Three more Florida pitchers were drafted on Day 2 of the 2016 MLB Draft on Friday, with closer Shaun Anderson being picked up by the Boston Red Sox, the tantalizing Scott Moss getting selected by the Cincinnati Reds, and reliable reliever Kirby Snead going to the Toronto Blue Jays.
All three players should be expected to go pro, with only 10th-rounder Snead having a somewhat difficult decision to make.
Of the three, Anderson is the more majors-ready player — and he might well see Fenway Park before long, given the Red Sox's major bullpen woes. Anderson, taken with the 88th overall pick in the third round, brings a starter's frame and stuff — he has a wicked fastball that sits in the mid-90s, and a developing slider — to the mound, where his willingness to attack has helped make him perhaps Florida's most effective closer ever.
His 13 saves so far in 2016 have tied a school record, and they've been honestly earned: Anderson has a 1.05 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 43 innings, and he's allowed just two extra-base hits this year.
The latter stat is also true for Moss, who is also one of two Gators pitchers with more than 20 innings to his name to not allow a home run this year. (Freshman Brady Singer is the other.) Moss has a tidy 1.59 ERA of his own, and has fanned 31 batters in 22.2 innings of mostly relief work, but he likely merited the Reds' 108th pick in the fourth round on the back of the finest and last of his five starts this season.
Moss dominated a potent LSU lineup in the SEC Tournament, scattering three hits over six scoreless innings, and showing both that he is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery that wiped out his first two seasons at Florida and that the Gators' starting pitching depth is insane.
Snead profiles more definitively as a reliever, and has been a good hand but never a shutdown thrower. He has a funky low release point and is a lefty, so he might be a lefty specialist in the MLB ranks. He also adds to an odd glut of Gators pitchers picked by the Blue Jays in recent years, joining Anthony DeScafinini (2011), Justin Shafer (2014), and Danny Young (2015) among Florida players picked by Toronto this decade. (The Blue Jays also drafted Singer in 2015, but failed to sign him.)
I'd bet on Moss's future as a full-time starter being brighter than Anderson's, but both hurlers have the skills to be contributors in the bigs, and Snead could be useful in a more limited role. And they were the fourth, fifth, and sixth Florida pitchers taken in the 2016 MLB Draft ... and the underclassman trio of Alex Faedo, Jackson Kowar, and Brady Singer, Florida's likely 2017 rotation, might actually have more raw talent than that sextet of pros to be.
Is it any wonder why Florida is reportedly keeping Kevin O'Sullivan?