There was always the possibility that Oklahoma would have a massive draft class this year, but there was no predicting that the Sooners’ would have the largest draft class in the country when the three-day, First-Year MLB Player Draft was completed Wednesday.
Oklahoma had 11 players drafted off its roster but just one senior, meaning that it’s possible for 10 drafted players to return to Oklahoma next year.
Here’s a look at who is heading where, what the slotted money is for the draft position (according to Baseball America) and whether or not he will be back in an Oklahoma uniform next season:
What happens with Hermelyn? …. There’s reports out there that already have Hermelyn signed to a professional contract, and getting picked in the fourth round with more than a half-a-million signing bonus leaves Hermelyn with likely the best option he’ll see. Oklahoma will likely be looking for a new catcher next year.
What happens with Evans? …. Evans was the second of two Sooners taken on the second day of the draft. He really stands out as a potential bullpen staple. He’s not just a specialist. He’s also likely to leave Oklahoma. Reports have surfaced that he’s already signed as well.
Craig Aikin, CF, 13th round, 401st overall - heading to the St. Louis Cardinals
What happens with Aikin? …. If there’s one thing Aikin will be able to do at the next level, it’s hit. After batting over .320 for the second straight year, Aikin got drafted pretty early after the 10th round, the barrier for which guaranteed money is set and a time when players can get more than they’d be offered in the fifth through 10th rounds. For Aikin, it’ll be a numbers game.
What happens with Choplick? …. In his first season after Tommy John surgery, it seems like another year would do Choplick a world of good. He’s got a chance to contend for a weekend starter spot in the rotation and could make a huge jump if he returns, which he’ll probably do.
What happens with Shaw? …. If Hermelyn signs a contract then Shaw will get a chance to start at catcher and improve his draft stock as the already highest-drafted Manitoban in MLB history. Shaw is probably coming back though. The 15th round can still be tempting.
Robert Tasin, SP, 19th round, 564th overall - heading to the Philadelphia Phillies
What happens with Tasin? …. No choice here, Tasin is heading to the minors.
Thomas McIlraith, RP, 20th round, 599th overall - heading to the New York Mets
What happens with McIlraith? …. McIlraith would benefit from another year in the bullpen, potentially as one of the go-to arms for Oklahoma coach Pete Hughes.
Ralph Garza, SP, 26th round, 769th overall - heading to the Houston Astros
What happens with Garza? …. Garza would take Evans’ spot at the back of the bullpen. He could jump 10 rounds with a strong final season. Risks are risks, and Garza could wind up leaving after showing a bit of potential this past season.
Corey Copping, P, 31st round, 942nd overall - heading to the L.A. Dodgers
What happens with Copping? …. Copping will probably battle with Choplick for the open weekend slot. That’s tempting and the signing bonus for his draft position won’t be as much.
What happens with Carpenter? …. In all likelihood, Carpenter is coming back to Oklahoma. He values his degree.
What happens with Rogers? …. Rogers should be back. He will be able to do much better as a primary bullpen arm next year.