The 2012 MLB Draft will likely not be kind to the Horned Frogs, who could be looking at up to 4-6 players lost for 2013 (current and incoming). The MLB Draft is all about the future, how good a player projects to be in two, three or four years down the road. With this in mind, MLB teams have been out scouting players for the last two years in preparation for this big day and will likely be calling some familiar names throughout the first 5-10 rounds. If I am right (I am not, BTW) TCU will see 16 total (current and incoming) players drafted in 2012, a record. A breakdown of the upcoming three days follows after the jump.
Monday: Round 1 (and supplemental picks): 6:00pm CST
Tuesday: Rounds 2-15: 11:00am CST
Wednesday: Rounds 16-40: 11:00am CST
Keep in mind, this is an inexact science. Nobody truly knows where these guys are going to go in the draft, you just try and make your best guess based on what everyone knows. After following these guys and talking to all sorts of industry and team sources, I feel confident with these basic projections. But, we will just have to wait and see what happens!
First, lets look at the seniors in this years class and where they may go:
Jason Coats: Rounds 10-20
You have to admire Coatsy for coming back this year, deciding to turn down six figures from Baltimore and instead focus on getting his degree and trying to win a championship. A slight ACL tear will dampen his draft prospects, but probably not too much. If he can get back to being selective at the plate and not too long with his swing he could be a solid future fourth outfielder.
Zac Jordan: Undrafted Free Agent
I expected a lot from ZJ, never got much. If he wants to continue playing ball, it might be tough to find a job but if he is willing to go anywhere I am sure he will be able to find something. Best of luck Zac.
Brance Rivera: Undrafted Free Agent (Or late round)
Brancer is, to me, the king of unclaimed potential. You never doubt his hustle, heart of leadership. But, you can doubt his bat and his arm, which doesn't look good on any corner OFs resume. Brance is a good candidate to get picked up as a FA after the draft, will head out to short season ball for a tryout and if he capitalizes will have a job in 2013. I also give him an outside shot at a late round pick, but only a slim chance.
Next, let's look at the juniors who will likely hear their name called:
Kevin Allen: Rounds 30-40
Solid arm, can work in the low 90s with a solid change offering and breaker. Not flashy, but will get a look and I would guess he might sign. He could go undrafted this year too. He could also not sign. I have no idea.
Josh Elander: Rounds 1-5
Josh Elander's draft stock took off last summer while playing with Team USA (along with Andrew Mitchell). He won't stick at catcher (probably) and will get a look at a corner OF spot. I am not sure what kind of future he will have, but enough teams like him enough to give him a shot. I expect a top 5 round pick and Josh will almost assuredly sign.
Kaleb Merck: Rounds 20-40
Merck didn't have the fantastic comeback year we were all expecting, but he wasn't awful. The velocity isn't all the way back but it is getting there. His secondary offerings aren't there yet, but they are coming back. He will get a look late due to his upside as a reliever and I highly doubt he will skip on signing this time around.
Justin Scharf: Not Drafted
It isn't inconceivable that he could be drafted late, but I would bet not. Another great year as a senior and he will very likely be a late round pick in 2013.
Kyle Von Tungeln: Rounds 3-10
For scouts who love tools, KVT is their man. Projectable speed, defensive ability, a future .280 hitter who can swipe 40 bags and lock down center field. And he could do all that within two to three years of draft date. Top 10 round pick, likely to sign and begin his professional career.
Jantzen Witte: Rounds 30-40
This is a total guess, but I think some team will throw a pick at him late and offer him some cash. But, for Jantzen, he actually does have room to move up the boards in 2013 and if he is healthy and produces, he will. I bet, if drafted, he will be back.
Davy Wright: Not Drafted
Not much needs to be said here, Davy did yeoman's work early in the year at third but just isn't a premier talent. If he gets consistent PT in 2013 and performs, he might get a look somewhere, but not in 2012.
Finally, let's look at the incoming freshman who will also likely be drafted:
Tejay Antone, RHP: Rounds 10+
Tejay has a live arm but needs to work on being more consistent with his stuff. Velocity is 88-90, breaking ball is a work in progress. Hard to figure where he will go due to signability, but I think late. Depending on who you ask, he may or may not come to school, I think in the end he will.
Austin Aune, OF: Rounds 1-10
This kid is a straight athlete, coming to TCU on a dual scholarship (Football/Baseball). He has played mostly SS and 3B so far in his career but is likely destined for the OF at TCU or in the pros. He appears to be the kind of guy who would more likely sign rather than not, but I have seen him anywhere from 2nd to 7th round in the draft. Seeing as a 7th round pick would net him roughly $140k, I bet he signs. If he doesn't, I am going to be mega-happy.
Austin Fairchild, LHP: Rounds 1-10
Big lefty arm who I believe is likely to go early and sign. Others disagree, so we will just have to wait and see what happens. He works mostly in the low 90s/high 80s and has good secondary offerings. Ultimately, I bet a team takes a bet that he will sign and takes him early enough to give him $500k+. If he drops past 10, he is coming to TCU.
Riley Ferrell, RHP: Rounds 10+
Riley has been hard to pin down over the last year. He wowed people last summer with big velocity readings, but dropped off a bit this last year. Ultimately, scouts see him as unsignable and I bet he makes it to TCU. He may get a look late in the draft however.
Trevor Seidenberger, LHP: Rounds 20-40
Solid lefty arm that works in the high 80s with good secondary offerings... TCU has had mixed results with JUCO guys and the draft recently, but Trevor is believed to be a solid TCU commit and will likely drop out of the top 10 because of it. I expect to see him in purple next year.
Jake Thompson, RHP: Rounds 1-10
If you have followed the local sports news, you have seen this youngsters name more than a few times in the last couple months. Jake is a stud pitcher who works in the low to mid 90s with solid secondary stuff and is considered to be signable. He could go anywhere from 1 to 5, but he will likely sign regardless.
Mitchell Traver, RHP: Rounds 10+
Mitchell had a tough spring after a solid summer/fall where most believed he would likely go first before any other TCU commit. After an injury late in the season, Mitchell appears to have dropped out of the top 10 rounds of the draft and is considered to be a lock to head to TCU. Which is good, since Mitchell often draws comparisons to former UCLA star Gerrit Cole.
Brian Trieglaff, RHP: Rounds 10+
Brian is a solid arm who most scouts would love to sign, but he is also considered to be 100% headed to TCU in the fall so he will likely drop in the draft. While Brian has hit 92-93 at times with his fastball, he mostly works around 90 with some yet to develop secondary pitches. Just another solid arm headed to TCU.
Boomer White, C: Rounds 30-40 (maybe)
By the end of his TCU career, I guarantee TCU fans will view Boomer in the same adoring light as they have Elander and Holaday. Hustle, grit, and attitude. Make way for Boomer, your starting catcher in 2013.
Alex Young, LHP: Rounds 1-10+
Alex is the best player in Illinois this year, but likely won't be the first drafted. He is considered to be a solid TCU commit and (am I repeating myself?) is probably going to drop out of the top 5 rounds because of it. But, that doesn't mean he won't sign anyways. We shall see where he goes, which will say a lot about TCU's chances.