With the Florida State season officially over some players can turn all of their attention to the 2018 MLB draft that gets underway tonight. The first two rounds — including compensation picks — begins this evening starting at 7 PM. Rounds 3 through 10 will be on Tuesday beginning at 12:30 PM with the final 30 rounds concluding on Wednesday starting at noon.
There really is not much of a chance that a current member of the Seminoles’ roster has their name called tonight but two members are likely to hear their names called tomorrow with several more possibilities on Wednesday.
MLB.com Rank: 116
Previously drafted: 2015, 22nd (649) - HOU
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Sands’ older brother, Carson, was a 2014 fourth-round pick of the Cubs out of high school. Cole opted to head to Florida State rather than sign in 2015 as a 22nd-round pick of the Astros. He’s been a three-year member of the Seminoles’ rotation and stepped into the Friday night role when Tyler Holton went down with an injury, though he missed some time with biceps tendinitis.
Assuming health, and Sands was back on the mound in May, the right-hander has a solid three-pitch mix coming from a high three-quarter delivery and easy arm action. He’ll throw his fastball in the 92-95 mph range with good sink. His 80-83 mph slider is inconsistent, but it has sharp break and he can land it for strikes when it’s on. His changeup should be a third average offering, a solid offspeed pitch with good sink to it as well.
Sands doesn’t miss a ton of bats, but goes right after hitters. He did pitch well on the Cape in brief performances for two summers, which certainly won’t hurt his chances of getting drafted in the top five rounds.
In the last start of his career, Sands, pitched only 2.2 innings before leaving with a shoulder injury. Head coach Mike Martin said that it was only shoulder tightness but MLB teams are no doubt investigating to make sure that its not more serious.
Update: Sands was taken in the 5th round by the Minnesota Twins.
MLB.com Rank: 150
Previously drafted: Never
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 35 | Arm: 45 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
Raleigh comes from a baseball family, with a father and uncle who both played at Western Carolina. His dad went on to coach at his alma mater and at Tennessee, while his uncle spent 10 years in the Minor Leagues. The younger Raleigh jumped on the map as a freshman at Florida State, scuffled as a sophomore, but has bounced back with a strong junior season, at least with the bat.
The switch-hitting backstop has swung the bat well, especially in the second half of his junior season, using an advanced approach at the plate to hit for average and power while drawing a ton of walks. It’s more power over hit, with some concern over him hitting enough at the next level to tap consistently into that raw pop. Raleigh’s defensive game, however, has not taken the same step forward this year. Not overly athletic, he hasn’t been very agile behind the plate and his blocking and receiving have been inconsistent, as has been his arm.
College catching is always hard to find, and Raleigh has done it for three years at Florida State. Teams will be buying the bat here, with the hope that he’ll defend just well enough to stick there as an offensive-minded catcher.
The lineage of great catchers in Tallahassee goes back almost three decades. There are big shoes to fill when you get back behind the plate at Florida State and Cal Raleigh did just that. He made a great decision when he changed his commitment at the last minute more than three years ago.
Update: Raleigh was taken in the 3rd round by the Seattle Mariners.
Nander De Sedas
MLB.com Rank: 55
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Back in 2011, a young shortstop came out of Montverde High School in Florida and ended up going No. 8 overall to the Cleveland Indians. While he had a long way to go before earning a true comp to All-Star Francisco Lindor, De Sedas’ strong summer had him brought up in the conversation for more reasons than just attending the same high school, though an uneven spring has cooled his projections considerably.
The raw tools are still there for De Sedas to be a successful middle infielder at the next level, but he hasn’t put them to consistent use in his senior year. He has plus raw power and has shown the wherewithal to tap into it in games at times in the past. He hasn’t shown the same advanced approach he had over the summer, but the skills are there to hit for average and tap into that raw power. Relatively new to switch-hitting, his left-handed swing needs work. De Sedas has a very strong arm and good hands, which gives him the chance to stick at short. His lack of speed could eventually necessitate a move to third.
De Sedas’ summer moved him way up on Draft lists and raised the level of expectations considerably, but he didn’t come out and perform as hoped this spring. A team that feels it can help him unlock those raw tools consistently will still take him early enough to keep him from heading to Florida State.
As mentioned above if a team makes the decision to draft the shortstop tonight he will never step foot on campus.
Update: De Sedas was taken in the 29th round by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Other than De Sedas, FSU could see commits Brandon Howlett (3B) and Matheu Nelson (C) go in the draft early enough, or with enough compensation, to keep them off campus. Other Florida State players that are draft eligible and could hear their name called in the later rounds include Cobi Johnson (RS-Jr), Andrew Karp (RS-Jr), Tyler Holton (Jr) and Jackson Lueck (Jr). Where they go, the money offered and their current feelings on the status of the Florida State baseball program will all influence whether or not they return for the 2019 season.
Update: Tyler Holton was taken in the 9th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Update: Jackson Lueck was taken in the 8th round by the Kansas City Royals.
Update: Andrew Karp was taken in the 6th round by the Washington Nationals.
Update: Brandon Howlett was selected in the 21st round by the Boston Red Sox
Update: Rhett Aplin was selected in the 28th round by the Kansas City Royals.
Update: Cobi Johnson was taken in the 30th round by they Toronto Blue Jays.
Update: Jack Anderson was taken in the 36th round by they New York Yankees.
Update: Mat Nelson was taken in the 39th round by the Philadelphia Phillies.
This article will be updated as any player with an affiliation to Florida State is drafted over the next three days.