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WVU Baseball MLB Draft Preview



Photo via WVU Athletics

In the wake of a devastating loss yesterday, focus for the WVU baseball team will shift from the NCAA Tournament to tonight’s MLB First Year Player Draft. With a team that attained as much success as this year’s Mountaineers,  there will obviously be some attrition as a result of players going to the next level. Today, we will take a look at some of the players who may be selected once the draft kicks off at 7 P.M. tonight.

RHP Alek Manoah

Much of this year’s baseball season was dominated by the draft buzz that surrounded the ace of the Mountaineer staff. Manoah was able to turn an outstanding offseason in the Cape Cod League into one of the best single season pitching performances in school history. Most draft outlets have Manoah as a surefire first round pick and with a good chance to be the first right-handed pitcher taken off the board. Likely to go in the first fifteen picks of the entire draft, he will likely be the highest Mountaineer drafted since Chris Enochs went eleventh overall in 1997.

C/3B Ivan Gonzalez

If anyone raised their draft stock the most during this weekend’s NCAA regional, it was catcher Ivan Gonzalez. ESPN’s Mike Lavalliere, a former major league catcher in his own right, praised Gonzalez throughout the tournament and explained how his performance had increased his chances of playing at the next level. Many major league franchises will draft seniors between rounds 6 and 10 to save signing bonus money for later in the draft and an elite defensive player like Gonzalez is often taken in these rounds. The offensive production he showed over the weekend may be enough to see the Mountaineer catcher selected early on in the draft process.

OF Darius Hill

The leadership brought to WVU by Darius Hill over the last four years will be missed immensely going forward. Throughout a record-setting career, he became the embodiment of a Mountaineer program that legitimized itself nationally during his four years on campus. His naturally hitting ability, high baseball IQ, and high level of college production will likely be enough to get him drafted this week. Seniors like Darius Hill are always valuable members if minor league systems and he has the skill to advance quickly in the professional ranks.

RHP Sam Kessler

Kessler served as the anchor of an inexperienced WVU bullpen throughout the 2019 season. Armed with a wipeout slider, the Mountaineer closer blew opponents away in the late innings throughout the season. Major league franchises often look for relievers with an outstanding strike out pitch in the later rounds and Kessler’s slider may just get him picked.

LHP Nick Snyder

If someone had said before the season that Nick Snyder would emerge as the second best starter on the WVU staff, most people outside the program would have said they were crazy. However, the midweek starter quickly showed off a strong fastball-cutter combo that was very successful in getting batters out. Major league teams salivate over left-handers with Snyder’s 6’7″ frame and it is likely that this will see him join a farm system this week.

OF Brandon White

Brandon White became probably the most well-known Mountaineer behind Alek Manoah as a result of his amazing defensive play throughout the season. His instincts and speed allowed him to be one of the most outstanding defensive outfielders in the country and may be just enough to have his name called this week. Fans of the WV Black Bears will recall outfielder Jared Oliva who maintained a very similar profile to White and was a sixth round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates. If White can even come close to matching his college offensive output in the pros, he will have a chance to reach the major leagues sooner rather than later.

INF’s Kevin Brophy and Marques Inman

Brophy and Inman have similar profiles as power-hitting corner infielders with some swing and miss to their games. Both would likely be well-served to return for their senior years but in the late rounds, teams may see future run producers in these two Mountaineers. It is probable that these two will be back in 2020 but not definite.

The West Virginia Mountaineer baseball team’s success reflects the level of talent they will be putting into the draft this year. Randy Mazey’s program looks like it will be producing professionals for years to come. The Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft begins at 7 P.M. tonight and continues through the 40th round on Wednesday.


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