Sunshine State produces 158 MLB First-Year Player Drafts in 2018
In last week’s Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft, the state of Florida had 158 players selected in the 2018 draft where 135 total selections came from its Sunshine State-based university, college, junior college, or high school ranks.
Of the 1,214 selections of the 40-round draft held in Secaucus, N.J., a total of 653 pitchers were taken, accounting for 53.8% of all draftees.
Fifty-one NCAA Division I student-athletes from Florida-based institutions were taken in this year’s draft while 16 Division II, five NAIA, and 21 junior college selections were made.
University of Florida’s junior Jonathan India was the Sunshine State’s highest pick as he was selected No. 5 overall by the Cincinnati Reds. In 2018, India was named the SEC Player of the Year while also earning First Team All-SEC honors. The third baseman was hitting .364 with a team-high 18 home runs and 12 stolen bases heading into the draft. India was also recently named a First Team All-American by Baseball America. Previously, India was taken in the 26th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 781st overall pick.
Forty-one Florida high schoolers were selected in the 2018 draft. Carter Stewart of Eau Gallie HS was the top scholastic player drafted this year as the Melbourne native was selected eighth overall by the Atlanta Braves. Known for his deadly curveball, the right-handed pitcher went 6-4 on the diamond in his senior season where the Brevard County product, who previously committed to play college baseball at Mississippi State next year, now faces the decision of accepting the $4.98 million assigned signing bonus allocated to the eighth overall selection or choose to stick with his commitment to the SEC power that recently eliminated Florida State in regional play of the NCAA tournament.
The original First-Year Player Draft Rule called for drafting sessions to be held twice a year, January and June, with a regular phase and a secondary phase held in each draft. In 1987, baseball dissolved all but the regular phase of the June session. The secondary phase was held after the regular phase and was only for players who had been previously drafted but were not signed by the club that drafted them.
For a complete listing of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft selections, click here.