Texas A&M 2007 MLB Draft Preview

While the Aggies take care of business against Rice this weekend, the immediate future of the program lies in this week's MLB amateur draft. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop takes a look at which current players are likely to leave and which signees are the biggest risks to skip college for MLB money.

While Coach Rob Childress and his Texas A&M baseball team are preparing for their most important battle in his two-year A&M tenure in the Super-Regionals against No. 1 Rice in Houston, they must keep an eye on their future when the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft takes place this afternoon at 1 p.m. (CDT).

Coach Childress recruited one of A&M's most talented classes in the past several years, but must hold his breath to see which high school signees get drafted high and sign pro, and who shows up on-campus in August. Of A&M's ten fall signees, four are considered risks of eventually signing a pro contract, but that depends on their draft position.

Typically, most first round draft picks will sign for a seven figure signing bonus and college coaches understand the consequences of slotting and money in the draft. Rarely will a high school or college player turn down first round money to stay in school and play college ball.

Once you get into rounds 2-5, signability for high school prospects becomes an individual or family decision where a family may want their son to go to the college and money is not a major factor.

For a college junior, getting drafted in any spot within the first 8-10 rounds will likely see that player leave college for the pros based on leveraged negotiations with the threat of returning to school as a bargaining chip against the MLB ball clubs. Plus, age starts to become a factor.

This draft is extremely important to Aggie baseball's future given that four-fifths of the current infield will either graduate or is projected to get drafted. In addition, A&M will certainly lose senior Kyle Nicholson, and they will likely lose junior David Newmann, the team's top two pitchers in 2007.

Realistically, A&M will likely lose juniors Blake Stouffer, David Newmann, and Brandon Hicks in the draft, the heart of the Aggie lineup for now. Thus finding talented replacements is critical, and Coach Childress can go a long way in replacing some key losses by keeping at least two of the program's best recruits like Britton and Eiland.

So while you prepare for the big baseball series this weekend with a trip to Omaha on the line, remember that the future of this program will be in the hands of current signees.

Below is a synopsis and capsule of Texas A&M high school signees and current draft eligible players who may get drafted on Thursday or Friday, along with the estimated probability of whether the prospect will cut strings, take the money, and go pro.

Texas A&M High School Signees

Kevin Ahrens
Infielder, Memorial HS
Projected: 1st round
Chances of signing pro: 95%
MLB Draft Tracker
Ahrens Video

Will Middlebrooks
Infielder, Liberty-Eylau HS
Projected: 1-3 round
Chances of signing pro: 80%
Detailed MLB Draft Report
Middlebrooks' Video

Eric Eiland
Outfielder, Houston Lamar HS
Projected: 2-5 round
Chances of signing pro: 50%
Detailed MLB Draft Report
Eiland Video

Drake (John) Britton
Pitcher, Tomball HS
Projected: 4-8 round
Chances of signing pro: 30%
MLB Draft Tracker Summary
Britton Video

Current Texas A&M Draft Eligible Juniors

Brandon Hicks
Shortstop (jr), Texas A&M
Projected: 2-4 round
Chances of signing pro: 90%
Detailed MLB Draft Report
Hicks Video

David Newmann
Pitcher (jr), Texas A&M
Projected: 3-5 round
Chances of signing pro: 85%
Newmann Video

Blake Stouffer
Utility (jr), Texas A&M
Projected: 4-6 round
Chances of signing pro: 75%
Stouffer Video

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