Everything was going according to plan.

Brady McConnell had long dreamed of playing baseball for the University of Florida, and here he was, starting at shortstop for the defending national champion Gators in his first year of college.

Meanwhile, McConnell had entered that 2018 season as college baseball's highest-rated freshman position player - a five-tool shortstop with prodigious power who'd first caught the eyes of major-league scouts in high school.

He was also looking ahead. Since McConnell would be eligible for the 2019 MLB Draft, which begins Monday night, as a sophomore, he could play two years at Florida, improve his stock enough to land a significant bonus from a big-league team, and then head off to the grind of the minors.

Everything was shaping up perfectly when McConnell took the field for the Gators in his debut game on Feb. 16, 2018. For two at-bats, anyway.


Before McConnell arrived at Florida, he was one of the hottest names in high school baseball. Prognosticators believed he might be picked as high as the middle of the first round in the 2017 draft following a sensational junior season at Merritt Island High.