Though things didn’t go as great as expected near the front end of Friday’s MLB Draft, the day ended up going well overall for prospects with St. Louis and Missouri connections. After the second-round selection of Kansas City high school outfielder Monte Harrison by the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night, five more players with Missouri ties were taken on Friday.
Things kicked off in the third round at pick 101 overall, as the Oakland Athletics selected Missouri righthander Brett Graves, who also attended Francis Howell High School in St. Louis. It may have been a bit of a disappointment for Graves, who was ranked as the 80th-best prospect in the draft by MLB.com, but he had to be happy to go to a successful franchise like Oakland.
Logan Moon, another Kansas City product who attended Missouri Southern State University for one year after transferring from Central Arkansas, came off the board as his hometown Royals took him in the sixth round at pick 183 overall.
Saint Louis University righthander James Norwood went to the Chicago Cubs in the seventh round with the 199th selection. Though there was a lack of consensus on Norwood’s draft stock, it was a rather significant fall for him, as he had been ranked as high as 76th by Baseball America. Still, Norwood was the highest-drafted Billiken since Ken Ossola went to the New York Mets with pick 172 in 1969.
Another Mizzou right-hander came off the board at pick 230 in the eighth round, as 6-foot-3, 225-pounder Keaton Steele was selected by the Minnesota Twins. Steele, who was utilized mainly as a reliever in 2014, went 0-8 but picked up nine saves while registering a 3.07 ERA. Steele, who can touch the mid-90s with his fastball, was extremely effective when moved into the starting rotation for the final three weeks of the season, picking up two complete games and going into the ninth in his other start.
Switch-hitting first baseman Matt Tellor of Southeast Missouri State wrapped it up for the day, being selected by the Atlanta Braves with pick 313 in the tenth round. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound senior was dominant in 2014, hitting .386 with 15 homers and 71 RBI.
It should be interesting to see which other players with St. Louis and Missouri ties come off the board on Day 3 of the draft. There are 38 players with such connections remaining in MLB.com’s draft database (though it’s theoretically possible that a team could select a player outside of the database). Among the interesting names remaining with St. Louis ties: Stanford righthanded pitcher David Schmidt, a CBC High School alum; Clemson righty Kevin Pohle, a graduate of Parkway South High School; and Saint Louis University High School grad Sasha Kuebel. SLU shortstop Alec Sole and pitcher Nick Bates remain, with Sole far more likely to ultimately be selected. Mizzou also has two players remaining in the database, with catcher Jake Ivory and lefthander John Miles available.
Among the area high schoolers that could go on Day 3: Westminister shortstop and Mizzou commit Shane Benes, son of former Cardinal Andy Benes; two players from Francis Howell, catcher Nic Perkins and outfielder Eli Dilday; Marquette shortstop Keith Grieshaber, Parkway Central righthander Brady Feigl, and Parkway North righty Joey Hope.