It wasn't too long ago that getting a player that went to Maryland drafted at all was a pretty big accomplishment. But on Erik Bakich's first year on the job, not only have four recruits been drafted through two days, but one of his recruits got drafted in the first round.
Cito Culver, a shortstop from New York, was drafted with the last pick in the first round by the New York Yankees last night. He was committed to go to Maryland, though this obviously might've thrown a wrench in his (and Marlyand's) plan. The Yanks seem pretty high on him:
"We were able to draft a very athletic kid who can play a good shortstop,"said Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees vice president of amateur Scouting. "He has a plus arm, is a solid runner and is an excellent hitter. He's a player we are happy to have. It was an easy decision for us."
To call Culver an impact recruit would be an understatement; he was regarded as a sign of things to come and was unquestionably Maryland's best recruit in quite some time, possibly ever (take that with a grain of salt; it's tough to do research on this and my Maryland baseball memories don't go back far).
Before the draft, the highest he had been projected had been late second. Most had him in the fourth round area. Had he been selected there, he would've had a decision to make. But the Yankees probably just made that decision for him.
A first round draft pick means a guaranteed $1 mil on top of the somewhat generous slotted salary. The odds that he'd be able to get that same guarantee after a few years of college aren't great. Quite frankly, he should take the money, and he almost certainly will.
But still, the fact that a first rounder committed to Maryland is both a future recruiting tool and a promising omen for the future. It shows that high-profile guys can go to Maryland, and it could be the first sign of the Erik Bakich recruiting magic that was so eagerly anticipated.
Culver was the big story as a first rounder, but plenty of big recruits from Maryland had their name called.
Tyler Vail was the next highest Terp selected, a right-handed pitcher from Pennsylvania. He was selected in the 5th round by the Oakland A's, which was a little above most projections. Right now, he said he's "leaning" toward going pro, but he still needs to make the final decision.
Patrick Leyland, son of Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, was also selected in the draft, in the eigth round. A highly-regarded catcher and a top 150 player, Leyland is supposedly leaning toward going pro, too, though he hasn't made up his mind. I'd be surprised, looking from the outside, to see him turn down a decent bit of money and a chance to play for his dad, but you never know.
JaDamion Williams, a top 150 player and shortstop/second baseman from Florida, was drafted in the tenth round by the Minnesota Twins. Financially, a tenth-round selection doesn't provide nearly as much impetus to skip school, so, while it's not guaranteed, he's probably the strongest possibility that to be at Maryland next year. You never know, because a lot depends on a player's intentions from before the process even starts, but he has the best shot to be in College Park.
And that's a good thing. Williams isn't as highly ranked as Culver, but he wasn't far behind. He was an Under Armor All-American and was ranked in the top 100 by MaxPreps. Combined with Culver, Maryland would've had a very promising middle infield, but either way he has the potential to be a star in his own right.
Don't forget, too, that there's a strong supporting group. Alex Ramsey and Kyle Convissar are the two best players from Maryland, and will be Terps. Mike Montville was New Hampshire's Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior. The only thing that Maryland can hope is that they don't lose more than their four stars. Alex Ramsey was the #2 player from Maryland, and though he hasn't been drafted yet, he could be tomorrow and has expressed an interest in skipping college. I wouldn't be surprised if Convissar or Montville, the best players in their respective states, were drafted either.
Ah, bask in the glory of baseball relevance. Fun, isn't it?