Thursday June 6, 2013 A look at Gators' prospects in MLB Draft
Updated: 5:56pm, June 6
Updated: 5:56pm, June 6
Left-hander Daniel Gibson is projected to go in the early rounds of the MLB Draft.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Not so long ago, the MLB First-Year Player Draft went by without many noticing other than the most diehard of seamheads.
Baseball America was and continues to be a great source of information on the draft, but much like the NFL Draft and NBA Draft, the MLB Draft is becoming more and more of an event.
A year ago the Gators were loaded with MLB prospects and it showed in the draft as eight Florida players went in the first 10 rounds of the draft, highlighted by first-round selections Mike Zunino (Seattle) and Brian Johnson (Boston).
This year Florida’s talent level dropped off and it showed during the Gators’ 29-30 season. Still, expect to see some Gators go in the draft, starting with right-hander Jonathon Crawford.
Crawford likely capped his UF career on Friday in the Gators’ 4-3 loss to Austin Peay in the Bloomington (Ind.) Regional. Crawford’s outing went much like his season – solid but not spectacular.
He received a no-decision after limiting the Governors to four hits and a run over 6 1/3 innings. Crawford struck out five and walked four. Free passes plagued Crawford (3-6, 3.84 ERA) his junior season. He walked 37 in 86 2/3 innings (3.84 walks per nine innings) after walking just 24 in 77 2/3 IP (2.78 per nine innings) during his 6-2, 3.13 ERA sophomore season.
But with a right arm that consistently hits 95 mph on the radar gun, Crawford should hear his name much earlier than in the 2010 draft when the Marlins selected Crawford with the 1,277th overall pick. My guess is about 1,250 picks earlier.
Here is look at the Gators eligible in this year’s draft:
Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Jr.
Draft history: 42nd-round pick of Marlins in 2010 out of Okeechobee HS
Baseball America rates Crawford the 24th overall prospect in the draft. The A’s have the 24th pick in this year’s draft but as much an inexact science as mock drafts are in football, they are even more flawed in baseball due to the draft featuring high school, junior college and four-year college players. Regardless of where Crawford goes, he can expect a hefty signing bonus and an opportunity to advance through the minors quickly if he pitches the way he did last summer for the USA College National Team (3-0, 2.10 ERA and a pair of wins over Cuba in Havana). Crawford maintains velocity deep into games and when he is in control of his fastball, he is tough to hit. This is me thinking out loud, but I could see Crawford developing into a late-inning reliever down the road. He usually starts strong but often has one inning that gets him into trouble.
Daniel Gibson, LHP, Jr.
Draft history: 26th-round pick of Brewers in 2010 out of Tampa Jesuit HS
Gibson moved into the bullpen role vacated by Paco Rodriguez, who is now with the Los Angeles Dodgers after becoming the first player in the 2012 draft to make the majors. A hard-throwing lefty, Gibson appeared in 32 games this season. He went 2-1 with a 4.42 ERA in 38 2/3 innings. Gibson allowed 36 hits, walked 20 and struck out 31. Gibson is much better against left-handed hitters, limiting lefties to a .191 average while right-handed hitters batted .311. In his final outing of the season for the Gators, Gibson struggled with his control and walked home two runs in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to Valparaiso a day after a sharp outing against Austin Peay. Most projections have Gibson, rated by Baseball America as the 100th top prospect in the draft, going somewhere in the third or fourth rounds. Few seem to think Gibson will last long because he has an above average fastball and slider and a relatively fresh arm. Gibson pitched only 73 1/3 innings in three seasons at Florida while waiting his turn behind Nick Maronde and Rodriguez the past two years.
Johnny Magliozzi, RHP, So.
Draft history: 35th-round pick of Rays in 2011 out of the Dexter (Mass.) School
Magliozzi checks in at No. 439 on the Baseball America 500. Magliozzi was a major reason the Gators qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive season in 2013. He was an effective closer (12 saves) and late in the season when Coach Kevin O’Sullivan needed a reliable starter, Magliozzi stepped into the rotation and pitched well. He started the Gators’ final game on Saturday, a 5-4 loss to Valparaiso. Magliozzi finished the season with a team-low 2.67 ERA. In 67 1/3 innings, he allowed 53 hits, walked 16 and struck out 57. While only a sophomore, Magliozzi is 21, which makes him eligible for the draft. Any player who turns 21 within 45 days of the draft is eligible. Baseball America’s scouting report has Magliozzi with a fastball that can touch 95 but is usually in the 90-92 range, and he spots his changeup and curveball well.
Karsten Whitson, RHP, R-Jr.
Draft history: First-round pick of Padres in 2010 out of Chipley (Fla.) HS
Whitson turned down a multi-million dollar signing bonus three years ago to pitch for the Gators. He looked every bit a first-round pick his first season, going 8-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 19 starts as a freshman. As a sophomore, Whitson battled a sore arm to finish 4-0 with 3.51 ERA in only 33 1/3 innings. He missed his junior season after undergoing a shoulder procedure right before the season started. Whitson has a strong lower body and hits the upper 90s regularly on the radar gun when healthy. Despite sitting out a season, don’t be surprised if a team selects Whitson to see if they can sign him. He remains an intriguing prospect. If Whitson returns to UF, he will be a redshirt junior next season and the projected ace of O’Sullivan’s staff.
Keenan Kish, RHP, Jr.
Draft history: 34th-round pick of Yankees in 2010 out of Germantown (Pa.) Academy
Kish made three appearances – two starts – before missing the season with a hip injury. Baseball America ranked Kish the No. 68 college prospect in the draft prior to the season primarily due to his strong sophomore season. Kish made 13 appearances out of the bullpen in 2012, limiting opponents to 19 hits in 27 1/3 innings. He struck out 28. If Kish goes undrafted or is drafted and doesn’t sign, he projects as a potential weekend starter for Florida next season.
Other Gators draft eligible: 1B/OF Vickash Ramjit, SS Cody Dent, DH Zack Powers.