The 2014 edition of the Major League Baseball first year player draft gets under way Thursday afternoon with the Houston Astros on the clock, selecting first overall. While all eyes will be on the first round, there’s quite a few Mountaineer related story lines fans of the Gold and Blue should keep an eye on, especially in the later rounds.
Last year, five Mountaineers from Coach Randy Mazey’s squad were selected throughout the course of last year’s draft. One of the key headliners of the group was that of left-handed hurler, Harrison Musgrave. Musgrave, a red-shirt junior out of Nutter Fort, WV, was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies with a 33rd round pick in the 2013 pro draft. The Mountaineer pitcher decided to return to the Morgantown for his junior year to help build off what was a very impressive and memorable 2013 campaign which saw the Mountaineers win 2 out of 3 games in their first ever appearance in the Big XII Conference tournament, and make a strong case to the selection committee for an at-large, NCAA tournament bid.
Musgrave finished the 2014 campaign with a team leading 2.62 ERA, while compiling a record of 5-3 in 15 starts. He earned 2nd team all-conference honors, and should very well be amongst another solid group of Gold and Blue draftees. While this year’s team did not equal, or better the amazing 33 wins from 2013, the squad did finish with 28 wins, a national RPI of 38, but was the first team left out of this year’s NCAA field of 64.
Other members of the five-man draft class in 2013 – the largest contingent of WVU baseball players to be selected to Major League teams since the 2007 draft – included third-baseman Ryan Tuntland, pitcher Sean Carley, first baseman Ryan McBroom, and pitcher Dimitri Casas.
Tuntland was the only one of the five to leave college early to pursue a career in Major League Baseball. He was the earliest to be selected out of the five, being taken with a 29th round pick by the San Francisco Giants. Tuntland is currently with the Giants’ low A farm team, the Augusta Green Jackets. He’s struggled a bit this season with a .196 batting average, along with only 21 hits, 6 runs batted in, and an on-base percentage of .295 in 33 games.
The extra year of college experience may very well help the draft stock of the four previously mentioned Mountaineers as Baseball America had WVU pitchers Sean Carely and Harrison Musgrave amongst the top 20 pitchers from the Big XII conference available for selection.
Other possible prospects from Coach Mazey’s squad that are possibly destined for selection in this year’s draft include WVU’s lone first-team, all-conference selections, infielder Billy Fleming, and outfielder, Bobby Boyd.
Boyd, a junior out of Silver Spring, MD, lead the 2014 Mountaineer baseball squad in several offensive categories which included batting average (.356), runs (46), and hits (79). He also recorded a solid .423 slugging percentage, as well as 24 runs batted in, and a home run. Fleming, a second-baseman out of Churchville, PA, was equally reliable at the plate, recording a team high .407 on base percentage, while also registering a .351 batting average, 30 runs batted in, 2 home runs, and a .423 slugging percentage.
While no Mountaineers are listed amongst the top 100 prospects, overall, heading into this year’s draft, it shall be quite interesting to see how many players of this years’ squad are, indeed, selected by the 30 Major League organizations. More importantly, how many of those drafted will leave a fine college career behind to start out in a club’s minor league system to hopefully, one day, emerge onto the scene as stars in the big leagues, much like current Padres second baseman, and WVU alum, Jedd Gyorko.