Draftable Issues

The Major League Baseball Draft is a different animal than those of the NFL and NBA, as underclassmen don't have to renounce their college eligibility in order to be selected. Thus, Mountaineers with eligibility still remaining will have a big decision to make as they ponder a pro career versus another turn in the Gold and Blue.

Sophomore outfielder Adam White, who was selected in the ninth round (pick #287) by the Cleveland Indians, faces a difficult decision. A speedy leadoff hitter who creates havoc on the basepaths and covers a lot of ground in centerfield, White was picked high enough to be able to negotiate a decent, if no a stratospheric, signing bonus and contract.

Underclassmen in the draft always have a bit more negotiating room, as they have the ability to return to college for another season, but the impact of that might be lesser for a player in the ninth round as opposed to one in the first four or five. Still White has a pair of attractive options in front of him as he ponders his future. He hit .365 this year, scoring 45 runs and converting 11 steals in 16 attempts. He had a perfect season in the field, recording 121 putouts in as many chances.

Pitchers are often the top priority in the draft, and thus WVU's other two selections may also have a realistic shot at a pro career. Junior lefthander Kenny Durst and junior righthander Levi Maxwell, who have also been selected, will be listening to the offers of their respective clubs as well.

Durst, who was picked by the Colorado Rockies in Round 15 (pick #462), isn't an overpowering flamethrower, but he has a solid breaking ball and a battler's mentality on the mound. As a junior, his leverage is a bit more limited than that of a freshman or sophomore, because if he returns to college for his senior season, his draft position would likely go down unless he makes a great improvement in the eyes of scouts. Once a player's college eligibility is used up, he can move down in the draft, because pro teams know that he doesn't have an option to return to school, and thus can be signed for less money. Of course, that doesn't come into play with the very top senior prospects in the draft, but it's something of a roll of the dice for many junior collegians. Do they take the money now, or make the less likely gamble that they will improve and move up as a senior?

That's also the situation facing Maxwell, who has a bit stronger arm and also the experience of pitching both out of the bullpen and in a starting role during his West Virginia career. Maxwell was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 18th round (pick #569).

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