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Tracking the Texas Longhorns in the 2018 MLB Draft

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The Horns look poised to escape the draft without too many unexpected losses.

Simeon Woods-Richardson
Student Sports

The baseball season isn’t over for the Texas Longhorns, but in the build up to the Austin Super Regional against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles starting Saturday, the eyes of Texas have turned to the 2018 MLB Draft for early projections of the 2019 roster.

Here’s the list of current players and incoming signees picked by major league franchises:

Sugar Land Kempner right-hander pitcher Simeon Woods-Richardson

No. 48 overall by the New York Mets

High school pitchers selected this highly don’t often make it to campus unless their monetary demands aren’t met. The estimated slot bonus for that pick is nearly $1.5 million.

Second baseman Kody Clemens

No. 79 overall by the Detroit Tigers

In the midst of the all-time great season featuring a .346 batting average and 21 home runs, Clemens proved that he could right-handed pitching and left-handed pitching, as well as come through in the clutch. He’s ready for the next level.

Right-handed pitcher Nolan Kingham

No. 352 overall by the Atlanta Braves

The projected ace for the Longhorns in 2018 regressed from his sophomore season, but pitched extremely well in two of his last three starts, including the big-time performance against Texas A&M in the Austin Regional. Kingham’s decision is the most intriguing because he has much more potential than his draft slot would indicate. So will he get paid accordingly? It’s hard to imagine him coming back to school, but he’ll certainly use his upside as leverage in hopes of a significant payday.

Right-handed pitcher Chase Shugart

No. 370 by the Boston Red Sox

The extremely competitive but undersized Shugart is an intriguing prospect because of his arm strength and projectable off-speed offerings. He’ll likely go back to the bullpen full time after he signs with the Red Sox.

Houston Langham Creek outfielder Korey Holland

No. 433 overall by the Cleveland Indians

Texas has a need for a talented outfielder like Holland, but the concern is that the Indians could make him a big offer that would be difficult to refuse. As evidenced by his high ranking by MLB Pipeline, Holland has a ton of potential. Did he drop due to signability concerns?

Left-handed pitcher Josh Sawyer

No. 488 by the Chicago Cubs

This is the feel-good story of the draft for the Longhorns, as Sawyer underwent three surgeries and missed the 2016 and 2017 seasons before returning as the left-handed setup man out of the bullpen. With a fastball that consistently sits in the mid-90s, Sawyer is an intriguing prospect as a specialist if he can stay healthy.

Right-handed pitcher Andy McGuire

No. 836 overall by the Toronto Blue Jays

Like Sawyer, McGuire’s story this season was also remarkable, though the injury situation he went through was never as serious as that of his bullpen mate. The former top prospect left the Texas program in 2015 and spent some time at South Carolina-Aiken before returning to Austin and rejoining the Longhorns after two years away from the program. According to Horn Sports, part of the calculation at the time concerned his previous injuries and concerns about how his body would hold up playing professional baseball.

After a resurgent season that saw McGuire earn seven saves in 24 appearances with a 2.12 ERA, he may decide that professional baseball is worth a shot after all. Or he might choose to use his last season of eligibility at Texas and then go pursue professional opportunities in sport management.

The interesting twist here is that he was drafted as an infielder even though he only had 38 plate appearances this season. However, he did hit two home runs and three doubles, so half of his hits went for extra bases.

Cypress Ranch right-handed pitcher Ty Madden

No. 1,022 overall by the Kansas City Royals

The selection of the 6’4, 205-pounder is a hopeful one by the Royals, as Madden indicated on Tuesday that he plans on playing for the Longhorns:

Signability concerns caused Madden to drop in the draft, as assistant Sean Allen is high on the Houston-area product.

“Ty has a great arm and possesses three plus pitches,” Allen said last fall. “He will pitch 90-94 with a swing-and-miss changeup. Ty has weekend rotation-type stuff and we are very excited about getting him on campus.”