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Virginia Baseball turns attention to the MLB Draft

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Several Hoos and soon to be Hoos figure to hear their name called durning the three day event

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Tennessee v Virginia Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft kicks off Sunday at 7 PM and several Virginia players and commits will be eagerly awaiting their name being called. For the first time, the draft is being held in conjunction with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and will be held over three days beginning on Sunday. Here’s the schedule of rounds

Sunday July 11th, 7 PM: Round 1
Monday July 12th, 1 PM: Round 2-10
Tuesday July 13th, Noon: Round 11-20

Virginia baseball will be very well represented with the following hoping to be selected over the next three days.

Andrew Abbott - Look for the left-hander to be selected early on day 2. Abbott was incredible this season, moving into the starting rotation after spending the first part of his Virginia career in the bullpen. The senior was 9-6 on the year with a 2.87 ERA and was third nationally in strike outs with 162

Zack Gelof - The junior third-baseman did everything for the Cavaliers this season leading them in almost every statistical category including hits, doubles, runs scored and was tied for the team lead with Kyle Teel in home runs and RBI. He’s the 37th rated college prospect according to D1 Baseball and should be an early to mid Day 2 pick.

Griff McGarry - Perhaps nobody on the Virginia Cavaliers roster benefitted from their run to Omaha more than Griff McGarry. In early April, McGarry lost his starting spot after beginning the year 0-4 with a 6.85 ERA. But in the postseason, he was incredible. In three starts, he amassed 26 strikeouts in 17.2 innings, but it was his seven innings of no-hit ball against Mississippi State in Omaha that really got people’s attention. He’s D1 Baseball’s 54th rated college prospect and should also be a mid-day two selection.

Mike Vasil - Rated 129th among college prospects by D1 Baseball, Mike Vasil settled into the year as Virginia’s solid number two started. He had a 7-5 record with a 4.52 ERA and is likely to be Virginia’s first selection with a choice to make. The junior can opt to return for his senior season, so draft selection and negotiations will be crucial into determining whether or not he’ll turn pro.

Nic Kent - Kent entered the year as one of Virginia’s top rated prospects, but struggled to maintain those lofty projections. Still, the shortstop from Charlottesville figures to be be drafted in a slot that makes returning to UVA unlikely. He hit .289 for his career at Virginia despite only batting .239 this season. Still he was third on the team in home runs only one behind leaders Gelof and Teel.

Zach Messinger - Over his career, Messinger appeared in 51 games, 11 of them starts. This year, he was 3-2 with a 4.89 ERA pitching mostly in long relief with a couple mid-week starts sprinkled in. Also a junior, Messinger will have leverage in negotiations as he can opt to return to school.

Brandon Neeck - Like McGarry, Neeck increased his draft profile thanks to a strong postseason highlighted by his 16 strike outs in 5.2 innings of relief against ODU in the Columbia Regional. This season, he compiled a 2-0 record in 23.1 innings out of the bullpen. Neeck is a junior and could return to Charlottesville as well.

Unfortunately for top-tier baseball programs, success is a double edged sword. When you recruit at an elite level, you always run the risk of having your top rated players be selected out of high school and never setting foot on campus. That’s the case this year with Virginia and Benny Montgomery. The outfielder from Red Land High School in Lewisberry, PA is expected to be one of the, if not the first high school outfielders to be selected. If that’s the case, he’ll surely sign as first round bonus money will likely to be too high to pass up.

After Montgomery, Shane Panzini (RHP from Red Bank, NJ) and Casey Saucke (SS/RHP from Rochester, NY) could also be drafted and have a decision to make before coming to grounds.

The MLB draft begins Sunday at 7 PM and will be televised on ESPN and MLB Network. Coverage picks up at 1 PM on Monday on MLB.com and concludes Tuesday at Noon also on MLB.com.