Florida signee Grant Holmes was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the No. 22 pick of the 2014 MLB First-Year Draft on Thursday, and would be the only Florida player or signee selected through the first three rounds of the draft.
And for once, not having players taken is a really good thing for the Gators.
Holmes, a South Carolina fireballer who is considered the crown jewel of Florida's 2014 recruiting class, was considered a potential top-10 pick heading into the draft. It was something of a surprise that he fell all the way to the 20s, especially considering that his comparables include Zack Greinke and Matt Cain.
But even that relatively underwhelming draft position may not push Holmes to Florida, given that he would be due just under $2 million for signing with the Dodgers, thanks to MLB's "slot" system for determining the contracts draft picks receive. Holmes could follow in the footsteps of Karsten Whitson, and shock the baseball world by turning down that money to come to Florida, but he doesn't have Whitson's ties to the area, and his enrollment at Florida is seen as very unlikely.
The lack of other Florida draft picks on Thursday, though, is probably a really good sign for Florida's chances of bringing in signee JJ Schwarz. Schwarz, a catcher from Palm Beach and the younger brother of Florida softball player Taylor Schwarz, was regarded as a possible first-day pick, and a likely casualty of the draft had he become one. With the slot money decreasing as the draft wears on, Schwarz's incentives for passing on college are diminished, and the chances he becomes a Gator in person as well as on paper improve.
Schwarz and Florida junior Taylor Gushue are likely to be picked at some point on Friday, with Gushue regarded as fairly likely to depart for the professional ranks.