There could be a strong UNC flavor in the first round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.
In addition to first baseman Dustin Ackley, fellow rising junior Alex White also is seen as a possible first-rounder.
"Obviously, they have to play well next season and continue to show the same general potential to the pro scouts," said Carolina coach Mike Fox. "But everything at this point looks very positive for them."
White, a right-handed pitcher from Greenville, went 13-3 with a 2.83 earned-run average in 2008 and was a standout, as a starter and in relief, for the Tar Heels in the College World Series. For the season, he struck out 113 batters and walked 42.
"Alex has the velocity that the scouts look for in pitchers," Fox said. "He can consistently throw in the 90 mile-per-hour range. He’s probably got a bright future in both areas — as a starter or as a reliever."
Six Carolina players were picked in the ‘08 draft, including draft-eligible sophomore all-star outfielder Tim Fedroff, who went to Cleveland in the seventh round. He hasn’t decided whether to sign a pro contract or return to Carolina.
Having turned 21 years old in January, he was eligible for selection in ‘08. Fedroff now has until Aug. 15 to make a decision on the pros. But should he decline to sign with the Indians and return to Carolina for another season, he could be drafted by any other team in 2009. In that event, the Heels would have at least three first-round ‘09 candidates.
A dozen Tar Heel players, including Ackley, will spend the rest of the summer competing in New England’s Cape Cod League.
— Caulton Tudor