After much deliberating and many discussions with his parents, Stone Bridge right-hander JB Bukauskas has decided to forgo the Major League Baseball draft and enroll at North Carolina in June.
Bukauskas, 17, was recently tabbed as the No. 35 prospect in the country by the MLB Pipeline. And he was almost certainly guaranteed a multimillion dollar bonus if he remained in the June draft.
“I didn’t want to miss out on the college experience,” Bukauskas said. “I want to play college baseball having in mind that the draft will hopefully be there after college.”
Bukauskas rose up MLB draft boards after reclassifying to the class of 2014 as a junior and displaying a fastball that has touched 100 mph.
He came to his decision Monday night and sent out a personalized letter to MLB scouts explaining his reasoning. He informed the UNC coaching staff of his decision Tuesday morning.
Players are often drafted despite telling teams they won’t sign, but clubs rarely spend high picks in those cases. Former St. Albans left-hander Danny Hultzen told teams out of high school that he wouldn’t sign. but the Arizona Diamondbacks still picked him in the 10th round in 2008. Three years later, he was the No. 2 overall pick by the Seattle Mariners after starring for three years at Virginia.
Once this year’s signing deadline passes in August, Bukauskas will not be draft eligible out of a four-year college until after the completion of his junior year in 2017.