College stars in demand on Day 2 of Draft
Astros kick off second day by taking Florida shortstop Fontana
NEW YORK -- Their time had come. One day after scarfing up as much prep talent as possible, Major League teams began looking for more maturity in the First-Year Player Draft. The second round brought a brief run on college players Tuesday, only to go back to the prep route toward the end.
Five of the first six players -- and 10 of the first 14 -- came from four-year colleges on Tuesday. But teams made up for that imbalance by taking prep players with nine of the last 10 picks in the round, starting off a day that saw the Draft wind its way through 15 rounds of amateur talent.
The emphasis on college players came back later, revealing an interesting trend. There's been a virtually equal split of pitchers (242) and position players (246) in the first 15 rounds, but prospects from four-year universities (272) have easily outstripped those from high school (166) and junior colleges (48).
Houston started off the second day much the way it had the first -- by selecting a potential high-impact shortstop. The Astros, who chose Carlos Correa with the top pick in the Draft on Monday, took standout defender Nolan Fontana out of the University of Florida with their first pick in the second round.
Fontana, a two-time second-team All-SEC player and a three-time member of the conference All Defense team, became the third University of Florida player selected in the Draft. Two more UF players -- Stephen Rodriguez and Austin Maddox -- were taken before the end of the third round.
The Orioles, picking fourth in the second round, found a way to complement their top pick. Baltimore selected right-hander Branden Kline out of the University of Virginia, doubling down after choosing Louisiana State righty Kevin Gausman with the fourth pick in the opening round.
Kline, who pitched out of the bullpen as a sophomore, returned to the rotation as a junior. The right-hander went 7-3 with a 3.56 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings this season.
Kansas City, picking right after Baltimore, took another interesting college arm. The Royals went with Vanderbilt's Sam Selman, who notched a 9-3 record with a 3.55 ERA as a junior.
Three teams -- the Padres, Mets and A's -- made a double impact by picking twice in the second round.
San Diego got two college players -- outfielder Jeremy Baltz and catcher Dane Phillips -- in the second round. The Mets chose third baseman Matt Reynolds from the University of Arkansas and prep pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz, while Oakland nabbed Bruce Maxwell and Nolan Sanburn.
Maxwell, the second pick in the second round, batted .471 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs for Birmingham Southern College. And Sanburn, who played with Reynolds at Arkansas, starred out of the bullpen as a sophomore, notching as many strikeouts (30) as baserunners via a hit (18) or walk (12).
Arizona State, represented by shortstop Deven Marrero in the first round, made a bigger statement on Day 2. Three ASU players -- Brady Rodgers, Joey DeMichele and Jake Barrett -- were drafted in the third round. Rodgers, a right-handed pitcher, was taken by Houston with the first pick in the round.
Some of the day's most intriguing players got snapped up quickly. Ty Buttrey was ranked No. 35 on the MLB.com Draft list -- the highest of any player not taken on Day 1 -- and was drafted by Boston in the fourth round. Buttrey was one of seven remaining players ranked in the MLB.com top 50.
Six of those seven players got drafted by the end of the fourth round, with prep southpaw Hunter Virant standing as the lone exception. Virant, ranked No. 47 on the MLB.com Draft board, was not taken until the first pick of the 11th round and may wind up honoring his commitment to UCLA.
Another prep star -- two-sport recruit Jameis Winston -- was selected by Texas in the 15th round. Winston, a right-handed pitcher from Alabama, has already committed to Florida State, where he is expected to play quarterback and perhaps baseball if he doesn't sign with the Rangers.
One of the most famous names on Day 2 belonged to LJ Mazzilli, son of long-time big leaguer and former manager Lee Mazzilli. The younger Mazzilli, a second baseman out of the University of Connecticut, batted .339 and was a ninth-round selection by the Minnesota Twins.
Two players from service academies -- the United States Naval Academy and Military Academy at West Point -- were selected in the 10th round. Navy saw outfielder Alex Azor chosen by Toronto midway through the round, while Army catcher J.T. Watkins -- son of Boston scout Danny Watkins -- was drafted by Boston.
James Gainey, another player from Navy, was selected by Milwaukee in the 11th round.
So far, there's been three times as many right-handed pitchers (182) compared to lefties (60) in the first two days of the Draft, and the most heavily populated positions have been catcher (47), shortstop (48) and center field (45). There have been 17 first basemen and 17 second basemen drafted.
The University of Florida led all schools with eight draftees, and it was closely followed by UCLA (seven), Rice (six) and Florida State (six). Perhaps the most surprising school was SUNY Stony Brook, which had five draftees this year and just 14 in its entire program history prior to 2012.
Three high schools -- Archbishop McCarthy (Fla.), Olympia (Wash.) and the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy -- managed to have three players taken in the first two days of the Draft.
The Draft will continue and conclude on Wednesday, when the teams will select players from the 16th round through the 40th. Only two players from the MLB.com list of the top 100 prospects -- Freddy Avis and Mitchell Traver -- are still undrafted and available to be picked on Wednesday.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.