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2015 MLB Draft: 5 Wildcats Selected

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For the 2nd straight year, 5 Kentucky Wildcats were selected in MLB's annual amateur draft.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Gary Henderson continues to demonstrate that Kentucky Baseball is on the way up with another good draft class.  In all, 9 players with Kentucky ties were selected: 5 current Cats and 4 high school recruits.  It's going to be tough losing any of these players from next year's team, but as we've seen with John Calipari one of the best ways to attract talent in the future is to demonstrate draft success in the present.

Below are the results from the draft, along with the signing bonus pool amount assigned to each pick.  Note that these amounts are not guaranteed - teams can go above or below the assigned number (subject to some constraints and other rules), but it will give you a rough idea of how much money each player is likely to be offered to sign.

Name Pos Class Round Team Bonus Pool
Nick Plummer OF HS 1.23 Cardinals $2,124,400
Cody, Kyle RHP JR 2.73 Twins $839,700
Travis Blankenhorn SS HS 3.80 Twins $754,000
Tom, Ka'ai OF/2B JR 5.154 Indians $338,700
Nicholas Shumpert SS HS 7.220 Tigers $179,500
Barrett, Kyle OF JR 15.446 Marlins $100,000
Tristan Pompey OF HS 31.920 Twins $100,000
Beggs, Dustin RHP JR 32.959 Mets $100,000
Fettes, Greg C RS JR 39.1178 Athletics $100,000

For the most part players went where I expected them to go.  Ka'ai Tom went a little earlier and Dustin Beggs went much later than I expected.  Greg Fettes was a bit of a surprise, but he had a solid year as the full-time starter and was well regarded coming out of high school.  Also, who is running the Twins' draft - Alex Meyer?

Who's Signing and Who's Staying?

The deadline for juniors and high school players to sign is 5:00 PM EST July 17.  At that point we'll know for sure who is going and who will be in Lexington next year.

Here's my best guess, with the disclaimer that I have no particular insight aside from what's happened in the recent past.  Also worth consideration - based on what I've read this draft was regarded as fairly weak and next year's class is regarded as pretty strong, so for the Juniors especially there may be more incentive to sign instead of coming back to college.

  • Probably Sign: Cody, Tom, Barrett, Plummer, Blankenhorn, Shumpert.  All of these players were taken in the top 15 rounds which usually means they'll sign.  For Cody and Tom, it's difficult to imagine them improving their draft status as seniors, especially since they'll lose all leverage.  Barrett could potentially move up with a strong senior year, but it's probably not worth the loss of leverage that would come with it and the history of college juniors coming back after being drafted in the top 15-16 rounds is not a lengthy one.

    Plummer was a first round pick and Blankenhorn was also taken high enough that the Twins are going to commit to getting him signed.  Shumpert was taken a little later, but Detroit only took one other high school player in their first ten picks, and three of their first ten picks were college seniors who have almost no leverage.  That's going to leave the Tigers with a lot of money they can take from other picks and use for other players.
  • Probably Stay: Beggs, Fettes, Pompey.  I don't understand why Beggs fell as far as he did after going in the 17th round last year - all he did was prove he could succeed in the toughest conference in America.  There wouldn't seem to be much risk in coming back for another year and proving last year was no fluke.  Ditto for Fettes: a successful senior year, particularly with the bat, could move him up significantly.  Pompey will have the opportunity for immediate playing time if Henderson wants to give it to him with Tom and Barrett likely moving on.
Congratulations to all these players, and good luck to those who choose to begin their professional career!