For professional prospects on college baseball teams that play into June, the draft is a welcome distraction that happens at a bad time. For players who are selected, focus on their playing future comes at the expense of what is in their immediate future — competing for a national title.
“The timing of it is not ideal,” Arizona State coach Pat Murphy said. “Hopefully, Major League Baseball and college baseball will get together, work together and do what’s best for the kids. It’s not fair to them to have it (during the NCAA tournament).”
The Sun Devils, who open the Tempe super regional against Mississippi on Saturday, have 13 players eligible to be drafted today and Friday. Most likely to be chosen are pitchers Brian Flores and Josh Satow, infielders Eric Sogard and Andrew Romine and outfielders Matt Spencer, Mike Jones and Tim Smith.
“I’m trying to focus on the games,” said Spencer, who expects to be taken in the first 10 rounds. “Hopefully, we can go to Omaha and win it, and I’ll deal with the team that takes me afterward.”
Flores knows all about the unpredictability of the draft process, having been drafted twice by the Chicago White Sox. He was taken in the 21st round out of high school in 2004, went to junior college in hopes of improving his stock in a hurry, only to fall to the 37th round in ’05.
“I’ve learned that you can’t expect anything, because you never know what is going to happen,” Flores said. “You get told a lot of different things, and you have to let some of it go in one ear and out the other. I’m excited, but I have to stay focused on playing Ole Miss.”
Murphy will make a switch at the leadoff spot this weekend, using shortstop Andrew Romine there and moving outfielder Tim Smith down in the order.
“We don’t have a prototype leadoff guy,” Murphy said. “Romine has got the experience, and he’s been clutch for us. Smith’s confidence has been down a bit, but he can go down in the lineup and be a different style of hitter.”
ASU’s starting pitchers are set for the super regional — Satow, Flores and Mike Leake — but the order is, as usual with Murphy, to be announced.
“It’s an advantage,” Murphy said. “I announce it early, and the other team knows who to prepare for the first game.” …
Pitcher Jeff Urlaub had successful left-elbow ligament-replacement (“Tommy John”) surgery on Tuesday. The operation was performed in Los Angeles by noted arm specialist Lewis Yocum, and Urlaub faces a 10- to 16-month recovery. …
Leake (13-1) was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball on Wednesday.