Draft Leaves Rookie Class Unscathed So Far

There is a whole day and twenty more rounds remaining. But as far as Mississippi State is concerned, it's a case of so far/so good in the 2010 Major League draft with just one recruited player and no current underclassman Diamond Dogs picked through thirty complete rounds.

"Yes" was Coach John Cohen's short and simple response to a texted query of whether he ‘was relieved about results' Tuesday when big league clubs made their 2-through-30 round selections. Not one of the high school standouts Mississippi State signed in November and have sweated over since in terms of draft status were selected in these rounds. As Cohen told Dawgs' Bite on Monday, the Bulldog staff were concerned clubs would claim early rights to pitcher/corner infielder Daryl Norris; pitcher/infielder Wes Rea; shortstops Demarcus Henderson and Taylor Stark; and outfielder C.T. Bradford.

Fortunately, and so far, none have been drafted. Cohen still expects at least some of these prospects to be picked Wednesday, but in the sort of late-round drafts that signal pro clubs are taking a just-in-case flyer on talented players who have made clear their intent(s) to play college baseball. The big league scouts clearly believed these players and their families not to grab one-year rights through two drafting days.

Thus Cohen's relief. "But" the note continued, "we're concerned about Dickerson. We'd love to hold on to him."

Indeed State would. Yet obviously the Colorado Rockies also would love to grab Corey Dickerson, and take him straight to minor-league ball out. Dickerson is a high-profile outfielder and superb batter out of Meridian Community College, and even before signing him last fall the Bulldog staff knew what they would be up against come June. Sure enough, Cohen's projection that Dickerson would be picked in a 6-through-8 round came true as the Brookhaven native was taken in the eighth. Though most outside observers do expect Dickerson will come to professional terms, the State staff hasn't given up the fight and has stayed in continuous touch with the young man.

Otherwise, though, it is an upbeat mood around the campus coaching office. Yet for all the relief over lack (so far) of damage to the incoming class, there had to be a measure of disappointment felt for State's seniors. Only two graduating Diamond Dogs were drafted on day-two, and well down the list. First baseman Connor Powers had to wait until the 21st round to hear his name called, by San Diego. Being picked by a southern California club meant he was at least in the same general neighborhood as last June when Los Angeles drafted the then-junior. But the Dodgers took him in the 11th round.

Powers opted to come back for a senior season and it did pay off as he became a much better-rounded batter while maintaining his slugging prowess. Still only time will tell if it was worth losing ten rounds' worth of draft position. Meanwhile classmate Jet Butler was drafted, getting the 26th round pick of the New York Mets. Butler was the part-time starter at both second base and left field and also got to work at shortstop and third base as a senior, which helped him get his first draft call.

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