015. Bama has had at least one player in 43 consecutive drafts and has had 164 since the draft began in 1966. This draft highlighted the importance of the conference players choose to play in. The SEC led the way with the most selections with 67, followed by the ACC with 63. Power five conferences accounted for 243 of the 420 college players picked, and D1 schools had 420 picks of the 612 total taken.
After the draft shakes out and the transfer portal does it thing, I will take a look at what the Alabama roster will look like in 2022. Right now it is fluid with some players transferring out and some transferring in. One thing is for sure, the Tide squad will have a new look when they take the field in February.
Bama Baseball Fever. Catch it