Gophers baseball readies for MLB draft

Lucas Gilbreath, Brian Glowicki, Micah Coffey and others are expected to go in the MLB draft, which starts on Monday.

Junior Toby Hanson throws the ball back to pitcher Brett Schulze during the Gophers game against Illinois on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Siebert Field.

Image by Courtney Deutz

Junior Toby Hanson throws the ball back to pitcher Brett Schulze during the Gopher’s game against Illinois on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Siebert Field.

by Jack Warrick

Several Gophers baseball players could get their names called at the 2017 MLB Draft.

Left-handed pitcher Lucas Gilbreath, third baseman Micah Coffey, outfielder Alex Boxwell, second baseman Luke Pettersen are all juniors who could be drafted. First baseman Toby Hanson, outfielder Jordan Smith, pitcher Brian Glowicki and pitcher Toby Anderson are all seniors who are possible picks.

The first two rounds will start Monday, rounds three through 10 will be on Tuesday and the final 30 rounds will be on Wednesday.

The team will change depending on which players get selected. Assistant coach Rob Fornasiere said the team is waiting to see what happens.

“If it breaks right for us, we could certainly have a lot of people come back and have an outstanding ball club next year,” Fornasiere said. “On the other hand, we could get wiped out.”

Gilbreath is expected to be the first Minnesota player picked in the draft. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 36th round in 2014 as a senior in high school.

This year, he is expected to go in the second day of the draft, according to Baseball America. Gilbreath spent three years with the Gophers and finished his junior season with a 2.66 ERA.

“I was pretty excited in high school. I wanted to go to the U of M,” Gilbreath said. “I was excited to play for them, and along with getting my education, that was a big step for me and something that was important to me. Luckily, it worked out.”

Coffey, another junior, is expected to be drafted during the second or third day of the 40-round draft, Twins Daily reported. Coffey was an all-Big Ten second team honoree with a .340 batting average this year.

“I’ve sat through and watched [MLB Drafts], just waiting on my teammates names to be called, in hopes that one day I might have a chance,” Coffey said. “But this might be the first time that I might hear my name called.”

Glowicki, the senior closer from Illinois, is another possible draft pick. Glowicki broke the Gophers’ program record for most saves in a season this year with 16. He posted a 2.20 ERA as well.

“Baseball has always been there for me,” Glowicki said. “It’d be a dream come true, given I got drafted.”

Smith and Anderson are the two other senior Gophers who may get their names called in the later rounds of the draft, according to Twins Daily.

Smith, an outfielder, started 56 games this year, putting up a .309 batting average and making the Big Ten All-Tournament Team.

Anderson had a 6-5 record pitching this year, getting 37 strikeouts in the process.

Three other juniors have a chance at making it into the draft. Hanson, Boxwell and Pettersen could go in the later rounds.

Hanson, had a .319 batting average this year and also made the all-Big Ten third team. Boxwell, an outfielder from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, had a .253 batting average with 6 home runs this year. Pettersen led the team with his batting average of .354 this year.

Four Gophers were selected in last year’s draft and three were selected in 2015.

The team will also lose eight seniors to graduation.

Minnesota players will wait until the draft ends June 14 to see how many teammates they lose and whether their name is called.

“It’s all up in the air,” Coffey said. “You’re given the opportunity to play professional baseball, so you’re probably going to take that opportunity when it comes calling,” he said.