Rice baseball only lost one player to the 2020 MLB Draft. Aside from shortstop Trei Cruz, the Owls will return most of their roster next spring.
The Houston Astros selected Shay Whitcomb with the 160th pick of the 2020 MLB Draft, wrapping up a five-round affair in just two days. Rice baseball had only one current player selection, star shortstop Trei Cruz. He was picked by the Detroit Tigers in the third round with the 73rd overall selection.
Undrafted players can still sign with MLB teams, but signing bonuses for such players will be limited to $20,000. It’s expected that the vast majority of them will return to school, which means Rice baseball is unlikely to have any further draft-related losses.
Players like pitcher Roel Garcia and catcher Justin Collins both went undrafted. Garcia was selected in the 27th round last year despite missing the season prior with injuries.
Avoiding additional draft losses would have been less likely had 1,200+ players come off the board as happens in the more traditional years. Hard decisions of whether or not to return to school no longer have to be made. Bradley Gneiting, who briefly entered the Transfer Portal during the offseason, has announced his intention to return. For the most part, Rice should be getting most of their key pieces back.
And then there’s the addition of Ole Miss transfer Connor Walsh. He didn’t play last year with the Rebels, sitting behind Anthony Servideo who was chosen the subsequent following Cruz in Thursday’s draft. Walsh will slide into Cruz’s vacated spot, giving the Owls a formidable roster despite the presumed departure of their top bat.
It’s a bit early to pen down an exact roster, but with the draft in the rearview mirror, the pieces are coming together.
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