The 2016 MLB Draft begins this Thursday June 9th, in Secaucus, New Jersey. With 26 of 35 players currently on Liberty’s roster eligible for this years draft and a High School player committed for the 2017 season likely to be taken in the first round, this year’s draft is one all of Flames Nation should keep an eye on.
College Juniors and Seniors as well as High School graduates are all eligible to be selected in the MLB draft. That leaves 19 juniors and 7 seniors that are draft eligible this year from the Flames 2016 roster. It’s likely that most of the juniors will return for their senior season, but the potential is there for some major roster adjustments for the 2017 season.
Here are some notable stats from Liberty’s MLB Draft history:
1981 – 2nd round (48th overall) 1B Sid Bream – Los Angeles Dodgers
Total number of players drafted:
Number of players drafted to make it to the majors:
4 (Sid Bream, Doug Brady, Lee Guetterman, Randy Tomlin)
Most players taken in a single year:
Number of former players currently on a minor league roster:
9 (Jared Lyons (Athletics), Ashton Perritt (Independent League), Adam Parks (Rangers), Ryan Cordell (Rangers), Dan Grauer (Independent league), Ian Parmley (Blue Jays), Matt Williams (Cardinals), Trey Lambert (Washington), Matt Marsh (Yankees))
Who’s likely to be taken in this year’s draft? Who might we eventually see in the bigs? We make our projections below:
Victor Cole (RHP) Sr. – Projected Round 25+
Victor Cole had a great two thirds of a season for the Flames before seeing his season end with Tommy John surgery in May. His draft stock has likely taken a hit because of his injury. Cole had a team best ERA of 3.12 in 9 starts and 52 innings pitched. He was second on the team in strike outs with 56. Cole could potentially find his way on a MLB roster one day as a 5th starter or as a reliever depending on how well he recovers from his elbow injury.
Dalton Britt (INF) Sr. – Projected Round 25+
Britt was the epitome of stability for the Flames as he played in every game of his career (239 consecutive games). He finished the 2016 season hitting .292 in 233 at bats. Britt has a great arm but might end up having to make the shift from SS to 2B as the talent level increases in the pros.
Parker Bean (RHP) Jr. – Projected Round 15-20
Parker Bean has had a rough go of it since winning the Big South Freshman of the year award in 2014. Beans mid 90’s fastball and large frame shows signs of big league potential and has scouts intrigued, but his lack of control is what is cause his draft stock to fall. After a 2016 campaign where Bean walked 45 batters over 35.1 innings, Parker would be best served coming back for his senior season at LU. That being said, of all the draft eligible players, Bean might have the most upside.
Will Shepherd (OF/INF) Jr. – Projected Round 8-15
Shepherd finished the year with at .328 batting average and lead the team in home runs. Will is a solid defender, but it will be his bat that teams will be interested in.
Andrew Yacyk (1B, OF) Jr. – Projected Round 10-20
Yacyk has had a solid career as a Flame. He was Liberty’s top RBI man in 2016 with 49 and second in home runs with 7. He will likely be a power hitting corner outfielder or first baseman at the next level.
Eric Grabowski (2B, RHP) Jr. – Projected Round 20-30
Grabovski did it all for the Flames in 2016 and proved to be a great option out of the pen in the later innings towards the end of the season. Grabowski showed flashes of what he could be as a hitter, but with a low batting average and average power at the the college level, will likely need another year at Liberty to improve his draft stock.
Sammy Toarmina (3B, 1B) Jr. – Projected Round 20-25
Toarmina is a solid fielder with an average bat. He will need to improve at the plate to have success at the next level.
2017 High School Commits:
Alex Kirilloff (Plum H.S. (PA)) – Projected Round 1 (Taken 15th overall – Twins)
I’m sure that the Liberty coaching staff is holding out hope that somehow Kirilloff makes his way to Lynchburg, but the odds are stacked high against them. Kirilloff is projected by most to be taken in the first round somewhere in the 10th-20th pick range. He is one of the best hitters in the draft and is likely to end up as an athletic, power-hitting, corner outfielder. He currently plays center field for his High School team, but likely doesn’t have the speed to maintain that position in the pros. With Kirilloff having been invited to the draft it’s a long shot he ends up in a Flames uniform.
Kahlil Lee (Flint H.S. (VA)) – Projected round 5-10
Lee is another outfield prospect for the Flames who is ranked in the top 100 by BleacherReport.com. Lee also pitches for his high school team out of Centerville, VA and has a fastball that averages between 88-91mph.
Livingston Morris (Montverde Academy, GA) – Projected Round 15-20
Morris is another highly touted outfielder in the 2017 class. He is ranked in the the top 200 by Perfect Game. Here’s what D1Baseball.com had to say about Morris back in February, “Liberty picked up a major piece in their 2016 recruiting crop, scooping up 6-foot-4 OF Livingston Morris, the No. 175 ranked player in the country by Perfect Game. The Woodstock, Ga. native has an above average arm from the outfield and highly advanced athleticism. He also shows the potential for plus power from the right side.”
Full List of Draft eligible players on 2016 roster:
Victor Cole (LHP) Sr.
Carson Herdon (RHP) Sr.
Jake Barbee (C) Jr.
Parker Bean (RHP) Jr.
Jackson Bertsch (RHP) Jr.
Austin Bream (LF/1B) Sr.
Dalton Britt (INF) Sr.
Zander Clouse (RHP) Jr.
Caleb Evans (RHP) Jr.
Cody Gamble (RHP) Jr.
Eric Grabowski (2B/RHP) Jr.
Andrew Kowalo (INF) Jr.
Josh Latta (C) Jr.
Evan Mitchell (RHP) Jr.
Geoffrey Murphy (RHP) Sr.
Shane Quarterley (RHP) Jr.
Tray Roberts (OF) Jr.
Payton Scarborough (C) Jr.
Jordan Scott (RHP) Jr.
Will Shepherd (OF/INF) Jr.
Thomas Simpson (OF/RHP) Jr.
Michael Stafford (LHP) Jr.
Aaron Stroosma (OF/1B) Sr.
Sammy Taormina (1B) Jr.
Nick Walker (C) Sr.
Andrew Yacyk (LF/1B) Jr.
2017 Commits who are Draft eligible:
Alex Kirilloff, OF/LHP, Plum High School, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Khalil Lee, LHP/OF, Flint Hill High School, Centreville, Va.
Hunter Gore, C, Loudoun Valley High School, Purcellville, Va.
Cameron Locklear, INF, Jack Britt High School, Fayetteville, N.C.
Colby Bruce, RHP, South Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, N.C.
Blake Brady, C/1B, J.L. Mann High School, Greenville, S.C.
Ben Highfill, INF, Apex High School, Apex, N.C
Do you agree or disagree with our projections? Where do you see Liberty’s draft eligible players ending up?