by John Vittas
The first 75 picks of the 2015 MLB Draft will be made tonight beginning at 7pm.
While Maryland’s Brandon Lowe and Alex Robinson have an outside chance of hearing their name called in the first two rounds tonight, several of Maryland’s opponents are likely to go. Here are former Terps opponents that are ranked in the top-100 according to Baseball America and MLB.com:
Illinois LHP Tyler Jay (MLB.com No. 9, BA No. 13) is expected to be the first Big Ten player off the board, and is projected to go in the top-5 picks in some mock drafts. Maryland defeated Illinois 2-1 in this year’s Big Ten Tournament, so they did not have to face the Illini’s hard-throwing closer.
Arkansas OF Andrew Benintendi (MLB No. 8, BA No. 9) is considered one of the top college bats in this year’s draft. Benintendi went 1-for-4 with a walk in Maryland’s come-from-behind 13-6 win in Mobile, Alabama. Brian Shaffer, Bobby Ruse and Alex Robinson all retired Benintendi back on February 22. He is also competing with Mike Shawaryn for the Golden Spikes Award.
UCLA ace RHP James Kaprelian (No. 22 / 19) is widely considered a first-rounder in this year’s draft. Maryland scored a run off Kaprelian in the winner-take-all Regional Championship game last Monday. Kaprelian pitched two innings of relief on two days of rest and allowed what ended up being the Regional-winning run in the sixth inning. Kevin Biondic and Kevin Martir both had hits against Kaprelian. Nick Cieri drove in Martir on a ground ball to give the Terps a 2-0 lead. That was Kaprelian’s final collegiate outing.
Virginia OF Joe McCarthy (No. 68 / 46) could get selected tonight as well. McCarthy missed half of the year after back surgery, but was widely considered UVA’s best position player prospect heading into the season. McCarthy went 1-for-5 with three walks against Maryland in this year’s Super Regionals. Cavalier LHP Nathan Kirby could go in the first round tonight. Kirby missed this year’s Super Regionals with a lat injury, but has been Virginia’s ace the past two years. The Terps got five runs off Kirby in 4.2 innings in Game 1 of last year’s Supers. Charlie White, Jose Cuas, Blake Schmit and Anthony Papio all recorded key hits against Kirby.
Iowa RHP Blake Hickman (No. 125 / 69) should go in the first few rounds. The converted catcher held Maryland to one run on three hits over six and two-thirds innings in a 3-1 Iowa win in College Park on April 11. His teammate and two-way player Tyler Peyton is also expected to go in the top 10 rounds.
Several other former ACC opponents could be selected Monday as well (MLB.com Rank / Baseball America):
DJ Stewart, OF, Florida State (No. 36 / 84)
Michael Matuella, RHP, Duke (28 / 23)
Chris Shaw, OF, Boston College (46 / 45)
Skye Bolt, OF, North Carolina (67 / 106)
Andrew Suarez, LHP, Miami (75 / 73)
Some of Maryland’s former non-conference opponents might be selected tonight too:
Richie Martin, 3B, Florida (34 / 31)
Harrison Bader, OF, Florida (78 / 85) – * former Maryland commit *
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Cal St Fullerton (98 / 126)
For a full breakdown of Maryland’s prospects, take a look at this year’s Terps Draft Preview.