The annual gutting of the Texas Longhorns baseball program begins tonight at 6 PM with the MLB draft. The Horns were very lucky in 2010 to not lose Tant Shepherd and Cole Green, both of whom have been (and will be) important cogs in the 2011 season. Shepherd, Green, Jordan Etier and Paul Montalbano are all seniors and will be dragged kicking and screaming into the real world no matter what happens tonight. The 2011 Horns feature three juniors and a sophomore that we figured going into the season would have tough choices to make regarding the draft. In addition, Augie has brought in another class of very highly touted recruits who must decide between Austin and elsewhere.
A look at the stakes for Texas baseball over the next three nights, after the jump.
Taylor Jungmann - Most projections put Jungmann in the top 10-15 picks in the draft. He's gone, and rightly so.
Brandon Loy - Ranked #95 in Baseball America's Top 200 draft prospects, there is arguably not a finer defensive player in the nation than Brandon Loy. His skills at shortstop have been steadily amazing over all three years of his college career, and we'd bet he would've come back for another year had he put up similar numbers to his 2010 output (.252 BA, .691 OPS). Loy, however, has been incredible at the plate in 2011 (.350 BA, .909 OPS, 1 HR!), so there's not much more to prove with another year in college.
Dylan Bundy & Blake Swihart - Bundy and Swihart are two Longhorn signees that we highly doubt will ever play at UFCUDFF. Bundy is ranked #2 by Baseball America, and pretty much every projection places him in the top 5. Swihart is ranked #17 by Baseball America and the only chance he comes to Texas is if he falls out of the first round to a team that won't throw money at him.
Sam Stafford - The MLB Draft is all about potential, and few pitchers on the Texas roster have better pure stuff than Stafford. If he can get drafted higher based on that potential, or get a team to pay over slot for it, then Sam would probably be well served going pro now. Otherwise, another year in Augie's system and a year in the spotlight could do Stafford a lot of good.
Josh Bell - As we noted a few days ago, Bell is telling potential employers that he is coming to Texas. Baseball America ranks Bell as the 15th best prospect in all the land, and the fact that he's a Boras client could mean it's all a big bluff. One telltale sign of Bell's seriousness will be if he goes in the first round then our guess is he's unlikely to turn down a helluva lot of money to end up in burnt orange. For what it's worth, Bell is touted as the best prep hitter in the country.
Cohl Walla - Before the season we noted that Walla is a draft eligible sophomore that could go pro if he only learned to take a few walks. Well, he improved on that problem but for whatever reason (and the injury has played a role), Cohl hasn't been the same guy in 2011. Another year of college with an opportunity to return to 2010 form will be good for him.
We won't pretend to know enough about the thought process of these guys to guess if they're coming to the 40 Acres. Hopefully they all do though.
Matt Dean - IF - Ranked 54 by Baseball America.
Dillon Peters - LHP - Ranked 104 by Baseball America.
John Curtiss - RHP - Ranked 132 by Baseball America.
Ricky Jacquez - RHP/SS - Ranked 189 by Baseball America.
Collin Shaw - OF - Unranked by by Baseball America.
Toller Boardman - LHP - Unranked by Baseball America.