The Diamond Heels season came to a heart-breaking end in the Regionals last weekend, but now several of those responsible for getting Carolina back to the NCAA Tournament will be looking to move on to the next level of their playing careers. Major League Baseball’s annual first-year player draft takes place this Monday through Wednesday.
J.B. Bukauskas, the Tar Heels’ ace, will almost certainly be the first Carolina player selected Monday night. He’s generally expected to go early in the first round, though some mock drafts now have him going more in the middle of the first round instead of toward the beginning.
John Manuel at Baseball America has Bukauskas being selected eighth overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in his latest mock draft. MLB.com’s Jim Callis, however, thinks Bukauskas will slip all the way to 14th overall. That change is a product of Bukauskas’ struggles down the stretch for the Heels, including a loss to Davidson in the opening game of the Regional that was his worst outing of the season. That loss ultimately presented too high of a hill to climb for the Heels to advance to the Super Regionals.
Shortstop Logan Warmoth is still slated to be taken toward the end of the first round with Manuel predicting he’ll be selected 22nd overall by the Blue Jays and Callis agreeing on the same. It’s a slight dip for Warmoth, who was previously appearing on mock drafts in the late teens.
Brian Miller had been appearing on mock drafts as a choice for teams picking in the supplemental portion of the first round, but neither Manuel nor Callis have him appearing there now. It seems like all of the Tar Heels kind of took a hit for their disappointing showing in the NCAA Tournament.
North Davidson phenom Austin Beck, who is committed to the Tar Heels for next year, is still slated to go very high in the first round. That likely means he’ll be turning pro instead of heading to Chapel Hill, but it’s something to keep an eye on nonetheless.