Texas baseball’s two top high school signees were both selected early in the MLB draft on Monday night, as outfielder Tristen Lutz went to the Brewers with pick No. 34, and pitcher Landon Leach went to the Twins with pick No. 37.
Longhorns redshirt junior Morgan Cooper was also selected in the second round to the Los Angeles Dodgers with pick No. 62.
Some had pegged Lutz to go to the Texas Rangers, his hometown team, with either pick No. 26 or No. 29, but in the end it was Milwaukee who got the power hitting outfielder. Lutz was selected pretty much exactly as he was projected, as the Arlington Martin product was ranked as the No. 34 prospect in the draft.
Leach was a different story, as Canada’s best prospect was ranked No. 80 heading into draft night. There’s not a lot to dislike about a 6’4 righty who throws up to 96 mph, so it’s not a shock that Minnesota took a chance on the Longhorn pledge early.
Lutz and Leach weren’t locks to forego playing college ball until their draft stocks rose considerably in the spring. However, Texas fans have known since the beginning of the season that Cooper will almost certainly jump to the pros. Coop was dominant in 2017 and was named as a Golden Spikes semifinalist and Dick Howser semifinalist as Texas’ Saturday starter and strikeouts leader.
If you are expecting any of these three guys to play ball in burnt orange next year, don’t hold your breath. Players selected in the first two rounds of the draft almost never skip their pro contracts.
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Rounds 3-10 of the draft will take place tomorrow starting at noon CST. The results of tomorrow’s picks will have a bigger bearing on the future of Texas baseball than tonight’s.
Longhorn starting pitchers Kyle Johnston and Nick Kennedy both have a strong chance of being selected on Tuesday, and their decisions to return to school or go pro will be much more difficult than the three ‘Horns selected in the second round tonight.
If Texas can get one of these guys to come back, then David Pierce should have a solid weekend rotation with Nolan Kingham and Blair Henley returning.
Also keep an eye out for Texas signee Kamron Fields in the draft tomorrow. Fields is ranked as the No. 222 prospect in the draft, but if the outfielder is leaning towards coming to Austin, then teams may avoid drafting him on Tuesday.