Baseball / Nineteen Florida League Alumni Selected in MLB Draft

Nineteen Florida League Alumni Selected in MLB Draft

Date:  Source: Florida Collegiate Summer League

Another year of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft has come and gone with a total of 19 Florida League alumni taken by pro clubs. In addition, a total of 26 players who have participated in the annual Florida League High School Invitational were selected as well. 

The first alumni off the board was Carlos Cortes, infielder from the University of South Carolina. Cortes led the Gamecocks this season in home runs with 15, and was second on the club in RBI with 44. Those numbers could still change as South Carolina prepares to take on Arkansas in   the College World Series Super Regional this weekend. The New York Mets selected Cortes in the third round with the 83rd pick. The Mets also drafted Cortes with a 20th round pick back in 2016. Cortes did not sign, and instead played with the Sanford River Rats. He slashed .426/.500/.638 and was named the Florida League's Top Pro Prospect.

Another former River Rat was the next to go in the form of 2015 catcher Chris Bec from the University of Maine. The senior backstop enjoyed a fantastic season for the Black Bears, posting a team-best average of .315 to go with 21 extra-base hits, 27 RBI and 16 stolen bases. The Toronto Blue Jays used their fifth-round pick on Bec, #146 overall. Bec played in 18 games for the 2015 Sanford club, and helped lead them to the Florida League championship.

Codi Heuer was the first former pitcher off the board after the Chicago White Sox took the big righty in the sixth round with pick #168. Heuer was the Friday starter for the Wichita State Shockers, appearing in 16 games this year. He went the distance two times, and also led the team in innings (79.1) and strikeouts (82). Heuer played for the Altamonte Springs Boom in 2016. In twelve appearances for the club, he struck out 30 batters in 21.1 innings of work.

Devlin Granberg was phenomenal for Dallas Baptist this season. He slashed .443/.541/.680, had 32 extra-base hits (including 13 home runs) and drove in 70 runs en route to the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year Award. He was also a Golden Spikes Award semi-finalist. Granberg suited up for the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs in 2015, making 24 appearances. He hit .250 with nine runs, ten RBI and three steals. Granberg was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 6th round, pick #190 overall.

The fifth player selected on day two of the draft was Elih Marrero from St. Thomas University. Marrero had previously been drafted out of high school in 2015, but chose to attend school instead. That won't be the case this time after the Red Sox took Marrero in the 8th round. Marrero played tremendous baseball for the Bobcats this year, keeping them atop the NAIA polls all year long and helping them to the World Series. In 62 games for the Bobcats, he hit .370, had 24 doubles, nine home runs and a team-high 80 RBI. Marrero was a standout for the River Rats in 2017, earning a spot in the All-Star Game as well as the Prospect Team. 

Matt Duce was drafted in the 14th round of the 2017 draft by the Mets, but chose to return to Dallas Baptist. The move paid off for the senior catcher, as his stock jumped him into a ninth-round selection of the St. Louis Cardinals this year. Duce stroked ten home runs and drove in 51 runs for the Patriots this season. In 2014, Duce appeared in a dozen games for the League Champion Winter Park Diamond Dawgs.

Day Three Draft Picks

Mark Moclair, University of Tampa
2016 Altamonte Springs Boom
12th Round - #372 - Houston Astros

Bryan Lavastida - Hillsborough CC
2017 Sanford River Rats
15th Round - #463 - Cleveland Indians

Keylan Killgore - Wichita State
2016 Altamonte Springs Boom
17th Round - #497 - Philadelphia Phillies

Luis Alvarado - Nebraska
2015 College Park Freedom
17th Round - #511 - Los Angeles Angels

Devin Conn - Nova Southeastern
2017 Sanford River Rats
19th Round - #582 - Houston Astros

Marshawn Taylor - Grambling State
2015 Winter Park Diamond Dawgs
28th Round - #849 - Arizona Diamondbacks

CJ Carter - Troy University
2017 Sanford River Rats
29th Round - #867 - Miami Marlins

John Jones - North Greenville
2016-17 Sanford River Rats
32nd Round - #953 - Oakland A's

Jacob Billingsley - Mississippi State
2016 Sanford River Rats
32nd Round - #972 - Houston Astros

Trey Truitt - Mercer University
2015 Altamonte Springs Boom
34th Round - #1015 - Baltimore Orioles

Yaya Chentouf - Pitt
2016 Altamonte Springs Boom
36th Round - #1065 - Detroit Tigers

Slade Cecconi - Trinity Prep HS
2018 Seminole County Scorpions
38th Round - #1135 - Baltimore Orioles

Jake Mielock - Colorado Mesa University
2016 Altamonte Springs Boom
40th Round - #1194 - Pittsburgh Pirates

The annual Florida League High School Invitational has grown into one of the premier spring break baseball tournaments in the entire country. In the most recent edition, which ran from March 12-30, more than 60 teams from ten states participated. The talent level that has come through the event has been impressive, and that showed with this year's draft. A total of 26 players who played in the FHSI were selected by pro ballclubs.

Jonathan India was an All-American for the #1 ranked Florida Gators, and was taken sixth overall by the Reds. India played his high school ball at American Heritage, and played in the FHSI for three consecutive years 2013-15. His Gator teammates, Brady Singer, was the tournament's most outstanding pitcher in 2015. Singer was chosen with the #18 overall pick by the Kansas City Royals. Tyler Frank, who also played at American Heritage, also saw his name called on day one of the draft, going in the second round to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Below is a full list of players selected int he 2018 draft who played in the Florida League High School Invitational.

1st    #6        Jonathan India    Florida
1st    #18      Brady Singer       Florida
2nd   #56      Tyler Frank          Florida Atlantic
8th    #233    JJ Schwarz         Florida
8th    #242    Jackson Lueck    Florida State
8th    #249    Levi Kelly            IMG Academy
10th  #288    Bennett Sousa    Virginia
11th  #339    Blaze Alexander  IMG Academy
13th  #379    Brian Rey            Miami Dade
14th  #406    Bryce Tucker       UCF
14th  #409    Michael Byrne      Florida
14th  #420    Chris Gau            Jacksonville
14th  #425    Elijah Cabell        TNXL Academy
17th  #496    Ryan Olenek        Ole Miss
17th  #499    Noah Dickerson   TNXL Academy
17th  #501    Hazahel Quijada  UC Riverside
21st  #630    Kerry Wright         Montverde Academy
23rd  #680    Saul Gonzales     Montverde Academy
24th  #715    Herbert Iser          San Jacinto (TX)
25th  #745    Nick Horvath        Florida
28th  #844    Austin Hale          Stetson
29th  #875    Nander deSedas  Montverde Academy
32nd  #973   Andrew Eyster      Santa Fe (FL)
32nd  #974   Jacob Gilliland      Next Level Academy
33rd  #981    Rainier Aguilar      Redlands College
37th  #1118   Henry Vilar           Westminster Christian
40th  #1200   David Luethje      Vero Beach HS