The MLB Rule 4 draft came to an end yesterday and 9 Kentucky Wildcats were taken in the 40 round event. That mark eclipses the previous school record of 7 players taken in the 2008 draft. Unlike in basketball and football, this does not mean that all 9 players are gone from UK. MLB teams have until 5:00 PM, July 13 to sign drafted players and any unsigned college juniors after that point can return to school for another year.
Here are Kentucky's picks by round:
Round 8: # 255. Brian Adams (Padres)
Round 8: # 272. Luke Maile (Rays)
Round 11: # 340. Taylor Rogers (Twins)
Round 18: # 561. Thomas McCarthy (White Sox)
Round 20: # 620. Tim Peterson (Mets)
Round 21: # 664. Alex Phillips (Tigers)
Round 23: # 707. Cameron Flynn (Marlins)
Round 27: # 820. Jerad Grundy (Twins)
Round 30: # 932. Michael Williams (Rays)
Here's how things break down by class:
Thomas McCarthy (18)
Alex Phillips (21)
Michael Williams (30)
Brian Adams (8)
Luke Maile (8)
Taylor Rogers (11)
Tim Peterson (20)
Cameron Flynn (23)
Jerad Grundy (27)
As you can see, the majority of Kentucky's draftees are juniors who still have the option to return for next year. Obviously, next year's squad will be greatly bolstered by any who choose to do so. I don't have any unique insight as to who might sign and who might return, but based on previous drafts my best guess is that Maile and Rogers will sign while Peterson, Flynn, and Grundy will return to school and try to improve on their draft stock for next year. The wildcard is Brian Adams. Ordinarily I would think he would sign, but considering how little he played this year (27 games, 44 plate appearances), he might decide to come back and see if a healthy season can improve his position a few rounds. On the other hand, he may decide to start his pro career rather than risk another injury-filled season that would drastically hurt him in next year's draft.
Another component of the draft are high school recruits who have to decide between going to school and going pro. I can't find a list of Kentucky's recruiting class, but with the new draft spending cap limits in the new CBA, it's likely that high school players will go to college unless they are taken in the first few rounds. I don't believe this was the case for any of the Wildcat's recruits, so I expect them to be on campus next year.
Update: I found a list of baseball recruits at WildcatRecruits.com. The following players were taken out of high school:
22nd Round #690: Casey Schroeder (C, 3B)
24th Round #756: Chase Mullins (LHP)
Whatever these guys decide to do, this is another mark of excellence for this year's Kentucky squad. It's an indication that the talent level on this team is improving and with all the talented freshmen and sophomores on the team this is a record that could fall again in the next year or two.