CORAL GABLES – As Miami waited Friday to play its rain-delayed Super Regional opener against Boston College, two current Hurricanes and two high school prospects who signed UM scholarships were drafted in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Left-hander Jesus Luzardo and third baseman Colton Welker, both of Parkland-Douglas High, said they will not play for UM. Shortstop Luis Curbelo, of Cocoa, tweeted his excitement over becoming a high pick. Hurricanes right fielder Willie Abreu and closer Bryan Garcia, both juniors, could elect to forgo their senior seasons.
Guaranteed to turn pro: shortshop Brandon Lopez, a senior who was selected in the 10th round (303rd overall) by the Minnesota Twins.
Luzardo was taken in third round (94th overall) by the Washington Nationals. Welker was chosen by the Colorado Rockies 16 picks later (fourth round, 110th overall).
In the sixth round, Abreu was taken 170th overall by the Rockies, while Garcia went 175th overall to the Detroit Tigers and Curbelo went 176th to the Chicago White Sox.
At the time they were drafted, Abreu, Garcia and Lopez were hanging out in the Hurricanes’ clubhouse during a two-hour rain delay, and thus unavailable for comment. Shortly after he was chosen, Welker told the Sun Sentinel he plans to sign a pro contract. “It’s one of the greatest moments of my life,” he said.
Luzardo, widely considered a potential first-round pick before undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, told the Miami Herald he will sign with the Nationals. Luzardo, who reportedly threw as hard as 97 miles per hour before tearing his UCL, might be worth the financial risk for the Nationals.
The MLB-recommended signing bonus, or slot value, for the 94th overall pick is $635,800. Should Washington offer more — as it likely would have — it will be penalized for doing so. Had Luzardo opted to play for UM, he would have been draft-eligible again as a junior.
Slot value for Welker (110th overall) is $541,800. It is $303,700 for Abreu (170th), $289,400 for Garcia (175th) and $156,600 for Lopez (303rd). For Curbelo: $286,700.
Garcia (2-0, 2.04, 16 saves), who established a UM career record with 40 saves – he had 41 entering Friday – allowed 25 hits and 17 walks in 35.1 innings, and struck out 52. He was a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy as college baseball’s top player, and a finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award.
Like Garcia, Abreu (.269, 12 homers, team-high 55 RBI) was a third-team All-ACC selection. Lopez led the Hurricanes with a .392 batting average and knocked in 41 runs.
They join UM catcher Zack Collins, who was drafted on Friday in the first round (10th overall) by the Chicago White Sox. Collins (.358, team-high 13 homers, 53 RBI) became the first Hurricane to be taken in the first round since catcher Yasmani Grandal in 2010.
Collins, a Baseball America first-team All-American, is the 14th MLB first-round selection in Miami history.
“It’s indescribable, a dream come true for me,” Collins said. “I’m very excited to hopefully compete for a national championship coming up, and then get my professional career started for the White Sox. I’m proud to be a part of such a great organization.”
The draft concludes with Rounds 11-40 on Saturday.