When you recruit at a high level, develop players at a high level, and have a reputation for success, the MLB Draft can take a toll on your baseball program. 2018 was no different for TCU and the Horned Frogs, who got good news early in the week when Jim Schlossnagle and Kirk Saarloos recommitted to their roles in Fort Worth, but saw their current team and potential future team stripped of a lot of talent as name after name came off the board.
Here are the current and future Frogs who were drafted, as well as our projection on whether or not they will sign.
(we will update this post as players are drafted)
Cole Winn | RHP | Round One | Pick #15 | Texas Rangers
Orange Lutheran High School, CA (TCU Commit)
Winn was the first player associated with TCU to come off the board, drafted early in the first round with a slot value of $3.7 million. The talented prep pitcher, who was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Colorado as a junior, and in California as a senior, is very unlikely to matriculate to TCU, despite flipping his commitment to the Frogs just six weeks ago (from Mississippi State).
Alek Thomas | OF | Round Two | Pick #63 | Arizona Diamondbacks
Mount Carmel High School, IL (TCU Commit, Football & Baseball)
This is an interesting one, as the son of the White Sox’s strength and conditioning coach has the desire to play two sports at the next level, committing to Gary Patterson in addition to Jim Schlossnagle. Thomas is an above-average athlete, earning accolades as the Gatorade Player of the Year for baseball as a junior, and amassed over 2,000 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior QB/WR/RB. Expected to play in the slot as a receiver should he come to Fort Worth, Thomas’ speed would absolutely be an asset to the football Frogs. As a baseball player, he hits for contact to all fields (just five strikeouts in his final high school season), has the power to hit double-digit home runs, and is a terror on the base paths. With a slot value hovering around one million, it’s easy to think Thomas will turn pro, but the opportunity to play two sports at a school he loves with coaches he respects might be enough to delay his major league dreams.
Luken Baker | 1B/DH | Round Two | Pick #75 | St. Louis Cardinals
Draft Eligible Junior
Baker was one of the top high school players in the country when he basically told pro baseball to get lost. Now, three years and three injuries later, the junior slugger is highly unlikely to turn down the opportunity to go pro again.
We never really saw Baker’s full potential in Fort Worth; there was the arm injury that cut his promising pitching career short during his freshman season, the horrifying arm injury late in his sophomore campaign that cost him a chance to help the Frogs win a College World Series, and the fluke injury on a slide in the middle of this past season that ended his year, and likely his career.
In just 522 career at bats in 145 games, Baker batted .347, slugged .561, drew 109 walks, and launched 28 LukenBombs. He’s the picture-perfect MLB DH, so it’s interesting that he goes to an NL team, but his improved defense at first base must have been good enough for The Lu. Baker could be a first round pick a year from now were he to stay - and stay healthy - but there’s no guarantee for the injury-prone superstar in year four. Go be great, Baker. Get that money.
Adam Kloffenstein | RHP | Round Three | Pick #88 | Toronto Blue Jays
Magnolia High School, TX (TCU Commit)
Hoo boy did the Jays throw some serious cash at Kloffenstein. After having told just about anyone that would listen that he would forgo his draft slot and attend TCU - unless a club threw a ridiculous amount of money at him - Toronot threw serious money at him. Despite having a draft slot of just $650,000, one of the top prep pitchers in the state was offered a first round level signing bonus of $2.5 million dollars to head north of the border. That’s insane, and no one in their right mind would turn down that kind of money (except, maybe, Kyler Murray). It doesn’t hurt that current teammate, and Kansas commit, Jordan Groshans (brother of Kansas baseball star Jaxx) was also drafted by the Jays. The duo will start their next chapter just as they finished off their last - together.
Mateo Gil | SS | Round Three | Pick #95 | St. Louis Cardinals
Timber Creek High School, TX (TCU Commit)
Gil appears ready to take the money and run, and is expected to sign with the Cards for right around the slot value of $587,000. Gil is a speedy, talented player who could have been plug and play in the middle infield on day one, but the success of rising sophomore Adam Oviedo at the position in 2018 should help TCU fans feel better about this decision.
Durbin Feltman | RHP | Round Three | Pick #100 | Boston Red Sox
Draft Eligible Junior
Yeah, Durbs is moving on. Via NESN:
Jim Callis, mentioned in the tweet above, wrote this about Feltman in a May 31 mailbag on MLB.com: “The leading candidate for the first draftee to reach the Major Leagues usually is the best college reliever, and this year that’s Texas Christian right-hander Durbin Feltman. With a running 95-99 mph fastball and a power slider that give him two well above-average pitches at times … ”
With a 2.03 ERA in three seasons with the Frogs, TCU’s career saves leader (he tied Riley Ferrell at 32 despite missing several weeks in 2018 due to injury, and was one strike away from beating it - twice - in the Big 12 Championship game) struck out 129 players in 88.2 innings while walking just 32. Feltman has a slot value of just $560,000 but he could easily be in the Bigs by summer’s end, playing for a team that will have a shot to play in a World Series. I don’t see any way he passes that up, nor should he.
Sean Wymer | RHP | Round Four | Pick #116 | Toronto Blue Jays
Draft Eligible Junior
Wymer didn’t have the season many expected in 2018, coming off a dominant sophomore campaign out of the pen. Struggling as a starter, the junior power pitcher bounced between starter and reliever late in the year as he tried to regain the magic that made him so imposing early in his career. With four excellent pitches and a track record of postseason success, Wymer is attractive to pro scouts despite not being the biggest or most athletic pitcher.
Though Wymer could potentially raise his profile with a solid senior campaign, he has little left to prove, despite his unevenness this year. With the ability to hit 96 on the gun, but a comfort in hitting his spots and staying around 92, Wymer has the easy, repeatable delivery that the pros love, and could be an excellent middle reliever, or potentially starter, at the next level. He is a heady player that has great makeup and is unflappable on the mound, having done some of his best pitching on the biggest stages college baseball has to offer.
After retiring 35 of 39 batters faced in the postseason in 2017, what does he need to show? He gone.
Jared Janczak | RHP | Round 32 | Pick #961 | Anaheim Angels
Draft Eligible Redshirt Junior
JJ, in my opinion, has the most interesting decision to make. Generally, players drafted this low with college eligibility remaining return to school. But, after injuries in each of the last two seasons, and as an “old” junior, Janczak may decide it’s time to ply his trade for a paycheck.
Jared isn’t a guy who is going to blow you away on the radar gun, but he strikes out a ton of batters (over 1.02 Ks per inning), doesn’t walk many, and has improved annually. He has, to borrow some NBA vernacular) one of the highest floors of any pitcher in the draft - you absolutely know what you’re going to get out of the crafty veteran. Older players aren’t particularly attractive to MLB clubs, especially pitchers, so I don’t see him being able to raise his stock much, even if he has a stellar senior season. Though, he may want to make one last run at a national championship with his team.
With no insider knowledge on the subject, my best guess is that we have seen the last of JJ in purple.
Josh Watson | OF | Round 35 | Pick #1055 | Milwaukee Brewers
Draft Eligible Junior
Projected as a 7th-10th round pick, Watson fell to round 35 in Wednesday’s draft. After a sophomore slump a season ago, the outfielder improved dramatically in 2018, batting over .300 and hitting a team-leading eight home runs. Watson was a Freshman All-American his first year of collegiate ball, and hasn’t quite matched those numbers the last two years. A big senior season could raise his profile considerably, and see him go in the first two rounds. I would imagine he will return to try and vault his way up the board a year from now. He certainly has the talent to be an everyday player in the bigs, both offensively and defensively, and if he can hit double digit home runs and continue to spray the ball, he will do much better in 2019’s draft.