The ACC has long been one of the top baseball conferences in the nation, routinely putting dozens of players into MLB farm systems each summer. This year is no different as three players were selected in the first round of the MLB Draft, though the latter two choices came in the compensatory A round. Those are extra picks awarded for losing certain types of free agents. Here’s a quick look at all three players as the draft rolls on through its 40 rounds.
D.J. Stewart, Outfielder- Florida State
Selected 25th overall by the Baltimore Orioles
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 9, 2015
Stewart was named the ACC Player of the Year in 2014 after a monster sophomore season when he led the conference in batting average, slugging percentage, and on base percentage. This season, Stewart hit .322 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI. He also led the nation in walks with 69 showing a good eye to go with one of the most powerful bats in the draft. Scouts love his bat but his defense is a little suspect. Still, he was considered the 30th best prospect in the draft by Baseball America and the top outfielder available at the time of his selection. The Orioles lack quality young outfielders in their farm system, so this is a good pick for them.
Chris Shaw, First Baseman- Boston College
Selected 31st overall by the San Francisco Giants
In a draft that’s lacking in power, Shaw stands out as your classic slugging first baseman. He played in the outfield for BC and while he has a good arm, he lacks speed and will likely transition to being a full-time first baseman in the pros. Shaw broke the hamate bone in his right hand in April and despite coming back quickly, failed to fully recover his previous form. Still, he managed to finish with a .319 average, 11 home runs and 43 RBI. Shaw also drew lots of attention in last summer’s Cape Cod Baseball League where he led everyone with eight home runs.
Kyle Funkhouser, RHP- Louisville
Selected 35th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers
Funkhouser is one of the most successful pitchers in Louisville history, ranking second all-time at the school in wins (26) and strikeouts (281). This season he posted an 8-5 mark with a 3.20 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 112 1/3 innings. The biggest knock on Funkhouser is his control as he walked 3.7 batters per nine innings as a junior. He’ll have to improve his control to make it to the majors, but his stuff is good with a two-seam fastball clocked in the low 90s and a four-seamer that he can crank up to 96-97 MPH. If he can improve his slider or change up, he stands a good shot to rise through the ranks and make an MLB rotation someday.