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Florida pitcher Tommy Mace throws a pitch during the second inning of the Southeastern Conference tournament NCAA college baseball game against Texas A&M, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Gators in the MLB Draft

There is no timetable for MLB’s regular season to start. However, that won’t delay this year’s shortened MLB Draft that starts tonight at 7 which could feature some Gators.

This year’s changes

The most obvious change is that the draft will be just five rounds instead of 40. This rule was brought in to combat many high school and college prospects playing a shortened or even no season in the spring. In addition, the total amount of picks dropped to 160 compared to 1,217 in 2019.

Slot money, which means the value of a player when they were picked, will be identical to the 2019 draft and will remain fixed in 2021. Bonus totals were expected to be raised by 3%.

Finally, undrafted players can sign for a maximum of $20,00. To put this into context, 680 of the 960 undrafted players who signed in 2019, signed for more than $20,000.

MLB Network’s Draft Analyst Jim Callis recently talked with our Steve Russell on “Sportscene” and he explained how money could affect the amount of high school and college drafted players.

Gators in the draft

The Gators started their 2020 season scorching hot. They won their first 16 games finishing the season 16-1. Upperclassman pitchers Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich were catalysts to Florida’s play. Here’s what Callis had to say on these guys.

Florida sees a couple of their high school commits who could be drafted over the next two days. Starting with Zac Veen, an outfielder from Port Orange, Florida. The lefty hitter stands at 6’4” and has a first round grade from many scouts.

Another intriguing prospect is Timmy Manning. A southpaw out of Cardinal Gibbons High School, Manning is a Florida commit but could still hear his name called. Callis though thinks there’s a chance he’s in a Gator uniform next year. MLB Network ranks Manning 143rd on their draft prospect list.

The last person Callis talked about was Gator commit Colby Halter, an infielder out of Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville. Halter is someone who makes consistent contact at the plate and has good arm. He’s someone Coach O’Sullivan hopes to see in a Gator uniform as well.

No matter what happens, the MLB Draft is always an exciting night.

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