While the Diamond Heels are gearing up for hosting their regional in Chapel Hill this weekend, MLB teams are preparing for their upcoming draft in under two weeks. The majority of players have likely locked in a range of slots where they might be taken, but impressive performances in the NCAA Tournament could help them jump over nearby competition.
As has been a certainty nearly all season, Baseball America projects Tar Heel ace J.B. Bukauskas to hear his name called very early on draft night. Their latest mock draft has Carolina’s Friday starter going sixth overall to the Oakland Athletics.
Listed at 6’0”, Bukauskas is short for a big league pitcher. BA notes that the A’s are not deterred by this fact. They also note that Bukauskas has the best breaking pitch in the draft with his standout slider that serves as his strike out pitch.
The last couple of games have not been the best ones on Bukauskas’ resume, despite still being plenty good. Coming up big for his team in the tournament could result in him jumping a spot or two up the draft board if everything breaks right. Either way, he is about to become very, very wealthy.
Shortstop Logan Warmoth put together an extraordinary performance in the ACC Tournament. He is another player who could sneak up the draft board with a strong performance in the regional and beyond. Presently, Baseball America projects him going 19th overall to the San Francisco Giants.
Baseball America chose this pairing because of the Giants’ propensity to draft college position players like Warmoth. While he plays a very acceptable shortstop, Warmoth’s standout ability is at the plate. Shortstops are not generally known for their offense, but Carolina has gotten tons of production at the top of their lineup from their shortstop.
Center fielder Brian Miller has improved his draft stock as of late, and has found himself solidly within the supplemental round range for next month’s draft. Baseball America’s mock is just a best guess, but their latest entry has Miller joining teammate Bukauskas on the Athletics with the 33rd overall pick.
Miller certainly didn’t hurt his case at all when he did this in the ACC Tournament:
The top part of the UNC offense has really been firing on all cylinders recently, and Miller is a huge part of that as their leadoff hitter. He is currently just outside of the regular portion of the first round, according to this BA mock draft, so a good showing in the tournament could have him sneaking in to Cubs/Rangers territory ahead of the supplemental picks.