While a handful of draft picks decided to pass on the college experience and sign a professional contract, more top preps decided to attend school, put off professional overtures for now.
In addition to 12 incoming freshman who spurned the pro ranks, five players chose to return to a Big Ten diamond and help their teams pursue another regional bid, while a drafted JUCO transfer hopes to lead his team back to the field of 64.
Here’s a rundown of those who said thanks, but no thanks to MLB teams, and quick hits on the most noteworthy additions or returns to Big Ten teams.
Jr. 3B Luke Miller, 31st Round- Minnesota Twins
Indiana third baseman Luke Miller was a draft-eligible sophomore in 2017 and his power made him a popular name on preseason top prospect list. Miller did hit 10 home runs, but scouts were concerned with Miller’s ability to routinely tap into it. The swing-and-miss concerns, likely coupled with requiring a large signing bonus to buyout his remaining two years of eligibility, a potential top 10 round prospect fell until the 31st round. Miller’s return, as well as those of seniors Matt Lloyd and Logan Sowers, gives Chris Lemonis a potent middle of the order, ready to take aim at the program’s fifth regional in six years.
Jr. RHP Brady Schnauel, 20th Round- Philadelphia Phillies
After Rick Heller lost ace Nick Gallagher to the pros, a 16th-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians, though recovering from a partial UCL tear, junior right-handed pitcher CJ Eldred, Iowa’s 2016 Friday starter, signed with the Kansas City Royals as a minor league free agent. Getting right-hander Brady Schnauel to campus helps soften the blow of a depleted weekend rotation as the Big Ten Tournament champions looked to build off of their Houston Regional appearance. Schnaeul heads to Iowa City after being drafted following each of his first two seasons at Parkland College.
Jr. OF Marty Costes, 25th Round- Houston Astros
Fr. OF/LHP Randy Bednar, 27th Round- Atlanta Braves
Fr. C Justin Vought, 31st Round- Kansas City Royals
Jr. RHP Ryan Selmer, 31st Round- Seattle Mariners
Fr. RHP Mark DiLuia, 38th Round- Twins
Maryland outfielder Marty Costes was another draft-eligible sophomore on scouts radars, finding a place inside Baseball America’s final top 200 draft prospects. Like Miller, Costes’ power is the tool which draws attention, tying for Maryland’s team lead with 13 home runs in 2017. There is also some swing-and-miss tendency to Costes, 47 strikeouts in 239 at-bats, but Costes’ greatest prospecting concern is the most measurable of measurables: his stature. Costes checks in at only 5’9, a red flag to some evaluators. But Costes’ production dramatically increased between his freshman and sophomore seasons and another season similar to 2017’s .322/.429/.548 will surely see him picked high enough to bring his time in College Park to an end. When that time comes, Maryland will be in a good position to continue their recent success, led by a trio of draft picks who made it to campus this season, joined by do-everything pitcher Ryan Selmer, who can be in the weekend rotation, long relief or back of the bullpen.
Fr. C Joe Donovan, 33rd Round- Chicago Cubs
Fr. RHP Jeff Criswell, 35th Round- Detroit Tigers
Fr. OF Jesse Franklin, 37th Round- Mariners
Fr. LHP Angelo Smith, 40th Round- Chicago White Sox
Michigan set a program record with 11 draft picks in June’s draft. The most draft picks of any college program, it’s evident Erik Bakich and staff are recruiting in a manner which will lead to Big Ten championships. But it was bittersweet for Bakich as Michigan will have such an extremer roster turnover after their second regional appearance in three years. On top of losing 11 draft picks, two signed high school recruits opted for profession baseball, Cody Bolton and Jason Pineda, But Michigan’s efforts to reload will be helped by four drafted preps who chose Ann Arbor as their next destination, headlined by hard-throwing right-hander Jeff Criswell and fleet-footed outfielder Jesse Franklin, the latter turned down a reported $1.3-million signing bonus. Joe Donovan is a versatile player, who can catch, play third or first, while Angelo Smith is an athletic southpaw with good feel.
Fr. RHP Jesse Heikkinen, 36th Round- Tigers
Fr. RHP Max Meyer, 34th Round- Twins
Sr. RHP/OF Luis Alvarado, 13th Round- Mariners
Sr. 1B/OF Scott Schreiber, 26th Round- Tampa Bay Rays
Nebraska lost its top recruit to the pros when Los Angeles Angels fourth-round draft pick John Swanda signed for $625,000. Darin Erstad will be without the services of the talented right-hander, but he will have another year with his right-handed closer, Luis Alvarado, as well as his fellow outfielder, Scott Schreiber. In his first year on the mound, Alvarado shined at the back of the Husker bullpen, recording 10 saves in 15.2 innings and pitching to the tune of a 1.72 ERA. At the plate, Alvarado batted .283 with 12 doubles, blossoming as Nebraska’s left fielder. One of a few right field options, Schreiber batted .330 with 15 doubles and seven home runs, a year after hitting .325 with 16 home runs. The returning duo will help the reigning Big Ten champs ease the lost of Swanda and center fielder/left-handed pitcher Jake Meyers, who was draft three picks before Alvarado and signed with the Houston Astros.
The highest-ranked Big Ten recruit, checking in at #127 on Baseball America‘s BA 500, left-handed pitcher Seth Lonsway gives Ohio State the potential ace it missed in 2017, following three years of Tanner Tully solidifying the Friday night role. Lonsway shot up draft boards a month out from the draft and had several teams viewing him as a potential third-round pick. But with his commitment to Ohio State and the bonus it would take to pry him away, Lonsway fell to the 20th round, and the Cincinnati Reds were unable to meet his demands. From Celina, Ohio, the Buckeyes secured the state’s top player to lead a strong recruiting haul as they look to rebound from the program’s worst season in 30 years. Lonsway’s fastball runs between 90-94 MPH, while offering a change-up and curveball.
Fr. LHP Hayden Wynja, 30th Round- Braves
Fr. LHP Harry Rutkowski, 28th Round- Reds