Kyle Datres, infielder (Colorado Rockies, 12th Round, pick 366)
After a strong showing in his junior campaign, UNC’s batting average and infield leader was selected by the Rockies in the 12th Round. With a .343 average and .504 slugging percentage, Datres has 15 doubles and six home runs this season. And while he has played mostly from the hot corner for the Tar Heels, the Rockies drafted him more ambiguously as an infielder. Whatever position Datres might end up playing after college, he boasts a consistent .943 fielding percentage that could make him a solid player at any position on the diamond.
Cooper Criswell, right-handed pitcher (Angels, 13th Round, pick 391)
After just one season in Chapel Hill, Criswell’s college career could be wrapping up at the end of this season. After starting the season as a reliever, he worked his way into the starting rotation toward the end of the season. He last started the team’s Friday matchup against North Carolina A&T in the Regionals, when he pitched six innings, allowing three hits and striking out six in the 11-0 win. Criswell has a 2.89 ERA this season, posting a 5-2 record that includes 21 earned runs and a team-high 77 strikeouts. He previously played at Southern Union State Community College, where he went 10-1 as a sophomore, striking out 86 batters in 88.2 innings and putting up a 2.54 era.
Brandon Riley, outfielder (St. Louis Cardinals, 14th Round, pick 423)
Riley became the fifth UNC player taken off the board when he received the call from the Cardinals. He started this season in a huge slump, but rebounded big late in the season to become a big reason the whole team turned it around. Riley has started 172 of 176 games he’s played in, posting a .302 career average through three consistent years. This season he has hit .296 from the plate, started every game of the season and has a .404 on base percentage. As a pro, he could be just as consistent a player he has been while at UNC.
Josh Hiatt, right-handed pitcher (Toronto Blue Jays, 16th Round, pick 476)
UNC’s closer was chosen as the sixth UNC player and fourth Tar Heel pitcher taken in the Draft. With a strong changeup in his arsenal, Hiatt has had a 3-2 record in 26 appearances this season, striking out 49 batters and compiling a 2.93 era. In two seasons for North Carolina, Hiatt has allowed 64 hits and built a 2.39 career ERA, picking up 18 saves and keeping opponents to a .187 average. He has been that consistent pitcher brought in to close the door when the team needs him, though he could be a starter or reliever as a pro with a solid curveball and changeup to offset an upper-80s fastball.
Brett Daniels, right-handed pitcher (Houston Astros, 17th Round, pick 522)
The defending world champions nabbed a key part of North Carolina’s bullpen in Round 17. Daniels, a senior from Fuquay-Varina, has been a consistent presence on the field through his four years. He boasts a 2.54 career ERA at UNC, striking out 141 batters and losing just one game in 91 appearances. This season, Daniels has closed out his college career with a 6-0 record and 2.59 era so far. Daniels has a reputation for shutting down opposing college lineups and he has the tools to continue to do that in the professional ranks.
Austin Bergner, right-handed pitcher (Arizona Diamondbacks, 32nd Round, pick 969)
UNC’s primary Saturday starter was taken late in the draft after a solid sophomore season. The 6-foot-4 righty has a 3.79 ERA from the bump, winning seven games in 12 starts this year. He also struck out 76 batters in 75.1 innings pitched this year, posting double-digit strikeouts in three games. Bergner has a lot of upside in the future if he can learn to command his pitches on a consistent basis.
Jason Morgan, right-handed pitcher (Chicago White Sox, 35th Round, pick 1038)
After sitting out all of the 2018 season, Morgan was selected by the White Sox. In three seasons for the Tar Heels, he pitched in 45 games, compiling a 4.01 era. He also allowed 125 hits in 130.1 innings on the mound, keeping opposing batters to a .248 average against. After bouncing between starter and the bullpen as a Tar Heel, the Fredericksburg, Virginia native boasts a low 90s fastball and an arsenal of other pitches the White Sox want as a part of its organization.
Zack Gahagan, infielder (St. Louis Cardinals, 39th Round, pick 1173)
Gahagan, a huge part of the team over the last four years, was the 10th and final UNC player taken in the draft. He has started 203 of the 224 games he’s played in, hitting .256 for a career that includes a .268 average this season. Gahagan joins teammate Riley as potentially new members of the Cardinals organization. Gahagan was most recently named to the Chapel Hill Regional All-Tournament Team for five hits and four RBIs that helped his team move on to the Super Regionals. Gahagan was also drafted as an ambiguous infielder and could play several positions on the diamond after college.
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