College pitcher who donated bone marrow to child will also be on hand in Studio 42
By Spencer Fordin
Four top high school players will have a front-row seat to see their future unfold. Prep stars Brendan Rodgers, Ashe Russell, Garrett Whitley and Mike Nikorak are all scheduled to attend Day 1 of the 2015 Draft on Monday night at MLB Network's Studio 42. All are expected to go in the first round, and Rodgers has a chance to be the first prep shortstop taken first overall since Carlos Correa in '12.
In addition to the high school players who will be attending the Draft, Major League Baseball has invited University of South Carolina Beaufort senior pitcher Jason Boulais as a special guest. Boulais had surgery in May to remove bone marrow from his back and pelvis in order to donate it to a boy in France, thus ending Boulais' final collegiate season after only 10 games.
Rodgers, who hails from Lake Mary, Fla., is ranked No. 1 on MLBPipeline's Top 200 Prospects List heading into the Draft. The 18-year-old has committed to Florida State University, and he projects to be a smooth-fielding infielder who can also hit for more than his fair share of power.
Russell, a right-handed pitcher out of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, is ranked No. 14 among the Top 200 and could be the first prep pitcher taken in the Draft. Russell initially picked Notre Dame as his college choice but later switched to Texas A&M, and he's drawn comparisons to Clay Buchholz.
Whitley, a swift center fielder from Niskayuna High School outside Albany, N.Y., will be the first player drafted in his school's history. He's ranked No. 17 on the Top 200 and has committed to Wake Forest.
Nikorak, a right-handed pitcher from Stroudsburg (Pa.) High School, was named the 2015 Gatorade Player of the Year in Pennsylvania. He's ranked No. 15 on the Top 200.
Correa, the top pick in 2012, attended the Draft, and so did some other lofty picks over the years. Last year, No. 5 overall pick Nick Gordon -- a Minnesota draftee -- was there in person to hear his name called. Clint Frazier, the No. 5 overall pick in 2013, also attended the first night of the Draft.
The 2015 Draft will take place from Monday through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.