Nine Tar Heels were selected across various rounds of the 2019 MLB Draft this week. Michael Busch and Tyler Baum were taken on the first day of the draft at 31st and 66th overall by the Dodgers and Athletics, respectively. Junior Austin Bergner was drafted in the ninth round by the Tigers on the second day of the draft.
The third and final day of the draft was very Tar Heel-heavy. Six Diamond Heels were selected as teams rounded out their picks through 40 rounds. Ike Freeman, Brandon Martorano, Ashton McGee, Hansen Butler, Joey Lancellotti, and Gianluca Dalatri were all taken by big league teams.
Freeman was a 14th round selection by Cleveland after a couple of very strong offensive seasons in Chapel Hill. Because juniors have much more leverage than seniors when it comes to negotiating signing bonuses, it’s likely that Freeman will be turning pro after this year.
The San Francisco Giants picked Martorano in the 16th round. Brandon has been a staple behind the plate for UNC, helping to lead their pitching staff. Like Freeman above, this is his last year of real negotiating power, so it would be a surprise to see him back in Carolina blue next season.
Hansen Butler, a redshirt senior, was selected by the White Sox in the 25th round. Butler’s resurgent season helped him do pretty well for himself as a redshirt senior, and the White Sox will likely welcome getting him at a relative bargain.
McGee, Lancellotti, and Dalatri will all have more of a decision to make. For Dalatri, that decision is probably an easy one. He was selected in the 40th and final round by the Tigers. Luca has fought a couple of bad injuries that have really derailed his performance. He will likely return to Chapel Hill for one more year in hopes of staying healthy and productive.
McGee, selected in the 18th round, may get enough of a signing bonus from the Brewers to entice him to leave UNC early. It’s a situation that very well could just come down to the dollars offered and whether or not McGee thinks he could do better with another year of college play under his belt.
The same is true to a greater extent for Lancellotti, who was drafted by the Yankees in the 34th round. He has had a brilliant sophomore campaign out of the bullpen for the Tar Heels this season and may think he can pitch himself into a higher round with more slot money if he returns to Chapel Hill for another season.
All decisions will be on hold while the Tar Heels play in the Super Regionals (and hopefully beyond). Everyone’s goal at the moment is winning the College World Series, and hopefully that is exactly what happens.
Congratulations to all of these guys!