Football season is over, we’re waist deep in basketball, but the New Year means we’re just over a month away from the start of North Carolina baseball season. At this moment, the baseball world is preparing for the year ahead, and evaluators are taking stock of the college players eligible to go professional. Baseball America has released its list of the top 100 college players who are eligible for the MLB Draft in June, and it just so happens that the Tar Heels have five players on the list, tied for the most.
After the 2016 he had, Baseball America has ranked Bukauskas No. 3 on the list, making him the second-best college arm in the 2017 Draft. The right-hander is entering his junior season after pitching to a 3.12 ERA and striking out 111 batters in just 78.1 innings last year. He will be the team’s undisputed Friday starter in 2017.
Likely the player here who saw his stock rise the most in one year, Warmoth went from a quiet middle infielder to a shortstop with a bat in 2016. He hit .337/.402/.481, with 4 home runs and 53 RBI to grab the attention of scouts around baseball and place him 50th on the list. Warmoth should be the team’s starting shortstop in 2017.
After two solid seasons pitching for the Tar Heels, Williams is finally getting the attention he deserves. The left-hander makes the list at No. 58 after pitching to a 3.13 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 37.1 innings. He’s split time between the rotation and the bullpen since entering college, but he should get more opportunities to start this year ahead of the draft.
The team’s speedy outfielder was ranked 72nd on the list and will be a force in the coming year. Miller led the team in hitting with a .345/.440/.469 batting line and a team-leading 22 stolen bases. He also had 33 RBI, 12 doubled, five triples, and 34 walks on the year.
The team’s corner infielder saw enough improvement in his sophomore season to get him to 76th on Baseball America’s list. Gahagan hit .297/.391/.439 with 5 home runs and 34 RBI last year while splitting time between first base and third base.
To go along with BA’s list, Perfect Game also released their College All-American Preseason team. Bukauskas made the publication’s first team and Miller made their second team.