The ol' college try: Teams turn attention to experience
Second day of Draft features older prospects; U. of Virginia leads with six selections
NEW YORK -- As Day 2 of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft began on Friday, teams found plenty of talent, especially in the college ranks. Of the first 30 players selected on the second day, 20 played in college.
The trend continued throughout the day during Rounds 3-10 as 177 players were selected from four-year colleges, representing nearly three-quarters of the players picked Friday.
The Astros began the second day of the Draft by selecting two-way Cal State-Fullerton star J.D. Davis with the 75th overall pick. Davis led the Titans in batting (.338), on-base percentage (.419) and slugging percentage (.523), but he also picked up seven saves as a pitcher. The Astros selected him as a third baseman.
The run on college players extended through the eighth pick of the third round, when the Rockies selected Georgia Southern left-hander Sam Howard. The southpaw made the final start of his season last Friday in the Regionals round of the NCAA Tournament, throwing a two-hit shutout against No. 5-ranked Florida State.
Two high school players followed, as the Blue Jays selected left-hander Nick Wells from Battlefield High School in Virginia and the Mets grabbed shortstop Milton Ramos from American Heritage High School in Florida. Ramos was ranked No. 46 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 200 Draft Prospects list and entered the day as the third-highest-ranked player available.
The third round also saw the Orioles make their first pick of the Draft, left-hander Brian Gonzalez from Archbishop McCarthy High School in Florida, with the 90th overall selection. Baltimore forfeited its first two picks with the signings of free agents Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez during the offseason.
In the fourth round, the Orioles selected Notre Dame right-hander Pat Connaughton. In addition to pitching for the Fighting Irish, he also starts for their basketball team. This year, he went 3-5 with a 3.96 ERA on the diamond and averaged 13.8 points and 7.1 rebounds on the hardwood.
The Yankees stayed relatively local with their third-round pick, selecting right-hander Austin DeCarr from Salisbury School in Connecticut. Team officials would have needed to travel only about 100 miles north of Yankee Stadium to see DeCarr play home games this spring.
With the 29th pick of the day, the Red Sox selected Seminole State right-hander Jake Cosart, one of the many players in this year's Draft class with familial ties to Major League Baseball. Cosart's older brother, Jarred, is a member of the Astros' rotation.
Other such players selected Friday included Florida State left-hander Brandon Leibrandt, the son of former Major League pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, and Westfield (Calif.) infielder Luke Dykstra, the son of former All-Star Lenny Dykstra. Leibrandt was selected in the sixth round by the Phillies and Dykstra went in the seventh round to the Braves.
While college players were the focus Friday, Florida high schools were well represented, too, with six players selected. Outfielder Matthew Railey and left-hander Carson Sands helped lead North Florida Christian to Florida's Class 3A state championship last month and were selected 20 picks apart Friday. Railey was picked in the third round by the D-backs, and the Cubs snagged Sands in the fourth round.
The Orioles took left-hander Brian Gonzalez of Archbishop McCarthy High School in the third round, and the Marlins took shortstop Anfernee Seymour of Delray Beach's American Heritage High School, in the seventh round.
The Mets also picked a shortstop from American Heritage High School in Florida, but a different American Heritage High School. They plucked Milton Ramos of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., in the third round. Ramos is regarded as one of the top defensive players in the entire Draft class. The Mets added Trinity High School first baseman Dash Winningham in the eighth round.
The second day of the Draft also reunited a few college teammates. After selecting North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon with the third overall pick Thursday night, the White Sox grabbed his catcher, Brett Austin, in the fourth round. The Yankees selected Mississippi State pitchers Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder. The Tigers grabbed two fixtures of the South Carolina lineup, catcher Grayson Greiner and infielder Joey Pankake.
Four players were drafted Friday from Miami, Mississippi and Oregon State, the most of any school. Overall, Virginia leads all schools with six players drafted in the first 10 rounds.
The Draft continues Saturday at 1 p.m. ET with Rounds 11-40., which MLB.com will stream live.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.