McConnell

Brady McConnell was the first Florida player selected in the 2019 MLB Draft. The shortstop hit .332 this year with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs.

The 2019 MLB Draft concluded on Wednesday after 40 rounds passed and over 1,200 prospects were selected.

The Florida baseball team had four current members selected in this year’s draft. Shortstop Brady McConnell, designated hitter Nelson Maldonado, right-hander Tyler Dyson and left fielder Wil Dalton were all picked up by Major League clubs.

McConnell went first among all Florida prospects, getting selected by the Kansas City Royals with the 44th pick during the second round.

The sophomore was UF’s best hitter this season, leading the team in home runs (15) and hits (76).

McConnell will join former Gators Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar, who were both picked by the Royals in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft.

Over the last three years, five UF pitchers have gone in the first round.

This year, Dyson was the first Gator pitcher off the board when the Washington Nationals picked him on Tuesday in the fifth round with the 153rd overall pick.

The junior had an up-and-down year, as he found himself outside of the weekend rotation in April after beginning the year as the team’s main starter on the mound.

Dyson has a solid fastball and pitched well toward the end of the season, but his inconsistency hurt his draft stock.

Dalton, the 257th overall pick in the eighth round, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox.

The junior, who transferred to Florida from Columbia State Community College in Tennessee, had an impressive two years in Gainesville. He belted 27 homers in his time at UF to go along with 94 RBIs. He’ll join former Florida players Brian Johnson, Austin Maddox, Bobby Poyner and Josh Tobias in the Red Sox organization.

The last UF baseball player picked had his name called in the 21st round.

Maldonado is now a member of the Chicago Cubs organization after being selected with the 642nd overall pick.

The senior captain had a decorated career at UF that included three trips to Omaha and a national championship.

This season, Maldonado had the best batting average on the team (.343) and a career-high 10 long balls.

This year’s draft did have a surprise on Wednesday during the later rounds.

UF starting quarterback Feleipe Franks, who played baseball for Crawfordville High School in Florida, was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 31st round with the 947th overall pick.

“I’m flattered the Red Sox picked me this afternoon,” Franks said in a release. “However, I’m living out my dream being the quarterback of the Florida Gators.”

This wasn’t the first time the Red Sox have taken a chance on a Florida quarterback.

During the 2013 MLB Draft, Boston picked former Gator QB Jeff Driskel in the 29th round.

Follow Evan Lepak on Twitter @evanmplepak. Contact him at [email protected].

Evan Lepak is a Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida, currently covering UF baseball. He's also covered both UF cross country and UF swimming and diving. He has been with the Alligator since Summer 2018.