2014 MLB Draft: High School Pitchers

I’m getting really close to putting out a real deal big board. Exciting times, I know. Before I do that, I figured I’d throw out a list of the top HS arms for the 2014 MLB Draft. My master list has 300+ names so far, so I tried to cut it down to a more reasonable 50+ of the best of the best. This seemed like the best way to get some easy feedback to see if I’m somehow forgetting somebody obvious. Let me know, please.

A few names strongly considered and plenty worthy but cut because I had to draw a line somewhere: Pat Mahomes, Dakody Clemmer, Brett Daniels, Tommy Doyle, Grant Reuss, Jayce Vancena, Jesse Lepore, Willie Rios, Alex Destino, Kevin Pimentel, Brad Bass, Quinn Brodey, Cameron Bishop, Gabriel Gonzalez, Cody Reed, Kyle Marsh, Kevin Steen, Devin Smeltzer, and Jeremiah Muhammad.

The list is in no order. That’s true. I mean, maybe I’ve started moving guys around a very little bit…like, the top four names, but that’s all. No more than that. So don’t read anything into the order just yet. Again, just trying to get a feel for whether or not I have all the major guys covered at this point. Wisdom of crowds, show yourself!

  • LHP Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic HS, California)
  • RHP Tyler Kolek (Shepherd HS, Texas)
  • RHP Touki Toussaint (Coral Springs Christian HS, Florida)
  • RHP Grant Holmes (Conway HS, South Carolina)
  • RHP Jacob Bukauskas (Stone Bridge HS, Virginia)
  • RHP Michael Kopech (Mount Pleasant HS, Texas)
  • RHP Dylan Cease (Milton HS, Georgia)
  • RHP Ryan Castellani (Brophy Prep, Arizona)
  • RHP Drew Rasmussen (Mount Spokane HS, Washington)
  • RHP Cameron Varga (Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Ohio)
  • LHP Carson Sands (North Florida Christian HS, Florida)
  • RHP Blake Bivens (Washington HS, Virginia)
  • LHP Justus Sheffield (Tullahoma HS,Tennessee)
  • RHP Marvin Gorgas (East Hampton HS, Connecticut)
  • RHP Joey Gatto (St. Augustine Prep, New Jersey)
  • RHP Brigham Hill (Nacogdoches HS, Texas)
  • LHP Bennett Sousa (Benjamin HS, Florida)
  • RHP Alex Faedo (Alonso HS, Florida)
  • RHP Bryce Montes de Oca (Lawrence HS, Kansas)
  • RHP Derek Casey (Hanover HS, Virginia)
  • RHP Branden Kelliher (Lake Stevens HS, Washington)
  • LHP Tucker Baca (North Gwinnett HS, Georgia)
  • RHP Jonathan Teaney (Quartz Hill HS, California)
  • RHP Tylor Megill (Los Alamitos HS, California)
  • RHP Alex Lange (Lee’s Summit West HS, Missouri)
  • RHP Keaton McKinney (Ankeny HS, Iowa)
  • RHP Grant Hockin (Damien HS, California)
  • RHP Spencer Adams (White County HS, Georgia)
  • RHP Jonah Patten (Norwell HS, Indiana)
  • RHP Weston Davis (Manatee HS, Florida)
  • RHP Jake Nix (Los Alamitos HS, California)
  • RHP Turner Larkins (Arlington Martin HS, Texas)
  • RHP Brandon Murray (Hobart HS, Indiana)
  • RHP Sean Reid-Foley (Sandalwood HS, Florida)
  • RHP Andrew Karp (West Orange HS, Florida)
  • RHP Colton Hock (Bloomsburg Area HS, Pennsylvania)
  • RHP Cobi Johnson (Mitchell HS, Florida)
  • RHP Bryan Dobzanski (Delsea Regional HS, New Jersey)
  • LHP Kodi Medeiros (Waiakea HS, Hawaii)
  • RHP Garrett Cave (South Sumter HS, Florida)
  • RHP Garrett Fulencheck (Howe HS, Texas)
  • RHP Luis Ortiz (Sanger HS, California)
  • RHP Keith Weisenberg (Osceola HS, Florida)
  • RHP Jake Godfrey (Providence Catholic HS, Illinois)
  • RHP Mitch Hart (Granite Bay HS, California)
  • RHP Cre Finfrock (Martin County HS, Florida)
  • LHP/OF Alex Verdugo (Sahuaro HS, Arizona)
  • RHP Gage Burland (East Valley HS, Washington)
  • RHP Scott Blewett (CW Baker HS, New York)
  • LHP Foster Griffin (First Academy, Florida)
  • LHP David Peterson (Regis Jesuit HS, Colorado)
  • RHP Austin DeCarr (Salisbury Prep, Massachusetts)
  • RHP Mitch Keller (Xavier HS, Iowa)

Random First Round College Pitching Musings

Biggest draft story line of late is probably the fall of Carlos Rodon, right? There’s really no sugar-coating it at this point, he simply has not looked good this year. Fastball not as fast, command way down, slider still awesome (but he uses it a ton, which may or may not be worrisome going forward), and, most frustratingly of all, no real positive gains made in areas that I was concerned about going into the year (he’s not a great athlete, his body is what it is, and his change is still not where you want it to be). When your strengths are not quite as strong and your weaknesses show little to no improvement, things aren’t going so great. Before you could say that his fastball/slider combo was so dominant that he’d be a damn good MLB starter regardless of those negatives — some are more dogmatic about the need for three average or better pitches to be a starter (I once was, to be honest), but reading about how Doc Gooden was messed with by trying too hard to bring along a third pitch after his huge early success with the Mets has me thinking that an above-average to plus FB and a SL that has elicited comparisons to a guy named Carlton would suffice three times through a lineup quite nicely — but now that his FB command has wavered and the overall velocity is down across the board, well, you have to wonder. He’s still a big-time talent and a likely top five lock, but I’d definitely bet the field over him if we’re talking strictly 1-1.

Jeff Hoffman’s good yet not great results still don’t consistently match his awesome stuff, but then he goes out and throws like he did against Rice last week and you’re in love all over again. He’s still my number one college arm in the draft, and I think we’re now late enough in the season where I don’t think that’s going to change. Tyler Beede’s results have never been the question; for him, it’s always been about improving his control and sharpening his command. Both areas have been much better this year, but not quite 1-1 better. Still a top ten lock for me, though I can see him being squeezed out of the top five by the growing number of HS arms rising to the top. I’ll have something on HS pitching on Friday.

After those three, all sure to be gone in the first handful of picks, the rest of the college pitching landscape is wide open. Aaron Nola seems to have taken control of the race for fourth place, but he has serious competition right behind him in the way of a trio of lefthanders Brandon Finnegan, Kyle Freeland, and Sean Newcomb. Chris Ellis, Luke Weaver, and Erick Fedde still lurk as good bets to be off the board early, and you can’t rule out the return of the first round reliever if a team falls hard for Nick Burdi. Zech Lemond and Matt Imhof could be next in line. If you’re counting at home, that’s ten college pitchers that I’d currently say are deserving of a first round grade — still debating on those last three names mentioned — compared to the thirteen that went off the board in last year’s first 39 picks (number drops to seven if we only count “true” first round picks and not the sandwich round). That last parenthetical has me thinking — never a good thing if you don’t like rambling tangents — about how tough it is to find any deeper meaning in draft trends. I think there’s some value to looking at historical patterns, but the fact that a) drafting is as much art as it is science, b) not all draft classes are created equal, and c) any evaluation of said trends has to incorporate a beginning and ending that, if we’re being totally honest, holds no meaning beyond whatever the author is hoping to convey. I could say there were ONLY seven first round college pitchers last year and make a point using that information. Or I could say there was an IMPRESSIVE thirteen first round college pitchers selected last year and make a point that way. To take it a step further, what do we do with this information: in 2013, six of the first seven picks of the second round were pitchers from either four-year universities or junior colleges. You’re not impressed if I told you there were seven first round college arms in last year’s draft, but if I said that 19 of the first 46 players were college pitchers (over 40%!), then you’re suddenly very intrigued (or not, your call). Arbitrary endpoints are fun.

So, yeah, Hoffman/Rodon/Beede are still a cut above the rest in terms of draft stock. After that, I have no clue what pro teams will do, but I’ll tell you I like some combination of Nola, Finnegan, Freeland, and Feede. Ellis, Weaver, and Lemond are in the next group. Then, chaos. If I had to pick one name not mentioned in the first round mix as much as deserved — and I could be totally off on this as I’m not nearly as plugged into who is getting hyped up as I once was — is Austin Robichaux. He’s got one of the best combinations of present stuff (mid-90s peak FB, CB flashes plus, average CU), track record (steady but real improvement since first day on campus), and projection (no two paths are alike, but his is a frame that seems capable of putting on some good weigh going forward).

2014 MLB Draft College Outfield Follow List (and Ranking)

I’ve been unrelentingly positive about pretty much all things draft-related in almost all previous position groups for this year’s draft; it’s my nature to be optimistic, and I enjoy highlighting the good in amateur prospects whenever possible, This year’s college outfield class, however, has me really, really stretching to find nice things to say. As always it is important to note that all of the players listed below – literally all of them, even Garrett Brown (phenomenal athlete who has chosen football over baseball for now, though we won’t hold that against him as a person) way down at the bottom – are way, way better at baseball than 99% of any of the people evaluating them, myself included. Any and all criticism is meant only to illuminate greater truths about what I’ve seen, read, and heard, and not to disparage any player personally. Always like getting that out there to preempt some of the hate mail…

Brad Zimmer trumps all comers when it comes to showing a consistent power/speed mix that tantalizes scouts, fans, and whatever it is I am. That’s the good news. I haven’t seen him since this summer, and, after hearing and reading so many positive things about him this spring, I was a little taken aback to see his approach has gone backwards a bit, at least as far as my box score scouting expertise allows. That’s a little disappointing. The (expanded version of the) good news is, lackluster BB/K numbers aside, the man can hit. Projecting above-average plate discipline when the track record isn’t there is often a fool’s errand, but Zimmer is such a smart, gifted hitter that I think his skewed BB/K 2014 ratio is more about him being so locked in all season than a major red flag that would depress his prospect stock. I love a 2-0, 2-1, or 3-1 count as much as anybody, and the idea that a walk is as good as a single (more or less) is one I believe in, but there’s also something to be said for a guy capable of hitting the ball hard so consistently that he’s up there hunting for fastballs to drive. The measured approach to hitting has as much validity as the “see fastball, hit fastball” approach, it just depends on the rest of the player’s natural skill set. Zimmer’s wrists, hand/eye coordination, and balance give him a better than usual shot than other amateurs with similarly lackluster BB/K ratios.

Louie Lechich isn’t Brad Zimmer, but if you miss on the latter in the first round then hitting on the former later would give you a decent approximation of that power/skill starter kit. I know I might be crazy for saying this, and my personal rankings aren’t quite ready to back the statement up, but I think that Lechich is what so many want Derek Fisher to be. We’ll see.

Because the top of the draft is so flush with pitching, I keep coming back to the idea that teams picking in the top ten must be hoping against hope to get a big-time bat that slipped with their second pick. That’s currently where I’m at with Michael Conforto, a hitter likely too good to slip out of the first round but still not quite the stone cold mortal lock to go off the board that early. If a team with an iffy farm system and holes all over the ML roster (like, say, the Phillies) could land a college arm like Jeff Hoffman and then come back around and nab Conforto in the second…yeah, that would be alright with me. I made the indirect comparison between Zimmer and Lechich already, so we’ll go with the obvious next step and compare Conforto and Mike Papi. From here, I see very little that separates the two outside of perceived value. Both look like they could be average or better big league corner guys for a long time in pro ball. As happy as I’d be with Conforto in the second (or late first, really), I’d be just as good with waiting a little bit on Papi before snapping him up in the third or fourth round.

Aaron Fitt of Baseball America has talked up Greg Allen enough that I don’t think I can call him my guy, but, damn, I enjoy watching him play as much as any college outfielder on this list. His limited power upside is a real concern, especially in light of my newfound belief that power (or, in this case, even the threat of power) is the best statistical indicator of pro success. I’m drawn to speed/defense/on-base prospect profiles, but without the threat of pop, pro pitchers will undo a lot of what works offensively at the amateur level. Allen’s bat speed works in his favor, but his frame, athletic as it may be, poses a potential problem. I believe in his playable power more than most guys who fit the archetype, but will admit that being burned by players of a similar style over the years has me comparatively lower on Allen than I might have been in 2011. Still a high-level prospect worth following, of course.

The Virginia outfield is just plain silly. Papi is a pro hitter who just so happens to be currently playing college ball. Dating back to high school the aforementioned Fisher has always been a like and not a love for me – a point we’ve had some really good discussions on in the comments section over the years – and I remain of the belief that he has the chance to be a good regular in a corner if everything breaks just right rather than a potential star like some still projecting him as an upper- to mid-first round pick seem to believe. Brandon Downes can do it all athletically, but the all-important hit tool is a serious question. There are pro teams that would gladly trade their AA starting outfields for this group in a second.

I wrote a lot of positive things about Jeff Keller last year, so you know I’m not hopping off the bandwagon now. I wavered some on personal favorite Mark Payton pre-season – heard some not optimistic things about his pro prospects from people who couldn’t praise his ability to succeed in college enough – but I’m ready to pump him back up once I update these rankings pre-draft. Projection is king and Payton doesn’t have it compared to peers, but, man, I’ll take the guy who can run, field, throw, and, most importantly, roll out of bed ready to hit as my fourth outfielder any day. It’s silly to call a fourth-year college outfielder at TEXAS underrated, but I think pro scouts made up their mind on him being a nice college player and little more early on and haven’t been willing to revise that view over the years.

This may be a cop-out, but the new two months will tell us so much about the vast majority of the players outside of the first few. There’s very little separation in that mid-round tier that 2014 performance, the given day(s) a scout sees a guy, and team preference (power vs speed, flashes of plus tool vs well-roundedness, polish vs upside, etc.) will all play major roles in sorting out the jumble come June. I’d say Zimmer has put some distance between himself and the pack, and Conforto appears to be emerging as a strong contender for the second spot, but after that these rankings are as jumbled as any. Looking forward to revising this one after seeing how the season plays out.

  1. San Francisco JR OF Bradley Zimmer
  2. Oregon State JR OF/1B Michael Conforto
  3. Virginia JR OF Mike Papi
  4. Oregon State JR OF/RHP Dylan Davis
  5. Virginia JR OF Derek Fisher
  6. Virginia JR OF/C Brandon Downes
  7. San Diego State JR OF Greg Allen
  8. San Diego rJR OF/LHP Louie Lechich
  9. Dartmouth SR OF Jeff Keller
  10. Arizona State rJR OF Trever Allen
  11. College of Charleston SR OF Brandon Murray
  12. Kentucky JR OF Austin Cousino
  13. South Carolina JR OF Tanner English
  14. North Carolina State JR OF Jake Fincher
  15. Oregon JR OF/3B Scott Heineman
  16. Michigan State JR OF/C Jimmy Pickens
  17. Florida Gulf Coast JR OF/1B Michael Suchy
  18. Southern Mississippi JR OF/LHP Mason Robbins
  19. Bradley JR OF Max Murphy
  20. Texas SR OF Mark Payton
  21. Georgia JR OF/3B Hunter Cole
  22. Fresno State JR OF Jordan Luplow
  23. Long Beach State JR OF/1B Richard Prigatano
  24. Florida JR OF/RHP Justin Shafer
  25. Nevada SR OF Brad Gerig
  26. Binghamton JR OF/C Jake Thomas
  27. Louisiana-Lafayette JR OF Caleb Adams
  28. Cal Poly JR OF Nick Torres
  29. Princeton SR OF/2B Alec Keller
  30. Buffalo rSR OF Matt Pollock
  31. North Carolina A&T SR OF/2B Luke Tendler
  32. Auburn SO OF/2B Jordan Ebert
  33. Louisiana State SO OF Mark Laird
  34. Mississippi JR OF Senquez Golson
  35. Southern Mississippi JR OF Connor Barron
  36. Vanderbilt JR OF Johnny Norwood
  37. Stanford JR OF Dominic Jose
  38. Auburn SO OF/LHP Rock Rucker
  39. Troy JR OF Jo-El Bennett
  40. Washington State rSO OF Ben Roberts
  41. Indiana rJR OF Scott Donley
  42. Pittsburgh JR OF Boo Vazquez
  43. Texas-Arlington rSR OF Matt Shortall
  44. Rice SR OF/1B Michael Aquino
  45. Nebraska SR OF Mike Pritchard
  46. Kansas JR OF Connor McKay
  47. Kansas rSO OF Steve Goldstein
  48. TCU JR OF/RHP Jerrick Suiter
  49. Tennessee JR OF Jonathan Youngblood
  50. South Carolina JR OF/3B Elliot Caldwell
  51. Washington State JR OF/1B Yale Rosen
  52. Central Connecticut State SR OF JP Sportman
  53. The Citadel SR OF Hughston Armstrong
  54. Central Michigan JR OF Nick Regnier
  55. North Carolina State JR OF Bubba Riley
  56. Wake Forest rJR OF Kevin Jordan
  57. Wake Forest SR OF Evan Stephens
  58. Louisville JR OF Michael White
  59. Evansville rJR OF Kevin Kaczmarski
  60. USC rJR OF Omar Cotto Lozada
  61. Mississippi JR OF Auston Bousfield
  62. McNeese State SR OF Jackson Gooch
  63. Louisiana State JR OF Jared Foster
  64. James Madison JR OF/2B Chad Carroll
  65. Louisiana-Lafayette SR OF Seth Harrison
  66. Cal Poly JR OF Alex Michaels
  67. Georgia State rSR OF Chase Raffield
  68. Mississippi JR OF Will Jamison
  69. Alabama JR OF/C Ben Moore
  70. Eastern Michigan rSR OF Sam Ott
  71. Pittsburgh SR OF Casey Roche
  72. Southern JR OF Lance Jones
  73. Cincinnati rSO OF Will Drake
  74. Delaware rSO OF Gary Jones
  75. Louisiana State SR OF Sean McMullen
  76. Miami (Ohio) JR OF Matt Honchel
  77. UCLA JR OF Eric Filia
  78. Toledo rSO OF/SS Dan Zuchowski
  79. Duke rSR OF Ryan Deitrich
  80. Wagner SR OF Chris Smith
  81. Arkansas rSO OF Tyler Spoon
  82. Long Island-Brooklyn SR OF Pete Leonello
  83. Pepperdine rJR OF Bryan Langlois
  84. Oklahoma State JR OF/1B Zach Fish
  85. Virginia Military Institute rJR OF Jordan Tarsovich
  86. Nebraska JR OF Austin Darby
  87. Northern ColoradoJR OF Jensen Park
  88. Louisville SR OF/LHP Cole Sturgeon
  89. Illinois-Chicago rJR OF Jon Ryan
  90. Lamar rSR OF Jude Vidrine
  91. Middle Tennessee State SR OF Trent Miller
  92. Akron rJR OF Devan Ahart
  93. Florida State rSR OF Brett Knief
  94. UAB SR OF Ivan DeJesus
  95. TCU JR OF Cody Jones
  96. Kansas JR OF Michael Suiter
  97. Kansas State JR OF Max Brow
  98. Texas A&M SR OF Krey Bratsen
  99. Utah SR OF Braden Anderson
  100. Texas A&M SO OF JB Moss
  101. UCLA SR OF Brian Carroll
  102. Florida International SR OF Tyler Hibbert
  103. Minnesota JR OF Jake Bergren
  104. Bethune-Cookman SR OF Josh Johnson
  105. Mercer SR OF Derrick Workman
  106. Oklahoma State SR OF Aaron Cornell
  107. Texas rSR OF Matt Moynihan
  108. Towson rSR OF Kurt Wertz
  109. Pittsburgh SR OF/RHP Stephen Vranka
  110. Maryland rJR OF Charlie White
  111. Florida State JR OF Josh Delph
  112. Notre Dame JR OF/1B Ryan Bull
  113. Miami SR OF Dale Carey
  114. Washington State SR OF/LHP Jason Monda
  115. Oregon SR OF Kyle Garlick
  116. West Virginia SR OF Jacob Rice
  117. UNC Wilmington JR OF Luke Dunlap
  118. San Diego State rSO OF Spencer Thornton
  119. North Carolina State JR OF Jake Armstrong
  120. Cal State Fullerton JR OF Austin Diemer
  121. Hawaii JR OF Keao Aliviado
  122. Louisiana-Lafayette JR OF Dylan Butler
  123. Louisiana-Monroe SR OF Dalton Herrington
  124. Davidson SR OF Forrest Brandt
  125. Cincinnati rSO OF Taylor Schmidt
  126. Rutgers SR OF Brian O’Grady
  127. Jackson State SR OF Charles Tillery
  128. Indiana State JR OF Landon Curry
  129. Texas JR OF Taylor Stell
  130. Illinois-Chicago rSO OF/LHP Jeff Boehm
  131. Ball State SR OF Sean Godfrey
  132. Washington rJR OF Will Sparks
  133. Georgia Tech rSO OF Dan Spingola
  134. Clemson JR OF Tyler Slaton
  135. Elon JR OF/C Ryan Cooper
  136. Central Florida JR OF Derrick Salberg
  137. Creighton SR OF Mike Gerber
  138. Cornell SR OF Chris Cruz
  139. Bryant JR OF/C Jordan Mountford
  140. Ohio State JR OF Patrick Porter
  141. Kent State JR OF Alex Miklos
  142. Iowa JR OF/2B Eric Toole
  143. Georgia rJR OF Conor Welton
  144. South Alabama rJR OF Garrett DeGallier
  145. Arkansas-Little Rock SR OF Bryson Thionnet
  146. Maryland rJR OF Mike Montville
  147. Oregon SR OF Connor Hofmann
  148. Louisiana-Lafayette SR OF/2B Ryan Leonards
  149. Oklahoma rJR OF Colt Bickerstaff
  150. Holy Cross SR OF Brandon Cipolla
  151. Jacksonville State SR OF Michel Bishop
  152. Lehigh JR OF/C Justin Pacchioli
  153. Towson SR OF Dominic Fratantuono
  154. Valparaiso SR OF Chris Manning
  155. Stephen F. Austin State SR OF Ricardo Sanchez
  156. Cincinnati SR OF/1B Justin Glass
  157. Miami SR OF/3B Tyler Palmer
  158. Texas JR OF Collin Shaw
  159. Mississippi State SR OF/LHP CT Bradford
  160. Mississippi State JR OF Jake Vickerson
  161. Towson JR OF Peter Bowles
  162. Kansas JR OF Joe Moroney
  163. Rutgers JR OF Vinny Zarrillo
  164. Kennesaw State JR OF Jacob Bruce
  165. Charleston Southern JR OF Bobby Ison
  166. Oral Roberts rSR OF Tyler Boss
  167. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi rJR OF/LHP Tyler Ware
  168. San Francisco JR OF Derek Atkinson
  169. Mercer SR OF Sasha LaGarde
  170. Indiana State SR OF/C Mike Fitzgerald
  171. North Carolina Greensboro JR OF Eric Kalbfleisch
  172. Jacksonville State SR OF Griff Gordon
  173. Eastern Illinois JR OF Caleb Howell
  174. Norfolk State SR OF Cameron Day
  175. Clemson SR OF Joe Costigan
  176. UC Santa Barbara rSR OF/1B Joe Epperson
  177. Missouri JR OF Logan Pearson
  178. Delaware State SR OF Aaron Nardone
  179. Florida A&M JR OF Marlon Gibbs
  180. Toledo SR OF Tyler Grogg
  181. James Madison rSR OF/1B Matt Tenaglia
  182. Mount St. Mary’s SR OF Jay Knight
  183. Wichita State rSR OF/LHP Garrett Bayliff
  184. Dayton SR OF Mark Podlas
  185. Winthrop rJR OF TJ Olesczuk
  186. Wichita State rSR OF Micah Green
  187. Xavier rSR OF Mitch Elliot
  188. New Jersey Tech JR OF Ed Charlton
  189. Kansas State rJR OF Mitch Meyer
  190. Northeastern SR OF Connor Lyons
  191. Old Dominion JR OF Josh Eldridge
  192. Florida Atlantic SR OF/1B Tyler Rocklein
  193. St. John’s JR OF Zach Lauricella
  194. Georgia State SR OF Chris Triplett
  195. Western Kentucky SR OF/INF Regan Flaherty
  196. The Citadel SR OF/3B Drew DeKerlegand
  197. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi JR OF Kyle Danford
  198. Texas A&M SR OF Jace Statum
  199. Canisius SR OF Jesse Kelso
  200. Fairfield SR OF/C Ryan Plourde
  201. Siena SR OF John Rooney
  202. Texas-Pan American SR OF Alex Howe
  203. West Virginia JR OF Bobby Boyd
  204. Virginia Commonwealth SR OF Bill Cullen
  205. Presbyterian rSR OF Nathan Chong
  206. Wisconsin-Milwaukee JR OF Luke Meeteer
  207. Akron rJR OF Joey Havrilak
  208. Butler SR OF Marcos Calderon
  209. Wright State SR OF Kieston Greene
  210. Wofford SR OF/INF Josh Hyman
  211. Southeast Missouri State rJR OF Jason Blum
  212. Savannah State JR OF David Richards
  213. Vanderbilt JR OF Will Cooper
  214. Winthrop SR OF Cody Dolan
  215. South Florida rSO OF Buddy Putnam
  216. Alabama State JR OF Waldyvan Estrada
  217. Army JR OF Mark McCants
  218. Murray State SR OF Ty Stetson
  219. Kent State SR OF/LHP TJ Sutton
  220. Western Michigan JR OF/C Jared Kujawa
  221. Mississippi JR OF Braxton Lee
  222. New Mexico State SR OF Quinnton Mack
  223. Radford SR OF Blake Sipe
  224. South Florida JR OF Austin Lueck
  225. Arkansas JR OF Joe Serrano
  226. Creighton SR OF Brad McKewon
  227. Buffalo SR OF Thomas Richards
  228. North Dakota State SR OF Tim Colwell
  229. Utah Valley State JR OF Jordy Hart
  230. High Point SR OF/SS Kyle Brandenburg
  231. Cal State Fullerton JR OF Clay Williamson
  232. Western Carolina JR OF Garrett Brown

2014 MLB Draft College Third Base Follow List (and Ranking)

Third base is a little bit like shortstop in that both position groups have a strong 1-2 punch at the top followed quickly by a lot of intriguing yet imperfect prospects that could be ranked in just about any order from around 3-15. To take the comparison further, both position groups have a slam dunk defensive keeper at the top (Trea Turner, Matt Chapman) ahead of a player with more in the way of defensive questions (Joey Pankake, Taylor Sparks). I happen to think Pankake can stick at shortstop, but I’m far less optimistic about Sparks’ chances of staying in the dirt. Next update will probably have him with the outfielders, but laziness on my end keeps him at the hot corner for now. Chapman’s slow start bums me out, but I’m still a believer in his skill set translating really well to the next level and would think he’s still a big target for teams in the second to third round range looking for their first college bat.

I’ve written an obscene amount on Zach Houchins over the past three years, so, if new, feel free to check the archives for why I continue to talk him up more than any other source out there. The short version is simple: good glove, strong arm, smart hitter, long track record of success. The only knock on him that I’ll cop to is his lack of traditional power at the hot corner, but his experience at different defensive spots could help make him a super-utility man at the next level. Chesny Young has a very similar basic scouting profile, so it’s no shock that I like him more than most as well. Spencer Mahoney is cut from a similar cloth. Dustin DeMuth’s approach has gone so far south this year to the point that his swing at anything remotely resembling a strike style of hitting (3 BB/19 K so far) now overshadows his power upside and underrated athleticism for a big man. Freshmen who can run, defend, flash power, and take a pitch (56 walks!) tend to fall high up on my rankings. Landon Lassiter’s outstanding first year in Chapel Hill still carries more weight than his avert your eyes start to 2014, but, as a player with less of a track record than many of his draft class peers, this situation is one worth monitoring.

Doing the research on this shows that this class clearly lacks a whole lot of impact talent at the top. The next tier down (rounds 3-7 approximately) has a lot of the names covered so far. That leaves us what I think may be this draft’s sweet spot for college third basemen. Senior signs like Shane Kennedy (bonus points for defensive versatility), Michael Hill (legit tools, so-so production to date), Jake Barrios (similar to Kennedy in my mind), Alberto Morales (love the glove), and Sam Koenig (confession: growing up on Scott Rolen has me drawn to big 3B in a weird way…and Koenig at 6-5, 220 qualifies) could all make more noise in pro ball than some of the “bigger” names (relatively speaking) selected ahead of them. I can’t not mention Austin Slater, a former HS star who took a little time to get going but is now doing good work at Stanford.

  1. Cal State Fullerton JR 3B/RHP Matt Chapman
  2. UC Irvine JR 3B Taylor Sparks
  3. Mercer JR 3B/SS Chesny Young
  4. Indiana SR 3B/SS Dustin DeMuth
  5. North Carolina SO 3B/2B Landon Lassiter
  6. East Carolina SR 3B/SS Zach Houchins
  7. Virginia JR 3B Kenny Towns
  8. Florida State JR 3B/OF Jose Brizuela
  9. College of Charleston rJR 3B/OF Brandon Glazer
  10. Valparaiso JR 3B/SS Spencer Mahoney
  11. Oral Roberts JR 3B/C Jose Trevino
  12. Gonzaga JR 3B Mitchell Gunsolus
  13. Clemson SR 3B/2B Shane Kennedy
  14. Long Beach State SR 3B/SS Michael Hill
  15. Stanford JR 3B/OF Austin Slater
  16. Texas Tech SR 3B/SS Jake Barrios
  17. San Diego State JR 3B Ryan Muno
  18. Florida International rJR 3B Josh Anderson
  19. College of Charleston rSO 3B/SS Morgan Phillips
  20. Texas-Pan American SR 3B Alberto Morales
  21. Wisconsin-Milwaukee SR 3B Sam Koenig
  22. James Madison SR 3B/RHP Ty McFarland
  23. Wright State JR 3B Michael Timm
  24. San Diego JR 3B/SS Andrew Daniel
  25. Wichita State rJR 3B Chase Simpson
  26. Mississippi SR 3B/OF Preston Overbey
  27. Washington State rSO 3B Nick Tanielu
  28. Eastern Illinois JR 3B Brant Valach
  29. USC SR 3B Kevin Swick
  30. Duke SR 3B Jordan Betts
  31. Auburn SR 3B/RHP Damek Tomscha
  32. Washington JR 3B Andrew Ely
  33. Florida JR 3B/2B Josh Tobias
  34. Tennessee JR 3B/OF Will Maddox
  35. Louisiana-Lafayette JR 3B Tyler Girouard
  36. Louisiana State SR 3B/SS Christian Ibarra
  37. Cal Poly SR 3B/2B Jimmy Allen
  38. Rice SR 3B Shane Hoelscher
  39. Seton Hall SR 3B Chris Selden
  40. Arkansas State rJR 3B Zach George
  41. Florida rJR 3B/2B Zack Powers
  42. Mississippi State SR 3B Alex Detz
  43. UC Davis SR 3B/2B Steve Patterson
  44. Seton Hall JR 3B Kyle Grimm
  45. Miami SR 3B Brad Fieger
  46. Virginia Commonwealth SR 3B Joey Cujas
  47. Charleston Southern SR 3B/SS Alex Tomasovich
  48. UNC Wilmington SR 3B/C Ryan LaGrange
  49. North Florida JR 3B/RHP Drew Weeks
  50. George Mason SR 3B Blaise Fernandez
  51. Southern Illinois SR 3B Donny Duschinsky
  52. San Francisco JR 3B/2B Brendan Hendriks
  53. Canisius JR 3B Jesse Puscheck
  54. Appalachian State SR 3B Noah Holmes
  55. Western Kentucky SR 3B/SS Scott Wilcox
  56. San Francisco JR 3B Bob Cruikshank
  57. Radford rSO 3B Zach Woolcock
  58. Kansas State rSR 3B RJ Santigate
  59. TCU JR 3B/2B Derek Odell
  60. Portland JR 3B Cody Lenahan
  61. Oregon State SR 3B/RHP Jerad Casper
  62. Utah SR 3B/C TJ Bennett
  63. TCU JR 3B Connor Castellano
  64. Campbell SR 3B Elijah Trail
  65. Georgia Southern SR 3B/2B Ben Morgan
  66. Marist SR 3B Nick McQuail
  67. New Orleans JR 3B Jonathan Coco
  68. Houston Baptist JR 3B/RHP 3B Josh Martinez
  69. Sam Houston State JR 3B/SS Carter Burgess
  70. Old Dominion SR 3B Jordan Negrini
  71. Sacramento State SR 3B Will Soto
  72. Nicholls State SR 3B/RHP Brandon Jackson
  73. Army JR 3B Harold Earls
  74. Delaware State SR 3B/C Cameron Cecil
  75. Miami (Ohio) SR 3B Dan Walsh
  76. Eastern Kentucky SR 3B Bryan Soloman
  77. Belmont rJR 3B Greg Brody
  78. Missouri SR 3B Shane Segovia
  79. South Alabama JR 3B/RHP Bud Collura
  80. Samford rJR 3B Tyler Filliben
  81. Arkansas-Pine Bluff JR 3B/SS Nate Ross
  82. Samford rJR 3B Tripp Martin
  83. Texas A&M JR 3B/RHP Logan Nottebrok

 

 

 

 

 

2014 MLB Draft: Top College Pitching GB% Through March

I’ve gotten some good comments and emails lately, and it’s my goal to get back to everybody within the next few days. Just wanted to get that out there just so nobody thinks I’m giving them the cold shoulder. My shoulders are nothing if not warm, so stay tuned.

Quick bit of other site-related news: College third base list just needs to be formatted, but is 99% complete and should be up by Thursday morning. While you wait, here’s the latest info on some of this year’s top collegiate arms in terms of ground ball rates. Sample sizes are still on the smaller side, so I’m thinking I may try to look back over each player’s college career before the next update. We’ll see. As always, if you’d like me to add a player to track, feel free…

NC State LHP Carlos Rodon | 59.7%
East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman | 58.8%
Vanderbilt RHP Tyler Beede | 47.8%
Florida State RHP Luke Weaver | 61.5%
Mississippi RHP Chris Ellis | 43.3%
UNLV RHP Erik Fedde | 68.9%
LSU RHP Aaron Nola | 41.8%

And by request…

Portland LHP Travis Radke | 46.2%

EDIT: Just because I couldn’t go to bed without at least digging a little deeper, I went through Rodon’s box scores from last year. I can’t guarantee I have every appearance, but I think we’ve got enough here to run with the number. Last year’s GB% for Carlos Rodon was 62.1%, not terribly far off his current 2014 mark. Not sure if I can do this for every pitcher on the list since I quickly realized that doing it with consistent Friday night guys, a position many freshman and sophomores aren’t in no matter how talented (Rodon included), is much easier than having to hunt down starts by guessing correct days, but we’ll see.

2014 MLB Draft College Shortstop Follow List (and Ranking)

Trea Turner is the trendy prospect to pick apart this spring based mostly on the fact he’s been a big name for years and we all tend to overanalyze prospects the longer they’ve been the scene. Actually, that’s not entirely fair: there are valid criticisms about his game, most notably how his swing could limit his future power output against better pitching, so my only real beef with those lower on Turner than most is the insinuation that anybody who likes him as a top ten talent are merely scouting his impressive box scores. I’ll be sticking with my Jacoby Ellsbury (wacky peak year excluded) or Brett Gardner offensive comps for now as I think .300/.350/.400 with 50+ SB in any given year is a reasonable albeit optimistic projection if we’re talking ceiling only. I don’t have any questions about his defensive future, but that’s another area where some worry about his transition in pro ball. I’ve seen him make far too many big league caliber plays – to say nothing of many of the boring, routine plays that count the same – to have any doubts. He’s a shortstop, and potentially a really good one. The fact he could be damn good in center field is a nice though likely unnecessary fallback option. In a down year for college bats, I still think he’s the best option.

There seems to be little consensus about Joey Pankake’s future position; in fact, after asking around, people in the know gave me an even 50/50 split whether or not they thought he could stick up the middle or if he’ll be better served at third base. His placement on this particular list should give you a hint where I’m currently leaning, though I reserve the right to change my mind before June. His relative lack of foot speed – he’s an average at best runner – is why I think some evaluators are turned off at him staying at shortstop, but his first step instincts, arm strength, and athleticism give him a good shot of sticking.

After Turner and Pankake the best college shortstop prospect is…well, I have no idea. I mean, sure, I have some idea, but it’s wide open after those two and probably fair to say that the most honest outcomes for names 3-66 is utility infielder as a professional. Vince Conde and Michael Russell have tons of experience (both starters from day one on campus, more or less) and the requisite positional versatility to profile as potentially strong bench guys at the next level. Julius Gaines, Cole Peragine, and Chris Mariscal were all highly touted prep players who have held their own without lighting the world on fire in college. I have a soft spot for Garrett Mattlage, an underrated prospect with a mature approach to hitting, steady glove, and intriguing power/speed combination. I also like Sutton Whiting, a really good defender and runner who is smart enough to play within himself as a 5-9, 165 pound grinder.

Like the catcher spot, shortstop seems to be a position where a few senior signs get overdrafted in the top ten rounds to help teams stretch their bonus caps to grab higher priced prep talent later. Two-true outcome college star Justin Gonzalez could be that guy, as could the productive Aaron Attaway, the strong-armed Kyle Convissar, or the steady Austin Anderson.

  1. North Carolina State JR SS/OF Trea Turner
  2. South Carolina JR SS/RHP Joey Pankake
  3. Vanderbilt JR SS/2B Vince Conde
  4. North Carolina JR SS/OF Michael Russell
  5. Florida International JR SS Julius Gaines
  6. Texas State JR SS/2B Garrett Mattlage
  7. Rhode Island JR SS Tim Caputo
  8. Stony Brook JR SS Cole Peragine
  9. Florida State rSR SS/3B Justin Gonzalez
  10. Virginia Commonwealth JR SS Vimael Machin
  11. Louisville JR SS/2B Sutton Whiting
  12. Western Carolina SR SS/2B Aaron Attaway
  13. Kansas State JR SS Austin Fisher
  14. San Diego JR SS/2B Austin Bailey
  15. Maryland SR SS Kyle Convissar
  16. Illinois State rJR SS Brock Stewart
  17. Fresno State JR SS Chris Mariscal
  18. Florida Atlantic JR SS Mitch Morales
  19. Florida Atlantic JR SS Ricky Santiago
  20. Arkansas JR SS Brett McAfee
  21. Kentucky JR SS/2B Max Kuhn
  22. Mississippi SR SS Austin Anderson
  23. Washington State rJR SS Trace Tam Sing
  24. Louisville JR SS/2B Zach Lucas
  25. California JR SS Chris Paul
  26. Rutgers SR SS/2B Nick Favatella
  27. Rhode Island SR SS Joe Landi
  28. Missouri State JR SS/C Eric Cheray
  29. San Diego State JR SS/RHP Steven Pallares
  30. Washington JR SS Erik Forgione
  31. Oregon State SR SS/3B Kavin Keyes
  32. Auburn SR SS Dan Glevenyak
  33. Troy SR SS Tyler Vaughn
  34. Texas-San Antonio SR SS/2B RJ Perucki
  35. Western Michigan JR SS/RHP Andrew Sohn
  36. Lamar SR SS Sam Bumpers
  37. Arkansas-Little Rock JR SS/RHP Austin Pfeiffer
  38. Georgia State SR SS Chad Prain
  39. Alabama State JR SS Emmanuel Marrero
  40. Northwestern State JR SS Joel Atkinson
  41. Texas Tech JR SS Tim Proudfoot
  42. Minnesota rJR SS Michael Handel
  43. South Florida rSO SS/2B Nik Alfonso
  44. Southern Mississippi rJR SS Michael Sterling
  45. Gardner-Webb JR SS Ryan Hodge
  46. Central Florida JR SS/3B Tommy Williams
  47. High Point JR SS/2B Mike Miedzianowski
  48. Memphis JR SS Jake Overbey
  49. Eastern Michigan JR SS John Rubino
  50. UNLV JR SS TJ White
  51. Indiana State SR SS Tyler Wampler
  52. Mississippi State JR SS Matthew Britton
  53. The Citadel JR SS Johnathan Stokes
  54. Kent State JR SS Sawyer Polen
  55. Cal State Fullerton SR SS/OF Keegan Dale
  56. Oregon SR SS Kevin Minjares
  57. Columbia SR SS Aaron Silbar
  58. Oklahoma SR SS/2B Hector Lorenzana
  59. Southern Illinois SR SS/2B Jake Welch
  60. Canisius SR SS Ronnie Bernick
  61. Louisville SR SS/3B Alex Chittenden
  62. Northern Colorado JR SS/2B Ryan Yamane
  63. California rJR SS Derek Campbell
  64. California JR SS Brenden Farney
  65. Central Connecticut State SR SS Anthony Turgeon
  66. Southern Mississippi rSO SS Breck Kline

2014 MLB Draft – Prep FAVORITES

Coverage of high school ball is about to blow up around the internet over the next few days with the NHSI starting up today in beautiful Cary, North Carolina. Naturally, the actual list below has nothing to do with that, other than the fact that I have driven those around me — especially the gal who inexplicably chooses to live with me — to the point of insanity with my all too often refrain of “man, I can’t believe I didn’t get that post about Player X before his huge game yesterday got him tons of online ink…now when I mention him, everybody will assume I’m just stealing somebody else’s scouting report and hopping on the bandwagon.” Not saying I don’t keep my eyes glued on Twitter for updates like any good draft fan, just saying that I think I’ve built up enough goodwill around here over the years that most people realize I’m not the crazy reactionary move a guy up 50 spots because one national writer saw four life-altering at bats type of hack. I’m a hack in a million other ways, obviously, but don’t believe that’s one of them. And yet here I sit still getting nervous about people assuming the worst about me hence the need for the preceding disclaimer. Sorry to go all meta on you, just working through some stuff.

There are a few players listed below who will be in Cary — and more than a few have been blown up the last few weeks on the internet already, Bukauskas and Adams being arguably the most notable — but the real purpose here is to highlight quality early-round talents that have caught my eye at one point or another over the past few months. I debated on whether or not to exclude some of the super obvious names on here, but figured it couldn’t hurt to make mention of my affection for the Jackson’s, Gatewood’s, and Aiken’s of the world. It’s also worth noting that the FAVORITE tag gets put on a guy as soon as it feels right; I won’t BS you and say Gatewood has been a FAVORITE since middle school or anything, but hopefully it is understood that the bigger names have had the label slapped on them for many months at this point. Lastly, a player not getting the FAVORITE tag doesn’t mean he isn’t damn good; case in point, an absolute stone cold top of the first round talent in Tyler Kolek isn’t a FAVORITE for whatever reason, but he’s still really awesome and I’d be pretty pleased if he fell to the Phillies at 7.

I also like to use my FAVORITES list as a personal shopping cart of sorts on draft day. If I was a greedy scouting director, I’d be hoping for at least five of these bats and three of the arms signing contracts with my team this summer. Not sure how realistic that is at this point — those numbers are as low as I’m willing to go in my dream world — so it’ll be fun to check back in mid-June to see how possible hitting those targets will be.

Finally, since you know I hate lists without some kind of added value, I am planning on adding notes about why I love as many as these prospects as I can get to throughout the day. Posting will then be fairly light for a few days as I’m off to go watch some of the names below myself starting Thursday…

  • C Alex Jackson
  • C Simeon Lucas
  • C Evan Skoug
  • 1B Jeremy Vazquez
  • 1B Bobby Bradley
  • 2B Max George
  • 2B Isan Diaz
  • 2B Jack Gerstenmaier
  • 2B Shane Mardirosian
  • SS Ti’Quan Forbes
  • SS Josh Morgan
  • 3B Jacob Gatewood
  • 3B Jack Flaherty
  • 3B Charlie Cody
  • OF Braxton Davidson
  • OF Marcus Wilson
  • OF Stone Garrett
  • OF Zach Shannon
  • OF Monte Harrison
  • OF Carl Chester
  • OF Derek Hill
  • OF Jeren Kendall
  • LHP Brady Aiken
  • RHP Dylan Cease
  • RHP Jacob Bukauskas
  • RHP Cameron Varga
  • RHP Jonathan Teaney
  • RHP Keaton McKinney
  • RHP Spencer Adams
  • LHP Kodi Medeiros
  • RHP Sean Reid-Foley
  • RHP Cobi Johnson
  • RHP Bryan Dobzanski
  • RHP TOUKI TOUSSAINT

2014 MLB Draft: College Pitching

I’ve been sitting on this list for over a month, forgetting to hit the Publish button and change things up from rough draft to public piece each day. With this past weekend being so crazy for so many Friday night starters around the nation, I figured it’s better to get this first iteration out ASAP before changes are made in June. A few quick notes on what you see below…

I didn’t include pitchers from outside D-1 ball. Not yet. There would certainly be a few additions to this list if I were to add them in. In due time. A few injuries (Troupe, Stephens) and a few risers (like everybody’s new favorite senior Jake Stinnett, ranked 199th on my college pitching list last year for what it’s worth) were not really taken into account, as this list was originally drafted right before the start of the current college season. This has annoyed some people in the past, but it’s how I like it. Barring extreme circumstances, I don’t actually move college guys (HS is a different story) around my personal rankings all that much in the months leading up to the draft. The sites that update big boards every week don’t reflect what actually goes on this time of year in front offices, but, hey, different strokes and all that. Gotta move those draft books somehow, I guess.

As for the list itself…damn, that top ten is a thing of beauty. Not my rankings (though if you want to say that, I won’t stop you), but the quality of the talent available. Even if you quibble with my list — feel free to do so in the comments or via email, by the way — I think there’s enough depth at the top of this year’s pitching class to come up with an outstanding top ten any way you want to break it down. There’s definitely some separation after the top three, but a team drafting late in first round can realistically get their fourth-rated college arm if things line up their way on draft day. Team preference will go a long way in sorting out these pitchers from four on. I’m not sure which pitcher will take that fourth spot come June, but, if pressed today to give a name, I’d say I’m currently leaning Finnegan. I also have to say that I won’t sleep as well tonight knowing I didn’t mention how unhappy I am with Freeland’s low placement. Not sure what I was thinking last month other than the fact I just liked the names above him more (i.e. his ranking is not a knock on him, but a testament to this year’s crazy pitching depth), but I’m 99.99% sure he’ll be significantly higher than this on the next version of a similar list. 

The June list will go way deeper than 72 names (did 500 last year, might do it again this year), but I capped it for now in an attempt to maintain what’s left of my sanity. So many fascinating names didn’t make the cut here, but I’m more than happy to talk about anybody here or not in the comments/via email. Putting this together was a fun little exercise…hope it’s a worthwhile list.

  1. East Carolina JR RHP Jeff Hoffman
  2. North Carolina State JR LHP Carlos Rodon
  3. Vanderbilt JR RHP Tyler Beede
  4. Mississippi JR RHP Chris Ellis
  5. Florida State JR RHP Luke Weaver
  6. UNLV JR RHP Erick Fedde
  7. TCU JR LHP Brandon Finnegan
  8. LSU JR RHP Aaron Nola
  9. Hartford JR LHP Sean Newcomb
  10. San Diego State JR RHP Michael Cederoth
  11. Louisville JR RHP Nick Burdi
  12. Arizona JR RHP Matthew Troupe
  13. Rice JR RHP Zech Lemond
  14. Notre Dame JR RHP Patrick Connaughton
  15. Cal Poly JR LHP Matt Imhof
  16. Oregon State JR LHP Jace Fry
  17. Louisiana-Lafayette JR RHP Austin Robichaux
  18. Fresno State JR RHP Derick Velazquez
  19. Florida rJR RHP Karsten Whitson
  20. Stanford SR RHP AJ Vanegas
  21. Oregon rSO LHP Porter Clayton
  22. Southern Mississippi JR RHP Brad Roney
  23. Evansville JR LHP Kyle Freeland
  24. Hawaii JR LHP Scott Squier
  25. USC JR RHP Wyatt Strahan
  26. Arizona JR RHP Tyler Parmenter
  27. Portland JR LHP Travis Radke
  28. Texas A&M JR RHP Daniel Mengden
  29. North Carolina JR RHP Benton Moss
  30. Miami JR LHP Andrew Suarez
  31. Fresno State JR RHP/OF Jordan Brink
  32. Virginia JR RHP Nick Howard
  33. Mississippi JR RHP Hawtin Buchanan
  34. Southern Illinois JR RHP Sam Coonrod
  35. Texas JR RHP Parker French
  36. Wichita State JR RHP AJ Ladwig
  37. Central Florida JR LHP Eric Skoglund
  38. Rice JR RHP Jordan Stephens
  39. Texas A&M JR RHP Corey Ray
  40. Auburn JR RHP Rocky McCord
  41. Mississippi State JR RHP Jonathan Holder
  42. Kentucky JR RHP Chandler Shepherd
  43. Florida JR RHP Ryan Harris
  44. Arkansas JR RHP Chris Oliver
  45. Texas JR LHP Dillon Peters
  46. North Carolina State JR RHP Logan Jernigan
  47. Clemson SO LHP Matthew Crownover
  48. Mississippi State JR LHP Jacob Lindgren
  49. South Carolina Upstate JR RHP Chad Sobotka
  50. Central Michigan JR RHP Jordan Foley
  51. UNC Wilmington JR RHP Jordan Ramsey
  52. Tulane rJR RHP Randy LeBlanc
  53. Portland JR RHP Kody Watts
  54. North Carolina Greensboro JR RHP Max Povse
  55. Western Illinois JR RHP Tyler Willman
  56. USC JR RHP Nigel Nootbaar
  57. Clemson JR RHP Daniel Gossett
  58. Pepperdine JR LHP Aaron Brown
  59. Illinois State JR RHP Jeremy Rhoades
  60. Mississippi State JR RHP Brandon Woodruff
  61. Charlotte rJR RHP Ryan Butler
  62. Texas rSO RHP John Curtiss
  63. Ohio State rJR RHP/1B Josh Dezse
  64. Oregon JR RHP Jake Reed
  65. Texas JR RHP Lukas Schiraldi
  66. Washington State rJR RHP Scott Simon
  67. Loyola Marymount JR RHP Trevor Megill
  68. Lipscomb rJR RHP Hunter Brothers
  69. Arizona State JR RHP Darin Gillies
  70. Alabama JR RHP Spencer Turnbull
  71. Texas A&M JR RHP Gandy Stubblefield
  72. Louisville JR LHP Joey Filomeno

2014 MLB Draft College Second Base Follow List (and Ranking)

Brian Anderson checks a ton of boxes: arm, defensive versatility, speed, power, size, approach, and bat speed in excess. All aforementioned tools are at least average, so the only real question is how much he’ll actually hit going forward. My total not a comp comparison for him is JaCoby Jones, both in terms of talent level and draft floor. This may be an oversimplification, but Alex Blandino has almost the opposite scouting profile: not crazy toolsy, but born to hit. If he keeps doing what he’s done so far this spring, he’ll likely find himself atop this list by June.

After A and B, there’s C. Branden Cogswell follows Anderson and Blandino because of his solid all-around skill set and outstanding plate discipline. I’m not quite there in proclaiming him, or anybody following him on the list for that matter, a future regular in the big leagues due to his limited power ceiling, but I do enjoy scooping up quick-moving, valuable bench contributors from college after most of the upside gambles are off the board.

As mentioned above, there really is a significant gap between Anderson/Blandino (easy to see starter upside) and the rest of the 2B class (likely backups, but some good ones). I’m not saying that you could put the next dozen names or so and a hat and pull a perfectly acceptable order, but I’m not saying you can’t, either.

I genuinely like the two seniors (Ross Kivett and Kyle Ruchim) as top ten round targets that can both save you some dough and give you a potentially useful role player going forward. Kivett is the more famous prospect – still shocked he didn’t sign as a tenth rounder last year – and his speed, smarts, and sneaky pop make him fun to watch. Ruchim is less well-known, but, in my view, no less talented. I actually had Ruchim as high as fourth on original iterations of this list because of my appreciation of his approach, defense, versatility (fine in both SS and CF in a pinch), and the always comforting fallback plan on the mound (low-90s FB and SL that flashes plus).

The juniors are an interesting class at the top as I think there are more tools here than in most years. Gunnar Heidt’s flashes of power, Austin Davidson’s pedigree, Caleb Whalen’s offensive upside, Casey Turgeon’s glove and baseball IQ, Trent Gilbert’s swing, Grant Kay’s breakthrough, and Frankie Ratcliff’s redemption (I’m cheating since he’s a senior but go with it) are all worth following this spring. Really like Jace Conrad’s underrated speed/glove/approach/experience vibe; Caden Bailey’s tools aren’t quite at that level, but he’s above-average in those areas all the same. There are many others that I’d love to write about like Dante Flores (another pedigree guy), old favorite Steve Wilkerson, Stephen Ventimilia (love his athleticism and energy), and Ivy League star Thomas Roulis, but I need to cut myself off before I put people to sleep. One last name that I’ll be very curious to see gets drafted is Kevin Kramer, a good prospect who is out in 2014 (shoulder) yet still might be worth a mid-round pick if deemed even remotely signable. I’d guess he’s back at UCLA in 2015, but you never know.

  1. Arkansas JR 2B/SS/OF Brian Anderson
  2. Stanford JR 2B/3B Alex Blandino
  3. Virginia JR 2B/SS Branden Cogswell
  4. College of Charleston JR 2B/SS Gunnar Heidt
  5. Pepperdine JR 2B/SS Austin Davidson
  6. Kansas State SR 2B Ross Kivett
  7. Northwestern SR 2B/RHP Kyle Ruchim
  8. Portland JR 2B/OF Caleb Whalen
  9. Florida JR 2B/SS Casey Turgeon
  10. Arizona JR 2B Trent Gilbert
  11. Louisville JR 2B Grant Kay
  12. Houston SR 2B Frankie Ratcliff
  13. Louisiana-Lafayette JR 2B Jace Conrad
  14. Georgia State JR 2B/SS Caden Bailey
  15. Long Island-Brooklyn SR 2B/SS John Ziznewski
  16. USC JR 2B Dante Flores
  17. UC Davis rJR 2B/OF Tino Lipson
  18. North Carolina State JR 2B/3B Logan Ratledge
  19. Clemson SR 2B/SS Steve Wilkerson
  20. Nebraska JR 2B/SS Pat Kelly
  21. Hawaii JR 2B Stephen Ventimilia
  22. Western Carolina JR 2B/3B Brad Strong
  23. Dartmouth JR 2B/SS Thomas Roulis
  24. UCLA JR 2B/3B Kevin Kramer
  25. Mississippi State SR 2B Brett Pirtle
  26. Washington JR 2B/3B Robert Pehl
  27. South Alabama rJR 2B Logan Kirkland
  28. Wisconsin-Milwaukee JR 2B Michael Porcaro
  29. Northeastern JR 2B/SS Jason Vosler
  30. UC Riverside JR 2B/OF Joe Chavez
  31. Charlotte JR 2B/SS Mikal Hill
  32. Bradley rSO 2B Chris Godinez
  33. Georgia Tech JR 2B/SS Thomas Smith
  34. UNC Wilmington SR 2B Luis Renvill
  35. Indiana JR 2B/OF Casey Rodrigue
  36. Miami SR 2B/SS Alex Hernandez
  37. Charlotte JR 2B/OF Brad Elwood
  38. Georgia Tech SR 2B/SS Mott Hyde
  39. Maine SR 2B/SS Troy Black
  40. Richmond SR 2B Adam Forrer
  41. Arizona State JR 2B/SS Drew Stankiewicz
  42. South Florida JR 2B/SS Kyle Teaf
  43. San Diego State SR 2B Tim Zier
  44. Georgia JR 2B/SS Nelson Ward
  45. Texas A&M JR 2B/SS Blake Allemand
  46. The Citadel JR 2B Mason Davis
  47. Cal State Bakersfield SR 2B Oscar Sanay
  48. Elon SR 2B/SS Sebastian Gomez
  49. Arkansas-Pine Bluff SR 2B/SS Isias Alcantar
  50. Loyola Marymount JR 2B/SS David Edwards
  51. Oklahoma JR 2B/SS Josh Ake
  52. Texas JR 2B Brooks Marlow
  53. North Carolina Greensboro rSO 2B/OF Benigno Marrero
  54. Tennessee Tech JR 2B/SS Dylan Bosheers
  55. San Jose State SR 2B Jacob Valdez
  56. Wichita State SR 2B/SS Dayne Parker
  57. Oregon SR 2B Aaron Payne
  58. Maryland JR 2B Andrew Amaro
  59. UC Riverside JR 2B/SS Alex Rubanowitz
  60. Youngstown State SR 2B/SS Phil Lipari
  61. Baylor rSR 2B Lawton Langford
  62. UCLA SR 2B/OF Kevin Williams
  63. Stanford SR 2B/RHP Brett Michael Doran
  64. Stanford SR 2B/SS Danny Diekroeger
  65. Oregon State SR 2B/SS Andy Peterson
  66. Tennessee Tech SR 2B/SS Zach Zarzour
  67. Nicholls State SR 2B Phillip Lyons
  68. Monmouth SR 2B/SS Jake Gronsky
  69. Binghamton SR 2B Daniel Nevares
  70. Radford JR 2B Josh Gardiner
  71. Rice JR 2B/SS Ford Stainback
  72. Nebraska-Omaha JR 2B Caleb Palensky
  73. Mississippi State rJR 2B/OF Demarcus Henderson
  74. Oral Roberts JR 2B Matt Brandy
  75. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi SR 2B Cody Stephens
  76. Wright State SR 2B Joe Ford
  77. North Dakota State SR 2B Wes Satzinger
  78. Siena SR 2B Vince Citro
  79. Kentucky SR 2B Matt Reida
  80. Towson SR 2B Pat Fitzgerald
  81. McNeese State rJR 2B/SS Connor Lloyd
  82. Kansas JR 2B Justin Protacio
  83. Hofstra SR 2B Matt Ford
  84. Georgetown JR 2B Ryan Busch
  85. Central Michigan JR 2B Pat MacKenzie
  86. Xavier SR 2B Selby Chidemo

GB%

Title says it all. Stats have been updated through this past weekend. Radke’s only made three starts, but the rest haven’t missed a turn yet. It’s still early enough in the year that I’m happy to add another name or two to the list if anybody has a request. Most recently added player is LSU RHP Aaron Nola. I know stuff like this doesn’t matter, but pretty crazy that in Nola’s first four starts of the year his team won by a combined score of 50-0. After beating a decent Vanderbilt team this past Friday — apparently there was some hype around this game, who knew — his combined score when starting is down to a paltry 54-2. Pretty good.

NC State LHP Carlos Rodon | 67.9%
East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman | 57.7%
Vanderbilt RHP Tyler Beede | 49.1%
Florida State RHP Luke Weaver | 51.2%
Mississippi RHP Chris Ellis | 43.1%
UNLV RHP Erik Fedde | 64.4%
LSU RHP Aaron Nola | 44.0%

And by request…

Portland LHP Travis Radke | 46.2%

2015 MLB Draft – College Edition

I do a little bit of travelling during the season to try and see as many first round prospects as possible. I’ve seen games in cities all over the country — mostly south and west — and there hasn’t been a bad experience to speak of in the bunch. As a lazy and cheap man, however, getting the opportunity to have a first round talent come to me is really exciting. That’s why I made the horrible in hindsight decision before the season to pass up planning and budgeting for potential trips to see Rodon/Weaver and Beede/Nola (that one really hurts) to see a game 23 minutes from work and 12 minutes from my parents’ home (two birds with one stone!).

For reasons still unclear to me (field conditions?), Villanova and Hartford was scrapped this past Friday. No Sean Newcomb. Instead Villanova played La Salle and Harford went off to play Sacred Heart. Of course, all Newcomb did was go out and dominate an overmatched Sacred Heart lineup (7 IP 2 H 0 ER 3 BB 8 K) in front of 101 loyal fans in beautiful Yaphank, New York. Ah, what might have been.

If you can’t already tell, I’m bitter. I had a clear path to Nashville (where I will be later in the year, so at least I have that to look forward to), but passed it up to see a player I would not have otherwise seen this spring. I regret nothing, but, again, still bitter. To give myself a cleanser from the 2014 draft, let’s look at the 2015 draft! That makes sense, right? No? Well it’s already written and my laziness has already been established. I started by trying to pinpoint which college players could be in the mix for the top overall pick in 2015. That approach proved to be too narrow a focus this early in the process, so I just added any potential first round talent. I realized halfway through that I’m incredibly tough on position players, especially with respect to my high — possibly too high — expectations of freshman year production. Some big names with big tools were left out of the mix because of slow starts to their college careers. I think it’s fair to question this line of thinking, so my only defense for now is that it’s incredibly early in the ranking/follow list game to sweat about names being left off. If you’re good, you won’t be overlooked for long. Of course by making a list like this in the first place, any and all criticism is fair game. Best tools/production combo right now is Alex Bregman with Blake Trahan not too far off the trail. I love that they are both in the same state, one at a traditional powerhouse and the other at an on-the-rise upstart; can’t wait to read the eventual Aaron Fitt feature on the two.

The one thing I noticed about the pitching is how oddly grouped it looks to be. Speaking of oddly grouped, the words in that preceding sentence! Ugly writing aside, 2015 could be the year of the loaded pitching staff in college baseball. Vanderbilt, TCU, and UCLA obviously stand out, but there were a half-dozen other schools (at least) that could have easily had three or more names in the early round mix. As for a more general trend, and this is one I hope I’m missing the mark on, it seems to me that 2015 will be a return to power conferences dominating the top of the draft. Loyal readers should know by now that I really do enjoy finding prospects to care about at all schools across the country, big and small, but 2015 appears to be all big name schools, all the time. The only thing I could think to explain it — outside of just being a weird, random blip — is that perhaps smaller school prospects get noticed later in the process. Interesting hypothesis that will be fun to re-visit this time next year.

Players are listed in no order outside of position. Lots of interesting names were left out, but I’m happy to discuss why in the comments or via email.

LSU 2B Alex Bregman
South Carolina 2B Max Schrock
Miami 3B David Thompson
Vanderbilt 3B Xavier Turner
Texas 3B CJ Hinojosa
Louisiana-Lafayette SS Blake Trahan
Clemson OF Steven Duggar
Florida State OF DJ Stewart
North Carolina OF Skye Bolt
Virginia OF Joe McCarthy
Cincinnati OF Ian Happ
Tennessee OF Christin Stewart
Alabama OF Georgie Salem
Vanderbilt OF Rhett Wiseman
Texas OF Ben Johnson

Clemson RHP Clate Schmidt
Duke RHP Michael Matuella
Virginia LHP Nathan Kirby
Houston RHP Jacob Lemoine
Louisville RHP Kyle Funkhouser
Kentucky RHP Kyle Cody
Arkansas LHP Colin Poche
Vanderbilt RHP Tyler Ferguson
Vanderbilt RHP Carson Fulmer
Vanderbilt RHP Walker Buehler
Texas A&M RHP Grayson Long
TCU RHP Riley Ferrell
TCU LHP Alex Young
TCU RHP Mitchell Traver
Arizona State LHP Brett Lilek
Arizona State RHP Ryan Burr
Southern California LHP Kyle Twomey
UCLA RHP James Kaprielian
UCLA RHP Cody Poteet
UCLA LHP Hunter Virant
Iowa RHP Blake Hickman
Cal State Fullerton RHP Justin Garza
Cal State Fullerton RHP Thomas Eshelman
UC Santa Barbara RHP Dylan Hecht
Rice RHP Kevin McCanna

2014 MLB Draft: High School “Dream Team” (Hitters)

Last few days have been hectic, but I’ve been doing some catch-up work on the 2014 HS class in whatever downtime I’ve had. I’ll preface all mentions of prep talent by reminding anybody who will listen that I’m a) not a scout, and b) not a guy with the magical powers of teleportation and therefore don’t stick to the admirable rule of only ranking players I’ve seen in person. That said, I did see way more HS baseball (including everybody listed below) this past summer than damn near anybody in the country not drawing a paycheck for their work, wonderfully devoted parents of players not included. I actually think I saw more HS baseball this summer than I’ve seen in the four — has it been that long? — summers I’ve been running the site put together, though you could argue that’s more of an indictment of my prior laziness/cheapness than anything else. Again, I don’t mention any of that to position myself as any kind of authority on the matter, just providing some context and background.

It should be no surprise that I find the players who currently rank second at each spot way more fascinating to discuss at this juncture, but we have plenty of time to flesh out longer position lists in the coming weeks. I don’t think there are any particularly insightful picks here as I’m fairly certain these align with much of what the internet currently thinks about this class, but I’ll do my best to briefly explain my rationale and hopefully provide something a little bit different from the copy/paste world we live in. First the “team” (2-9 on the diamond only, no pitchers yet) and then me rambling…

C/OF Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo HS, California)
1B Jeremy Vasquez (Martin County HS, Florida)
2B/SS Greg Deichmann (Brother Martin HS, Louisiana)
SS/RHP Nick Gordon (Olympia HS, Florida)
3B/SS Jacob Gatewood (Redwood HS, California)
OF/1B Braxton Davidson (Roberson HS, North Carolina)
OF/RHP Michael Gettys (Gainesville HS, Georgia)
OF Marcus Wilson (Junipero Serra HS, California)

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but after seeing Alex Jackson up close a few times, I never could quite grasp why so many wanted to move him off catcher as soon as the ink dries on his first pro deal. He’s a first round prep catcher for me, but not necessarily a slam dunk first round prep bat (though damn close), if that makes sense. As a point of reference (and not comp), newly minted OF Stryker Trahan’s development path is probably how I’d approach Jackson’s future. Give Jackson a real, honest chance to catch, but be prepared to make the switch if circumstances call for it. If that sounds like common sense, well, that’s because it is.

1B, 2B, and third OF were easily the toughest calls. I know I could have made life much easier by classifying Braxton Davidson as a 1B (where my comp of him to Freddie Freeman works even better), but he’s good enough in an outfield corner that it would be a shame not to at least try him there at first. Jeremy Vasquez doesn’t have the power upside that would make me feel more confident in his spot atop a position list known for the long ball, but he does too many other things so well at the plate — the man can track offspeed stuff like a seasoned vet — that I like the upside regardless.

Greg Deichmann’s placement is dangerous because I think that’s the one spot where I went with my own eyes more than my accrued notes. Maybe I’ll regret it, but there were few players I saw hit the ball as hard and as often as Deichmann did throughout the last nine or so months.

Marcus Wilson’s eye-opening skills (his tools are awesome, obviously, but he was much, much further along as a ballplayer than I was led to believe prior to seeing him live) made me a believer over time, so that’s why I narrowly went with him as the third OF. Still love Stone Garrett, newly fallen for Matt Railey, and extremely impressed with the Zach S’s (Sullivan and Shannon), so expect this race to tighten over time. There’s also Monte Harrison, Scott Hurst, Luke Bonfield, Kevin Bryant, Gareth Morgan, Dalton Ewing, Alex Verdugo, to say nothing of all the speed/range standouts like Carl Chester, Derek Hill, and Todd Isaacs. (I didn’t name everybody at the top, so don’t scream at me for “forgetting” your guy…or do, and we can talk about him in the comments/via email!). It’s a good year for prep outfielders, but, then again, it’s always a good year for prep outfielders, you know?

SS was surprisingly close, but that’s not a knock on the top guy in the least. Nick Gordon in so many ways reminded me of JP Crawford, last year’s 16th overall pick, every time I saw him this summer. All the reports that say he’s bulked up and looks better than ever early this season are nothing but encouraging. Easy first round talent. What made the battle for the top spot close, however, is my enduring infatuation with Ti’Quan Forbes. Not only do I think the gap between Gordon and Forbes is smaller than most, I’ll go the extra step and make the direct and obvious (in my mind) link between the 6-4, 180 pound middle infielder to this class’ other oversized shortstop, none other than Jacob Gatewood. I’m a big Gatewood fan — he’s comfortably atop the 3B rankings, and would have ranked tops at SS or OF if that’s where you happen to think he winds up professionally — but I can’t say that there is nearly as much separation between Forbes and Gatewood as many on the internet currently believe. These next few months will be especially huge for both Gatewood and Forbes, so…we’ll see.

Almost 1,000 words so far and I couldn’t find a way to shoehorn Michael Gettys into the conversation. I’ll say this: the Clint Frazier comp that is now the norm in every report you read on the internet about him could not have felt more real the first time (without hearing that comp, either) I saw him up close. The arm, the smarts, the build, the style of play…it is a very natural fit. I’ll see the industry’s Frazier comp and raise it one better. Watch out now. Person in baseball that I trust (or, as I like to think of him, a PIBTIT) mentioned this one to me and I can’t say I hate it. Michael Gettys, he of the easy plus arm strength, big raw power, ample speed, and quick bat occasionally mitigated by an overly aggressive approach to hitting, reminded him of none other than Yasiel Puig. Love comps, hate comps, no strong feelings about comps because you stumbled across this site by accident and are frantically trying to click the tiny red X to escape the insanity of one man’s thousands of hours spent analyzing teenage ballplayers…but, come on, that’s a pretty cool one to have out there.

2014 MLB Draft College First Base Follow List (and Ranking)

College first basemen are some of the most difficult players to rank this early in the draft process because, of any amateur position, first base is the spot I utilize data almost as much as scouting reports. There are many things to look for in young batters when it comes to projecting the hit and power tool; for starters, you’re looking for swing mechanics (balance, rotation, gather, load, fluidity, repeatability, etc.), vision (tracking pitches), bat to ball contact (cliché or not, there is a unique sound you’re hoping to hear), bat speed, and, one of my biggest things for power, how well the hitter’s upper and lower body work together. Seeing and hearing about these things is vitally important, but, more so than any other tools (and to paraphrase national treasure Rasheed Wallace), bat don’t lie. If you can hit, your production will reflect it.

There’s obvious risk in selecting a two tool (or 1.5 if you think less of his pure hit tool than I) player with a high pick, but if you’re going to do so then it’s alright if it’s a) the power and hit tool we’re talking about, and b) a first baseman. That’s the argument in favor of one of my favorite 2014 hitters, Casey Gillaspie. The argument against is similarly succinct: he won’t do the same damage with wood, his bat speed is more good than great, and, my favorite, the “I know it may not matter as much as an up-the-middle spot, but defense at first base still matters, dummy!” line. Perfectly reasonable points, all. I currently have a hard time seeing him dipping below where last year’s first college first baseman went (late third round), but we’ll see.

It could be a byproduct of a faulty memory, but this year’s class seems to have a higher number of “name” prospects that haven’t lived up to their college billing just yet. Kevin Cron is the poster boy for said group, but you can also slot in Ryan Krill, Zach Ratcliff, Rouric Bridgewater, and AJ Murray. On production alone, these guys shouldn’t be anywhere close to the top of the rankings, but tools are tools and upside is upside, you know? It’ll be fun to track each of these guys this spring; hopefully one or more bust out and become the players many thought they could be.

I think the signature rankings here are probably the aggressive placement of Austin Byler, Jake Madsen, Zander Wiel, and Tyler Mautner. Slow start notwithstanding, Byler’s power is legit and his approach to hitting, while not reflected just yet in terms of BB/K ratios (36 BB/79 K coming into the season), is well-suited for professional ball. Madsen’s early season struggles mirror Byler’s, but I know some in the game who think he can be a high-average, plus glove at first base at the next level. Wiel, a powerfully built 6-3, 215 pounder, impressed in limited 2013 at bats and has picked up where he left off so far in 2014. Mautner has been one of the best hitters in college ball to date (just hitting .500/.605/.917 in 8 games), but I’m more interested in hearing about how he’s looked defensively. The bat is one I believe in without question, but if he can hang in outfield corner as some have speculated then his stock will shoot up. Reports on his body and athleticism will be big.

It’s impossible for me to not comment on one of this draft’s most interesting prospects, Bo Thompson. I’ll throw down five imaginary internet dollars that he’s an Astro (if signable) by mid-summer. The 5-10, 255 pound round mound of [clever rhyming word that denotes plate discipline] walked twice as often as he struck out last season all while putting up a .325/.493/.613 schedule/park adjusted line.

AJ Reed feels right where he is, but any spot on a prospect ranking does a disservice to what kind of college player he is. He’s a legit two-way prospect with big league tools both at first and on the mound. I’ve gone back and forth on his eventual home since his first day at Kentucky, but his crazy hot start to 2014 as a hitter has me leaning that way.

You may have noticed that the top name on the list hasn’t been written about in this space yet. I’ve always been at a loss as to what to say about the best prospects in each year’s draft class. There are only so many ways to say “he’s good” without sounding like a fool. I’ll give it a shot anyway. Kyle Schwarber is a really gifted hitter who, solely in terms of amateur prospect stock, reminds me a good deal of CJ Cron. Cron was another college catcher expected to move to first base professionally. The popular comp for Cron in his draft year is the same as one I’ve heard mentioned for Schwarber as well: Paul Konerko. The slightly less popular comp for Schwarber but one that I see gaining steam as we get closer to June: left-handed hitting Mike Napoli (think Aaron Fitt has been using that one). I held the minority view that Cron could be a passable catcher in the pros with work, so it should be no shock I feel the same way about Schwarber. That said, if my job depended on it, I’d probably want Schwarber to move out from behind the dish as soon as possible in order to get his bat to the big leagues in a hurry. That’s where the Konerko and Napoli comps really work. It also makes me wonder how legitimate the whole “moving off of catcher to hurry along the bat” argument is; true, common sense seems to be a point in its favor, but I’d love to see a real study done on the matter. No idea how you’d even begin to figure something like that out, as there are so many variables at play and no clear way to find a control group without opening up alternate universes or something. Pouring one out for Jeff Clement tonight.

The meanest thing I’ve heard a scout say about Schwarber is that he reminded him far too much of Rich Poythress for his liking. Beyond that, there’s been nothing but praise about the bat. Kiley McDaniel has compared him to both Travis Hafner and DJ Peterson. Perfect Game has mentioned the name Matt Nokes. One unique name that I heard – and my favorite player when I was ten years old and way too into playing World Series Baseball for Game Gear – is former Oriole Chris Hoiles. Any of those outcomes would be more than fair value for where he’s expected to go (mid-first ceiling) in the draft. So, yeah, four hundred plus words later we’ve reached our conclusion: he’s good.

37 first basemen from four-year colleges were selected last June beginning with Daniel Palka at 3-88 and ending with Cody Yount at 37-1113. Here is almost three times that amount for your consideration…

  1. Indiana JR 1B/C Kyle Schwarber
  2. Wichita State JR 1B Casey Gillaspie
  3. Indiana JR 1B/OF Sam Travis
  4. Cal State Fullerton JR 1B/RHP JD Davis
  5. Kentucky JR 1B/LHP AJ Reed
  6. TCU JR 1B Kevin Cron
  7. Nevada JR 1B/3B Austin Byler
  8. Ohio JR 1B Jake Madsen
  9. Mississippi State JR 1B Wes Rea
  10. Vanderbilt rSO 1B Zander Wiel
  11. Rice JR 1B/C Skyler Ewing
  12. Buffalo rSO 1B/3B Tyler Mautner
  13. Michigan State JR 1B Ryan Krill
  14. Ohio State SO 1B/OF Zach Ratcliff
  15. Grand Canyon JR 1B/OF Rouric Bridgewater
  16. Duke rJR 1B Chris Marconcini
  17. Georgia Tech JR 1B/C AJ Murray
  18. Central Florida JR 1B/OF James Vasquez
  19. UC Irvine JR 1B Connor Spencer
  20. The Citadel JR 1B Bo Thompson
  21. Hawaii SR 1B Marc Flores
  22. UC Santa Barbara rJR 1B Tyler Kuresa
  23. Texas A&M JR 1B/C Cole Lankford
  24. Wake Forest rSR 1B/LHP Matt Conway
  25. James Madison SR 1B Conner Brown
  26. Portland rJR 1B/OF Turner Gill
  27. New Mexico JR 1B/OF Ryan Padilla
  28. East Tennessee State SR 1B/LHP Clint Freeman
  29. Long Beach State SR 1B/OF Ino Patron
  30. Washington JR 1B Trevor Mitsui
  31. Towson JR 1B/3B Brendan Butler
  32. Florida State JR 1B John Nogowski
  33. Louisiana State JR 1B/C Tyler Moore
  34. Mercer SR 1B Nick Backlund
  35. Louisiana-Lafayette SR 1B/3B Chase Compton
  36. Presbyterian SR 1B/C Brad Zebedis
  37. Kansas State rJR 1B/LHP Shane Conlon
  38. Nevada JR 1B/LHP Kewby Meyer
  39. Texas A&M SO 1B/RHP Hunter Melton
  40. Oklahoma State SR 1B/RHP Tanner Krietemeier
  41. Louisville SR 1B/OF Jeff Gardner
  42. Western Carolina SR 1B/C Adam Martin
  43. Seton Hall JR 1B/OF Sal Annunziata
  44. Central Michigan rJR 1B Cody Leichman
  45. South Carolina JR 1B Kyle Martin
  46. Tennessee SR 1B/OF Scott Price
  47. Clemson SR 1B/OF Jon McGibbon
  48. Lipscomb JR 1B/RHP Griffin Moore
  49. Tulane JR 1B/3B Tyler Wilson
  50. San Jose State SR 1B Matt Carroll
  51. Northeastern JR 1B Rob Fonseca
  52. UNC Wilmington JR 1B Corey Dick
  53. St. Mary’s JR 1B/LHP Collin Ferguson
  54. Northern Colorado SR 1B/LHP Nick Miller
  55. Texas State SR 1B Austin O’Neal
  56. Samford SR 1B/OF Caleb Bryson
  57. Appalachian State rSO 1B/OF Alex Leach
  58. San Francisco SR 1B/C Zachary Turner
  59. Eastern Michigan SR 1B Lee Longo
  60. West Virginia SR 1B Ryan McBroom
  61. Houston rSR 1B Casey Grayson
  62. Minnesota rSR 1B/OF Dan Olinger
  63. Sacramento State JR 1B/OF Rhys Hoskins
  64. North Dakota JR 1B/RHP Jeff Campbell
  65. Western Carolina JR 1B/LHP Jacob Hoyle
  66. Texas A&M JR 1B/OF GR Hinsley
  67. Alabama SR 1B Austen Smith
  68. Texas State JR 1B/OF Colby Targun
  69. Prairie View A&M SR 1B Dominiq Harris
  70. California rSR 1B Devon Rodriguez
  71. UCLA JR 1B/3B Chris Keck
  72. Tennessee Tech SR 1B Zach Stephens
  73. Southeast Missouri State SR 1B Matt Tellor
  74. Maine SR 1B/3B Alex Calbick
  75. McNeese State SR 1B/3B Taylor Drake
  76. Liberty JR 1B/3B Alex Close
  77. Arkansas-Pine Bluff JR 1B/LHP Andre Davis
  78. Canisius JR 1B/3B Connor Panas
  79. New Jersey Tech SR 1B Tom Bouck
  80. Stony Brook SR 1B/LHP Kevin Courtney
  81. Canisius SR 1B Jimmy Luppens
  82. Mississippi JR 1B/C Sikes Orvis
  83. North Florida SR 1B/C Ryan Roberson
  84. South Carolina rSR 1B Brison Celek
  85. Washington JR 1B Branden Berry
  86. Wisconsin-Milwaukee SR 1B/OF Ryan Solberg
  87. Xavier rJR 1B/OF Brian Bruening
  88. Sam Houston State JR 1B Ryan O’Hearn
  89. Morehead State JR 1B Kane Sweeney
  90. North Carolina Greensboro JR 1B Aaron Wright
  91. Georgia State SR 1B Nic Wilson
  92. Dartmouth SR 1B Dustin Selzer
  93. McNeese State SR 1B Chayse Marion
  94. Norfolk State SR 1B Zach Markel
  95. Samford SR 1B/LHP Patrick McGavin
  96. North Dakota State SR 1B/C Kyle Kleinendorst
  97. Nicholls State rSR 1B/3B Tyler Duplantis
  98. Navy SR 1B Kash Manzelli
  99. Wofford rSR 1B Seth Neely
  100. Cornell SR 1B Ryan Plantier
  101. Yale SR 1B Jacob Hunter
  102. Arkansas rJR 1B Eric Fisher
  103. Lehigh SR 1B Tyler Brong

2014 MLB Draft (And Beyond) – Big West Follow List

One of the few questions I occasionally get asked is often the simple “I’m seeing ______ this weekend. Do they have anybody worth watching?” Here’s your answer for the Big West…

Cal Poly

rJR RHP Reed Reilly
JR LHP Matt Imhof
JR RHP Bryan Granger
JR LHP Taylor Chris
SR 3B/2B Jimmy Allen
JR OF Nick Torres
SR C Chris Hoo
SR 1B/OF Tim Wise
JR OF Jordan Ellis
JR OF Zack Zehner
JR OF Alex Michaels
SO RHP Casey Bloomquist (2015)
SO C Brian Mundell (2015)
SO SS Peter Van Gansen (2015)
FR RHP Justin Calomeni (2016)
FR LHP Slater Lee (2016)

Cal State Fullerton

rJR RHP Grahamm Wiest
JR RHP Koby Gauna
JR LHP Tyler Peitzmeier
JR RHP Willie Kuhl
JR 1B/RHP JD Davis
JR 3B/RHP Matt Chapman
JR OF Clay Williamson
JR OF Austin Diemer
SR SS/OF Keegan Dale
SR OF Greg Velazquez
SR C Jared Deacon
SO RHP Justin Garza (2015)
SO RHP Thomas Eshelman (2015)
SO 1B Tanner Pinkston (2015)
SO 2B/SS Jake Jefferies (2015)
SO LHP Bryan Conant (2015)
SO OF Tyler Stieb (2015)
SO C AJ Kennedy (2015)
SO OF/INF David Olmedo-Barrera (2015)
rFR RHP Shane Stillwagon (2015)
FR RHP Phil Bickford (2016)
FR RHP Ryan Kayoda (2016)
FR SS Timmy Richards (2016)
FR RHP Chad Hockin (2016)
FR 3B/SS Taylor Bryant (2016)
FR INF Christian Rossi (2016)
FR OF Marcus Vidales (2016)
FR C/1B Niko Pacheco (2016)

Cal State Northridge

rSR RHP Shay Maltese
SR RHP Michael Coates
rJR RHP Kyle Ferramola
rSO RHP Jordan Johnson
JR LHP Jerry Keel
rJR RHP Louis Cohen
JR RHP Brandon Warner
SR LHP John Salas
rJR OF Chester Pak
JR OF Daniel Timmerman
JR C Nick Murphy
JR INF Michael Livingston
SO RHP Calvin Copping (2015)

Hawaii

SR 1B Marc Flores
JR OF Keao Aliviado
JR OF Jordan Richartz
JR 2B Stephen Ventimilia
JR C/1B Trevor Podratz
JR LHP Scott Squier
rJR LHP Jarrett Arakawa
rJR LHP Andrew Jones
JR LHP Lawrence Chew
SR RHP Matt Cooper
rFR LHP Quintin Torres-Costa (2015)
FR OF/2B Marcus Doi (2016)
FR RHP Eric Gleese (2016)

Long Beach State

JR LHP Nick Sabo
SR RHP Josh Frye
SR LHP Jake Stassi
rJR LHP Ryan Strufing
rSR RHP Ryan Millison
rJR RHP Kyle Friedrichs
JR LHP Cameron Pongs
JR RHP Jason Alexander
JR OF/1B Richard Prigatano
SR 3B/SS Michael Hill
SR 1B/OF Ino Patron
rJR OF Johnny Bekakis
JR C Alex Bishop
SO 3B Zack Rivera (2015)
SO C Eric Hutting (2015)
FR SS Garrett Hampson (2016)

UC Davis

SR RHP Harry Stanwyck
JR RHP Spencer Koopmans
rJR RHP Craig Lanza
rJR RHP Robert Parucha
JR OF Kevin Barker
SR 3B/2B Steve Patterson
SR SS Adam Young
rJR 2B/OF Tino Lipson
rJR 1B/3B Nick Lynch
SO LHP/1B Spencer Henderson (2015)
SO C Cameron Olson (2015)
FR RHP Zach Stone (2016)

UC Irvine

rSR RHP Mitch Merten
rSR RHP Evan Brock
SR LHP Jimmy Litchfield
SR RHP Andrew Morales
JR LHP Evan Manarino
JR 1B Connor Spencer
JR 3B Taylor Sparks
JR C/SS Chris Rabago
rJR C Jerry McClanahan
JR C Raul Silva-Martinez
JR OF Kris Paulino
rSO INF Jonathan Munoz
SO OF Jonathan Herkins (2015)
rFR INF Andrew Martinez (2015)
rFR OF Evan Cassolato (2015)
FR OF Adam Alcantra (2016)

UC Riverside

JR LHP Kevin Sprague
SR RHP Jacob Smigelski
SR LHP Dylan Stuart
SR RHP Joie Dunyon
JR LHP Antonio Gonzales
SR LHP Ben Doucette
SR RHP Zach Varela
rSR OF David Andriese
JR 2B/SS Alex Rubanowitz
JR 3B/SS Nick Vilter
JR 2B/OF Joe Chavez
SR 1B/OF Cody Hough
SO C Matthew Ellis (2015)
FR INF Mark Contreras (2016)

UC Santa Barbara

rJR 1B Tyler Kuresa
rSR OF/1B Joe Epperson
JR OF Cameron Newell
rJR 2B/OF Woody Woodward
JR LHP/1B Greg Mahle
JR LHP Andrew Vasquez
JR RHP Austin Pettibone
SO RHP Dillon Tate (2015)
SO RHP Dylan Hecht (2015)
SO LHP Justin Jacome (2015)
SO RHP/3B Robby Nesovic (2015)
SO OF Andrew Calica (2015)
SO RHP Connor Baits (2015)
SO SS Devon Gradford (2015)
SO RHP Kenny Chapman (2015)
SO LHP Domenic Mazza (2015)
FR OF Josh Adams (2016)
FR SS Brody Weiss (2016)
FR C Dempsey Grover (2016)
FR RHP Shane Bieber (2016)

2014 MLB Draft College Catcher Follow List (and Ranking)

Mark Zagunis and Max Pentecost are both exceptional athletes for the position. Heck, forget position: both are really good athletes full stop. The latter is the better bet to stick behind the plate as a pro – there are really no questions there – but the former has more present power, a more disciplined approach, and comparable defensive upside. Zagunis needs more work behind the plate, but the strides that he has made since enrolling at Virginia Tech have made me a believer that he’ll keep working to get there. The bat will play anywhere, but, man, it’ll look so much better if he’s an average or better backstop. More on Pentecost, the internet’s consensus top catching prospect from earlier…

You can’t really follow amateur ball and not love what JR C Max Pentecost brings to the table. Catchers who flash all five tools (none worse than average) who are assured to stick behind the plate long-term have that kind of effect on people. I’ve long posited a theory that there are two central types of amateur catching prospects: plus arm/plus power oversized (and often stiff) all-or-nothing players and well-rounded, athletic smaller framed players. Pentecost clearly falls more into the latter group than the former. He’s really athletic, runs well (and not just for a catcher, either!), and throws well. I’m lighter on the bat that most – though average hit tool and average raw power are nothing to dismiss, especially for a catcher – but that’s more of a product of me being not 100% ready to buy his outstanding run on the Cape this summer as the “real” Pentecost. If that power spike is real, and many smarter than me seem to have bought in, I could see Pentecost getting some warranted Jonathan Lucroy comps. That would make him a no-brainer first rounder, right?

Chris Harvey is a really difficult prospect to pin down, in no small part to the limited playing time he’s received through two full seasons at Vanderbilt. He’s different from the well-rounded, plus running (for the position) duo discussed in the preceding paragraph: Harvey’s game is built around power upside, arm strength, and brute strength, something he does not lack one bit in his 6-5, 220 pound frame. I’ve written a lot about those two main catcher archetypes over the years and this year’s class does not lack for each type. We have Zagunis, Pentecost, and Brett Austin on one side, and Harvey and Aramis Garcia on the other. These are imperfect categories, of course, as Zagunis has showed as much present power as any other 2014 college catcher (save Garcia) and Harvey is a really underrated athlete in his own right, but we’ve chosen our narrative so might as well run with it.

Grayson Greiner is easy to like on paper, especially if you like his defense as much as I do (more than most, I concede), but he’s one of those rare amateurs that it helps to watch up close and talk to those who’ve played with him to fully appreciate. He’s talented enough to eventually emerge as a starting caliber professional catcher, but, failing that, he’s still the kind of person you want on your 25-man roster in some capacity. I’ve heard but not seen firsthand the same things about Wayne Taylor. Both profile as high-floor backup backstops at minimum.

Riley Moore was a big prep favorite who has more than held his own collegiately so far. Bre’shon Kimbell is another former famous high school prospect who could move up boards with a big spring. Tyler Baker (compact frame but really good athleticism and one of college ball’s biggest performance jumps between year one and two portend good things to come) and Shane Zeile are converted infielders with ample defensive upside.

I mentioned this in an earlier post on catchers, but the ACC really is stacked this year. If you’re at an ACC game, chances are you are witnessing a future professional catcher. Zagunis, Boulware, and Austin are the most famous, but Garrett Kennedy (unheralded prospect who just keeps getting better) and Nate Irving (if you believe in his defensive tools as I do) bear watching.

Speaking solely about defense, I think there are very few players who may be asked to move out from the plate professionally. It’s hard to say if that’s because of a stronger than usual defensive bunch or due to my rankings weighing that side of the game more heavily than in years past. Zagunis could be moved to an outfield spot if a team wanted to get his bat to the bigs as quickly as possible, but I think that’s unlikely. Harvey and Greiner both have the size that may scare teams away (again, not likely as both players would lose most of their value at any other spot), and Gushue’s slow and steady defensive improvement may not have come quick enough for some teams to buy him as a pro catcher. Kimbell and Kevin Krause are rough around the edges but show promise, and Nate Causey and Wade Wass may be better as first basemen in the long run.

Connor Joe (if his defense holds up), Kyle Pollock (if his hit tool plays), and Chase Griffin (if he can tap into his big raw power) all could be big risers with big springs.

  1. Virginia Tech JR C/OF Mark Zagunis
  2. Florida International JR C Aramis Garcia
  3. Kennesaw State JR C Max Pentecost
  4. South Carolina JR C Grayson Greiner
  5. Vanderbilt C Chris Harvey
  6. Clemson JR C/OF Garrett Boulware
  7. North Carolina State JR C Brett Austin
  8. Arizona JR C Riley Moore
  9. Florida JR C Taylor Gushue
  10. Stanford JR C Wayne Taylor
  11. Florida JR C Braden Mattson
  12. Rice JR C John Clay Reeves
  13. Miami JR C Garrett Kennedy
  14. Louisiana Tech JR C/3B Bre’shon Kimbell
  15. Virginia JR C Nate Irving
  16. Stony Brook JR C/OF Kevin Krause
  17. Wichita State JR C Tyler Baker
  18. New Mexico JR C Alex Real
  19. UCLA JR C/3B Shane Zeile
  20. Arizona State JR C/1B Nate Causey
  21. Alabama rJR C/1B Wade Wass
  22. Texas SR C Jacob Felts
  23. Auburn SR C Blake Austin
  24. Mercer SR C Austin Barrett
  25. Michigan State JR C/1B Blaise Salter
  26. San Diego JR C/1B Connor Joe
  27. Louisiana-Lafayette rJR C/OF Mike Strentz
  28. Nebraska JR C Tanner Lubach
  29. Stetson JR C Garrett Russini
  30. Evansville JR C Kyle Pollock
  31. Texas-Arlington SR C Greg McCall
  32. Georgia Southern JR C Chase Griffin
  33. Kentucky rSO C Greg Fettes
  34. Pepperdine JR C Kolten Yamaguchi
  35. Florida State JR C Daniel De La Calle
  36. Alabama State JR C Richard Gonzalez
  37. Evansville SR C/1B Jake Mahon
  38. UNLV rSO C Scott Tomassetti
  39. Duke rJR C Mike Rosenfeld
  40. USC JR C Garrett Stubbs
  41. Washington State SR C/OF Collin Slaybaugh
  42. Illinois State SR C Mike Hollenbeck
  43. South Carolina rJR C/OF Patrick Harrington
  44. South Carolina Upstate SR C Luke Weber
  45. High Point JR C Josh Spano
  46. TCU rSO C Ryan Delso
  47. Xavier JR C Derek Hasenbeck
  48. North Dakota SR C Taylor Petersen
  49. Seattle rSR C/OF Ryan Somers
  50. North Dakota SR C Zack Trygstad
  51. Mississippi SR C Will Allen
  52. Wagner JR C Nick Dini
  53. Sam Houston State SR C Anthony Azar
  54. Eastern Michigan SR C/1B Adam Sonabend
  55. USC SR C/1B Jake Hernandez
  56. Michigan SR C Cole Martin
  57. Louisville SR C Kyle Gibson
  58. Kansas SR C/2B Kai’ana Eldredge
  59. Kansas State rSR C Blair DeBord
  60. UC Irvine JR C/SS Chris Rabago
  61. Middle Tennessee State JR C Michael Adkins
  62. Florida Atlantic SR C Levi Meyer
  63. Mississippi JR C Austin Knight
  64. Texas A&M SR C Troy Stein
  65. San Diego State rJR C Brad Haynal
  66. Missouri SR C Dylan Kelly
  67. Stanford SR C Brant Whiting
  68. UC Irvine rJR C Jerry McClanahan
  69. Columbia SR C Mike Fischer
  70. Bradley SR C Austin Jarvis
  71. Cal Poly SR C Chris Hoo
  72. Texas A&M JR C Mitchell Nau
  73. Mississippi State JR C Cody Walker
  74. Texas State rSR C Tyler Pearson
  75. Northwestern State JR C CJ Webster
  76. Louisiana-Lafayette JR C/3B Evan Powell
  77. Dartmouth JR C Matt MacDowell
  78. Sacred Heart SR C Dan Perez
  79. Arkansas SR C Jake Wise
  80. Wofford JR C Matt Ramsay
  81. UNC Wilmington SR C Drew Farber
  82. New Orleans SR C Brian Dixon
  83. Elon rSO C/RHP Michael Elefante
  84. Penn JR C Austin Bossart
  85. Delaware State SR C Mike Alexander
  86. Austin Peay State SR C PJ Torres
  87. Belmont JR C Matt Beaty
  88. Southern JR C/RHP Sam May
  89. Belmont JR C/INF Alec Diamond
  90. Belmont JR C Jamie Ritchie
  91. Eastern Kentucky SR C Sean Hagen
  92. Nebraska-Omaha JR C/OF Alex Mortensen
  93. Lehigh SR C Joe Abeln

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