The 2015 MLB Draft continues to be dotted by Florida Gators.
After Richie Martin and three Florida signees were chosen during Monday's Day 1 of the draft, five more Gators were taken on Tuesday's Day 2.
Junior outfielder Harrison Bader was first off the board among those with Florida ties on Tuesday, going to the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round with the 100th pick overall. Righty Eric Hanhold followed in the sixth, as the Milwaukee Brewers snagged him with the 181st pick, and then Danny Young (242nd to the Toronto Blue Jays), Taylor Lewis (270th to the Atlanta Braves), and Josh Tobias (294th to the Philadelphia Phillies) followed in the eighth, ninth, and 10th rounds.
Of those players, Bader's a virtual lock to leave Florida for the pros, as it would be hard for his stock to improve; the thing that holds him back most is his relatively short stature (he's "just" 6'0", though that measurement might be generous). Viva El Birdos seems to like the pick, and Bader should be a Cardinals farmhand shortly after the College World Series.
Tobias is also gone — but that's because he's a senior. His career has taken him from being taken in the 31st round of the 2012 MLB Draft as a high school senior to not being drafted at all after his junior year to being a 10th-rounder in 2015, and the improvement from his junior to senior years has likely made him at least six figures richer to begin his professional career.
The rest of Florida's current players who were Day 2 picks have decisions to make.
Hanhold's would seem clearest: He profiles as a possible starter, but seemingly won't crack the weekend rotation for the Gators in 2016, not with Logan Shore and A.J. Puk manning the top two spots in the rotation and Dane Dunning and Alex Faedo already ahead of him in the pecking order for a Sunday starter spot. So he could pretty cleanly head to the professional ranks simply for a better chance of developing as a starter. That 181st pick carries a slot bonus of more than a quarter of a million dollars, too, which should be tempting.
Young and Lewis have both settled into relief roles with the Gators; Young is the one of the two who could get spot starts in 2016, but both would seem to profile as relievers in the minors and majors. Both could also theoretically improve on good 2015 campaigns, though Lewis has less room to improve. I'd expect both to lean toward making the leap to the majors.
Florida's signing class, though, didn't take much of a hit on Tuesday. After having three signees drafted among the top 40 picks on Day 1, just one Gator-to-be, pitcher Thomas Szapucki of Dwyer High in Palm Beach Gardens, was drafted on Day 2, with the New York Mets snagging him in the fifth round at pick No. 149. While that pick carries a slot bonus of $355,500, Szapucki isn't a lock to go pro.