As many as seven current Tigers and four signees could be selected by Major League teams, making the day a long one for Auburn Coach Tommy Slater and his staff as they look to the future of their program.
All three finished with very solid senior seasons and are expected to be taken in Tuesday's draft. Among the underclassmen eligible Josh Bell, Clete Thomas, Michael Nix and Josh Sullivan are all expected to be taken in the first five rounds.
At least five of Auburn's signee class could be drafted on Tuesday as well with outfielder/pitcher Colby Rasmus and shortstop/pitcher Justin Bristow both possible first round selections.
Rasmus is coming off one of the best seasons in Alabama High School baseball history when he hit 24 home runs and was named the Alabama Player of the Year. Bristow is a 6-4 power hitter who can also do the job on the mound. Both will have a tough decision to make because there will likely be a serious amount of money on the table before they are scheduled to enroll at Auburn in August.
The following is a list of Auburn players and signees who could be taken in Tuesday's draft:
Karl Amonite-Auburn's starting first baseman returned from a wrist injury that kept him out of the 2004 season to have a strong senior year for the Tigers. Amonite led the team with a .365 batting average, 11 home runs, 59 runs batted in and 25 doubles. His doubles total was good enough to tie him for third in a single season in Auburn history. He also drew 41 walks and had an on-base percentage of .469. For his career Amonite hit .348 with 23 home runs and 115 RBI. Round Projection: 15-20
Josh Bell-Likely Auburn's highest draft choice because of his prowess at the plate and strong arm for a catcher, Bell had a strong junior year for Auburn. He batted .338 and tied Amonite in home runs with 11 and RBI with 59. He also added 17 doubles and had an on-base percentage of .401. For his career Bell hit .303 with 29 home runs and 140 RBI. His home run total ties him for ninth in Auburn history with Tom Lemons, one ahead of Bo Jackson and Mark Sayers. Round Projection: 2-5
Chris Dennis-The wildcard of Auburn's possible draftees, Dennis missed the entire 2005 season after having arm surgery early in the spring. For his career Dennis was 7-2 with a 3.25 ERA in 83 innings. He struck out 85 and only walked 27 in his two years of action. His draft status was helped by a strong summer in the Valley Baseball League where he was named the top professional prospect in the league by Baseball America after going 2-2 with 15 saves and an earned run average of just 0.99. Round Projection: Could go early based on past performance, but injury could make him late round selection at best.
Arnold Hughey-A veteran starter, Hughey had his best year in 2005 after going 8-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 98 2/3 innings. He struck out 80 batters and only walked 17 while giving up 98 hits. For his career Hughey was 22-17 with a 4.12 ERA. Round Projection: 10-15
John Madden-He helped himself as much in one season as any Auburn player in recent years. As a senior was dominating with a 1.77 ERA and a 6-2 record. He set the Auburn single-season record for appearances with 44 and walked just 19 batters while striking out 58. Round Projection: 6-10
Michael Nix-A hard-throwing right-hander, Nix has become a solid prospect for teams looking for a power pitcher. As a junior he was 5-3 with a 3.20 ERA and struck out 58 while only walking 14. A fourth-year player following a redshirt year at Auburn. Round Projection: 4-8
Josh Sullivan-The former Auburn quarterback has teams excited about his live arm and upside down the road. In his first true action on the mound for the Tigers was 7-5 this season with a 4.18 ERA in 97 innings. He struck out 74 while walking 39 this season. Round Projection: 3-6
Clete Thomas-A true five-tool outfielder who can hit, hit for power, run, throw and field above average, Thomas hit .328 with nine home runs, 23 stolen bases and six triples as a junior for the Tigers. For his career Thomas hit .317 with 16 triples and 58 stolen bases. Drafted in the fifth round out of high school. Round Projection: 2-5
In addition to the current Tigers there are several signees who could get their name called on Tuesday as well. Here is a list of players that could possibly be drafted:
Colby Rasmus-Outfielder-Pitcher/Russell County High, Seale, Ala./Round Projection: 1-3
Justin Bristow-Shortstop-Pitcher/Mills Godwin High, Richmond, Va./Round Projection: 1-3 but could fall if not taken in the first round because he's reportedly told scouts that he'll go to school if not in the first round.
Brandon Monk-Infielder/Pitcher/LaGrange (Ga.) High/Round Projection: 6-10
Evan Crawford-Pitcher/Prattville/Round Projection: 15-20
Luke Greinke-Outfielder-Pitcher/Dr. Phillips, Orlando, Fla./Round Projection: 15-20
Will Inman-Pitcher/Tunstall High, Danville, Va./Round Projection: 15-20
Garrett Maines-Catcher/Riverview High, Sarasota, Fla./Round Projection: 25-30
Peter Wiggins-Pitcher/Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College/Round Projection: 25-30