Gators in the MLB Draft: Stay or Sign?

Kevin O’Sullivan and the MLB First Year Player Draft have a love/hate relationship. On one hand, having both recruits and players who have spent time on his team be drafted to play at the next level is a testament to the kind of recruiter, coach and talent developer he is. On the other hand, it’s no fun to have the MLB come and pluck some of your most talented players away each and every year.

This year was no different for O’Sullivan and the Gators. Florida had a total of 15 players drafted (5 players from the team and 10 recruits) in the 2013 Rule 4 Draft. Oh, and Will Muschamp even got a taste of what life is like for O’Sullivan when the Boston Red Sox drafted Jeff Driskel – who hasn’t played baseball since his junior year of high school – with the 863rd pick in the 29th round. Don’t worry football fans Driskel isn’t going anywhere.

While Driskel won’t be signing a professional contract this year, there are a lot of players – both former roster players and recruits – who will decide to pursue their dream of playing professional baseball.

Let’s jump right in and breakdown where every Gator was selected and project if they’ll take the money and run or make their way to Gainesville.

The Roster Players

RHP – Jonathan Crawford – Round 1, pick No. 20, Detroit Tigers

The first player selected – either roster player or recruit – was Jonathan Crawford. The Tigers took Crawford with the 20th pick overall in the very first round. Crawford is slotted to make just north of $2 million dollars and he already tweeted that he will be signing a deal with Detroit.

Crawford finished his career at Florida with a 9-8 overall record but he will always be remembered for the no-hitter he threw against Bethune-Cookman in the 2012 regionals.

What he will do: Sign

LHP – Daniel Gibson – Round 7, pick No. 210, Arizona Diamondbacks

Gibson was the next roster player selected and it appears his career at Florida is also done. Shortly after he was drafted Gibson tweeted “So excited to be an Arizona Diamondback. Ready to get out and play! #Dreamscometrue”

Most big league clubs view Gibson as a bullpen pitcher – a role he filled while at Florida – and he’ll begin his big league career soon.

What he will do: Sign

RHP – Johnny Magliozzi – Round 17, pick No. 506, Chicago White Sox

Johnny Mags – as he became affectionately know by … well maybe just me – was selected by the White Sox in a range where he should have a tough decision. On one hand, Mags is only a sophomore and has leverage to negotiate a contract but he would have that same leverage if he decided to return to school. Normally you have to spend three seasons in school if you go to a four-year college. Magliozzi falls under a rule that says if a player turns 21 up to 45 days before the draft they are eligible.

Unfortunately for the Gators, I heard from a source this week that Magliozzi is leaning towards signing a contract.

What he will do: Sign

MIF – Cody Dent – Round 22, pick No. 676, Washington Nationals

Known more for his glove than his bat, Dent was taken by the Washington Nationals. Dent was a senior so he’s out of eligibility and will start playing in the Nationals minor league system very soon.

What he will do: Sign 

RHP – Karsten Whitson – Round 37, pick No. 1,126, Washington Nationals

Whitson was the ninth overall selection in the 2010 MLB Draft but turned down a reported $2.1 million dollar offer from the San Diego Padres in favor of playing baseball at Florida.

Whitson missed the entire season after getting his shoulder scoped by Dr. James Andrews. Whitson could have been healthy and ready to pitch towards the end of the season but he elected to take a redshirt and retain a year of eligibility. This move will give him leverage for next season as he will be a redshirt junior.

A source told me this week that Whitson will return to Florida and he should be able to jump right back into the rotation if healthy.

What he will do: Stay

Players who were eligible but weren’t drafted: Senior IF/OF – Vickash Ramjit, Junior RHP – Keenan Kish, Redshirt Junior INF – Zack Powers


The Recruits

MIF – Christian Arroyo – Round 1, pick No. 25, San Francisco Giants

The knock on Arroyo is his lack of speed and a weak arm, which will force him to move to second base eventually. That didn’t stop the Giants from using a first round pick on what was the Gators best infield signee.

Arroyo is going to sign a deal north of $1.7 million dollars, which means he’ll never make it to campus.

What he will do: Sign

RHP – Tyler Danish – Round 2, pick No. 55, Chicago White Sox

Danish went his entire senior season without giving up an earned run. That’s incredible. The White Sox selected Danish and he will likely sign a major league deal. Danish has been re-tweeting White Sox fans who have been welcoming him to the organization.

Danish will reportedly travel to Chicago on Thursday to meet with the team and should get started on contract negotiations soon. He is going to sign a professional contract.

What he will do: Sign

LHP – Sean Brady – Round 5, pick No. 141, Cleveland Indians

Brady falls into an interesting category, similar to Magliozzi. Brady is already 19-years old so he will be draft eligible again after his sophomore season. Brady is slotted to make roughly $347,000 but the Indians will have to meet and possibly exceed that number to get Brady to sign.

My prediction is that they will and Brady will be playing professional baseball this summer.

What he will do: Sign

RHP – Brett Morales – Round 24, pick No. 735, Cincinnati Reds

Morales was projected to be drafted much higher than this but his desire to play at Florida scared teams off. Those teams who decided not to take Morales because of this look smart as Morales tweeted that he can’t wait to begin his career at Florida and wants to win a national championship.

He’s all Gator and he should be able to help out of the bullpen as a freshman. Morales has a great arm – throws in the mid 90s – and also throws a very good changeup. He finished his senior season with a 7-1 record (his only loss came in a matchup against Tyler Danish) and a 0.54 ERA in 54 innings.

What he will do: Stay

RHP – Logan Shore – Round 29, pick No. 860, Minnesota Twins

Shore could have gone earlier in the draft but he has every intention of attending school.

While Shore was recruited as a pitcher, he is also a very sound third basemen and has a decent bat. I think he begins his college career out of the bullpen. Shore throws in the upper 80s to low 90s with a curveball that falls off the table and a changeup. Shore has shown the ability to throw all three pitches for strikes and that’s something that will help him adjust to pitching in college.

What he will do: Stay

RHP – Dane Dunning – Round 34, pick No. 1,015, Toronto Blue Jays

Dunning will be attending Florida.

Dunning throws from a low ¾ arm slot that gives his 88-92 MPH fastball some movement. He also has a decent curveball that he throws in the mid-70s but with only two pitches, Dunning will likely work out of the bullpen for a year or two.

What he will do: Stay

LHP – AJ Puk – Round 35, pick No. 1,056, Detroit Tigers

Puk reportedly was called by teams in the 1st -3rd rounds but gave them an outrageous number that he would sign for. The story that came out pre-draft about Puk wanting to continue hitting and his desire to go to school turned out to be true.

What he will do: Stay

Puk has good enough stuff to be in contention for a Saturday or Sunday starting spot as well as a good enough glove/bat to jump right in at first base. He’s a player Gator fans should be excited about heading into next season.

LHP – Scott Moss – Round 38, pick No. 1,129, Colorado Rockies

Moss is a tall lefty that has college written all over him. Moss has a fastball that peaks around 91 MPH that he delivers from a very loose pitching motion. Moss has also developed a decent curveball. However, a low selection coupled with the opportunity to play at Florida will be too much to pass up. He’ll work out of the bullpen for Florida.

What he will do: Stay

MIF – John Sternagel – Round 39, pick No. 1,164, Kansas City Royals

Sternagel should find his way to Gainesville and will likely move from his high school position of shortstop to third base. He had a hip injury that forced him to miss some of the spring, which caused his draft stock to plummet.

What he will do: Stay but he’ll flirt with the Royals. 

RHP – Shaun Anderson – Round 40, pick No. 1,216, Washington Nationals

Anderson was the MLB equivalent of the NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant, as he was the last selection in the 40th and final round. He won’t get a contract worth skipping college for and I expect Anderson to enroll at Florida.

What he will do: Stay

Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC