Two three-year staples of the Diamond Heels are headed to organizations in the AL East, as pitcher Max Carlson and catcher Tomas Frick were drafted by the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, respectively.
Carlson was the only pitcher from UNC selected this year, going at pick 358 in the 12th round. Frick, the Tar Heels' trusty backstop, was one of six catchers selected in the 15th round. While it is not definitive that Carlson or Frick will choose to enter the Red Sox or Yankee’s system, the chances are high — in last year’s draft, 83 percent of players selected during the third day signed.
While Carlson had a bumpier year compared to his previous performance as a Tar Heel, ending the season with a 5.45 ERA and five quality starts, the Minnesota native also demonstrated spurts of dominance.
The righty had his best year as a sophomore leading UNC in ERA, and strikeouts, as well as ranked top 10 in the ACC in strikeouts, batters struck out looking and opponent’s batting average.
Carlson, younger brother of Mariners' 2017 second-round pick Sam Carlson, did flash brilliance with strong outings against ECU, N.C. State, Georgia Tech and Wright State, all with over five strikeouts and six innings pitched.
Frick, who had his best season in a Tar Heel uniform, posted career highs in all offensive statistics categories and led the team in many metrics.
The slugger smashed 12 homers — over double the previous two years as a Tar Heel combined — and led the team in batting average, hits, doubles, multi-hit games and multi-RBI games. Frick was one of the most productive catchers in the ACC, tying for fifth in doubles and having a career-high 60 RBIs.
If he signs, the South Carolina native will take his talents to the Bronx and leave the Tar Heels in search of a new body behind the plate.
With respect to the entirety of the 2023 MLB draft, multiple other names associated with the Diamond Heels were called. Besides the three UNC players drafted — Mac Horvath, Carlson and Frick — two high school commits in Walker Jenkins and Zyhir Hope, along with incoming transfer Luke Russo, were all drafted. The players could either sign and enter a big league system or become a Tar Heel.