MLB Draft Grades: ACC – Louisville leads the way

We’re going Dave Portnoy pizza review style for this piece, grading every ACC college baseball program draft. The grades included how successful programs were in getting players drafted, but also rating their short-term losses and gains from prospects going unexpectedly high facing greater temptation to turn pro. Each grade is 0 to 10 – let’s see who won and lost the draft in the ACC.

Miami – 5.2
Miami saw all three of their projected draft picks get picked, led by RHP Slade Cecconi. Cecconi was selected 33rd overall, right around his projected slot, but the Hurricanes saw Chris McMahon slide into the second round as a projected first rounder. Any more of a slide would have been a blow towards Miami’s reputation of producing top-level pro talent. Meanwhile, shortstop Freddy Zamora skyrocketed from the 100th ranked prospect to 53rd selection –  a great look on the recruiting front, but the Hurricanes now will have a tough time bringing back an elite multi-year starter.  

Virginia – 4.3
The Cavaliers had only one real draft prospect for 2020 in bullpen arm Andrew Abbot. He was a projected fourth-rounder, but he didn’t hear his name called over the course of the two-day draft. No draft picks from a team that won the national championship just five years ago is tough. They are engaged in brutal recruiting battles within the ACC, and not turning out pro talent will make winning some of those recruits an uphill battle.  

Duke – 7.7
The Blue Devils had only one draft prospect in Bryce Jarvis, who became the second ever 1st round pick in program history. The other one was Marcus Stroman, so that bodes well for both Jarvis’s success, and Duke’s improving program. Jarvis was a projected first rounder, so keeping him was always unlikely, and seeing him go 18th overall – after being a 37th round pick in high school – is a good look for the Blue Devils. It was only one pick, so Duke now need to prove they’re not a one-hit wonder. 

Georgia Tech – 6.4
Georgia Tech was a tough assignment, as they had a very confusing draft. They had one projected draft pick, but saw two players selected – but their one projected pick remained on the board. Defending ACC batting champion Michael Guldberg went 98th overall towards the end of the third round, so the Yellow Jackets will need to hope he won’t be enticed by a signing bonus expected to be in the $600,000 area. Outfielder Baron Radcliffe was a late pick in the fifth round, and shortstop Luke Waddell (ranked 125th by MLB.com) went unselected. Very tough draft to gauge, but ultimately not a bad one for the Yellow Jackets. 

Virginia Tech – 8.2
The Hokies saw both of their draft prospects drafted well above slot value with Ian Seymour (115th) going 57th and catcher Carson Taylor (194) going 130th. The Hokies got a great grades not only for their success in the draft, but also they look great compared to Virginia’s struggles, giving the Hokies an inside track on in-state recruiting. Seymour may turn pro, but Taylor likely stays on with another three years of eligibility, so overall a highly successful draft for Virginia Tech. 

North Carolina – 7.8
Aaron Sabato came in as a projected early second rounder and went late in the first round as UNC’s only top prospect. Not much to complain about there. 

Pittsburgh – 4.0
No top draft prospects. No draft picks. Nothing much to say for one of the worst teams in the ACC on this one.

Notre Dame – 6.5
The Fighting Irish saw projected fifth-round pick Joe Boyle drafted 143rd overall, about 20 picks ahead of where he was expected. He was their only legitimate prospect so nothing much to speak of here for Notre Dame, solid results, and a little better than expected. 

Clemson – 7.1
The Tigers had two pitchers – Sam Weatherly and Spencer Strider – selected last week. Weatherly went within a few picks of his expected slot value at 81st overall, and Strider jumped from outside of MLB.com’s top 200 prospects into the fourth round. It was a good showing from the Clemson prospects, without jumping into the world of seven-digit signing bonuses that would almost certainly draw these hurlers into professional ball. 

Louisville – 9.2
Louisville had two first round picks in pitchers Reid Detmers and Bobby Miller. Both hurlers went from late draft selections out of high school (32nd and 38th rounds) to top-30 picks in 2020, so that says a lot for the Cardinals’ program. Outfielder Zach Britton also heard his name called in the fifth round, although he seems like a likely candidate to return to Louisville for another run at the College World Series. 

NC State – 6.8
The Wolfpack can thank the San Francisco Giants for taking their battery pair in catcher Patrick Bailey and left-handed hurler Nick Swiney in the first two rounds. Projected fifth-rounder Tyler McDonough remained unselected. Swiney jumped into the second round, so he may test the professional waters, which would be a tough loss for NC State, but it was ultimately a good day for the Wolfpack.

Florida State – 5.4
The Seminoles had two players drafted, both slightly under slot value, and one potential selection in outfielder Elijah Cabell left on the board. Nothing spectacular, and nothing particularly unexpected from FSU. 

Wake Forest – 4.6
From a program standpoint, seeing junior Jared Shuster jump fifty spots into the first round may have been nice for the Demon Deacons. But now they will likely lose Shuster to the Atlanta Braves’ organization, and no other Wake Forest player heard their name called. It’s a bit of a bittersweet feeling for the Demon Deacons after this draft. 

Boston College – 4.0
Same deal as Pittsburgh here. No real prospects, No draft picks. Nothing more to say.

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