The three UConn baseball players selected in the MLB Draft have all decided to forgo their senior seasons and sign with their respective clubs.
Pitcher Tim Cate was the highest-selected Husky as a second-round pick of the Washington Nationals (No. 65 overall). He signed for full-slot value at $986,200 — essentially a signing bonus pre-assigned to the specific pick.
Meanwhile, the Hartford Courant’s Dom Amore reported relief pitcher P.J. Poulin signed with the Colorado Rockies and catcher Zac Susi announced on his Instagram that he is signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The signing bonuses of these two players are unknown at this time.
The Huskies also had two signees drafted in catcher Patrick Winkel (31st round) and pitcher Michael Burrows (11th round). The New Haven Register’s Chip Malafronte reported that Winkel will keep his commitment to UConn while Burrows is still undecided.
All three players played a major role in the Huskies’ successful season, so replacing them will be no easy task. Typically, junior college transfers are brought in to replace early draftees, but there are plenty of options at the three positions with in-house and incoming players.
With Cate’s mid-year injury, UConn played much of the season without their top pitcher and his departure means they are only losing a bullpen arm from their NCAA Tournament team. Mason Feole proved himself to be a bonafide ace and should only get better next season.
At catcher, UConn has Thad Phillips returning, who split duties with Susi as well as Tulane transfer Sal Gozzo and the incoming Winkel.
Poulin’s departure may be the one that hurts the most as the bullpen was a major weak spot for the Huskies last season. Jake Wallace was the team‘s second-best reliever last year and will likely slide into the closer’s role as a junior.