WEYMOUTH, Mass. (July 10, 2023) -- Futures League history was made Sunday night as a league alumnus was chosen in the first round of the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft for the fourth consecutive year.
Worcester Bravehearts alumnus and University of Maryland shortstop Matt Shaw was chosen by the Chicago Cubs with the No. 13 overall pick, making him the new highest-drafted player in the 13-year history of the Futures League.
At least two players were selected in the first two rounds for only the second time in league history after former Brockton Rox and University of Virginia infielder Jake Gelof went in the second round, with the 70th overall pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After completing his prep career at Worcester Academy, Shaw joined the Bravehearts late in the 2020 season and earned first-team All-Futures League honors despite playing in just 11 games. He hit .342 with eight home runs (all over his last eight contests), two doubles, 11 RBI and 14 runs scored while seeing time as both an infielder and outfielder.
Only Shaw’s teammate and Futures League MVP Ben Rice (Dartmouth) hit more home runs in the league through that entire regular season, helping Worcester post a first-place finish and make its seventh consecutive championship series appearance.
Shaw went on to enjoy a standout career at Maryland, where he was the Brooks Wallace Award winner as the top shortstop in college baseball, a consensus first-team All-American and earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors in 2023. He hit .341 with 24 home runs, 90 RBI and 69 RBI this spring, completing one of the best seasons in Maryland history. His 53 career homers are the most in Terrapins history.
The Futures League produced a first-round pick in back-to-back years for the first time ever in 2020 and 2021 before University of Connecticut product Reggie Crawford (Westfield ‘20) continued the run last July as the first-ever Westfield Starfire drafted. Crawford was selected by the San Francisco Giants with the 30th overall pick, which was the last of the first round.
Before Shaw, former Boston College outfielder Sal Frelick (North Shore ‘18,’20) had stood as the highest draftee in league history since he went 15th overall to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2021. A year earlier, Washington Nationals farmhand Cade Cavalli (Pittsfield ‘17) heard his name called with the 22nd selection.
The only former Futures League player drafted in the first round prior to Cavalli in 2020 was another Boston College product in Chris Shaw, who was the No. 31 overall pick (in the first compensation round) back in 2015. Shaw became the second-ever league alumni to reach “The Show” with the Giants in 2018 and has returned to affiliated baseball this season in the Chicago White Sox organization.
Shaw is the first Futures League product selected by the Cubs since 2021 when former Brockton Rox and Florida Atlantic infielder BJ Murray — who played in the MLB All-Star Futures Game in Seattle over the weekend — was a 15th-round choice.
Like Shaw, Gelof earned 2020 All-Futures League honors prior to beginning his college career at Virginia, where he was an ultra power-hitting third baseman. Gelof hit .281 with 12 extra-base hits, 19 RBI and 15 runs scored in his 35 games. His average ranked second among Rox who played in at least 20 games.
Gelof, who started in 147 consecutive games at Virginia, will finish his college career as a two-time All-American and the Cavaliers’ all-time leader in home runs (48) and RBI (186) after setting single-season marks in both categories in 2023, hitting 23 homers and driving in 90. He previously set the program’s single-season RBI record in 2022.
Gelof joins his brother Zack in professional baseball who was also the 60th overall pick back in 2021 by the Oakland Athletics. Zack Gelof, who played for Brockton in 2018 ahead of his freshman year, is now the organization’s No. 3 overall prospect according to MLB.com.
The newest-drafted Gelof joins a Los Angeles organization that has now drafted Futures League products in the top-10 rounds of three straight drafts. Former New Britain Bees and Bristol Blues pitcher Emmet Sheehan was called up to the big leagues and had a no-hit debut at Dodger Stadium last month. Last year, former Nashua Silver Knights and Virginia Tech outfielder Nick Biddison was drafted by the Dodgers in the fourth round.
Heading into Sunday night, Shaw and Gelof were two of four Futures League products ranked among the top-75 prospects according to both Baseball America (Shaw No. 13, Gelof No. 40) and MLB.com (Shaw No. 16, Gelof No. 35). Shaw was also listed as New England Baseball Journal’s No. 1 prospect with regional ties.
The 2023 MLB Draft continues with Rounds 3-10 on Monday.
For the latest news and information on the Futures League throughout the year, visit thefuturesleague.com and follow the league’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.