Major League Baseball has yet to decide whether or not it’ll hold its annual draft at the beginning of June due to the ongoing concern of the Coronavirus. Perhaps there will be an abbreviated draft rather than the traditional 40-round draft, but that decision has yet to be made.
Should the draft be held in any form or fashion, Tennessee baseball will be well represented this year. In D1Baseball’s top 250 college prospect rankings, the Vols are tied for the second-most prospects in the top 100, with three Vols making the list.
Junior left-handed pitcher Garrett Crochet is the highest ranked Tennessee prospect. Crochet comes in at No. 14 overall as a projected first round draft pick. The southpaw appeared in just one game for Tennessee this season due to left shoulder soreness that cost him the first month of the season. In his lone start against Wright State on March 7th, Crochet pitched 3.1 scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits and struck out six while not allowing a walk.
Alerick Soularie is the second-highest Vol prospect, coming in at No. 46 overall, which would constitute a second-round pick. Soularie hit .267 in 16 games this season and led the team in home runs with five. The junior college product out of Houston, Texas burst onto the scene last year as he hit .357 with 11 home runs on his way to earning All-SEC First Team honors.
Fellow junior college product Jackson Leath is the Vols’ third and final player in D1Baseball’s top 100 college prospect rankings. The junior right-hander had gotten off to a fast start for the Vols, and he’s considered the 94th-best prospect, which would constitute a fourth-round pick. Leath was 4-0 with an ERA of 1.45 in 18.2 innings of work on the mound.
Though he isn’t currently considered a top 100 prospect, junior outfielder Zach Daniels made the biggest jump on the draft board of any Tennessee prospect. Daniels jumped into D1Baseball’s top 250 at No. 139 overall after not being ranked before the season began. The 139th pick falls in the sixth round.
Daniels was playing the best baseball of his college career when the SEC canceled the remainder of the SEC baseball season. He ranked second on the team in batting average (.357) and home runs (four). Daniels’ 18 RBI were a team-best
Tennessee baseball’s potential magical season came to a screeching halt nearly two weeks ago. The Vols were 15-2 and a consensus top 25 baseball team by every major collegiate baseball poll heading into SEC play. But because of the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis, the SEC suspended play through April 15th before ultimately canceling the season after the NCAA decided not to hold the College World Series this season.