Willie Abreu has preferred not to think about the uncertainty of the Major League Baseball draft.
With the third-seeded Hurricanes a series victory over Boston College away from advancing to the College World Series in pursuit of the program’s fifth national title, the junior outfielder said the team has come too far to let something they can’t control cause their success to slip away.
“The fact that we’re playing, [the draft’s] definitely not the first thing that’s on our mind,” Abreu said Thursday afternoon. “We’re just worried about playing baseball and winning ballgames.”
That’s all he needs to focus on now.
Abreu and teammates Bryan Garcia and Brandon Lopez had their names called on Friday ahead of a rain-delayed super regional opener against Boston College.
The Colorado Rockies took Abreu with the 170th pick in the sixth round, while Garcia went five picks later to the Detroit Tigers. The Minnesota Twins selected Lopez with pick No. 303 in the 10th round -- a mere 25 minutes before first pitch between UM and Boston College -- to bring Miami’s number of drafted players to three after 10 rounds. They join catcher Zack Collins, who the Chicago White Sox took with the 10th overall selection on Thursday.
The final 30 rounds of the three-day, 40-round draft take place on Saturday beginning at noon, the same time as Miami and Boston College’s second super regional game at Mark Light Field. The Hurricanes have 13 draft-eligible players who have not been selected heading into the final day.
“I don't know how I could handle it,” UM coach Jim Morris said Thursday. “These guys are very emotional on both teams. They've worked very hard to get where they're at and they've done the best they can do to be the best they can be."
Abreu is a three-year starter in UM’s outfield and has evolved into one of the team’s off-the field leaders. Heading into Friday’s super regional matchup with Boston College -- which was delayed two hours and four minutes due to inclement weather -- Abreu is batting .269 this season with a team-best and career-high 55 RBIs and earned the nickname “Walk-off Willie” after hitting walk-off homers in back-to-back weeks earlier in the season to give Miami series-opening wins against Louisville and Clemson.
Garcia, ranked No. 161 by Baseball America, settled in as the Hurricanes’ closer during his freshman year and has earned a school-record 41 saves heading into Friday. He’s recorded at least 10 saves every season.
Heading into Friday, Garcia boasted a 15-6 career record. In 126.1 innings, Garcia has a 2.06 ERA with 146 strikeouts to 56 walks. He’s 2-0 this year with a 2.04 ERA and 16 saves.
Lopez, a four-year starter at shortstop, has been a fluid defender his whole career and finally broke through at the plate this year. The 6-1, 190-pound senior and a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award leads the Hurricanes with a .392 batting average and has a team-high-tying 25 multi-hit games. He’s struck out just 26 times in 224 plate appearances. In the field, he has just five errors this season.
In addition to the trio, three of the University of Miami’s Class of 2016 signees also heard their names called on Friday. The Washington Nationals took left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo (Stoneman Douglas) with pick No. 94 in the third round. Third baseman Colton Welker (Stoneman Douglas) was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round with the 110th pick. Luis Curbelo (Cocoa High) was taken by the Chicago White Sox with pick No. 176 in the sixth round.