The Major League Baseball Draft was held on July 17th, 18th and 19th with four current Alabama players and five incoming players picked by the various teams. Since the draft was implemented in 1966 a total of 154 Bama players have been picked. This was the 44th straight year that the Tide has had at least one player chosen. Since coach Brad Bohannon took over in 2018, Bama has had 20 draft picks with 12 of those being pitchers. The draft was 20 rounds this year.
All the picks in the first 10 rounds of the draft are assigned a slot amount. The amount each team can spend is the total amount of their allowed amount for their picks in those 10 rounds. Teams cannot go over the amount in total, but can go over for an individual player-but will have to go under on others to make up for that. Some teams and players make agreements to go under ahead of the draft to be picked at a certain spot. A good example for this year is former Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker. Rocker was picked number 10 by the NY Mets last year but was not signed after a physical revealed an arm injury. After surgery and recovery Rocker signed with an independent league team this spring and pitched a few innings to show his health. The Texas Rangers selected the big right hander at number three and signed him for $5.2 million, which was $2 million below slot value, leaving them more money for players later in the draft.
With the 48th pick in the 2022 Draft, we've selected LHP, Connor Prielipp.— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) July 18, 2022
Welcome back to the midwest, Connor! pic.twitter.com/GQ73hsGBdU
Left handed pitcher, junior Connor Prielipp, was the first Tide player off the board at number 48, going to the Minnesota Twins. The Tomah, Wisconsin native burst on the scene as a freshman in 2020 and was named an All American in the Covid shortened season. Prielipp was 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA that season and struck out 35 batters in 21 innings while allowing only five hits and walking six. The 6’2’ southpaw opened the 2021 season by pitching five shut out innings with four hits allowed and eight strikeouts, but suffered an injury that limited him to only two more innings all season. After Tommy John surgery in May, Prielipp missed the entire 2022 season. Some bullpen sessions and an appearance at the MLB combine eased the recovery issues and the Twins made him their second pick. The slot value for the pick is $1,621,900.
Next off the board was 17 year old Pace High School (Florida) product Walter Ford. Ford signed with the Tide in the fall after reclassifying to the 2022 class. The Vanilla Missile, as he is known, has a big personality and a big social media presence. Originally from McCalla, Alabama, Ford was 10-2 with a 0.90 ERA in 70 innings at Pace while piling up 126 strikeouts against only 25 walks. Ford was the #74 pick which has a slot value of $887,000.
The third Alabama product was right hander pitcher, Dylan Ray at number 108 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ray was a redshirt freshman this past season and took over the closer role for the team after missing the 2021 season with Tommy John surgery. Ray is a 6”3” 230 pound product of Bob Jones High School and a native of New Market, Alabama. Ray pitched in 18 innings with a 1-4 record and eight saves with an ERA of 4.60 over 31.1 innings. The hard throwing Ray struck out 49 batters and allowed 23 hits. Ray played in the Cape Cod League this summer and solidified his draft status with a good showing. The slot value of the pick is $565,000.
Shortly after Ray’s selection JUCO right hander Jake Madden was taken at #118 by the LA Angels. Madden is a Pennsylvania native that was originally headed to South Carolina out of high school. Instead he matriculated at NW Florida Junior College. After missing his first season with Tommy John surgery, Madden recovered to pitch this season and impress enough for the Angels to take him the 4th round. The slot value is listed at $512,000.
Incoming freshman Nate Ochoa, a Ontario, Canada native, was the next one off the board at number 171 in the 6th round. Ochoa is an infielder, playing both shortstop and third base and stands 6”4” and weighs 215 pounds. The Washington Nationals made the pick and the slot value is $308,000.
The final four picks involving the Tide happened on day three. First up was right handed pitcher Jacob McNairy. McNairy was a senior in 2022 and is eligible to return as a super senior due to the Covid year. McNairy spent the majority of the 2022 season as the Saturday starter for the Tide. The Athens, Alabama native led the team with six wins, garnering a 6-2 recorded over 72 innings pitched with an ERA of 4.62 while walking only 18 and striking out 65.
Incoming freshman Brock Blatter is a 6’6” 210 pound right handed pitcher and a native of Billings, Montana. The top rated prospect in Montana was picked number 563 in the 19th round by the Chicago Cubs. Blatter was also a star basketball player for Billings Central Catholic High School.
Junior right hander Garrett McMillan was the next choice on the very next pick, number 564 to the Minnesota Twins. McMillian took over the Friday night starter role for the Tide this season after transferring from Shelton State. The Tuscaloosa native and Hillcrest High graduate led the team in inning pitched with 86, and strikeouts with 83 while compiling a recored of 4-5 with a 4.29 ERA.
The final pick from the Tide was incoming JUCO infielder Drake London. London played at Shelton State the last three seasons after coming south from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Logan hit .365 with eight home runs and 49 RBI for the Bucs in 2022. London stands 6’4” and weighs in at 185 pounds.
Who will sign?
Prielipp, Ford, Ray, Madden, and Ochoa most likely all have already packed their bags for their next location. McNairy has already graduated and seems likely to sign. McMillian will have a decision if he wants to try and improve his stock, but next year as a senior signing money is likely to be less than this year. Being older, London would seem likely to entertain the opportunity to go pro, but also has the leverage of trying to put together a season worthy of moving up in 2023. Blatter would need to be wowed by an offer to not go to school and try to move up over the next three seasons.
Alabama Baseball Fever, Catch it