Five years later, at age 29, he was done with baseball.

“To be able to still have good success in Double-A, when I couldn’t run or throw like I used to, says a lot,” Merchant said. “I gave it everything I had. I played those last seven years with one arm and one leg.”

1987_MLBdraft.jpgAfter his career ended, Merchant moved with his wife Kelly and infant daughter Sydney to Colorado. There, he earned a real estate appraisers license and eventually started his own business in suburban Denver. This time, baseball gave Merchant a break.

McKay was the 2015 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award winner and was a standout this past summer with Team USA and will likely receive unanimous All-America honors when those teams are announced. However, even though most scouts’ only question regarding McKay is whether to draft him as a first baseman or as a left-handed pitcher, the Twins would be wise to pass on him altogether when the draft begins June 12.

The lone position player on this list, Burger is widely thought to be one of the top college hitters available in the 2017 draft. He doesn’t come from a brand-name school, but his size, statistics and projectability lead most scouts to believe that the Missouri State third baseman will be selected in the mid-to-late first round by a team looking for power at the plate. They should get that from Burger, who has hit a combined 43 home runs in the past two seasons.

Standing 6-2 and 220 pounds, the Chesterfield, Mo., native is a three-time All-America selection and took home the Missouri Valley Conference’s triple-crown this season.

Unlike a lot of big-hitting college third basemen, whose lack of range usually forces them into a corner outfield position at the next level, scouts think that Burger has enough athleticism to remain in the infield as a professional. Expect him to move through the minors at a steady pace, as few prospects possess his ability to hit the long ball, and make his debut as a September call-up in 2019.nike_cardinals_517

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