Where there's a winner there has to be a loser.
The MLB draft can be a grueling time for many coaches around the country. Staffs aren't sure who to expect back and some players choose to sign at the last second, which causes even more confusion for some programs.
Some programs were hit hard by the draft. Others such as Arizona State, TCU, Kentucky, South Carolina and UC Irvine escaped in good shape.
Arizona State received an early Christmas present with Josh Spence's return to the weekend rotation, TCU got lucky with first-round pick Matt Purke deciding to attend college, Kentucky welcomes back left-handed pitcher James Paxton, South Carolina welcomes back key cogs Sam Dyson and Nick Ebert and UC Irvine is ecstatic to have left-handed pitcher Danny Bibona back in its weekend rotation.
Arizona State and UC Irvine are expected to be national title contenders next spring because of their key returnees and additions.
At least five teams greatly benefited from the MLB draft.
South Carolina is ecstatic with the return of junior pitcher Sam Dyson.
(Jim R. Bounds, AP)
Arizona State. The Sun Devils could've gotten hit hard by the MLB draft, but escaped the summer in great shape. The Devils lost Mike Leake and Jason Kipnis to the draft, but those departures were 100 percent expected. Catcher Carlos Ramirez also inked a pro contract as an eighth-round selection. But the Devils were rosy red on deadline day when left-handed pitcher Josh Spence returned and high school star Jake Barrett decided to join the Devils. Spence was expected to sign with the Angels, but felt returning to the Angels was a better move for his career. Barrett, meanwhile, was drafted by the Blue Jays in the third round, but decided to attend college. The Devils also had other high school signees decide to attend college. ASU is in business with a pair of excellent pitchers.
Texas Christian. No coach was happier on the night of the draft deadline than TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle. The Frogs lost some key veterans to the draft such as Matt Carpenter and Matt Vern, but all his worries went away when the deadline struck and his top recruit and Rangers' first-round pick Matt Purke failed to sign a pro contract. Purke then called Schlossnagle and informed him that he'd be going to TCU. As with Gerrit Cole at UCLA last season, Purke has the potential to be one of the nation's premier pitchers from the start. That's certainly what the Frogs expect. TCU also will welcome 37th-round pick, catcher Josh Elander, to the Fort Worth, Texas, campus. The Frogs should build off last season's super regional berth.
Kentucky. The Wildcats don't feel like missing a regional berth again next season. They had one of the nation's most talented weekend rotations this past season with left-hander James Paxton leading the charge. Paxton was a first-round supplemental pick and was expected to sign a pro contract. However, the talented veteran decided to return to college for another season. His return is icing on the cake for the 'Cats, who already welcome back sophomore stud pitcher Alex Meyer. UK also is excited about the addition of high school pitcher Jordan Cooper, a 17th-round selection of the Pirates. The Wildcats should be in great shape next spring with Paxton's return.
South Carolina. The draft could've been horrible for coach Ray Tanner and the Gamecocks, but they actually escaped the event in good shape. The Gamecocks lost a few veterans and high school recruits. But it's who they return this fall that should have everyone in Columbia, S.C., excited about next spring. Pitcher Sam Dyson was a draft-eligible sophomore this past season and had an opportunity to sign a pro contract. Instead, he opted to return to the program for his junior campaign. Productive hitter Nick Ebert and pitcher Parker Bangs also decided to return. The bar will be set high for the Gamecocks entering the 2010 campaign.
UC Irvine. It was a bittersweet summer for the Anteaters. They were sad to lose senior shortstop Benny Orloff to the draft and graduation, but also are ecstatic with the return of several key players. Left-handed pitcher Danny Bibona has become one of the nation's premier arms the past few seasons, and was expected to sign a pro contract. But he decided to return to college for his senior campaign. Position players Casey Stevenson and Brian Hernandez also decided to return to UCI for another season. With Bibona back in the weekend rotation with Christian Bergman and Crosby Slaught, the 'Eaters once again have the personnel to make a run at something special next spring.