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2019 NPF College Draft Grades And Snubs


The 2019 National Pro Fastpitch College Draft was on Monday night in Nashville, Tenn. Kelly Barnhill became the first Florida Gator to be drafted No. 1 overall and her teammate, Amanda Lorenz, was taken No. 2. Other historical moments included Nicole Newman becoming the first draftee from Drake University and the entire senior class from Auburn was drafted.

Now, it’s time to see how Softball America did with the mock draft and grade the draft class.

According to our most recent mock draft which was updated on Monday morning, SA predicted the first eight pick correctly and three more of our picks were drafted in the correct spot. Six players in our mock drafted were drafted by different teams and nine were not drafted at all.

Chicago Bandits

Draft Picks: No. 1 Kelly Barnhill (Florida), No. 4 Alyssa DiCarlo (Georgia), No. 9 Caleigh Clifton (Oklahoma), No. 14 Abbey Cheek (Kentucky), No. 19 Katie Reed (Kentucky) and No. 24 Savannah Heebner (Houston)

The NPF implemented international pitching rules last season and that will be a perfect marriage for Kelly Barnhill. Basically, that means one foot on the rubber and airborne is good. That takes pressure off of Barnhill to keep her drag foot on the ground and will allow her to fly. Her velocity should go back up and will be able to throw a lot of innings.

Head coach Lauren Lappin told SA, the Bandits wanted middle infielders and that is what she did. DiCarlo and Reed are versatile and can play either shortstop or second base and Clifton is a solid second baseman.

Abbey Cheek could potentially win the SEC Player of the Year Award and she can play either corner or hit. Heebner is a player-pitcher and will see some innings as well.

Draft Grade: A


Draft Picks: No. 2 Amanda Lorenz (Florida), No. 3 Sydney Romero (Oklahoma), No. 10 Megan Good (James Madison), No. 20 Shay Knighten and No. 25 Keeli Milligan (Louisiana)

It was no secret that the USSSA Pride was going to draft both Lorenz and Romero, we just didn’t know which order. Megan Good becomes the second JMU player on the Pride’s roster, joining Jailyn Ford.

Shay Knighten, known for her freshman year heroics at the WCWS, has quietly put together a strong senior campaign at Oklahoma this season. Keeli Milligan has just turned it on since becoming a Ragin’ Cajun. This season, she has successfully swiped 48 bags and is batting .346 with a .413 on-base percentage.

Draft Grade: A

Cleveland Comets

Draft Picks: No. 5 Amanda Sanchez (LSU), No. 6 Taylor McQuillin (Arizona), No. 11 Meghan King (Florida State), No. 15 Lilli Piper (Ohio State), No. 16 Emily Clark (Ohio State) and No. 23 Makayla Martin (Auburn)

The Comets entered the draft looking to add a couple members of the Mexican National Team and since they didn’t have a shot at Romero, they were able to take Sanchez and McQuillin with their first two picks.

King and Martin were interesting picks because there is a chance that neither of them sign. Martin is recovering from a broken pitching hand and has been rumored to be contemplating a red-shirt year while King is playing for Puerto Rico this summer.

The two Ohio State picks of Piper and Clark are good business moves the Comets. Both are Ohio natives and should bring some hometown crowds to the ballpark.

Draft Grade: C

Aussie Peppers

Draft Picks: No. 8 Taran Alvelo (Washington), No. 13 Nicole Newman (Drake), No. 18 Riley Sartain (Texas A&M) and No. 21 Tara Trainer (Indiana)

The Peppers needed pitching and addressed that with three of their picks. Alvelo, Newman and Trainer will all see a lot of innings this summer and the versatility of Sartain will allow the Peppers to move her around when they need to rest one of their Aussie players.

For the Peppers, this is just the beginning of something long term. The draft class will be the first of many and there will be unique opportunities for players to compete all over the world.

Draft Grade: B-

Beijing Eagles

Draft Picks: No. 7 Kendall Veach (Auburn), No. 12 Casey McCrackin (Auburn), No. 17 Morgan Podany (Auburn) and No. 22 Bree Fornis (Auburn)

War Eagle, literally! Co-head coach Hunter Veach has coached all four of the draft picks and each player knows the system that is being taught to the Chinese National Team. Expect these players to become player coaches or not signing at all. The Chinese want to play their national team and focus on winning an Olympic bid later this year. They had a plan and stuck to it.

Draft Grade: A-


The first name that comes to mind is Kylan Becker. The Ole Miss outfielder has represented Team USA and has the third-highest batting average in the Southeastern Conference. In 134 at-bats, she is batting .440 with 43 runs scored, two doubles, seven triples, a home run and 21 RBIs. She is 23-for-27 in stolen bases and her on-base percentage is .507.

In conference play, she is batting .422 with 11 runs scored, a triple and five RBIs in 45 at-bats. Her on-base percentage is .509 and she is 6-for-8 in stolen bases.

Another name that didn’t get drafted, who has been vocal about it, is Morgan Howe from Arizona State. This season, she is batting .378 with 40 runs scored, 11 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 42 RBIs in 119 at-bats.


With NPF On Hold, Abbey Cheek Looks Ahead

NPF standout Abbey Cheek looks ahead to a time when she can play softball again.

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