MLB Draft Recap - Day Two

The Major League Baseball draft has officially concluded, and now it's time for Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan to see how much damage his potential 2009 team will accumulate from the pros.

Negotiations will begin quickly as teams look to convince their selections to enter minor league systems rather than have a college career. After showing the signees the numbers from the 2008 draft, O'Sullivan should be able to make a better case than ever that a stay in college will bolster his signee's draft value.

Of the potentially returning players, shortstop Cole Figueroa will be the most carefully scrutinized after being selected by San Diego in the sixth round but junior outfielder Avery Barnes will have a choice to make as well. Barnes was a Washington Nationals selection in round 40. One senior was also selected - pitcher Josh Edmondson by the Angels in round 41.

The potential loss of incoming recruits is where this draft could have the biggest impact on next year's Gators. It's expected that outfielder Kenny Wilson will sign with Toronto after being chosen in the second round, but only one other player went in the top 20 rounds. That was Ryan Weber, a pitcher out of Clearwater selected in round 12 by Philadelphia. How many of the other half dozen Florida signees who were chosen may go is anybody's guess. Some unsigned players who went lower in the draft than they'd hoped for may also look at the Gators now as previously assigned scholarship money becomes available.

A look at the numbers from the 2008 draft shows a clear swing in the scouting priorities of MLB organizations. Twenty of the first 27 selections were from the college ranks, an indication that Oakland GM Billy Beane's philosophy (detailed in the popular book Moneyball) of preferring established college talent to high schoolers with great physical tools has caught on. SEC talent was especially highly regarded, with the conference having five of the first 22 players chosen.

Throughout the draft, college players dominated - 1,504 selections were made, with just 485 of them coming from the high school ranks. According to MLB's numbers, that's the lowest percentage of high schoolers in the overall draft since 1987. O'Sullivan can be counted on to use those numbers as selling points for the potential value of playing at Florida rather than taking late round MLB money now.

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