UK Draft List Recap
The Wildcats had 4 players from the 2016 roster drafted in addition to six members of the incoming recruiting class. Actually it's more like five members of the recruiting class, but more on that later. Here's the list of UK-related draftees along with their signing bonus (if applicable):
|J.C. Flowers||OF||HS||18.528||Reds||$100,000||Florida St|
The only real surprise is Zack Thompson not signing with the Rays. 11th-round picks don't matriculate (or return) to school too often and Thompson's choice to do so is a big boost to the 2017 roster. Coverage of college baseball being what it is, it's hard to line up recruiting lists and draft lists so I don't know when - if ever - UK has had an incoming recruit drafted this high and choose school, but from looking over the draft list on BR, I'm fairly certain it hasn't happened in at least 15 years and probably longer.
The non-draft related loss to the team comes from J.C. Flowers switching his commitment from UK to Florida State. Flowers is a Florida kid, so between the coaching change and FSU being a traditional baseball power this isn't very shocking.
Updated Recruit List
Here's the updated list of recruits for next season. The loss of Flowers and the draftees have dropped the ranking from Perfect Game to 28th nationally and 9th in the SEC.
|Name||Pos||Class||MLB 200||BA 500||SBN 151|
The rankings in the chart are the same pre-draft rankings from MLB, Baseball America, and SBN's Minor League Ball. Even with what they've lost UK has a talented group of players coming in. There still could be some movement on this list, some players might ultimately choose to go elsewhere - as Flowers did - or new head coach Nick Mingione could bring an additional player or two.
Way Early Thoughts on 2017
The big question for 2017 is the starting rotation. Mingione will have to replace the entire weekend rotation and while there are lots of options, most of them come with questions. Midweek starter Zach Logue will likely take one spot. Zach Pop, Sean Hjelle, Justin Lewis are all candidates to move from the pen to a starting role. Logan Salow gave the team some good starts two years ago and could get a look. Zack Thompson will probably have a shot too, although slotting him in as the new midweek starter might be more likely.
Positionally UK returns almost everyone from last year. Dorian Hairston graduated and JaVon Shelby was drafted, but everyone else will be back barring a transfer. Mingione comes with the reputation of doing good things with offense so a lineup with Evan White, Riley Mahan, Tristan Pompey, Zach Reks, and Gunnar McNeill could be quite formidable.