Trio of Frogs picked on day two of MLB Draft

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With the College World Series set to begin in under a week, the Horned Frog baseball program turned its attention to the 2017 Major League Draft.

Monday, June, 12: Rounds 1-2

While no active members of the Horned Frogs’ roster were selected in the first two rounds, picks 1-75, of the draft, three members of TCU’s No. 8 ranked 2017 recruiting class (ranking from perfectgame.org) were selected on day one.

With the No. 12 overall selection, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted RHP and TCU commit Shane Baz of Concordia Lutheran High School in Cypress, Texas. The hard-throwing righty announced via Twitter that he will instead sign with the Pirates.

A year ago, the Frogs were able to pry the 41st overall pick, Nick Lodolo, from the same Pirates organization. The No. 12 draft slot is valued at $4,032,000.

The second TCU signee to go off the board was third baseman Jacob Gonzalez of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. The San Francisco Giants selected Gonzalez in the second round with the 58th overall pick, despite Gonzalez being ranked just 132nd on Baseball America’s list of the top 500 draft prospects. Gonzalez, the son of former MLB All-Star Luis Gonzalez, would be an immediate replacement for senior 3B Elliott Barzilli. Defensively, Gonzalez would have been a downgrade from Barzilli, but he would have provided elite power to the middle of the TCU lineup for years to come.

Tyler Freeman, a shortstop out of Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, California, was selected by the Cleveland Indians with the 71st pick. Freeman, a potential heir apparent to senior shortstop Ryan Merrill, is seen as an all-around player who will excel both defensively and at the plate. The 71st spot in the draft comes with a value of $816,500. Freeman, considered the No. 97 overall prospect by Baseball America, was taken earlier than expected, which could increase the chances that he will sign with the Indians instead of coming to Texas.

Tuesday, June, 13: Rounds 3-10

Day two saw three active Horned Frogs drafted by Major League organizations.

Perhaps surprisingly, with Evan Skoug rated the No. 78 overall prospect, Austen Wade was the first Horned Frog to be taken in the 2017 draft.

The Cleveland Indians used their fifth-round pick, No. 162 overall, to select the junior outfielder from Midland, Texas. Wade leads the Frogs in batting in 2017 with a .342 batting average to go along with 16 doubles, five home runs and 15 stolen bases. The No. 355 rated prospect was selected well before expected, making it even more likely that he will sign a contract. Already a top-five round pick, it would be difficult to improve his draft stock during his senior season, so Wade will be choosing between beginning his professional career (and a draft spot valued at $293,800), and a run at his fourth straight College World Series (the team’s fifth straight) in the purple and white.

Skoug, projected as a third-round draft pick, slipped all the way to the No. 207 selection in the seventh round. The Chicago White Sox drafted the junior catcher from Libertyville, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Skoug was the 20th catcher picked in the draft. Skoug struggled mightily out of the gates in 2017, seemingly lowering his draft stock at the time, but 16 homers in his last 33 games and 20 on the season so far had Skoug considered the No. 7 catcher in this year’s class by Baseball America.

Throughout the year, TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle mentioned on multiple occasions that Skoug would likely sign his contract and was playing his final year at TCU. Even with Skoug dropping several rounds, there is still a good chance that Skoug will sign with the White Sox and forego his senior season.

Money wise, his ranking of No. 78 would have slotted him at a pick valued at $732,200 while the 207th pick is worth $201,700, a difference of $530,500.

Should Skoug leave TCU after this year’s College World Series, he would finish top five in home runs and RBI’s in a career as a Horned Frog, and he has already secured the first 20 home run season since Chris Connelly hit 23 in 1997.

The first TCU senior drafted was RHP Brian Howard from St. Louis, Missouri. The veteran pitcher was drafted in the eighth-round, 231st overall, by the Oakland Athletics. After being drafted in the 17th round of the 2016 draft, Howard returned for his senior season that has seen him go 11-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 18 starts so far. After winning 10 games in 2016, Howard’s 11-win 2017 campaign makes him the first TCU player in school history with consecutive 10-win seasons.

In his career, Howard has been part of four College World Series teams and has compiled a 25-5 record over 61 games with a 3.52 ERA over 255.2 innings pitched.

“Big Game Howie,” as Schlossnagle called him last week, is 6-0 in 12 postseason appearances with a 1.68 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 64.1 innings pitched. He will have a final chance to add to his legacy in Omaha starting Sunday.

Rounds 11-40 will take place Wednesday, with players like Elliott Barzilli, Ryan Merrill, Jared Janczak, Cam Warner, Mitchell Traver and Nolan Brown expected to be picked at some point. Check back with TCU360.com for more coverage after the conclusion of the draft and for College World Series coverage.