As expected, TCU lost a lot of talent to the MLB Draft. Over the last few days, all but two of the current and future Frogs selected in June’s MLB Draft chose to sign with their new clubs, meaning TCU will be without three of its biggest stars and four potential future stars.
In all, closer Durbin Feltman, slugger Luken Baker, and starting pitcher Sean Wymer all chose to forgo their senior seasons, while top recruits Cole Winn (pick #15 by the Rangers, for $1,350,000), Adam Kloffenstein (pick #88 by the Blue Jays, for $2,450,000 - almost two million over slot), Alek Thomas, a baseball and football signee (pick #41 by the Diamondbacks for $1,200,000) and Mateo Gil (pick #95 by the Cardinals for $900,000 - $300,000 over slot) will all skip college ball altogether in favor of beginning their professional careers straight out of high school.
Baker signed with the St. Louis Cardinals for $800,000, just above his slot value of $799,600 as the 75th pick. While many questioned his decision to come to college instead of entering the draft right out of high school, he has no regrets:
TCU has been an absolute blessing. I am thankful for the time that all of the time coaches and support staff have invested in me over the last 3 years. I have developed incredible friendships and a family for https://t.co/Oj2RNRYMTB on the to the next step as a St. Louis Cardinal pic.twitter.com/Z8QKsAViz3— Luken Baker (@lukenb9) June 14, 2018
Durbin Feltman, selected with pick #100, is going to Boston, and many experts believe he will be the first player of any draftee to make it to the Big Leagues. Feltman collected the slot value of $559,600.
TCU has given me more than I could ever dream of. I cannot thank the coaches, trainers, support staff and teammates enough for helping me in every way imaginable. I’ve made lifelong friends and unforgettable memories but now I’m on to the next chapter with the Red Sox. pic.twitter.com/fE2Th1UsHR— Durbin Feltman (@dfeltman12) June 13, 2018
Sean Wymer also turned pro, signing at value ($478,600) for pick #116, with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Frogs got some good news over the weekend, though, when rising redshirt senior pitcher Jared Janczak elected to return to Fort Worth to try and make a run back to Omaha, hoping to win TCU the National Championship that has eluded them in five previous trips to the College World Series.
A special thanks to the Angels for the opportunity to be a part of their system, but there’s work to be done in Fort Worth. I’m fired up to play one more season in the purple and white! Go frogs!! pic.twitter.com/6HyyXv5xLo— Jared Janczak (@JaredJanczak) June 16, 2018
As we detailed during the draft, Janczak has little left to prove and is unlikely to advance his stock much, even with another great season in 2019. JJ turns 23 this summer, not exactly old, but in pitching years, not exactly young, either. His decision likely came down to how much he cares about a professional future - if he wants to chase that MLB dream, he probably needed to go, but it seems that he loves TCU and loves being a collegiate athlete, and that might be fulfilling enough. There is, of course, also the question of how having Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery this past season will effect his future - though, according to Jim Schlossnagle, he will begin throwing this fall and is expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 campaign. If you’re curious about the track record of pitchers who have had surgery for TOS, this is a great article detailing what it is and how it’s affected MLB players (though it’s from 2015). It’s not very encouraging, but since Janczak isn’t exactly a guy who relies of velocity to be effective, I believe he has a great chance of returning to nearly full strength.
That leaves just one player with a decision to make, rising senior outfield Josh Watson. Watson is a different story; the talent at the plate and in the field is clearly there, but, despite being projected to go in the top ten rounds, he fell into the 30s. That is likely a by-product of a lack of consistency, and if he can put together another year like he had during his junior campaign, he could skyrocket up the boards.
*** UPDATE: Josh Watson announced Monday morning that he will indeed return to TCU for his senior season ***
It was a honor to be drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers. I am truly grateful for the opportunity but I am happy to announce I will be returning to TCU for my Senior year! Here is to one more year in the purple & white pic.twitter.com/4uHopVXxf0— Joshua Watson (@iamjoshwatson) June 18, 2018
Coaching Carousel Spins Again:
After all the drama surrounding Jim Schlossnagle and the “will he or won’t he” coaching decisions (which, in hindsight, looks so dumb for MSU with what Gary Henderson has done on his way to being named coach of the year), Frog fans breathed a sigh of relief.
Only to see the carousel spin again when Kirk Saarloos was hotly pursued by Rice.
But, Saarloos elected to return to TCU, crediting the family atmosphere, his family, and the players he is currently and will coach in the future.
Just as we were thanking the baseball gods profusely for the band staying together, offensive coordinator Bill Mosiello, who Schloss has called the best teacher of the game in the country, was interviewed for the Rice job, and was given a top flight rec from the Frogs’ head man. The Owls chose to go with Tennessee Tech skipper Matt Bragga, a home run hire as well, meaning that one of the top trios in the country stays put in Funky Town.
SEC Change Could Impact the Big 12
Another big piece of news filtered out this past week, as the SEC put forth a motion to add a third, full-time, paid assistant to their baseball and softball staffs. If the SEC can pass this legislation, other Power Five leagues could follow. And that, in the eyes of TCU’s manager (and many others) is good news:
This absolutely must pass for the best interest of our players and game! https://t.co/sMtZzoy9AM— Jim Schlossnagle (@TCUSchloss) June 15, 2018
Currently, the Frogs are blessed with a very talented, highly qualified, volunteer assistant - Zach Etheredge - who has been a part of TCU Baseball’s staff for fie seasons. Etheredge coaches first base, the catchers, and helps with the offense. And he’s a volunteer.
Let’s get that man paid.