We’ve talked about the NBA Draft a little bit over the past week or so, but it’s not even the next big draft coming up on the calendar. And unlike the NBA, this one has a chance to see some URI players taken.
The 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft gets underway at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, with the first two rounds to be completed on the opening night. Rounds 3-10 will be drafted on Friday, with rounds 11-40 finishing up on Saturday. Over 1,200 players will be selected due to compensatory and supplemental round picks, so Rhody has a chance to see some of their own on the board, right?
Well, maybe. Especially considering last season, which saw Jeff Roy get selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 18th round. The difference this year is… Rhode Island wasn’t that good. At 13-40, the Rams won’t be turning a lot of heads as a team amongst MLB scouts.
But that doesn’t mean URI doesn’t have prospects. Back before the 2014 season began, Baseball America tabbed two Rhode Island stars as Top 10 draft prospects (in the Atlantic 10) for 2014. And they’ve stood the test of time – both players that BA picked out look to be Rhody’s two best chances of sending someone to the professional ranks.
The first is shortstop Tim Caputo. The upcoming senior is a career .298 hitter, although his best season didn’t come in 2014. That’s partly because Caputo missed some time as he dealt with some injury issues, resulting in his career-low .268 average this year. Back in 2013, Tim hit .295 with 13 doubles and 30 RBI, the latter two being career highs.
Much like Jeff Roy, Caputo has top-of-the-order potential. He was URI’s primary leadoff hitter this year, and he has the bat to get on base more often than not. It will be his offense that draws the attention of MLB scouts, especially considering Caputo is an average defender. He’s known for some highlight reel plays, but he’s also made 19 errors in each of his last two seasons.
Rhody’s other potential draftee is pitcher Ty Sterner, although he looks like much more of a long shot. The lefty has just one win in three combined seasons to go along with a 5.07 career ERA. If you’re into advanced statistics, you know that wins don’t mean all that much, so let’s look at some peripherals.
Sterner’s biggest strength is the strikeout; he fanned batters at a 8.31 per-game clip this season, the best rate of his career. 2014 was also Sterner’s first year as a full-time starting pitcher, so he might need another season under his belt before MLB teams come calling. It also wouldn’t hurt if he won a start – something he has yet to do in his collegiate career.
So what do you think – will Rhode Island see another player drafted this season? Or was 2014 too ugly to draw the attention of Major League scouts? Let us know in the comments!