The college baseball season is winding down with the Tar Heels rounding out their regular season with a weekend series against Duke starting this Thursday. The #3 Heels have had a resurgent season, clinching the Coastal and looking poised for another run in the playoffs.
Carolina strong campaign has been largely helped by one of the best college pitchers in the country, J.B. Bukauskas. The right-hander is a little smaller than your average MLB pitcher, but he has the stuff to make it work at the next level. He has been overpowering for the Tar Heels all season, owning a 1.80 ERA and a perfect 8-0 record in 75 innings on the year.
Bukauskas has held opposing hitters to just a .183 average, racking up 98 strikeouts against just 27 walks allowed. Having a guy like Bukauskas as the team’s Friday night starter has been a tremendous boost for Carolina. That kind of dominance is going to get Bukauskas picked very early in the draft, resulting in quite a solid signing bonus.
In Scout.com’s latest mock draft, they have Bukauskas being selected seventh overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D’Backs selected Bukauskas out of high school before he opted to head to Chapel Hill instead of going pro, so they are already familiar with what he brings to the table.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis has Bukauskas going in that same range, but has him being selected sixth overall by the Oakland Athletics. Regardless of whose opinion you favor here, the consensus is that Bukauskas’ name is going to get called very early on draft night, and one team will be getting one heck of a pitcher.
There is one other Tar Heel who seems like a good bet to hear his name on the first night of the draft, and that is shortstop Logan Warmoth. The junior out of Orlando, Florida, has a .344/.418/.578 triple slash for the season with 16 doubles and nine home runs.
Warmoth’s slugging percentage is the highest mark among his Tar Heel teammates, and his .344 batting average is the best for a starting position player on the team. He has started all of Carolina’s 51 games so far this season.
His calling card has definitely been his bat more so than his defense, and a relatively weak class of shortstops should help his case in that regard. Chris Crawford at Hero Sports notes that Warmoth’s stock has been on the rise since the start of the season, and his ability to hit the ball with authority to all parts of the field has been a big reason for that.
Callis has Warmoth slotted at 23rd overall to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his latest mock draft, but Scout’s latest run through has him headed to the San Francisco Giants with the 19th pick.
Although these guys are very likely on the verge of becoming very wealthy, the Tar Heels still have work to do. A strong showing at the ACC Tournament in Louisville to kickstart their postseason run would be a good place to start. There are still a few weeks for scouts to see what these guys can do, and helping their team make it into the College World Series could potentially bump them up a slot or two on draft day.
If you want another chance to see Bukauskas, Warmoth, and the other Diamond Heels before the draft, the team hosts Duke this weekend at Boshamer Stadium on Thursday and Friday night, as well as Saturday afternoon.