The team has already lost seniors A.J. Jones and Jordan Rathbone due to no remaining collegiate eligibility, and it now stands to lose three more to the MLB.
Colton Gordon - Houston Astros (8th Round/#238)
The redshirt sophomore starting pitcher out of Bradenton went 5-2 in 9 starts this season, pitching a 2.77 ERA and leading the team in strikeouts (72).
However, his season was cut short when he tore his UCL sometime between his final start on April 16 and the beginning of the East Carolina regular-season series on April 23. The injury required him to undergo Tommy John surgery, which has a 12-18 month recovery time.
Head coach Greg Lovelady called Gordon a “coach’s dream” in a press conference on April 30 that divulged the extent of his injury.
Because the Astros selected Gordon in the first 10 rounds of the Draft, his pick has a value of $174,000 in bonus money. The Astros have a total bonus pool of $2,940,600, the lowest in the MLB, to pull from.
Josh Crouch - Detroit Tigers (11th Round/#315)
Yes!!!! Dude has worked tirelessly to be THE best defensive catcher in college this year! So proud!!! https://t.co/f1DlnVLaOq— Greg Lovelady (@CoachLovelady23) July 13, 2021
Junior catcher Josh Crouch had a breakout year this season with the Knights.
The Sebring native led the team in batting average (.311), slugging percentage (.574), and on-base percentage (.435). Crouch also hit the 2nd-most home runs of any UCF player this season (15), one short of team leader Jordan Rathbone.
Lovelady praised Crouch’s improvements throughout his college career. Including changing from a high school third baseman to a catcher, in a press conference after the team’s final game of the season against USF in the American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship Game.
“There’s nobody that’s made a bigger jump on our team than [Crouch] has during the course of the year,” Lovelady said.
Lovelady also commented on Crouch’s selection in a Twitter post, similarly praising his development at the catcher position.
“Dude has worked tirelessly to be THE best defensive catcher in college this year!” Lovelady said. “So proud!!!”
The Tigers have the 2nd-highest bonus pool in this year’s MLB Draft ($14,253,800), so it stands that Crouch would receive a small portion of that amount should he sign with the team.
Jack Sinclair - Washington Nationals (16th Round/#473)
Junior starting pitcher Jack Sinclair stepped up this season when his starting rotation needed him.
Before Gordon sustained his season-ending torn UCL, Sinclair was 1-4 and pitching a 5.97 ERA. In his final 6 games of the season, after Gordon’s injury, Sinclair went 4-1 and pitched a 3.45 ERA in that stretch.
The Coral Springs native finished his season 5-5 with a 4.77 ERA, the second-lowest ERA among UCF pitchers with more than 5 starts.
He stands to potentially receive a portion of the Nationals’ $8,770,000 bonus pool should he sign with the team.
Lovelady called the draft a “good reward” for the players that can work their way there.
“When they come here, for the most part, they want to get to the next level,” Lovelady said. “Awesome to see that we’re developing guys that are going to get opportunities.”