Going into the MLB draft, there were a lot of questions about how Auburn would fare given the level of prospects who signed with the Tigers as a part of this year's class. Auburn signed 14 players in a class that was ranked among the tops in the nation. It included just 2 JUCO signees and was mostly filled with high schoolers.
At least two signees - Alabama's Mr. Baseball RHP/IF Tanner Burns and Catcher Steven Williams - were expected to be drafted fairly highly. With Day 2 passing by, it quickly became obvious that both were not going to be drafted. Why would those prospects not be drafted?
Well, because they made their intentions known that they were going to attend college. With that, no team was going to spend a high draft pick on them. Burns, at least, confirmed his intentions on Twitter:
That is extremely good news for Auburn. Burns is an excellent pitcher - he had a 10-1 record and 0.88 ERA last season - as well as being a great infielder, too. He could be a huge part of next year's rotation. Particularly with Keegan Thompson's situation that I'll get to in just a moment.
Williams has been a bit more circumspect, but this is definitely a good sign for the Tigers:
WDE— ⚜️Steven Williams⚜️ (@steven_wms21) June 13, 2017
Auburn will have both of those players on the Plains for at least three years, and that's some fantastic news.
There was speculation last season that Keegan Thompson would go pro after his Tommy John surgery. Instead, he returned to Auburn to pitch one final year and improved his draft stock by 30 rounds. He was chosen by the Chicago Cubs with the final pick of the 3rd round. While some wondered if Keegan may return for his final year of eligibility, that was never likely and this pretty much puts the final nail in that coffin.
The other Tiger drafted on Day 2 was outfielder Jonah Todd. If you want to talk about a fantastic story, Todd fits the bill. He was once a walk-on. He's not a power hitter who is going to hit balls over the fence, but he racked up a ton of multi-base hits in 2017 and also displayed some spectacular fielding and a spot on the All-SEC roster at the end of the year. That was enough to get him drafted in the 6th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Congrats to the two former Tigers! It was a joy to watch Keegan and Joe Dirt play as a huge part of the 2017 Tigers and we'll be following their progress in The Show closely.
The Rest of the Draft
The MLB Draft isn't over, yet. There's still a chance one of Auburn's signees gets picked and decides to go the pro baseball route. However, right now things are looking good. The only signee selected so far has been JUCO LHP Evan Steele. There's no word on his intentions, but since he was chosen on Day 1, I imagine he's headed to the pros.
We'll be watching tomorrow's events closely and hopefully will have a wrap-up of where Auburn Baseball's future stands tomorrow.