MLB first-year player draft

Braves take MDC’s Caratini in 2nd round


Special to The Miami Herald

For the second time in the past three Major League Baseball drafts, the first prospect selected from a Miami-Dade or Broward county school is a Miami Dade College player.

This year, it is third baseman/catcher Victor Caratini, who was picked in the second round by the Atlanta Braves.

The draft went through Round 10 on Friday and will go through Round 40 on the final day Saturday.

The Braves used selection No. 65 on Caratini, and the slotted value for the pick is $858,800. The Braves can go over or under the slot to sign Caratini as long as they stay within the overall cap assigned to them by MLB.

To put MDC’s feat over the past three years in perspective, the University of Miami has had the top local player picked just once over the past 10 years — Ryan Braun in 2005. FIU has not had that distinction at all over the past decade.

Danny Price, who coached FIU for nearly 30 years, never had a first or second-round pick with the Panthers. But in just three years at MDC, he has already had a first-rounder in outfielder Brian Goodwin in 2011 and other high-rounders such as Caratini.

In fact, MDC not only had the top local player picked this year, it had the second selection as well. Outfielder Omar Garcia was picked by the Milwaukee Brewers in the seventh round. The bonus slot for his pick is $175,300.

“Omar ran a 6.27 [seconds] in the 60- [yard dash], which is world-class speed,” Price said. “Once he did that, he started getting more interest. He covers a lot of ground in center field.

“I suspect Victor and Omar will sign pro contracts.”

American Heritage outfielder Brandon Diaz was the first local high school player selected this year. He was picked in the eighth round by the Brewers. Coral Springs shortstop Luis Guillorme was picked in the 10th round by the New York Mets.

Two top prospects — American Heritage catcher Zach Collins and Mater Academy outfielder Willie Abreu — were not drafted Friday. Both have scholarships to UM, and teams likely stayed away because their demands for a signing bonus did not match the clubs’ assessments of their value. Both are now more likely to play for UM next season.

UM signees picked

While current Hurricanes waited for the call they never got Friday, two UM signees were selected during the second day of the draft.

Riverdale Baptist outfielder Matt McPhearson was the first Hurricane selected Friday — taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth round, 120th overall.

McPhearson, out of Columbia, Md., is a 5-10, 170-pounder known for his speed and athleticism. He stole a school-record 68 bases in 72 attempts as a junior in 2012. His speed is rated an “80” on the 20/80 scout ratings (where 50 is considered average major-league ability). McPhearson was ranked 100th in Perfect Game’s Top 500 pre-draft prospect rankings and 116th by Baseball America.

Palm Beach State right-hander J.D. Underwood was the second Hurricane signee selected Friday. Underwood, who is 6-1 and 205 pounds, went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth round, No. 154 overall. Underwood, of West Palm Beach, is the son of former major-leaguer Tom Underwood.

He helped lead Palm Beach State to the 2013 NJCAA Division I World Series after leading the Panthers to their first Florida junior-college crown since 1984. Underwood was named the tournament’s most outstanding pitcher with two complete games, a 2-0 record and a 1.00 ERA. Entering the Panthers’ NJCAA World Series opener, Underwood had tossed eight complete games in his previous nine starts.

Underwood was ranked 153rd in Perfect Game’s Top 500 pre-draft prospect rankings and 438th by Baseball America.

Susan Miller Degnan

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