The MLB First Year Player Draft runs from June 12-14 and there are three Huskies who have a chance to hear their names called by one of the 30 Major League Baseball teams. Four UConn players were selected in 2016.
Wills Montgomerie, a junior right-handed pitcher from Lakeville, Connecticut, should be the first one. He was an elite strikeout pitcher at the collegiate level, striking out 226 batters in 195 career innings, translating to 10.4 per nine innings.
His mid-90s fastball and slider mix notched him 116 punch outs in 2017 were 20th in the nation while his strikeouts per nine innings were tied for 20th.
Montgomerie is listed as the No. 249 MLB Draft prospect on Baseball America and 236th on Minor League Ball, SB Nation’s Minor League Baseball site. Meanwhile, True Blue LA projects him as a 7th-round pick of the Dodgers.
John Russell, another junior right-handed pitcher from Connecticut, hailing from Glastonbury, has spent two years in Storrs after spending his freshman season at UConn Avery Point. He did not pitch much in 2016 but earned the closer job for 2017 and ran with it. He achieved the UConn single-season saves record and allowed batters to hit just .196 against him.
He struck out 66 batters with 19 walks in 38 innings of work and gave the Huskies length at times, averaging almost 1 2/3 innings per appearance, which could increase his value to a team looking to pick him.
He is ranked 389th in Baseball America’s top 500 list and 371st by Minor League Ball.
Junior third baseman Willy Yahn, from Sharon, Connecticut, is the lone position player who could see his career in Storrs end and a professional career begin. The 2016 Cape Cod League All-Star is a career .325 hitter in a UConn uniform and could easily move to second base as a professional. He missed time due to a broken hand suffered just a week before the season started, which could negatively impact his stock despite a solid .317 AVG/.376 OBP/.434 SLG slash line.
Yahn is also a strong fielder, regularly making athletic plays look easy at the hot corner. He also has a little speed, going 17-for-26 across his career in steals.
The MLB Draft begins on June 12 at 7 p.m. with coverage of the first and second rounds on MLB Network with a simulcast on MLB.com. Rounds 3-10 will be live streamed on MLB.com beginning at 1 p.m. on June 13. June 14 will have rounds 11-40 beginning at 12 p.m., also streamed on MLB.com.