How will the upcoming draft affect the Spartans? Will they get robbed of all their players? Let's take a look.
- Steve Connolly - LHP
- Anthony Vega - RHP
- Alex Sofranac - OF (may get additional year)
- Scott Sobczak - RHP
- Ryan Shopshire - RHP
- John Shaffer - OF
- Tyler Heil - RHP/SS
- Tyler Greene - RHP
- Michael Drake - OF
- Jacob Bruns - OF
- David Berner - LHP
- Anthony Aguilera - C
- Jack Adams - RHP
Juniors (draft eligible):
- Kyle Bellows - SS
- Karson Klauer - INF
- Eric LeBaron - RHP
- Shane Murchison - RHP
- Max Peterson - LHP
- Corey Valine - 3B
Take a long look at the above list. Most, if not all, of these players are gone. The seniors, of course, are gone. A few of the juniors may be gone due to the Major League Baseball Draft, which is just around the corner. How does all of this impact the team for the future? Mostly poorly, I'm afraid.
Two of the three starting outfielders are gone in seniors Bruns and Shaffer. Both had outstanding years with Bruns having some pop and being left-handed being missed the most. Alex Sofranac may get an additional year due to his broken wrist suffered early in the year. Let's hope so as he was off to an excellent year but was more than ably replaced by Bruns.
No infielders of note are through with their eligibility but two are draft eligible that might be gone. Bellows is everyone's concern but how can we wish him not to sign when it makes the Spartans look that much better if he does and succeeds? Look at the year he had. He hit .389 with 10 homeruns and led the team in most offensive categories (hmm, that doesn't sound right). The thing I noticed most about his year was his improvement on the defensive side. He was excellent at shortstop and has a gun for an arm. I suspect he'll get drafted in the third round or so and he'll sign. If he goes lower, he may stay another year to polish his game and improve his standing. It's hard to say no to money. Corey Valine may get drafted but I think the bigs look at him and wonder what position he can play. I think a full year at 3B and some additional homerun production will greatly increase his chances at a bigger payday next year.
The Spartans lose their starting catcher, which will hurt. I don't think he'll get drafted, though, as his production was O.K. but not great. However, he handled the staff well, stopped errant pitches, and threw out runners. He could have hit 50 points lower than his .274 and still would have been the starter. He's going to be difficult to replace.
The Spartans had great pitching and this is where the draft will hit the hardest. I think the seniors will be well-represented among the draftees as Ryan Shopshire will lead the way as his strikeouts to innings pitched was simply outstanding and he was the outstanding pitcher in the WAC. He dominated and that's what the bigs look for. He could go as high as second round but I suspect third will be more likely. David Berner will also go mainly due to his being left-handed. He was mostly durable with lots of innings and a fair number of strikeouts. He probably will go in the fourth or fifth round. I also think Scott Sobczak will get drafted but in the lowest of rounds. His upside is control and throwing lots of groundballs. He is also coachable as he picked up so many new things going into his last year. His injury was devastating to the Spartans and his loss cost them in oh so many ways. If he doesn't get drafted It's probably because of concern over the injury. I hope he gets a chance at the next level. I don't think Max Peterson will get drafted even though he had an excellent year. He seemed to fade a bit at the end and the scouts don't miss a thing. He will return to lead the staff next year.
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Don Starks is the Baseball Editor of Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at email@example.com
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