Just because Utah doesn't have a Major League Baseball franchise doesn't mean the Beehive State doesn't have aspiring sluggers.
Unlike the drafts for the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS, Major League Baseball holds its draft midseason. And also unlike the draftees of other leagues, many MLB draftees come straight out of high school, though in recent years, an increasing number have come from the college baseball ranks. Because of the obscurity of MLB draftees, the draft receives significantly less media coverage than other American professional sports drafts.
The MLB draft also differs from other professional drafts by size. The NFL draft, the second-largest professional sports draft, has seven rounds and 256 picks. By contrast, the MLB draft has 40 rounds and 1,200 picks — plus compensatory picks if owned.
Because of the size of the draft, and the value of professional contracts offered to draftees — miniscule compared to other professional sports draft contracts — many draftees, particularly high school players, refuse to sign a draft contract, opting for college first. College players, however, will sign contracts if they intend to make a run at the majors.
Very few players drafted over the next few days will be playing on a major league diamond in the near future, if at all. Yet being drafted does give a player the opportunity, if successful at lower-level pro ball, to achieve stardom.
Who in Utah is on the radar of major league teams? Here are nine players likely to hear their names called in the 2013 MLB draft this weekend.
Chris Conran is a baseball player for Utah Valley University, Major League Baseball draft enthusiast and Deseret News contributor. Follow him on Twitter.com/chrisconran.
School: BYU (Junior)
Brugman is a power hitter and led BYU with 11 home runs. The Arizona native was drafted by the Yankees out of high school in the 39th round, but turned the organization down and spent the past three years mashing the ball for the Cougars.
He had a batting average of .317 but struggled with strikeouts (47), as most power hitters do. He showed some speed on the diamond with eight stolen bases and five triples while leading his team with a whopping .609 slugging percentage. This outfielder is high on prospect lists, and could be an early pick in the draft.
Here is a report on Brugman from Apr. 30, 2011
School: BYU (Freshman)
Hannemann, an outfielder, was the closest thing to a five-tool player in Utah this year. He had a standout freshman season at BYU after returning from a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and helped lead the Cougars to one of their best seasons in a while.
Hannemann earned freshman All-American honors and was on the All-WCC first team. Some notable stats include a .344 batting average, five home runs and 14 stolen bases.
As a result, Hannemann's football days at BYU could be over. He should expect to hear his name called in the big-money rounds of the draft.
School: Salem Hills High School
Taylor Snyder hit just under .500 with four homers, leading his team to a state championship. He is the son of BYU great Cory Snyder and has a lot of potential as well as room to develop as a baseball player. At pre-draft workouts with the Angels and the Mariners, Snyder stood out. Major League teams are interested.
Snyder could be a surprise draft pick in the first 10 rounds of this year's draft, but whatever happens he still has a SLCC scholarship waiting for him.
Snyder's older brother JC is also on this list.
School: Salt Lake Community College (Sophomore)
This right-handed pitcher was the hardest thrower for SLCC this year. As a starter he was able to reach a top velocity of 96 mph. The velocity and movement on his fastball make him a power pitcher.
The St. Louis Cardinals had him out for a pre-draft workout and liked what they saw. Considering he throws that hard at a height of 6 foot 3 and weighing only 160 pounds, potential is big for this pitcher. Springer can easily add 40 pounds to his frame.
Springer struggled a little bit with command, walking 26 batters in 48 innings, but the fact he has a MLB fastball makes him a top prospect.
School: Salt Lake Community College (Sophomore)
Position: Infielder, Right-handed pitcher
The older brother of Taylor Snyder and son of longtime MLB player Cory Snyder should hear his name called in this year's draft. He attended pre-draft workouts with the Mariners and the Angels along with his brother Taylor. His power as a hitter and his cannon of an arm creates interest from MLB teams, especially because there's still room for him to add size and strength.
He struggled a little at the plate — he had a batting average of .284 — but he was still able to crank out three homers, three triples and led his team in RBIs (35). It also doesn't hurt that he can throw 90-plus mph across the diamond.
School: Salt Lake Community College (Freshman)
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Corless quickly became the ace of the SLCC staff after graduating from Spanish Fork High as a junior.
Competing as a young player in one of the best junior college conferences in the nation, Corless' draft stock is quite high. He pitched against much older players but compiled 61 Ks — more than 20 strikeouts ahead of the next-best Bruins pitcher. He also had an ERA of 2.26, the second-best on his team.
Scouts want to see him add some velocity, but for an 18-year-old playing with the big dogs, he sure did one heck of a job.
School: Bingham High School
Lund's arm and speed make him one of the best defensive high school outfielders in not only the state, but the Western region. Perfect Game USA, the self-proclaimed world's largest baseball scouting service, seemed to like what it saw in Lund. He has a good chance of hearing his name called, but if not, he has a scholarship from BYU to fall back on.
Offensively, he has great bat speed and quick hands that allow him to catch up to even the fastest of pitchers. That combination of athleticism and speed make Lund one of the elite high school players in the nation.
School: Riverton High School
Draper absolutely dealt as a pitcher, helping Riverton win its best region during the regular season. He throws in the high 80s, and he has the athleticism to go with it. He finished the year with a 7-0 record. Should he so choose, Oregon State will be sad to see him take a professional offer.
Perfect Game USA has Draper listed as one of the top prospects from Utah, but his arm strength may force scouts to let him develop before making a move on him. He recorded a perfect game at the Perfect Game Showcase, showing scouts he has the ability to carve up hitters and throw with command. Where he lands will depend on what organizations want to do with him, given his potential.
School: UC Irvine (Junior), graduate of Northridge High School
This Layton native was once drafted by the Astros while at SLCC. He didn't hear his name called after his sophomore season, but taking his talent to UC Irvine has helped his draft stock.
He was able to hit better than .300 with three home runs and 34 RBIs in one of the best baseball conferences in the nation. In addition to his size, Taylor's speed plays a large part in his draft stock.
Taylor isn't likely to go high, but might get a late pick from an organization.