The days leading up to the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft is one filled with a lot of anticipation, and some uncertainty, for any serious draft-eligible prospect.
And with less than 48 hours until the 2019 draft commences with the first and second rounds, plus compensation picks and competitive balance rounds A and B, at 7 p.m. Monday, a handful of recently-graduated or former Gwinnett County prospects are experiencing a little of both.
“Right now, it’s actually crazy,” said recent Collins Hill grad Nasim Nunez, who is the highest-ranked player from Gwinnett among MLB.com’s top 200 draft prospects. “This draft is one of those drafts that’s mostly a lot of position players. So right now, I really have no idea what to expect. I’ll just keep my prayers up and hope that it’s something good. Right now, I’m hoping to go somewhere pretty good. Whatever happens, happens. I’ve done everything I could.”
Based on his ranking at No. 51, which would place the 5-foot-9, 160-pound infielder in the second round, something good may be headed his way Monday.
No matter where or by which team Nunez is selected, he will have a decision to make after signing a National Letter of Intent to play college baseball at Clemson.
As with other draftees, he will have until 11:59 p.m. Aug. 15, or until he enrolls at Clemson, to make such a decision.
And as anxious as he is to know what that decision entails, he is ready to stay patient.
“It’s all in the moment,” said Nunez, who stole a Gwinnett-best 28 bases, to go with a .345 average with a home run and 13 RBIs for the Eagles this spring. “I feel like everything’s in the moment. I’ll figure everything out once that moment comes. Right now, I’m just trying to get back down with the family before something happens.”
Nunez, who was in Miami for a pre-draft workout with the Marlins this weekend, is hardly the only current or former Gwinnett player anxiously awaiting the 40-round draft, which runs through Wednesday.
Recent Parkview graduate Jonathan French, who is ranked No. 124 in MLB.com’s top 200 draft prospects, is also eager to learn his draft fate.
Like Nunez, the 6-0, 200-pound catcher has had pre-draft workouts with multiple teams, including the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves.
And also like Nunez, French is trying to stay patient, though he admits that is not easy.
“It’s really tough because I have no idea what I’m going to be doing with my life right now,” said French, who hit .427 with 13 homers and a Gwinnett-best and Parkview-school record 62 RBIs in helping the Panthers to the Class AAAAAAA state title this spring. “I just want to know what I’ll be doing in the future. It could take one or two different turns in one day.”
Mountain View right-handed pitcher Gavin Collyer is the only other recent Gwinnett grad besides French and Nunez to be among the top 200 draft prospects at No. 125, while Gwinnett grads currently playing college ball Will Holland (Collins Hill, Auburn, No. 62), Graeme Stinson (Norcross, Duke, No. 70) and Will Ethridge (Parkview/Ole Miss, No. 136) are also in the top 200.
But with 40 total rounds and given Gwinnett’s reputation and draft history, it is likely that several more players with county ties will have their names called before Wednesday’s final picks.