Virginia junior Kyle Crockett -- the Cavaliers' top prospect in this week's Major League Baseball draft -- knows there's a certain coincidence to the big league team he grew up rooting for.
Crockett says he's a Seattle Mariners fan -- the same team that currently has four former Cavaliers playing in its minor league system.
"Over the past few years we've had a few guys drafted by them," the left-handed pitcher said with a big smile. "But we'll see."
Crockett is expected to become the 27th Cavalier taken in the MLB draft over the past five years, at some point this week. He went unselected on Thursday night, which included the first two rounds. The draft resumes at 12:30 p.m. Friday with rounds 3-10, then concludes with rounds 11-40 on Saturday.
Crockett enters this weekend's NCAA super regional with a 4-1 record, a 1.68 ERA and 12 saves on the season. Last weekend he was named Most Outstanding Player of the Charlottesville Regional after picking up a pair of two-inning saves, giving up no runs and striking out seven.
Baseball America ranks Crockett as the No. 103 overall prospect in this year's draft pool. But the magazine's editor-in-chief, John Manuel, says Crockett's stock is on the rise.
"He could be the fastest-moving reliever from the 2013 draft according to the scouts I talked to," Manuel said in a recent email.
"He was very good at UNC in front of a lot of (scouts)," Manuel explained, "though he struggled the next night trying to go back-to-back."
Another draft anaylst, Keith Law of ESPN.com, was asked about Crockett during an online chat Thursday afternoon.
"I think he goes in the third, but I've rated him more in the fourth-round range," Law replied.
But even with his draft buzz building, Crockett said his focus was on the Cavaliers' upcoming super regional.
"I don't really have anything to lose, so I'm just going out there ready to play these games," he said. "Going one practice at a time, and ready to focus on Mississippi State."
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