Thursday’s first round of Major League Baseball’s annual draft confirmed what scouts have been quietly saying for months — this is a relatively bad year for high-end South Florida talent.
For the first time since 2003, no players from Miami-Dade or Broward high schools or colleges were picked in the first round of Major League Baseball’s draft.
The three-day draft continues Friday, when several local stars should hear their names called. That list includes catcher/first baseman Zach Collins of Plantation’s American Heritage, third baseman/catcher Victor Caratini of Miami Dade College, outfielder Eddie Abreu of Mater Academy and second baseman Carlos Asuaje of Nova Southeastern University.
Reached after the first round Thursday, Collins said he wasn’t getting much activity with MLB teams just yet, but he was still enjoying the experience.
“It’s awesome to see guys getting drafted that I played with or against,” he said.
As for Caratini, CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa lists the MDC star as the draft’s top “sleeper” among college hitters.
Axisa’s story said the switch-hitting Caratini has a “very strong arm” with the hands and footwork to handle a potential transition to catcher, where he would have more value.
“If he can handle catcher, he will be an absolute steal,” wrote Axisa, who predicts Caratini will be selected between the third and fifth rounds.
Collins has a similar projection, and Abreu and Asuaje should be gone by the seventh round.
Not counting University of Miami or FIU players, there are several other Dade and Broward prospects that could get drafted in later rounds.
That list includes Coral Springs shortstop Luis Guillorme; Southwest shortstop Luis Aviles; American Heritage shortstop C.J. Chatham; Hialeah pitcher Nestor Cortes; American Heritage pitcher Shaun Anderson; Nova Southeastern catcher Brett Clements; Nova Southeastern pitcher Cody Stiles; Miami Dade College catcher/first baseman Mario Amaral; St. Thomas University pitcher/outfielder Ricky Claudio; and former Columbus first baseman/outfielder Vik Ramjit, now at the University of Florida.
There is talent there, to be sure, but it’s not like last year, when four of the draft’s top-30 picks were from Dade or Broward.
Those four were:
Center fielder Albert Almora (Mater, No. 8); pitcher Nick Travieso (Archbishop McCarthy, No. 14); shortstop Deven Marrero (ex-American Heritage, No. 24); and center fielder Lewis Brinson (Coral Springs, No. 29).
In the previous eight drafts, the top local picks were Miami Dade College outfielder Brian Goodwin (No. 34, 2011); Brito shortstop Manny Machado (No. 3, 2010); ex-Killian catcher Tony Sanchez (No. 4, 2009); American Heritage first baseman Eric Hosmer (No. 3, 2008); ex-Westminster Christian catcher J.P. Arencibia (No. 21, 2007); Pace third baseman Chris Marrero (No. 15, 2006); UM third baseman Ryan Braun (No. 5, 2005); and Pace pitcher Gio Gonzalez (No.38, 2004).