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Home > Baseball, Sport, Vanderbilt > SEC Baseball, Part 1 – The East and the Draft

SEC Baseball, Part 1 – The East and the Draft

August 21st, 2011

This is the first in a three part look at the draft's impact on SEC rosters for the coming year.

This is the first in a three part series looking at the Southeastern Conference and the impact of the Major League Baseball Draft for the 2011/12 academic year. Part one provides data relating to the drafted players and recruits for each of the six Eastern division squads. Part two will do the same for the Western division. I’ll close with a final look at and overview of how each team matched up in recruiting, retaining and promoting their programs going forward. I’ll also identify some of the key newcomer names to watch on the horizon as we head into yet another year of baseball in the best conference in college sports.

Look for part two later in the week.

Click through to read more

Coding Key:

PerfectGame ranks players to 500, lists additional players as top-1,000 players and designates additional high schoolers as high follow (HF) or follow (F). Although they are the most comprehensive scouting service, those who pay to attend their showcase events are the only ones guaranteed to be scouted thoroughly, though those scouting reports could be a year or older at this point. PerfectGame is generally reliable, but SEC recruiting coordinators are more keenly adept at identifying talent and a low ranking should not be deemed to fully downplay a recruit’s potential.

Prospect Wire is a high school scouting service that awards recruits starts in a system that views both current talent and professional prospect status. As a result, though a player may be a four-star recruit, they could be deemed to be a five-star recruit for college purposes, simply lacking the height or other metrics sought by Major League scouts. While many players are not rated, that means only that they were not seen. Generally, two-star is the lowest rating one is likely to find in an SEC crop.

I have listed the teams drafting a player, followed by the round in which they were selected. “1C” stands for the sandwich round between the first and second rounds. The final cel includes the draft status. This will be designated by the bonus amount received (or a “signed” designation if the bonus amount is unknown), returning or undrafted, as applicable.

Four year college and junior college transfers are harder to track, so I have included information on them, when applicable, in the summaries below each chart.

FLORIDA:

Recruits Lost:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By Bonus
Hudson Boyd FL RHP 20 4 Twins (1C) $1,000,000
Michael Kelly FL RHP 17 5 Padres (1C) $718,000
Kyle Smith FL RHP 18 4 Royals (4) $695,000
Daniel Vogelbach FL 1B 38 5 Cubs (2) $1,600,000

Recruits Retained:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By
Jeff Driskel FL OF 124 5 Undrafted
Ryan Harris FL RHP 60 3 Yankees (37)
John Magliozzi MA RHP 74 5 Devil Rays (35)
Bobby Poyner FL LHP 1,000 3 Undrafted
Brandon Sedell FL C 40 5 Undrafted
Justin Shafer FL RHP 269 3 Undrafted
Corey Stump FL LHP 113 5 Undrafted
Joshua Tobias NC MIF 35 5 Nationals (31)
Sean Trent FL 3B 73 4 Undrafted
Casey Turgeon FL MIF 187 3 Mets (22)

Upperclassmen:

Player Name Position Drafted By Status/Bonus
Nick Maronde LHP Angels (3) $309,600
Anthony DeSclafani RHP Blue Jays (6) $235,000
Alex Panteliodis LHP Mets (9) $175,000
Tommy Toledo RHP Brewers (11) Signed
Josh Adams 2B Marlins (13) Signed
Preston Tucker 1B/OF Rockies (16) Returning
Ben McMahan C Brewers (23) Signed
Matt Campbell RHP Phillies (24) Signed
Greg Larson RHP Angels (29) Returning
Bryson Smith OF Reds (34) Signed
Tyler Thompson OF Nationals (46) Returning

Top Prospects: Seemingly all of them. Kevin O’Sullivan pulled through what was far and away the best crop of recruits in the nation. As a result, he was bound to be stung more than most; however, he kept virtually more than anyone else had recruited to start with. The top incoming players include middle infielder Joshua Tobias, catcher Brandon Sedell and sub-six foot Massachusetts righty John Magliozzi. Joining those three are five other players ranked in PerfectGame’s top 200, included Prospect Wire five-star recruits Corey Stump and Jeff Driskel.

Draft Day Win(s): There’s little doubt that the big win for Florida was keeping the first baseman and outfielder Preston Tucker (.308, 15 HR, 74 RBI), returning a huge senior bat for the middle of the Gator lineup. Additionally, keeping five Prospect Wire five-star recruits (Tobias, Sedell, Magliozzi, Stump and Driskel) and five PerfectGame top 100 players (Tobias, Sedell, Ryan Harris, Sean Trent and Magliozzi) is quite the haul. Of drafted players, middle infielder Casey Turgeon (Mets, 22nd round) was the highest drafted player to forgo the draft.

Draft Day Defeat(s): Several Florida recruits went down to the wire with sandwich round draftees Michael Kelley (Padres) and Hudson Boyd (Twins) signing in the final hours on August 15th. All told, the Gators lost four recruits in the first four rounds of the draft.

Among draft eligible upperclassmen, the real defeat seems to be that many players signed for what seemed like low amounts. For example, contrast Nick Maronde (0-1, 2.09 ERA, 43.0 IP) with Vanderbilt’s Corey Williams. The two players were among the most similar in the SEC this season with power fastballs and lethal sliders, yet Williams doubled Maronde’s signing bonus despite being drafted in the same round. Although Florida won’t hurt for experience with their entire weekend rotation returning, they will have to turn to some new late inning relievers to join returnees Steven Rodriguez and Greg Larson.

Notes: ProspectWire listed Cory Reid, a Florida outfielder ranked 1,000 by PerfectGame and given three PW stars, as a Florida commitment. He wasn’t in the PerfectGame database as a commitment, but he definitely had committed about a year ago. No word on if that had changed.

UPDATE: One day after it became public that Vanderbilt was enrolling their top catching recruit a year early this fall, Florida announced that their top catching recruit (Taylor Gushue, of Boca Raton, FL) would enroll in January and be eligible for the spring as well.  Gushe is a solid, athletic catcher who should back up All American candidate Mike Zunino.  He ranked 96th for the class of 2012 by PerfectGame and received four stars from Prospect Wire.  Hat tip to Kendall Rogers of PerfectGame, who tweeted the news this morning.

Summary: As appears to be his habit, Kevin O’Sullivan has staked his reputation on recruiting instate and, with scouting services blanketing Florida, his annual haul is both large and highly ranked on a regular basis. With Miami down and Florida State at a smidgen under the elite level of late, the Gators continue to haul them in. Expect Florida to end up with the top national class this year, sneaking ahead of other contenders such as South Carolina, Texas, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Georgia. Similarly, one should expect them to be the consensus number 1 team in the nation when the first polls drop in February.

GEORGIA:

Recruits Lost:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By Bonus
Dante Bichette Jr FL 3B 69 5 Yankees (1C) $750,000
Nick Delmonico TN C 63 5 Orioles (6) $1,525,000
Tyler Greene FL SS 61 4 Phillies (11) $375,000
Patrick Leonard TX SS 87 3 Royals (5) $600,000

Recruits Retained:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By
Jarrett Brown GA LHP 293 5 Red Sox (23)
Justin Bryan GA OF 1,000 NR Undrafted
Hunter Cole SC 3B 31 3 Nationals 49
Luke Crumley GA RHP 199 3 Undrafted
Zac Freeman GA OF 500 3 Undrafted
Heath Holder GA OF 486 3 Rockies (50)
Mike Mancuso OH RHP 217 NR White Sox (46)
Reggie McClain GA RHP 287 3 Undrafted
Pete Nagel GA RHP 387 NR Undrafted
Tyler Palmer GA SS 242 NR Marlins (4)
DJ Smith GA OF 1,000 NR Undrafted
David Sosebee GA RHP 262 NR Red Sox (48)
John Taylor GA RHP 188 5 Rangers
Jared Walsh GA 1B 233 3 Undrafted
Nelson Ward GA SS 271 NR Undrafted

Upperclassmen:

Player Name Position Drafted By Status/Bonus
Zach Cone OF Texas (1C) $873,000
Cecil Tanner RHP Oakland (23) Signed
Michael Pallazone RHP Brewers (24) Returning
Tyler Maloof RHP Indians (34) Returning
Peter Verdin OF Nationals (39) Returning
Chase Davidson OF Astros (41) Signed

Top Prospects: There’s a bit of a skew in the scouting reports on some of the Georgia players. PerfectGame loved Hunter Cole, but Prospect Wire was not as impressed with the third baseman who lasted to the Nationals in the 49th round. Meanwhile, PerfectGame was cooler on righty John Taylor and lefty Jarrett Brown, who Prospect Wire regarded as five-star prospects. The three are joined by six other players in the PerfectGame top 300, most all of whom hail from the talent right Peach state.

Draft Day Win(s): For a team that had few victories among their star recruits, the return of ace righty Michael Palazzone (10-5, 3.14, 120.1) and closer Tyler Maloof (2-2, 7.16, 27.2), who eked out 18 saves despite poor overall numbers , are big for Dave Perno’s squad. Additionally, the arrival of seven top-400 pitching prospects, led by righty Taylor and lefty Brown, will be a key toward rebuilding a staff that featured a rough and tumble 4.90 team ERA.

Draft Day Defeat(s): Perno lost his four of his five best recruits in the class. Keeping just one or two would have been important, though none would deliver the immediate pitching help the Bulldogs need in 2012. The losses of juniors Zach Cone (.275, 4 HR, 35 RBI) and Chase Davidson (.278, 7, 31) will hurt the offense, but were not unexpected.

Summary: Georgia has suffered through a couple of rough years since they rode Gordon Beckham to the College World Series. The roster has not been devoid of talent, but it has woefully underperformed, particularly on the mound. With a late season resurgence in conference play and a healthy stable of fresh arms coming into play, Georgia is on the right track; however, the loss of virtually all of their truly elite recruits bodes poorly for the 2012 hopes of Perno’s bunch. Keeping Palazzone may have been the difference between a regional berth and being left out of Hoover. In the meantime, Perno will have the unenviable task of trying to fit all of these new faces into a roster that should be bulging at the 35-man limit.

KENTUCKY:

Recruits Lost:

None.

Recruits Retained:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By
Jeff Boehm IL OF 137 3 Undrafted
Austin Cousino OH OF 214 NR Undrafted
Spencer Drake KY RHP 500 NR Undrafted
Cole Evans TN RHP 500 NR Undrafted
Greg Fettes MI C 315 NR Tigers (43)
Max Kuhn IN MIF 438 5 Athletics (24)
Ryan Loehnert KY IF HF NR Undrafted
Sam Mahar WI LHP 1,000 NR Undrafted
Taylor Martin KY RHP 1,000 NR Rockies (41)
AJ Reed IN LHP 405 NR Mets (25)
Chandler Shepherd KY RHP 260 NR White Sox (41)

Upperclassmen:

Player Name Position Drafted By Status/Bonus
Alex Meyer RHP Nationals (1) $2,000,000
Chad Wright OF Detroit (9) $95,000
Braden Kapteyn RHP Red Sox (15) $120,000
Taylor Black SS Phillies (16) Signed
Jordan Cooper RHP Pirates (23) Signed
Michael Williams C Giants (37) Returning

Top Prospects: Kentucky’s top prospects included outfielders Jeff Boehm and Austin Cousino of Illinois and Ohio, respectively and Prospect Wire five-star middle infielder Max Kuhn. With a need for pitching, look for lefty AJ Reed and righty Chandler Shepherd to emerge as potential impact freshmen.

Draft Day Win(s): Coach Gary Henderson had to be pleased with how his recruiting class navigated the draft. Five were drafted, with only two (Reed and Kuhn) in a position of real concern. All five will report to campus. Henderson also snuck two Junior College Recruits through the draft, as discussed in the Notes section below and returns starting catcher Michael Williams (.264, 7, 23).

Draft Day Defeat(s): Losing righty starter Jordan Cooper (3-2, 4.61, 66.1) as a draft eligible sophomore was the only real loss in the draft, with ace Alex Meyer (7-5, 2.94 ERA, 101.0 IP) and center fielder Chad Wright (.359, 6, 40) both expected to sign.

Notes: Kentucky also sneaked two junior college recruits through the draft grind with Western Nevada Community College righty Chris Garrison spurning the Cubs in the 28th round and lefty Jerad Grundy of Heartland Community College turning down a 42nd round selection of the Marlins.

Summary: All in all, a good summer for Kentucky. They didn’t have the elite talent that some of their SEC peers nabbed for their recruiting classes, but Henderson made it through July and August unscathed. With eight top-500 recruits and a couple of junior college transfers, the Wildcats will look to play a bit of catch up with the still-stacked SEC East.

SOUTH CAROLINA:

Recruits Lost:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By Bonus
Andrew Faulkner GA LHP 1,000 5 Rangers (14) $125,000
Taylor Guerrieri SC RHP 12 4 Devil Rays (1) $1,600,000

Recruits Retained:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By
Evan Beal VA RHP 393 4 Royals (8)
Connor Bright SC MIF 1,000 NR Undrafted
Shon Carson SC OF 54 5 Reds (44)
Ahmad Christian FL IF 1,000 2 Brewers (46)
Seth Constable NC OF 327 4 Undrafted
TJ Costen VA SS 62 4 Rangers (22)
Robert DeCosmo MA RHP 219 NR Undrafted
Tanner English SC OF 50 NR Devil Rays (13)
Austin Gambrell SC 3B 500 NR Undrafted
Grayson Greiner SC c 112 4 Undrafted
Mikal Hill NC MIF 141 3 Undrafted
Kyle Martin SC 1B 472 3 Undrafted
Reid Moman SC OF 1,000 NR Undrafted
Jordan Montgomery SC LHP 1,000 NR Undrafted
Joey Pankake SC SS 250 NR Rangers (42)
Alex Pridemore SC 3B 467 NR Undrafted
Alex Satterfield SC RHP 500 NR Undrafted

Upperclassmen:

Player Name Position Drafted By Status/Bonus
Jackie Bradley Jr CF Red Sox (1C) $1,100,000
Matt Price RHP Diamondbacks (6) Returning
Scott Wingo 2B Dodgers (11) Signed
Peter Mooney SS Blue Jays (21) Signed
John Taylor RHP Seattle (22) Signed
Adam Matthews RF Orioles Returning
Bryan Harper LHP Nationals Signed
Michael Roth LHP Cleveland (31) Returning
Steven Neff LHP/OF Giants Signed
Tyler Webb LHP Reds Returning
Adrian Morales MIF Royals (49) Signed

Top Prospects: A pair of local outfielders in Tanner English and Shon Carson will look to fill a pair of newly open spots in the Gamecock outfield. Meanwhile, middle infielders TJ Costen and Mikal Hill and catcher Grayson Greiner will provide Ray Tanner with instant help in the infield.

Draft Day Win(s): There was no bigger pair of victories in college baseball among returning players than the retention of All-Americans Matt Price and Michael Roth. The two make up the foundation of the pitching staff and make the Gamecocks an instant contender to earn a third straight NCAA crown. That’s not to say there isn’t a good deal of attrition to replace, which makes

Draft Day Defeat(s): South Carolina lost on big-time Junior College transfer Brian Goodwin, a sandwich pick of the Nationals who signed for a whopping $3,000,000. Goodwin was slated to replace Jackie Bradley Jr (.247, 6 HR, 27 RBI) in center field. The Gamecocks will also miss superstar reliever John Taylor (8-1, 1.14 ERA, 71.1 IP). From the incoming recruits, first rounder Taylor Guerrieri would have been an immediate rotation option, while Andrew Faulkner was a lefty with big time promise.

Summary: Despite some heavy attrition off of Coach Tanner’s second consecutive national championship team, he may have had the best draft of any team in the SEC. Undoubtedly, Price and Roth alone would make this draft a high mark earner, but the retention of three PerfectGame top-100 players and five players earning Prospect Wire star ratings of four or five make this a cream of the crop class. Like a few other coaches around the league, Tanner will now have to figure out how to fit so many new faces into the roster card.

TENNESSEE:

Recruits Lost:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By Bonus
Mookie Betts TN IF 306 NR Red Sox (5) $700,000
Sal Romano CT C 473 NR Reds (23) $450,000

Recruits Retained:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By
Jared Allen TN OF 1,000 NR Undrafted
David Horne TN RHP 1,000 NR Undrafted
Will Maddux GA MIF 1,000 NR Undrafted
Eric Martin OH RHP HF NR Undrafted
Drew Masingale TN OF 1,000 NR Undrafted
Jake Rowland TN OF 1,000 NR Undrafted
Joseph Vanderplas VA LHP 1,000 NR Undrafted
Parker Wormsley TN SS 374 3 Undrafted
Brandon Zajac TN LHP 436 5 Pirates (28)

Upperclassmen:

Player Name Position Drafted By Status/Bonus
Steven Gruver LHP Twins (7) $125,000
Matt Ramsey RHP Devil Rays (19) Signed
Khayyan Norfork 2B Nationals (23) Signed
Matthew Duffy 3B Astros (20) Signed
Charley Thurber OF Mets (39) Signed

Top Prospects: Tennessee was hit hard by the draft, losing all five drafted upperclassmen, two top recruits and a Junior College transfer. Leading the way in the newcomers are a pair of local talents. Parker Wormsley is the brother of former Vanderbilt outfielder Jordan and was a pre-season All-American before his Senior year of high school. Meanwhile, Brandon Zajac is a guy who flew way under the radar throughout high school, but wowed a Prospect Wire scout at the WWBA Jupiter event on May 24th of this year. The tall lefty could step in to immediate playing time.

Draft Day Win(s): There were few wins for new coach Dave Serrano. Keeping Zajac would probably rank as number one on the list. Closer candidate Samuel Davis, a transfer from Columbia State Community College was kept off draft radars, which could be considered a big victory as well.

Draft Day Defeat(s): Tennessee lost just about every fight they had with the draft. Particularly damning were the losses of Mookie Betts and Sal Romano. The two could have been key, three year players in Coach Dave Serrano’s efforts to rebuild a once proud program.

Notes: Transfer Samuel Davis is joined by Blake Thomas, a second righty transfer. Thomas, from Gordon College, had pretty good numbers and will provide experienced depth on the Vols staff.

Summary: This was a hard year to recruit for Tennessee. Todd Raleigh’s coaching career had one foot in the grave and it shows on the lack of elite talent. More disheartening was losing eight of the nine drafted players and recruits to the professional ranks, despite the arrival of Serrano as the Vols high profile new coach. What remains to be seen is if any of the recruits Raleigh did get on board turn into the hidden gems like he may have found in Zajac.

VANDERBILT:

Recruits Lost:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By Bonus
Kevin Comer NJ RHP 53 5 Blue Jays (1C) $1,650,000
Shawon Dunston Jr CA OF 68 4 Cubs (11) $1,275,000

Recruits Retained:

Player Name State Position PG Rank PW Stars Drafted By
Tyler Beede MA RHP 15 5 Blue Jays (1)
Connor Castellano LA 2B/3B 120 4 Undrafted
Vicente Conde FL MIF 193 3 Undrafted
Will Cooper TN 3B 1,000 4 Undrafted
Chris Harvey PA C 54* 5 Ineligible
Brian Miller TN RHP 1,000 NR Undrafted
Jared Miller IN LHP 500 3 Undrafted
John Norwood NJ OF 382 4 Jays (12)
Philip Pfeifer TN LHP 59 4 Rangers (44)
Adam Ravenelle MA RHP 133 4 Yankees (44)
Zander Weil TN 1B 1,000 3 Undrafted
Nevin Wilson AZ LHP 285 3 Phillies (44)

* Chris Harvey graduated a year early from high school and was believed not to be eligible for the MLB draft. His PerfectGame ranking of 54 was for the high school class of 2012.

Upperclassmen:

Player Name Position Drafted By Status/Bonus
Sonny Gray RHP Athletics (1) $1,540,000
Grayson Garvin LHP Devil Rays (1C) $370,000
Jason Esposito 3B Orioles (2) $600,000
Jack Armstrong RHP Astros (3) $750,000
Aaron Westlake 1B Tigers (3) $310,000
Corey Williams LHP Twins (3) $575,000
Taylor Hill RHP Washington (6) $36,000
Mark Lamm RHP Braves (6) $60,000
Curt Casali C Tigers (10) $40,000
Navery Moore RHP Braves (14) $400,000
Will Clinard RHP Twins (30) Returning
Joe Loftus OF Diamondbacks (46) Signed

Top Prospects: No prospect to enroll in college this fall is more highly regarded than Tyler Beede, the only first round pick to eschew the professional ranks. He’s joined by a bevy of top arms that include fellow Massachusetts righty Adam Ravenelle, 2010 national high school pitcher of the year Philip Pfeifer, local legend Brian Miller and strong arm transfer righty Drew Verhagen. On the offensive side, infielders Connor Castellano and Vincente Conde will get immediate looks for playing time, which Chris Harvey’s decision to graduate a year early from high school gives the Commodores a second PerfectGame All American in the ranks.

Draft Day Win(s): While Beede is the obvious answer here, perhaps the biggest victory is being able to forgo the heartache of draft negotiations with Harvey. The catcher will compete for immediate playing time as the battery mate for a rotation that could include two freshmen starting on the weekend. Among drafted upperclassmen, the return of Will Clinard is enormous, as the righty joins rising sophomore Kevin Ziomek as one of two Commodores who have thrown high pressure innings with success.

Draft Day Defeat(s): Few of the SEC record twelve Commodore upperclassmen to be drafted were expected to return; however, there were brief flirtations with the idea of returning lefty reliever Corey Williams, who was perhaps the best player on the Commodores team in Omaha. Many also hoped former Saturday starter Jack Armstrong would make a senior run at the first round and there were brief rumors that All American lefty Grayson Garvin might return. Nevertheless, all of those arms departed, leaving Vanderbilt with few returning innings pitched. Most damaging, perhaps, was the departure of closer Navery Moore to Atlanta in the 14th round.

Among incoming recruits, it was not expected that Vanderbilt would be able to keep both Kevin Comer and Beede from the Blue Jays, so retaining Beede was a far bigger victory than the loss of Comer. On the other side, PerfectGame All American Shawon Dunston Jr received a bigger-than-expected bonus to pass up an education he was strongly committed to.

Notes:  Vanderbilt brings in highly touted Junior College transfer Verhagen from Navarro.  Verhagen entered the year as the number four JuCo prospect for the major league draft, per PerfectGame; however, a disappointing season with some tough luck on the mound saw Verhagen drop off draft charts.  Nevertheless, he’ll have the top power arm on the Commodores roster, along with lefty junior Sam Selman.

Summary: This was a banner draft for Vanderbilt in two big ways. First, they earned solid victories in keeping highly ranked recruits like Beede and Pfeifer, while the Vanderbilt commitment scared the big leagues off of even drafting Castellano and Conde. It was also a banner draft in that it saw an SEC record twelve Commodores taken. More shocking than the overall number was that eight of them went in the first six rounds. With Bryan Johns signing a free agent contract, twelve Dores inked pro contracts. That type of grooming was only exceeded by Pat Murphy’s 2008 Arizona State team that was also coached by current Vanderbilt recruiting coordinator Josh Holliday.

At the same time, the great success of grooming Commodores does raise the intriguing reality that a very highly talented 2011/12 Vanderbilt squad has to replace 449.2 innings pitched on a squad which boasted an SEC best 2.44 ERA. Add in that TJ Pecoraro (7-0, 1.59 ERA) and his 39.2 innings pitched are unlikely to return prior to late in the SEC season after Tommy John surgery, and you’re relying on the newcomers quite heavily. It’s a good bet that Vanderbilt will be a formidable opponent come conference play, but it will be an interesting jaunt on the way to getting there.

  1. ABH
    August 22nd, 2011 at 14:53 | #1

    Excellent summary!
    My other thought is that it matters not how a team plays in March and April, what counts is June, and with Vandy’s young team I have an inkling that come NCAA tourney time they will be rockin’ and rollin’ and a second straight trip to Omaha is not out of the question; in fact, I actually see it as “highly likely”, especially if we can wrestle a Super Regional host site; even if not, I think we’ll be one of the “teams you don’t want to face in a Super Regional even if you’re playing at home”. Go ‘Dores!

  2. admin
    February 16th, 2012 at 16:21 | #2

    I never got around to finishing off the other posts, and it this point it seems to tardy to try.

Comments are closed.