Senior catcher Peter OBrien became the first University of Miami player to go in this years MLB Draft, but the pros lust for Hurricanes recruits shares the spotlight.
OBrien was drafted Tuesday afternoon by the Yankees, who took him with the next-to-last pick in the second round, No. 94 overall.
Im excited to think of myself wearing pinstripes someday, said OBrien, who played his high school ball at Miami Braddock. It feels great to be drafted, and it couldnt have happened with a better organization.
OBrien was drafted in the third round last year by the Rockies but turned them down. Canes coach Jim Morris would love to see some of that magic happen with the five Miami recruits who were selected among Mondays top 55 picks.
That list includes shortstop Carlos Correa of Puerto Rico, who was taken by the Astros as the top overall selection. The other Canes recruits selected were center fielder Albert Almora (No. 6, Cubs); pitcher Nick Travieso (No. 14, Reds); first baseman /outfielder Keon Barnum (No. 48, White Sox) and pitcher Walker Weickel (No. 55, Padres).
Using MLBs fairly strict slot guidelines for signing bonuses, here is what those players would have to turn down to come to UM: Correa ($7.2 million); Almora ($3.25 million); Travieso ($2.375 million); Barnum ($1.052 million) and Weickel ($925,000).
The prevailing logic is that its too much money for the first three players on that list to reject, but the Canes could possibly get a stellar talent in Barnum and/or Weickel.
Barnums best tool is his powerful swing from the left side. Weickel, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, had been projected near the top of the first round. But he grew two inches in the past year and lost some life on his fastball.
In other news from the middle day of the draft:
• Left-handed reliever Steven Rodriguez, who played at Miamis Gulliver Prep and now pitches for the Florida Gators, was selected in the second round (No. 82) by the Dodgers.
• Gulliver shortstop Adrian Marin was selected in the third round by the Orioles. He is another Canes recruit.
• After Travieso was drafted Monday, two more of his teammates from Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy were selected Tuesday: shortstop Nick Basto (fourth round, White Sox) and pitcher Andre Martinez (Twins, sixth round). Basto is an FIU recruit, and Martinez is committed to FSU.
• Two more UM players went in successive rounds: pitcher E.J. Encinosa (Giants, round 7) and shortstop Stephen Perez (Senators, round 8).
• Pitcher Alex Lavandero of Miamis Belen Jesuit was picked in the ninth round by the Brewers. He is a Florida Atlantic recruit.
• First baseman Alan Sharkey of Coral Springs was picked in the 13th round by the Brewers. He is a Nova Southeastern University recruit.
• Catcher Leonardo Rojas of Miami Dade College was selected in the 15th round by the Giants.
The draft concludes with 25 more rounds Wednesday, and among the local college players who are expected to hear their names are UM pitchers Eric Whaley and Steven Ewing.
No FIU player has been drafted yet, and candidates include outfielders Jabari Henry and Pablo Bermudez, pitcher Mason McVay and infielder Mike Martinez.
There were several elite high school players who did not get drafted Tuesday likely due to bonus demands that did not match with pro teams evaluations and they are now more likely to play college ball.
That list includes UM recruits Brandon Lopez (shortstop, American Heritage); David Thompson (outfielder, Westminster Christian); Eric Nietzel (infielder, Gulliver) and Ivan Pelaez (pitcher, Gulliver).
Three others who could have been drafted sooner were Miami Columbus pitcher Mike Vinson (Florida); Gulliver catcher Chris Chinea (LSU) and Columbus pitcher Yency Almonte (FIU).