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Who’s coming back home and who’s going pro? A very (un) scientific breakdown of Kirk Saarloos tweets

Six current TCU Baseball players were drafted over the weekend — five of whom have eligibility remaining. We break down the reaction of the Horned Frogs’ skipper to decide who might come back.

Marcelo Perez is the player TCU Baseball fans are most hoping elects to return to school for one more year after being drafted into professional baseball.
Melissa Triebwasser

TCU Baseball saw six players selected in the 2021 MLB Draft this week. Among the chosen, five are eligible to return to school should they so choose, and that’s something TCU Baseball fans are probably hoping happens.

Newly minted skipper Kirk Saarloos was active on social media throughout the draft — quick to congratulate his guys. We can read between the lines some to make snap judgements on how players may or may not be leaning — in a very “read the tea leaves but have no real answers” way.

This is that — and is completely for fun. I truly have no insider info here.

Russell Smith | Round 2 | 51st Selection | Milwaukee Brewers

Hmmm... a simple congrats from Saarloos with no commentary? Feels like more of a pat on the back than a goodbye.

VERDICT: Okay we all know Russ is signing. You go pro if you get selected in the first ten rounds, period.

Johnny Ray | Round 12 | 335th Selection | Chicago White Sox

Saarloos references Johnny “going back home”.

VERDICT: He gone. Ray has an uphill battle to earn back a spot in the rotation next spring with the talent returning and the talent coming in. Feels like we have seen the last of J Ray in purple.

Phillip Sikes | Round 18 | 526th Selection | Boston Red Sox

Oh, another basic pat of the back? Could TCU’s most consistent hitter take one last trip around the sun with his Horned Frog homies?

VERDICT: This is a tough one. Sikes could certainly raise his stock with a return to college baseball, but he’s probably not a guy that’s going to work his way into the top ten rounds. He’s also a guy that has been to three schools in four years and may well be ready to move on from school.

Harrison Beethe | Round 18 | 529th Selection | Kansas City Royals

Kirk says Harry will work his way to the Big Leagues.

VERDICT: Harry is going to start that work now. Beethe is a guy with a cannon of an arm, a player who returned to his hometown to pitch for his hometown team but never quite carved out a role with TCU due to command issues (11 BB vs 7 Ks in 2021). At 23 years old, it’s almost now or never for the pitcher, who is 6’5” and can touch the upper 90s with his fastball, but struggled with control throughout his career. He’s a low risk, high reward prospect for the Royals — if they can get him to throw strikes, they have a very projectable Big League reliever. If they can’t? He didn’t cost them much.

Marcelo Perez | Round 20 | 591st Selection | Los Angeles Angels

Saarloos uses a very familiar nickname alongside his congrats.

VERDICT: Marcelo was one of 20 pitchers selected by the Angels, and was chosen in the final round of the draft. He can certainly raise his stock with a solid 2022, and has a chance to make TCU’s weekend rotation as a starter. I think Perez comes back for one more season — and benefits greatly from it.