This week’s Major League Baseball Draft may alter UNC-Wilmington’s pitching next season.
Starters Daniel Cropper and Seth Frankoff are eligible for the draft Tuesday through Thursday and experts say one or both will be selected.
But the potential losses don’t stop there. Prize recruit Blaze Tart may sign if taken early Wednesday.
A scouting director noted Tart is on the draft board, but not as a premium pick.
He also said the draft’s overall strength is pitching depth, which likely bumps Cropper and Frankoff into later rounds.
“Cropper has pretty clean arm action,’’ said Allan Simpson of Perfect Game Cross Checker, reading from a report obtained from the MLB Scouting Bureau. “His fastball reaches 93. He has a decent feel for a curveball. There is more in there than he showed this year. I think he is coming out at the wrong time if he is trying to come out now.’’
By redshirting in 2008, Cropper still has two years of eligibility. In 2009, Cropper had a 5-2 record, 5.46 ERA while opponents hit .318.
Frankoff (3-5), with an 87-91 mph fastball, posted a similar ERA (5.76).
“Once and a while he will show you a decent curveball and changeup,’’ a scout said. “He has just been inconsistent with his command.’’
Frankoff has spoken with close to 10 scouts in recent weeks about signability. He called the draft unpredictable and has discussed it with the Seahawks coaching staff, and if chosen, will seek input from his family.
“I am not a finished product by any means,’’ he said. “I still have a lot of work left, whether it be in professional baseball or here at UNCW. Either way I feel pretty good about the situation.’’
It is also hard to get a true read on Tart, whom Simpson projects as an 11th to 15th- round pick.
“My sense is he will want top 10-round money,’’ Simpson said.
An area scout familiar with Tart thinks he will be a better prospect after three years with the Seahawks.
“He’s got a strong arm, with good clean arm actions,’’ the scout said. “He knows how to pitch. He just needs more fine tuning. He can be really good.’’
As a senior at IMG Academy High School at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Tart finished 9-0 with one save and a 2.62 ERA with 27 walks and 44 strikeouts in slightly over 41 innings.