Atlantic Sun 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Stetson JR C Pat Mazeika
Jacksonville JR 1B Connor Marabell
Florida Gulf Coast rSO 2B Jake Noll
Kennesaw State JR SS Kal Simmons
North Florida SR 3B Trent Higginbothem
North Florida rSO OF Donnie Dewees
Kennesaw State JR OF Alex Liquori
Florida Gulf Coast JR OF Colton Bottomley

Kennesaw State JR RHP Jordan Hillyer
Kennesaw State JR LHP Travis Bergen
Florida Gulf Coast SR RHP Jack English
Florida Gulf Coast JR RHP Michael Murray
North Florida JR RHP Corbin Olmstead

Stetson has a pair of really good catching prospects that should make some serious noise in June. I’ve flip-flopped on each player’s future position multiple times, but people smarter than I seem mostly convinced both JR Pat Mazeika and SR Garrett Russini will stick behind the plate. Mazeika (also a 1B) is one of the college game’s underappreciated bats with an above-average hit tool, above-average raw power, and outstanding plate discipline. Russini (also an OF) is a notch below in every area as a hitter, but no slouch when compared to the rest of this year’s class of college catchers. JR 1B Connor Marabell (Jacksonville) is another strong hitter with a shot to move up boards. If he can convince teams he can play average or better defense in an outfield corner, watch out. Either way, he’s a bat to keep a close eye on. I originally had SR 1B Griffin Moore (Lipscomb) over him, and I think a strong argument could be made for Moore when you factor in his upside on the mound. JR 1B Nick Rivera (Florida Gulf Coast) is a comparable hitter to Marabell even though he doesn’t get quite the acclaim. I guess I’m a bit hypocritical for mentioning that considering I have the latter ranked first and the former ranked third. Whoops. Both guys are good, though!

Sorting through the conference’s unusually deep group of middle infield prospects makes for a fun little rainy day activity. JR SS Kal Simmons (Kennesaw State) appears to be the obvious headliner, but I’m not so sure. In fairness, I haven’t personally seen a lot of Simmons, so I have a harder time taking the word of those who rave about his progress over the summer – of which there are many – at the level I probably ought to. There’s no debate about his fantastic defense – hands, arm, range, everything – and the fact that Baseball America compared his glove (and overall game, but we’ll get back to that) to the recently retired John McDonald definitely says something. He’s going to catch the ball enough to keep getting chances to figure it out at the plate, and it’s pretty clear to anybody who has seen him in the field that as long as he does enough in the box to hit eighth he has a chance to have value as an overall player. That’s pretty big. For as much as I value defense, however, (and I swear I do!) I’d have a hard time taking such a one-dimensional player as high as I think you’d have to take a shot on Simmons. John McDonald had a long, lucrative ($13+ million!) career, so that aforementioned comparison should in no way be taken as a slight on Simmons’ pro prospects in any way. In fact, I think if the gains made over the summer that so many are convinced are real are, you know, really real, then we can start upping the McDonald comps to names like Jack Wilson, Zack Cozart, and Orlando Cabrera. If Simmons can get himself in that offensive range (around 80% of what a league average hitter looks like), then some of the lofty draft talk could be in play.

I’ve used up all my words on Simmons, so we’ll go lighting round with some of the other infield prospects in the conference. Like most players with two full remaining years of eligibility remaining, rSO 2B/3B Jake Noll could be a tough sign unless he hits his way up draft boards this spring. I’m very bullish on that happening, for what it’s worth. Just behind him for me is JR 2B/SS JJ Gould (Jacksonville), a Florida State transfer on the verge of a breakout 2015 season. SR SS Grant Massey (Lipscomb) is the last of the middle infielders I’d consider a draft lock at this point. He’s in position to be a really nice senior sign for a club in need of a steady glove, patient bat (40 BB and 44 K in 2014) and smart base running.

As mentioned, I’m cautiously optimistic that Kal Simmons’ summer breakout will continue into the spring. A better bat combined with his consistently awesome glove would make him the top prospect in the conference in almost any smart person’s eyes. That said, it would take a big spring for him to knock off rSO OF Donnie Dewees from his perch as top A-Sun prospect. I’d like to think that’s because Dewees is just that good because the alternative – I’m just not a smart person – isn’t as fun. Dewees is that good. In a neat twist of fate, the only question I have about Dewees’ game right now is his defense, specifically his future defensive home. He’ll hit enough to be an asset in a corner, but if he can play center then his stock will, in the immortal words of James Brown, get on up. I can buy his speed and arm playing to at least average in center, so it’ll come down to how comfortable he looks in space. Dewees is obviously quite well known in scouting circles, both at the ballparks and right here in internet land, but I still think he’s not getting quite the level of attention a player of his caliber warrants at this stage of the draft process. Too many people know and like him for me to stake any claim on him, but he’s an all-caps FAVORITE on my board whom I’m very excited to see at some point between now and the close of the season.

Kennesaw State’s pair of aces gives them a gigantic head start on the rest of the conference. JR RHP Jordan Hillyer and JR LHP Travis Bergen are very similar pitchers physically, stylistically, and statistically. Both guys are around the same size (6-0, 200 pounds, give or take), work in the same velocity range (86ish to 93ish), throw the same quality softer offspeed stuff (average or better changeups) and harder offspeed stuff (above-average to plus mid-80s cutters/cut-sliders/whatever you want to call its). The only major differences are Hillyer’s ability to spin a curve and more deceptive delivery. You could also tack on Bergen’s lefthandedness and his more advanced command and control, the latter of which is among the best in all of college baseball. It’s hard to say where they’ll eventually wind up, but both seem to fit the back-end starter or surprisingly quick-moving and effective reliever prospect profile pretty well.

The Florida Gulf Coast pair of arms right below are no slouches by comparison. SR RHP Jack English can throw any of his four average or better pitches for strikes in any count and JR RHP Michael Murray has been able to combine good stuff with great pitchability to keep very effectively keep runs off the board (1.85 ERA in 107 IP last year). There’s enough depth in pitching in the conference that an all-caps FAVORITE like JR RHP Corbin Olmstead (North Florida) barely cracks the top five, a 6-6 lefthander who lives in the low-90s falls even lower than that (Lipscomb SR LHP Nick Andros), and striking out a batter an inning with nice stuff barely gets you on the board at all (Stetson rJR RHP Tyler Warmoth). I could also go on about the entirety of the Lipscomb staff (Andros, rSR RHP Will Blalock and his mid-90s heat, rSO RHP Dalton Curtis bringing serious untapped upside to the party) or how it’s a particularly intriguing year for two-way talent in the league (Moore, Olmstead, Florida Gulf Coast rJR RHP/OF Brady Anderson and rSR RHP/SS Alex Diaz, Stetson SR RHP/1B Josh Powers), but the season starts soon and I have what feels like one hundred more conferences to get to.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. North Florida rSO OF Donnie Dewees
  2. Kennesaw State JR SS Kal Simmons
  3. Stetson JR C/1B Pat Mazeika
  4. Jacksonville JR 1B/OF Connor Marabell
  5. Florida Gulf Coast rSO 2B/3B Jake Noll
  6. Kennesaw State JR OF Alex Liquori
  7. Lipscomb SR SS Grant Massey
  8. Stetson SR C/OF Garrett Russini
  9. Lipscomb SR 1B/RHP Griffin Moore
  10. Florida Gulf Coast JR 1B Nick Rivera
  11. North Florida SR 3B Trent Higginbothem
  12. Jacksonville JR 2B/SS JJ Gould
  13. Northern Kentucky JR C Logan Spurlin
  14. Florida Gulf Coast JR OF Colton Bottomley
  15. Lipscomb SR OF Jonathan Allison
  16. Stetson JR OF/RHP Kevin Fagan
  17. Jacksonville JR OF Dylan Dillard
  18. Stetson JR SS/2B Tyler Bocock
  19. South Carolina Upstate JR OF James Fowlkes
  20. North Florida rSO SS Patrick Ervin
  21. Northern Kentucky SR OF Cole Bauml
  22. Florida Gulf Coast SR C Blake Berger
  23. Kennesaw State SR 1B Colin Bennett
  24. Jacksonville SR SS Angelo Amendolare
  25. North Florida JR 2B/SS Kyle Brooks
  26. South Carolina Upstate JR 3B Jake Beaver
  27. Lipscomb rSO C Tyler Bethune
  28. Jacksonville SR OF Cameron Gibson
  29. Lipscomb SR 2B/SS Mike Korte
  30. Florida Gulf Coast JR OF Tyler Selesky

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching 

  1. Kennesaw State JR RHP Jordan Hillyer
  2. Kennesaw State JR LHP Travis Bergen
  3. Florida Gulf Coast SR RHP Jack English
  4. Florida Gulf Coast JR RHP Michael Murray
  5. North Florida JR RHP/1B Corbin Olmstead
  6. Florida Gulf Coast rJR RHP/OF Brady Anderson
  7. Lipscomb SR LHP Nick Andros
  8. Lipscomb rSR RHP Will Blalock
  9. Kennesaw State SR LHP Will Solomon
  10. Florida Gulf Coast SR LHP Nick Deckert
  11. Florida Gulf Coast JR RHP Jordan Desguin
  12. Lipscomb rSO RHP Dalton Curtis
  13. Kennesaw State SR RHP Nathan Harsh
  14. Kennesaw State JR RHP Kendall Hawkins
  15. Lipscomb rJR RHP Jaesung Hwang
  16. Florida Gulf Coast rSR RHP/SS Alex Diaz
  17. Stetson JR RHP Josh Thorne
  18. Stetson rJR RHP Ben Rakus
  19. Stetson rJR RHP Tyler Warmoth
  20. Stetson SR RHP/1B Josh Powers
  21. Lipscomb SR RHP Ian Martinez-McGraw

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Atlantic Sun Follow List

Florida Gulf Coast

SR RHP Jack English (2015)
JR RHP Michael Murray (2015)
SR LHP Nick Deckert (2015)
SR LHP Andris Gonzalez (2015)
JR RHP Jordan Desguin (2015)
rJR RHP/OF Brady Anderson (2015)
rSR RHP/SS Alex Diaz (2015)
SR OF Adam Eggnatz (2015)
JR 1B Nick Rivera (2015)
JR OF Colton Bottomley (2015)
SR C Blake Berger (2015)
JR OF Tyler Selesky (2015)
rSO 2B/3B Jake Noll (2015)
SO OF Gage Morey (2016)
SO RHP Sterling Koerner (2016)
SO RHP Garrett Anderson (2016)
SO RHP Mario Leon (2016)
FR LHP Devin Smeltzer (2017)
FR 2B Matt Reardon (2017)

Jacksonville

JR OF Dylan Dillard (2015)
SR OF Cameron Gibson (2015)
JR OF Parker Perez (2015)
JR OF Nate Ricci (2015)
JR 1B/OF Connor Marabell (2015)
SR SS Angelo Amendolare (2015)
JR OF Michael Babb (2015)
JR 2B/SS JJ Gould (2015)
SR RHP Jeff Tanner (2015)
rJR LHP Casey Kulina (2015)
JR LHP/OF Josh Baker (2015)
JR RHP Ryan Quintero (2015)
SO RHP Nathan Disch (2016)
SO OF Austin Hays (2016)
FR RHP Michael Baumann (2017)
FR RHP Spencer Stockton (2017)

Kennesaw State

JR RHP Jordan Hillyer (2015)
JR LHP Travis Bergen (2015)
SR LHP Will Solomon (2015)
SR RHP Nathan Harsh (2015)
JR RHP Kendall Hawkins (2015)
JR SS Kal Simmons (2015)
JR OF Alex Liquori (2015)
JR C Brennan Morgan (2015)
rSR 1B/OF Chris McGowan (2015)
SR 1B Colin Bennett (2015)
SR OF Justin Motley (2015)
SO SS/2B Cornell Nixon (2016)
SO RHP Gabe Friese (2016)
SO LHP Chris Erwin (2016)
SO RHP Jordan VerSteeg (2016):
SO 3B Jeremy Howell (2016):
FR RHP AJ Moore (2017)
FR RHP Tony Dibrell (2017)
FR RHP Logan Hutchinson (2017)
FR RHP Logan Hicks (2017)
FR C Griffin Helms (2017)

Lipscomb

SR OF Jonathan Allison (2015)
SR SS Grant Massey (2015)
rSR OF Josh Lee (2015)
SR 2B/SS Mike Korte (2015)
rSO C Tyler Bethune (2015)
SR 1B/RHP Griffin Moore (2015)
SR 1B/RHP Tyson Ashcraft (2015)
rJR RHP Jaesung Hwang (2015)
rSR RHP Will Blalock (2015)
rSO RHP Dalton Curtis (2015)
SR RHP Ian Martinez-McGraw (2015)
JR RHP Denton Norman (2015)
SR LHP Nick Andros (2015)
SR LHP Jason Ziegler (2015)
rJR LHP Cody Glenn (2015)
SO LHP John Pryor (2016)
SO 2B Hunter Hanks (2016)
FR RHP Kyle Kemp (2017)

North Florida

rSO OF Donnie Dewees (2015)
JR C Keith Skinner (2015)
SR 3B Trent Higginbothem (2015)
rSR OF Alex Bacon (2015)
JR 2B/SS Kyle Brooks (2015)
rSO SS Patrick Ervin (2015)
SR C James Abbatinozzi (2015)
JR RHP/1B Corbin Olmstead (2015)
SR RHP Dan VanSickle (2015)
rSR RHP Tyler Moore (2015)
SO RHP Bryan Baker (2016)
SO C Alex Merritt (2016)
FR RHP Brad Depperman (2017)
FR RHP Connor Andrews (2017)
FR RHP Pearson McMahan (2017)

Northern Kentucky

SR LHP Cody Cooper (2015)
rJR RHP Alex Bolia (2015)
JR RHP Aric Harris (2015)
JR C Logan Spurlin (2015)
SR OF Cole Bauml (2015)
rJR C Cody Kuzniczci (2015)
SO SS Kyle Colletta (2016)
SO RHP Jake Shaw (2016)

South Carolina Upstate

SR OF Stephen Dowling (2015)
SR 2B/OF Erik Samples (2015)
JR OF James Fowlkes (2015)
JR 3B Jake Beaver (2015)
JR RHP Cody Brittain (2015)
JR RHP Tyler Jackson (2015)
SR RHP Dylan Parker (2015)
SR RHP Tresco Shannon (2015)
SO RHP Jordan Miller (2016)
SO RHP Bryan Hathaway (2016)
SO RHP Brian Boocock (2016)
SO 1B Zach Krider (2016)
FR OF JJ Shimko (2017)

Stetson

SR C/OF Garrett Russini (2015)
JR C/1B Pat Mazeika (2015)
JR SS/2B Tyler Bocock (2015)
SR 3B Kyle Pitts (2015)
rJR OF Cory Reid (2015)
rSO 1B/OF Vance Vizcaino (2015)
JR 1B Will Mackenzie (2015)
JR OF/RHP Kevin Fagan (2015)
SR RHP/1B Josh Powers (2015)
rJR RHP Ben Rakus (2015)
rJR RHP Tyler Warmoth (2015)
JR RHP Josh Thorne (2015)
JR LHP Adam Schaly (2015)
SO RHP Walker Sheller (2016)
SO RHP Mitchell Jordan (2016)
FR LHP Ben Onyshko (2017)

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Atlantic 10 Follow List

Davidson

SR RHP Clark Beeker (2015)
SR LHP Rob Bain (2015)
SR RHP Matt Saeta (2015)
SR RHP Nick Neitzel (2015)
JR RHP Durin O’Linger (2015)
SR 1B/RHP Ryan Lowe (2015)
JR OF/RHP Andrew Pope (2015)
SR OF Nathan Becker (2015)
SR OF Ty Middlebrooks (2015)
JR 2B/SS Sam Foy (2015)
SR 3B David Daniels (2015)
SR 2B Ben Arkin (2015)
JR OF Lee Miller (2015)
SO RHP Cody White (2016)

Dayton

SR 1B AJ Ryan (2015)
rSR OF Alex Harris (2015)
JR OF/1B Aaron Huesman (2015)
rSR 2B Sergio Plasencia (2015)
rSR RHP Noah Buettgen (2015)
JR RHP Charlie Dant (2015)
JR RHP Nick Weybright (2015)

Fordham

JR C Charles Galiano (2015)
JR 2B Joseph Runco (2015)
JR OF Ryan McNally (2015)
JR RHP Brett Kennedy (2015)
JR RHP Cody Johnson (2015)
JR RHP Jimmy Murphy (2015)
JR RHP Joseph Serrapica (2015)
SO OF/C Mark Donadio (2016)
SO RHP/SS Luke Stampfl (2016)
SO RHP Kirk Haynes (2016)
SO LHP Makay Redd (2016)
SO 1B Matthew Kozuch (2016)

George Washington

SR C/OF Xavier Parkmond (2015)
SR OF Ryan Xepoleas (2015)
JR RHP Bobby LeWarne (2015)
SO RHP Eddie Muhl (2016)
SO OF Joey Bartosic (2016)
SO 3B Bobby Campbell (2015)

George Mason

SR OF Luke Willis (2015)
JR 2B/SS Brandon Gum (2015)
SR C Ray Toto (2015)
SR RHP John Williams (2015)
rSO RHP Tyler Mocabee (2015)
JR RHP Mark Maksimow (2015)
rSR LHP Jake Kalish (2015)
rSR RHP Taylor Hunt (2015)
JR LHP Evan Porcella (2015)
SO RHP Tyler Zombro (2016)

La Salle

SR OF Justin Korenblatt (2015)
SR 3B Cameron Johnson (2015)
SR 2B Josh Savakinus (2015)
SR 1B/RHP Mark Williams (2015)
JR 1B/RHP Joey Ravert (2015)
SR OF/LHP Justin Korenblatt (2015)
rSR RHP Adam Cherry (2015)
JR RHP Tom Fazzini (2015)
rSO RHP Greg Krug (2015)
SO RHP Andrew Craig (2016)

Massachusetts

rSR OF Adam Picard (2015)
rSR OF Kyle Adie (2015)
JR 1B/C John Jennings (2015)
JR RHP/C Brandon Walsh (2015)
SR RHP Andrew Grant (2015)
SO RHP Ryan Moloney (2016)
SO 1B/RHP Mike Geannelis (2016)

Rhode Island

SR SS Tim Caputo (2015)
SR OF Nick DeRegis (2015)
rJR C Derek Gardella (2015)
rSO OF Mike Corin (2015)
SR OF Mike Sherburne (2015)
JR LHP Steve Moyers (2015)
JR RHP Lou Distasio (2015)
rSO RHP Ben Wessel (2015)
rSR RHP Brendan Doonan (2015)
JR RHP Brad Applin (2015)
SO RHP Taso Stathopoulos (2016)
SO C/3B Martin Taveras (2016)
rFR 3B/1B Chris Hess (2016)

Richmond

SR RHP Ryan Cook (2015)
rSR LHP Chris Bates (2015)
SR LHP Zak Sterling (2015)
rJR RHP Jonathan de Marte (2015)
SR RHP Ray Harron (2015)
SR RHP James Lively (2015)
JR RHP Peter Bayer (2015)
rSR LHP Dylan Stoops (2015)
SR LHP Zach Grossfeld (2015)
rSO 1B Matt Dacey (2015)
JR OF Tanner Stanley (2015)
JR 1B Doug Kraeger (2015)
JR OF Tyler Beckwith (2015)
JR OF Jansen Fraser (2015)
JR C Aaron Newman (2015)

St. Bonaventure

JR RHP Steven Klimek (2015)
JR RHP Connor Grey (2015)
JR RHP Drew Teller (2015)
JR SS/RHP Thad Johnson (2015)
SR OF Tyler Bell (2015)
SR C Dylan Dunn (2015)
rJR OF Bret Heath (2015)
SR OF Jonathan Diaz (2015)
SO 2B Jared Baldinelli (2016)
SO C Bradley Gresock (2016)

St. Joseph’s

SR RHP Tim Ponto (2015)
SR RHP James Harrity (2015)
JR LHP Jack Stover (2015)
SR RHP Lansing Veeder (2015)
SR OF Ryan Pater (2015)
SR 3B Stefan Kancylarz (2015)
SO RHP Tyler Pallante (2016)
SO RHP Steve Powles (2016)
SO RHP Ryan Kelly (2016)

Saint Louis

JR 3B Braxton Martinez (2015)
SR 1B Mike Vigliarolo (2015)
JR C Jake Henson (2015)
JR OF Michael Bozarth (2015)
SR OF Danny Murphy (2015)
SR C/OF Colton Frabasilio (2015)
rSR LHP Damian Rivera (2015)
SR RHP Nick Bates (2015)
rSR RHP Clay Smith (2015)
JR LHP Josh Moore (2015)
JR RHP Matt Eckelman (2015)
SO RHP Nick Vichio (2016)
SO LHP Brett Shimanovsky (2016)
SO RHP Robert Plohr (2016)
SO RHP Zach Girrens (2016)
SO INF Michael Cusenza (2016)
SO INF Danny Mannion (2016)

Virginia Commonwealth

SR SS Vimael Machin (2015)
JR OF James Bunn (2015)
JR OF Cody Acker (2015)
SR LHP Heath Dwyer (2015)
SR LHP Matt Lees (2015)
SR LHP JoJo Howie (2015)
SR RHP Daniel Concepcion (2015)
SR RHP Matt Blanchard (2015)
SR RHP Thomas Gill (2015)
SR RHP Tyler Buckley (2015)
SO OF Logan Farrar (2016)
SO 2B/SS Matt Davis (2016)
SO 1B/3B Darian Carpenter (2016)
SO LHP Matt Jamer (2016)
FR RHP Garrett Pearson (2017)

Atlantic 10 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Fordham JR C Charles Galiano
Richmond rSO 1B Matt Dacey
George Mason JR 2B Brandon Gum
Virginia Commonwealth SR SS Vimael Machin
Saint Louis JR 3B Braxton Martinez
Richmond JR OF Tanner Stanley
Davidson JR OF Lee Miller
Richmond JR OF Jansen Fraser
Richmond rSR LHP Chris Bates
Richmond SR RHP Ryan Cook
George Mason rSR LHP Jake Kalish
La Salle rSR RHP Adam Cherry
Rhode Island Jr RHP Brad Applin

There’s always some talent to be found in the Atlantic 10 and the draft class of 2015 has a few names — Braxton Martinez! — that could surprise casual observers with how high they go this June. JR C Charles Galiano (Fordham) shows just enough with the bat to combine with his athleticism, arm strength, and defensive aptitude to give him a potential backup catcher future. There are also an unusual number of potential power bats in the conference; arguably none are better than rSO 1B Matt Dacey (Richmond). His relative inexperience gives hope that he’ll make strides in terms of approach, which would in turn help him further unlock his prodigious raw power. He mashed last year even as he showed signs of that aforementioned raw approach, so the sky is the limit for him as a hitter as he gains experience. A quartet of powerful senior sign first basemen gives the conference a boost of offense and a chance to make some noise in the mid- to late-rounds of the draft. SR 1B Mark Williams (La Salle) is a big man (6-6, 240) with power to match. SR 1B Ryan Lowe (Davidson) brings a little less power and a little more athleticism. SR 1B Mike Vigliarolo (Saint Louis) splits the difference between the two while SR 1B AJ Ryan (Dayton) could be a late bloomer.

The three middle infielders to make the list below all deserve a look in pro ball. What’s most interesting about the trio to me is how SR SS Vimael Machin (VCU) and SR SS Tim Caputo (Rhode Island) serve as instructional comps for JR 2B Brandon Gum (George Mason). I liked Machin and Caputo a fair amount last year as juniors, but fully understood why both wound up back at school this year and find themselves hoping to play their way into the draft as senior signs. What you see is what you get with both players; there’s no carrying tool (or even a clearly above-average one), but, outside of marginal at best power, no obvious weaknesses to their games either. You could do worse in your search for organizational depth, but the fact remains guys like that do not often get selected and signed as juniors. Likewise, Gum has the skill set to be draft-worthy, but I’d actually put him behind both Machin and Caputo at similar stages of development. All of this is a too long way of saying I think Gum has a good shot to be drafted, but not until 2016. For Machin and Caputo, the time is now…or never.

A smarter writer would have led this off with JR 3B Braxton Martinez (Saint Louis) and JR OF Tanner Stanley (Richmond), the unquestioned (in my mind) two best prospects in the league. Instead they find themselves buried here at the bottom of the hitters. Sometimes that’s just how life goes, I suppose. I can’t say enough nice things about Martinez. He’s an outstanding defender at the hot corner with plus hands and a strong arm. He’s also a really mature, powerful young hitter who knows how to use the whole field. Martinez is the kind of player that makes maintaining this site so much fun. He’s relatively unheralded and perhaps a little overlooked nationally, but when it comes time to rank the best third base prospects in the country he’ll get all the attention his talent deserves. Stanley feels even less well known at the national level, but that should change shortly. He’s one of college ball’s better “leadoff profile” position players, checking almost every box you want out of his type of player. Up-the-middle defensive profile? Above-average or better speed? Patient approach? Enough pop to keep opposing pitchers honest? Check, check, check, and check. Really nice prospect.

I think by now my excitement for the A-10’s position players is pretty well established. Martinez and maybe Stanley could grow into big league regulars. There are some interesting power bats at first and in the outfield. There are also some potentially useful utility infielders. All in all, it’s a lot to like. I’m not sure I can be quite as sunny about the pitching. The one-two punch out of Richmond (rSR LHP Chris Bates and SR RHP Ryan Cook) stand out as perhaps the only two pitchers set to be drafted in 2015. Bates is a lefty with size (6-5, 210), a fastball that touches the low-90s, a quality curve, and a strong (when healthy) collegiate track record. Cook is a righthander with a touch more fastball, a quality slider, and a strong collegiate track record. Turns out my subconscious plagiarized me from last year…

In a conference with a ton of relief prospects with big league upside, there’s certainly an argument to be made that JR RHP Ryan Cook is the best. He has the fastball (88-93), above-average SL (82-84), and flashes of dominance to rise up boards with a big spring. Minority, and possibly foolish, opinion: rJR LHP Chris Bates is as good a pro prospect as his more highly acclaimed teammate Cook. Bates sits at a lower velocity (upper-80s, mostly), but can crank it to a similar peak (92-93). His size (6-5, 200 pounds), breaking ball (quality), and performance (9.58 K/9 in 41.1 IP last season) add up to a draftable talent.

Whoever wrote that sure knew his stuff…

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Saint Louis JR 3B Braxton Martinez
  2. Richmond JR OF Tanner Stanley
  3. Davidson JR OF Lee Miller
  4. Richmond rSO 1B Matt Dacey
  5. Virginia Commonwealth SR SS Vimael Machin
  6. St. Joseph’s SR 3B Stefan Kancylarz
  7. Fordham JR C Charles Galiano
  8. Richmond JR OF Jansen Fraser
  9. La Salle SR 1B Mark Williams
  10. Davidson SR 1B Ryan Lowe
  11. Rhode Island SR SS Tim Caputo
  12. George Mason JR 2B/SS Brandon Gum
  13. George Mason SR OF Luke Willis
  14. La Salle SR OF Justin Korenblatt
  15. Saint Louis SR OF Danny Murphy
  16. George Washington SR OF Ryan Xepoleas
  17. Saint Louis SR 1B Mike Vigliarolo
  18. Dayton SR 1B AJ Ryan
  19. Saint Louis JR OF Michael Bozarth
  20. Rhode Island rJR C Derek Gardella

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching 

  1. Richmond rSR LHP Chris Bates
  2. Richmond SR RHP Ryan Cook
  3. George Mason rSR LHP Jake Kalish
  4. La Salle rSR RHP Adam Cherry
  5. Rhode Island JR RHP Brad Applin
  6. Saint Louis rSR LHP Damian Rivera
  7. Fordham JR RHP Brett Kennedy
  8. St. Bonaventure JR RHP Steven Klimek

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – America East Follow List

Albany

SR 3B Joey Tracy (2015)
SR OF Cory Kingston (2015)
JR C Evan Harasta (2015)
SR C Craig Lepre (2015)
JR 3B Matt Hinchy (2015)
SR RHP Cameron Sorgie (2015)
JR RHP Ryan Stinar (2015)
SR RHP Matt Gallup (2015)
rSR LHP Daniel Castro (2015)
SR LHP Andrew Jaurique (2015)
SO RHP Stephen Woods (2016)

Binghamton

rJR RHP Jake Cryts (2015)
SR RHP Mike Urbanski (2015)
JR RHP/OF Mike Bunal (2015)
rSR 1B/3B Brian Ruby (2015)
SR OF/C Jake Thomas (2015)
SR OF Zach Blanden (2015)
JR 3B David Schanz (2015)
SO C Edward Posavec (2016)

Hartford

SR LHP Austin Barnes (2015)
JR RHP Sam McKay (2015)
JR RHP Brian Murphy (2015)
JR RHP Kyle Gauthier (2015)
JR RHP Jacob Mellin (2015)
JR RHP Jeremy Charles (2015)
rSR OF/LHP Ryan Lukach (2015)
JR 2B/SS Aaron Wilson (2015)
JR OF Chris DelDebbio (2015)
SR 1B/OF Brady Sheetz (2015)
JR C/1B Billy Walker (2015)
SO RHP David Drouin (2016)
SO 1B/3B David MacKinnon (2016)
FR C Erik Ostberg (2017)
FR 3B/SS TJ Ward (2017)
FR RHP Ben Brown (2017)

Maine

JR C Kevin Stypulkowski (2015)
JR SS Brett Chappell (2015)
SR OF Brian Doran (2015)
SR OF Sam Balzano (2015)
SR 3B Luke Morrill (2015)
SR LHP/1B Scott Heath (2015)
JR RHP Logan Fullmer (2015)
JR RHP Jake Marks (2015)
JR RHP Charlie Butler (2015)
SR RHP Jacob Gosselin-Deschesnes (2015)
SO RHP Jeff Gelinas (2016)
FR RHP Chris Murphy (2017)
FR RHP Justin Courtney (2017)
FR RHP John Arel (2017)

Stony Brook

JR LHP Tyler Honahan (2015)
rSO LHP Daniel Zamora (2015)
rJR RHP Nick Brass (2015)
JR RHP Tim Knesnik (2015)
JR RHP Chad Lee (2015)
SR SS Cole Peragine (2015)
JR 3B Johnny Caputo (2015)
JR OF Jack Parenty (2015)
SR 2B Robert Chavarria (2015)
SO 1B/OF Casey Baker (2016)
SO RHP Ryley MacEachern (2016)
SO RHP Cameron Stone (2016)
SO OF Toby Handley (2016)

Massachusetts – Lowell

SR OF Geoff DeGroot (2015)
SR 3B Matthew Sanchez (2015)
SR SS Danny Mendick (2015)
JR 1B Matt Mottola (2015)
SR OF Luke Reynolds (2015)
JR OF Joe Consolmagno (2015)
SR RHP Christian Lavoie (2015)
SO 1B/3B Zack Tower (2016)
SO OF/LHP Ian Strom (2016)

UMBC

SR OF/RHP Anthony Gatto (2015)
rJR 3B Mark Esposito (2015)
JR SS Kevin Lachance (2015)
SR 2B Vince Corbi (2015)
SR OF Jake Barnes (2015)
JR LHP Joe Vanderplas (2015)
rSR RHP Shane Vlasic (2015)
rSR RHP Jonny Dierks (2015)
SO C Hunter Dolshun (2016)
SO OF Andrew Casali (2016)

America East 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Albany JR C Evan Harasta
Maine SR 1B Scott Heath
Stony Brook SR 2B Robert Chavarria
Stony Brook SR SS Cole Peragine
Stony Brook JR 3B Johnny Caputo
Binghamton SR OF Jake Thomas
Stony Brook JR OF Jack Parenty
Hartford rSR OF Ryan Lukach
Binghamton SR RHP Mike Urbanski
Stony Brook rSO LHP Daniel Zamora
Stony Brook JR LHP Tyler Honahan
Binghamton JR RHP Mike Bunal
Hartford JR RHP Jacob Mellin

SR SS Cole Peragine (Stony Brook) has been a favorite for years because of a wise beyond his years approach to the game. The upside (minor league depth/utility infielder) is capped by a low functional power ceiling, but every other tool he has plays up due to his fantastic instinctual actions and high baseball IQ. As I was writing this, I had a strange sense of déjà vu wash over me…and then it hit me that I wrote about Peragine last January. Not a ton has changed since then, so let’s do some recycling…

JR SS Cole Peragine is another player I like more than I probably should. He has a steady glove, great instincts on the bases, and a mature approach to hitting. Unfortunately, his pop, identified as both “sneaky” and “surprising” in my notes, hasn’t revealed itself just yet (.379 and .323 SLG) as a collegiate hitter. There’s also the question of whether or not said steady glove fits best at SS or 2B, though I think the answer to that will ultimately come down more to his arm (stretched on the left side, but passable in my view) than anything else.

Rough freshman year aside, I like SO 3B Johnny Caputo’s upside with the bat a lot. That’s what I wrote about Caputo (Stony Brook) almost exactly one year ago on this site. More recycling! He’s a junior now and his last season went a little better than his first, but banking on Caputo is still doing so on as yet unseen progress being made with the bat.

Binghamton SR OF Jake Thomas has a swing that’s easy to see making consistent hard contact no matter the level of competition. His profile gets a little bit murkier beyond that, but he’s positioned himself to get drafted if he can keep up his level of production at the plate all the same.

Though he finished second at his position to JR C Evan Harasta (Albany), I’m quite intrigued to see what JR C Kevin Stypulkowski (Maine) does in the coming months. The Florida transfer’s brief and largely underwhelming run at Miami-Dade tempers my enthusiasm some, but I’m still curious to see what an SEC transplant can do in the America East.

SR RHP Mike Urbanski hasn’t missed as many bats as his stuff (low-90s heat, good low-80s slider, promising change) and size (6-4, 215) would have you think. He could be in store for a breakout senior season or continue to merely show glimpses of putting it together. If I had a better idea which direction he was going I’d probably wouldn’t be doing this for free, but take his elevated ranking as an indication to which way I lean. I’ve long been in the tank for rSO LHP Daniel Zamora (Stony Brook), a smart lefty with solid current stuff and still some projection left. An argument could be made, however, that he’s not even the best lefthanded prospect on his own pitching staff thanks to the presence of JR LHP Tyler Honahan. The two are basically a coin flip for me with the slight edge to Zamora, though I get why some would prefer Honahan and his changeup.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Stony Brook SR SS Cole Peragine
  2. Binghamton SR OF/C Jake Thomas
  3. Stony Brook JR 3B Johnny Caputo
  4. Maine SR 1B/LHP Scott Heath
  5. Massachusetts – Lowell SR SS Danny Mendick
  6. Albany JR C Evan Harasta
  7. Maine JR C Kevin Stypulkowski
  8. Stony Brook JR OF Jack Parenty
  9. UMBC JR SS Kevin Lachance
  10. Stony Brook SR 2B Robert Chavarria

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching 

  1. Binghamton SR RHP Mike Urbanski
  2. Stony Brook rSO LHP Daniel Zamora
  3. Stony Brook JR LHP Tyler Honahan
  4. Binghamton JR RHP/OF Mike Bunal
  5. Hartford JR RHP Jacob Mellin
  6. Stony Brook rJR RHP Nick Brass

Three Weeks Out

College baseball is back in three weeks. That’s crazy. Excited as I am, the rapidly approaching first pitch means the impending end of any kind of meaningful 2015 college baseball preview, assuming you’re the type to, you know, actually care about what words mean. I choose to play it fast and loose with “words” and “definitions” and the like, so I figure I can still “preview” teams even after the season has begun. Still, it’s clear to me that anything done after February 13 won’t have quite the same impact. All of this is just a too long way of saying that it’s time for me to step up the workload here. Expect to start seeing a combination of three things over the next three weeks: 1) continued team previews with an emphasis on the teams with the most 2015 MLB Draft talent, 2) conference previews for the smaller (yet still awesome!) conferences, and 3) a whole lot more big picture stuff that I’ve yet to figure out but have confidence will be a lot of fun to write/read. I’d also like to give a little love to the “others” at some point by spotlighting the best and the brightest from Division II, NAIA, junior colleges, and anybody else who deserves to be seen.

Finally, these are the schools that I’ve come across that have yet to post 2015 rosters. If anybody out there has any insight on who will be playing for these fine universities this spring, please drop me a line in the comments or via email.

North Carolina
Connecticut
St. John’s
Oregon
Indiana
Indiana State
South Alabama
Texas State
Georgia Southern
Alabama A&M
Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Central Connecticut State
Savannah State
Delaware State
North Carolina Central

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Oklahoma State

rJR RHP/OF Conor Costello (2015)
JR RHP Koda Glover (2015)
rSR LHP Tyler Nurdin (2015)
SR RHP Jon Perrin (2015)
JR LHP Alex Hackerott (2015)
SR LHP Michael Freeman (2015)
JR SS/2B Donnie Walton (2015)
JR 2B Kevin Bradley (2015)
JR 3B David Petrino (2015)
SR OF/2B Tim Arakawa (2015)
SR 3B Hunter Hagler (2015)
SR C Bryan Case (2015)
SR OF/C Gage Green (2015)
SO LHP Garrett Williams (2016)
SO RHP Tyler Buffett (2016)
SO RHP Blake Battenfield (2016)
SO RHP Thomas Hatch (2016)
SO RHP Remey Reed (2016)
SO RHP Trey Cobb (2016)
SO LHP Matt Wilson (2016)
SO OF Ryan Sluder (2016)
SO 3B Andrew Rosa (2016)
SO 1B/OF Dustin Williams (2016)
FR OF Jon Littell (2017)
FR 1B/OF Caleb Eldridge (2017)
FR SS Jacob Chappell (2017)
FR LHP/OF Garrett McCain (2017)
FR RHP Carson LaRue (2017)
FR 1B Mason O’Brien (2017)

I feel bad for saying it, but I didn’t expect to like the Oklahoma State lineup nearly as much as I do. Maybe it has something to do with the lull in bats to come out of the school in recent years. Their best pro hitter since the glory days of the 80’s (Ventura, Tettleton, Incaviglia, Burnitz) is…Luke Scott? Jordy Mercer? Part of it probably has me associating pitching with the program. Since I’ve started the site the Cowboys have had Andy Oliver, Tyler Blandford, Tyler Lyons, Chris Marlowe, Andrew Heaney, and Jason Hursh all go in the top ten rounds. Oliver, Heaney, and Hursh were all pretty big deals as prospects, too. Oklahoma State hasn’t had a bat in years that has grabbed me like any of those guys. In all honesty, this year isn’t any different, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fun collection of potential pro hitters to talk about. JR SS/2B Donnie Walton is a more than capable defender with the speed and patience of a professional leadoff hitter. He’s one of my favorite mid-round 2015 college middle infielders. Though his lack of pop limits his ceiling, SR OF/2B Tim Arakawa has a carrying tool (speed) strong enough to get a second look this spring as a senior sign. There’s been lots of nice things said about JR 2B Kevin Bradley (coming off injury, but defensive versatility makes him intriguing if he hits), JR 3B David Petrino, and SR 3B Hunter Hagler. Hagler is my favorite of the trio right now (hasn’t shown it yet, but I believe in the hit tool), but all three could take steps forward this spring. SR C Bryan Case might also have enough of an arm strength/raw power blend to get drafted.

Associating pitching with the Oklahoma State program ultimately works out yet again this year as the Cowboys have a high number of high follows on staff. The theme here would be talented arms with plenty to prove. The poster boys for said theme are rJR RHP/OF Conor Costello and JR RHP Koda Glover. Costello has consistently shown more as a hitter than on the mound, but he’s still a high upside arm to watch. Athletic righties with size and velocity (low-90s, 95/96 peak) tend to be worth paying attention to, no matter the previous year’s production. Glover is another young guy with size (6-4, 200 pounds) and arm strength (95 peak) to track. rSR LHP Tyler Nurdin, SR RHP Jon Perrin, and JR LHP Alex Hackerott have all shown more at the college level. Nurdin’s control left him last year, but when he’s on he’s a capable three-pitch potential professional starter. Perrin, the most consistently reliable of the three, can spot a good low-90s fastball with darn near anybody in the conference. Hackerott has been arguably as good as Perrin in his career — the arguably is only there due to the innings gap between him and Perrin (the latter has a lot more) — while showing good enough stuff from the left side to warrant late-round pro consideration this summer. He probably fits in better as a 2016 senior sign candidate, but that remains to be seen.

Internal pressure to finish as many as these previews as possible before the season starts has me trying to limit what I say about future draft classes, but Oklahoma State’s group of underclassmen tests my ability to do so. The school’s strong reputation of turning out quality pitching is in very capable hands with guys like SO LHP Garrett Williams (star upside), SO RHP Blake Battenfield, and SO RHP Thomas Hatch poised to build on strong freshman seasons. I limited myself to just spotlighting those three names, but every underclass arm you see listed above has recognizable pro talent. SO 3B Andrew Rosa and FR SS Jason Chappell could combine at some point to share the nation’s fastest left side of the infield, if that’s the direction the coaching staff so chooses. SO OF Ryan Sluder (a huge favorite) and FR OF Jon Littell appear set to do so some serious mashing in short order. I’ve said it before, but for as much as I try to keep up with the college baseball landscape year-round, I’m often surprised to see certain teams’ rosters when they are all laid out like this. Just seeing all these names and getting the reminder that this kind of talent is in the pipeline at OK State has me more pumped for the upcoming season than ever before. This is a really good team right now with the potential to be great in the not too distant future.

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Oklahoma

JR RHP Blake Rogers (2015)
rJR LHP Adam Choplick (2015)
JR RHP RHP Corey Copping (2015)
JR RHP Ralph Garza (2015)
rSR RHP Robert Tasin (2015)
JR LHP Jeffrey Curran (2015)
JR LHP/1B Jacob Evans (2015)
JR C/RHP Anthony Hermelyn (2015)
JR OF Hunter Haley (2015)
rSR OF Taylor Alspaugh (2015)
SR 2B/SS Josh Ake (2015)
JR OF Craig Aikin (2015)
JR 3B Kolbey Carpenter (2015)
SO RHP Alec Hansen (2016)
SO 3B/RHP Sheldon Neuse (2016)
SO OF Cody Thomas (2016)
SO RHP Jake Elliott (2016)
SO 1B Austin O’Brien (2016)

I always tell myself I’ll stay out of the overrated/underrated game because I really don’t know enough about the consensus view on college baseball to make such proclamations, but this year’s Oklahoma pitching staff appears underrated to me based on the ratio of talent on hand and the relative quiet surrounding their arms found in print over the past few months. rJR LHP Adam Choplick remains as raw as a fourth-year college player can get, but the size (6-8, 260), fastball (low-90s, 94 peak), underrated (there I go using that word again) athleticism, and flashes of dominance (maybe not in terms of run prevention, but back to back seasons with more than a strikeout per inning and walk rates within reason are nothing to sneeze at) make him one of college baseball’s sleeping giants in terms of draft prospects. Choplick is the main reason why I find the Sooner staff underrated nationally, but not the only reason. I like both JR RHPs Blake Rogers and Corey Cropping as potential middle relievers at the highest level. I like JR LHP Jacob Evans (upper-80s heat that plays up because of pinpoint command, low-70s CB flashes plus, solid CU) a little bit more than. I also like JR LHP Jeffrey Curran even though I know little to nothing about him right now, but as a lefthander with size and seemingly some projection left (6-3, 165) his 2014 numbers (8.54 K/9 and 0.68 BB/9 in 26.1 IP) get him on the follow list. If your pitching staff can go five deep with reasonable pro prospects, that’s a quality group.

I’m less enthused about Oklahoma’s lineup, though there are still some draft-worthy talents sprinkled in. As a center fielder with average or better speed, pop, arm strength, range, and athleticism, JR OF Hunter Haley might have the highest ceiling of the class. He’s struggled with finding the right approach at the plate (27 BB/78 K in his career), but there’s no denying his physical gifts. JR C Anthony Hermelyn could get a look as a reasonably athletic catching prospect with a decent hit tool. JR OF Craig Aikin should wind up similarly regarded, only as a backup outfielder type with decent speed and a patient approach. JR 3B Kolbey Carpenter might the best blend of hit tool/power/patience on the team (at least in terms of 2015 prospects), so he’ll be closely watched this spring to see if last year’s small sample size bump in production was for real.

That just about covers the 2015 draft as far as I can tell. Now we can get to the crown jewels of this Oklahoma roster. As much as I like the 2015 class, the 2016 group has two players with star upside that will make Norman a destination for scouts from all over the country. SO RHP Alec Hansen has a huge arm (90-96 FB, 98 peak) with an above-average hard slider (mid-80s) that flashes plus and some feel for a slower breaking ball in the mid- to upper-70s. Like any large human who pitches, he’ll have to continue to work to refine his delivery and command (the two so often go hand-in-hand). Hansen also showed some serious wildness last year (10.32 BB/9) in his very short sample of a debut (11.1 IP), so that will have to be monitored each time he takes the mound this spring. There’s a long way to go between what he is and what he will be, so teams will have to keep a close eye on him as they straddle that thin line between high risk and major reward. SO 3B/RHP Sheldon Neuse is more of a sure thing with a ceiling that arguably matches Hansen’s. Even though I list him as a primary third baseman, Neuse has a legit shot at sticking at shortstop professionally. I remember following him in high school and thinking that he’d be at least average at short and potentially plus at third. Those thoughts haven’t changed after one year of college. I also liked him better on the mound. That opinion is far more debatable and at this point I’d strongly lean towards sending him out as a position player. He was very impressive on the mound as a freshman (8.25 K/9 and 3.00 BB/9 in 12 IP), but truly outstanding as a hitter (.304/.369/.521 with 27 BB/31 K in 240 AB). Neuse has a huge leg up on the majority of his 2016 competition when it comes to locking down a spot in next year’s first round.

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Kansas

rJR OF Joe Moroney (2015)
SR OF Connor McKay (2015)
rJR OF Steve Goldstein (2015)
SR 2B/SS Justin Protacio (2015)
JR 2B/SS Colby Wright (2015)
JR 2B/SS Tommy Mirabelli (2015)
JR 1B/3B Jacob Boylan (2015)
JR 1B/3B Ryan Pidhaichuk (2015)
SR RHP/OF Dakota Smith (2015)
JR RHP Hayden Edwards (2015)
SR RHP Drew Morovick (2015)
SO C Michael Tinsley (2016)
SO RHP Sean Rackoski (2016)
SO RHP Jon Hander (2016)
SO RHP Stephen Villines (2016)

Stony Brook transfer rJR OF Steve Goldstein’s return to the diamond will be exciting for Kansas fans to track this spring. A return to his freshman year form (.307/.388/.458 with 21 BB and 21 K in 166 AB) would get him drafted this June. He shows a lot of the traits that could make him a valuable bench outfielder if he gets back to his old ways. He’ll be joined in the outfield by rJR OF Joe Moroney (plus speed, pesky hitter) and SR OF Connor McKay (plus speed, has flashed power, as athletic as they come), two prospects who can more than hold their own as center fielders defensively. That’s a potentially excellent college outfield with three guys who at least have the chance (if you’re feeling particularly optimistic) to come off the board this June. The outfield would get another boost if SR RHP/OF Dakota Smith, a viable pro prospect both ways, continues to see time out there. He’ll be a tough player for scouts to decide on, as he’s pretty good as a position player and as a pitcher. In the former role, he’s shown the speed, range, and arm strength to play a mean center field — man, this could be an excellent defensive outfield if it all comes together — and signs of growth as a hitter (.337/.399/.460 with 13 BB and 20 K in 187 AB last season) over the past few years. On the mound he puts that strong arm to use (88-94 FB) with a good slider. That doesn’t sound like much at face value, but when you consider his relative inexperience as a pitcher (room for improvement!), lack of mileage on the arm (always a plus!), and extreme athleticism (so so so important for a pitcher), he starts to really pique one’s interest. He’s without a doubt my favorite arm on the staff and very much in the running for top position player, though it’s really hard to separate the outfielders. I think I’d rank them Smith, Goldstein, McKay, and Moroney for now, but if even two of those guys stay in those exact spots by June I’ll be surprised.

Kansas has a few middle infielders who could also get late looks — they do a great job of finding and developing patient yet powerless leadoff types in Lawrence — but the unheralded JR 2B/SS Colby Wright jumped out to me as the best potential long-term bet. All in all, this looks like a solid college team with a lot of solid college players with perhaps a future pro or three sprinkled in for good measure.

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Missouri

JR RHP Alec Rash (2015)
rJR RHP John Miles (2015)
SR RHP Jace James (2015)
JR RHP Peter Fairbanks (2015)
JR RHP Breckin Williams (2015)
JR RHP Brandon Mahovlich (2015)
JR RHP Reggie McClain (2015)
JR LHP Austin Tribby (2015)
JR RHP Griffin Goodrich (2015)
JR 3B/1B Josh Lester (2015)
SR 2B/SS Brett Peel (2015)
JR 3B/1B Zach Lavy (2015)
JR 1B/OF Chris Akmon (2015)
SR C/OF Jake Ivory (2015)
SR OF Logan Pearson (2015)
SO OF Jake Ring (2016)
SO C Jack Klages (2016)
SO SS/3B Ryan Howard (2016)
FR RHP Bryce Montes de Oca (2017)
FR 3B/SS Shane Benes (2017)
FR RHP Tanner Houck (2017)
FR RHP/OF Zack Henderson (2017)
FR LHP Lake Dabney (2017)
FR INF/OF Trey Harris (2017)
FR RHP Liam Carter (2017)
FR C Brett Bond (2017)

Missouri has some decent pitching prospects to watch in 2015. Up to six of their draft-eligible arms by my count (likely more) are capable of hitting the low-90s with their fastballs. Only one, however, had the kind of 2014 season that makes you take note. It just so happens that that one also is the one pitcher on the stuff with undeniable professional stuff. rJR RHP John Miles is interesting thanks to his offspeed stuff (slider and change), JR RHP Peter Fairbanks has the size to get noticed (6-6, 225), and JR RHP Brandon Mahovlich has gotten some positive buzz this fall, but they are all fighting for second place behind Missouri’s 2015 draft ace, JR RHP Alec Rash. Rash has been a hot name in prospect circles (78th ranked prospect in 2012 here) since his high school days. He couldn’t come to terms with the Phillies that same year after being selected with the 95th overall pick. Things haven’t gone quite according to script for him at Missouri (less than 50 combined innings pitched to date), but he’s missed bats when called upon (8.15 K/9 last year) and still flashes pro-caliber stuff. The lack of innings only presents an issue in how it’s limited opportunities for him to further develop the third pitch he’d likely need to start as a professional. Nobody questions his fastball (90-95), slider (low-80s, flashes plus), frame (6-6, 200), athleticism, or work ethic, so it’ll mostly come down to how he looks in an expanded role and whether or not his mid-80s changeup impresses evaluators enough to project him in a starting role going forward. He’ll be a high pick either way, but showing he can start could mean the difference between a top three round selection and a top seven round selection.

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Auburn

JR RHP Trey Wingenter (2015)
SR RHP Rocky McCord (2015)
rJR RHP Justin Camp (2015)
SR RHP Jacob Milliman (2015)
rSO RHP Cole Lipscomb (2015)
JR SS Cody Nulph (2015)
JR OF Sam Gillikin (2015)
JR 3B/SS Alex Polston (2015)
JR 2B/SS Melvin Gray (2015)
JR OF/2B Jordan Ebert (2015)
JR 1B/OF Dylan Smith (2015)
SO OF JJ Shaffer (2016)
SO RHP Kevin Davis (2016)
SO 2B/SS Damon Haecker (2016)
SO RHP/1B Keegan Thompson (2016)
SO OF Anfernee Grier (2016)
SO C Blake Logan (2016)
SO 1B/OF Daniel Robert (2016)
FR OF/INF Hunter Tackett (2016)
FR OF Austin Murphy (2017)

Put me down as believing JR RHP Trey Wingenter is in store for a monster 2015 campaign. All of the pieces are there for a big season: legit fastball (88-94, 95/96 peak), a pair of breaking balls ranging from average (mid-70s CB) to better than that (mid-80s SL), an average or better CU, a very low-mileage arm (only 36 innings through two college seasons), and an imposing yet still projectionable 6-7, 200 pound frame. Despite coming to the close of what surely has not been the kind of college career he once dreamed of, I’m still all-in on SR RHP Rocky McCord. McCord, who has only throw 45.1 innings in three years at Auburn, seems destined to be a quality big league reliever thanks to impressive now-stuff (mid-90s FB peak, excellent CU, rapidly improving SL) and a cool name. rJR RHP Justin Camp (solid stuff), SR RHP Jacob Milliman (size), and rSO RHP Cole Lipscomb (if healthy) all could be draftable with strong seasons.

It’s really hard to get a feel for how the 2015 Auburn lineup will play. On paper there’s all kinds of power, speed, and athleticism scattered throughout the roster, but very little in the way of proven returning talent. The team’s best two ’15 prospects — JR SS Cody Nulph and JR OF Sam Gillikin — are both major question marks (not in a bad way) heading into the season. Nulph is largely unproven on the big stage, but the Pepperdine transfer should bring a steadying glove, strong arm, athleticism, and a mature approach with a chance for average power. If it all works out, that’s a player. Gillikin, like Nulph, has been a prospect of note going back years now, but has been held back by limited playing time (only 100 career AB) and below-average performance indicators. Betting on Gillikin is a bet that his speed, center field defense, athleticism, and big raw power will all come together one of these days. I’m incredulous at this point, but it doesn’t hurt to be patient with a still-developing player like him at this point.

The surest bet in the Auburn lineup is JR OF/2B Jordan Ebert. Ebert doesn’t get enough love as one of the college game’s best pure hitters. That above-average or better hit tool combined with enough pop and speed allow him to potentially profile as an above-average regular offensively. I think his glove will play at any of the spots he’s tried — 2B, 3B, OF — but think his value will likely lie in his ability to play multiple spots — especially those where he can show off his plus arm — well. If you only knew what I just wrote about Ebert, you’d surely think he’s a big-time 2015 draft prospect, but, at least for now, an overly aggressive approach at the plate (31 BB/54 K) holds back his appeal to a degree. I still like him quite a bit; quite simply, guys with hit tools like his are not to be dismissed. If Ebert can settle in to a spot defensively (likely a corner OF spot), flash a touch more power, and clean up his approach a bit, he’ll become a prime candidate to become one of college ball’s fastest risers in 2015. I still think a pro team will try to keep him in the dirt for as long as humanly possible after signing. As an outfielder, he profiles as a high-level backup, especially if he can hang in center a bit. As an infielder, however, he’s a potential everyday contributor.

I don’t know much about JR 1B/OF Dylan Smith, but what I do know (power, speed, athleticism, size) I like. He’s one to watch. JR 2B/SS Melvin Gray is another interesting new name to track. The future looks strong past the 2015 class with SO RHP/1B Keegan Thompson emerging as a potential star, SOs 2B/SS Damon Haecker, C Blake Logan, and 1B/OF Daniel Robert putting up decent freshman seasons, and potential breakout players like the upside-laden outfield group of in SO JJ Shaffer, SO Anfernee Grier, and FR Austin Murphy waiting for their shot.

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Vanderbilt

JR RHP Walker Buehler (2015)
JR RHP Carson Fulmer (2015)
rJR LHP Philip Pfeifer (2015)
SO LHP John Kilichowski (2015)
JR RHP Tyler Ferguson (2015)
JR OF/RHP Kyle Smith (2015)
JR SS/2B Dansby Swanson (2015)
JR 3B Xavier Turner (2015)
JR OF Rhett Wiseman (2015)
rJR 1B Zander Wiel (2015)
JR 2B/SS Tyler Campbell (2015)
SO OF/1B Bryan Reynolds (2016)
SO C Jason Delay (2016)
SO OF/INF Nolan Rogers (2016)
SO RHP Hayden Stone (2016)
SO LHP Ben Bowden (2016)
rFR RHP Jordan Sheffield (2016)
SO C Karl Ellison (2016)
SO RHP/LHP Aubrey McCarty (2016)
rFR OF/INF Tyler Green (2016)
rFR OF Drake Parker (2016)
SO OF/2B Ro Coleman (2016)
FR 3B/SS Will Toffey (2016)
FR OF Jeren Kendall (2017)
FR RHP Brendan Spagnuolo (2017)
FR SS Liam Sabino (2017)
FR RHP Joey Abraham (2017)
FR RHP Matt Ruppenthal (2017)
FR RHP Collin Snider (2017)
FR RHP Kyle Wright (2017)
FR C Tristan Chari (2017)
FR 3B Joey Mundy (2017)

If JR RHP Walker Buehler, JR RHP Carson Fulmer, JR SS Dansby Swanson, JR RHP Tyler Ferguson, and JR OF Rhett Wiseman were your favorite big league team’s top five prospects heading into the season, I think you’d feel all right. Brewers, Angels, Tigers, Marlins (this year), and Rays fans know all too well what I’m talking about there. Buehler wasn’t in Keith Law”s final top 100 prospects back in 2012 and he ranked 50th on Baseball America’s list. Here, however, Buehler came in at 28th with the following text accompaniment:

28. RHP Walker Buehler (Henry Clay HS, Kentucky): classic case of a plus pitchability arm who one day wakes up to big league quality stuff; his upper-80s FB (91-92 peak) has jumped to a steady 90-94, peaking 95-96; best offsped pitch is an above-average 76-78 CB with plus upside, one of the best of its kind in the class – even more effective when he throws it a little harder (78-82); third pitch is a straight CU with tumble that at times is his best offering; hardly going out on a limb, but Buehler is one of my favorite prep arms in this year’s class: smarts, three big league pitches, and repeatable mechanics all add up to a potential quality big league starter; 6-1, 165 pounds

Since then all Buehler has done is dominate the SEC, add a second plus breaking ball (80-85 SL) and further refined his mechanics, command, and pitchability. The only thing he hasn’t done since his high school days is grow. For some teams this could present a problem, but I don’t see anything in his delivery (to say nothing of his awesome athleticism) to knock him for standing in at his present height and weight of 6-1, 160 pounds. What stands out to me above all else about Buehler’s progression over the years is the first line in the quoted section above. Young pitchers are probably too easily categorized as “pitchers” or “throwers” at an early age. Being a pitcher who is called a pitcher should not be newsworthy, but many use it as a shorthand for praising a guy’s command, smarts, and, at times, offspeed stuff while knocking his velocity. Calling a pitcher a thrower has a more obvious pejorative tone; throwers can do just that (often quite hard), but do so without understanding many of the nuances of what it truly takes to get more advanced hitters out. My favorite pitching prospects are the guys who don’t have the knockout fastballs at an early age, but develop it in their late-teens. Throwing in the mid- to upper-80s is more than enough to get even most good high school hitters out, but short fastballs like that get exposed against bigger programs and on the showcase circuit. When a stacked lineup is staring you in the face, you have to learn to be crafty and think along with the hitters by putting emphasis on the art of changing speeds, pitching backwards (more opportunities to throw offspeed stuff), and relying on refining command. If you just so happen to one day wake up and find your arm is now capable of throwing 91 MPH, then 93 MPH, then finally mid-90s heat, so much the better. The skills that you relied on before won’t disappear; if you use it wisely, you’ve only added another weapon to your arsenal.

Beyond his smarts, pitchability, command, athleticism, and groundball tendencies, Buehler sticks out to me for having two legitimate, distinct above-average to plus breaking balls. They can run into each other at times — I’ve seen an unhealthy amount of baseball in my life and consider myself reasonably bright, but distinguishing between curves, sliders, and even cutters isn’t a personal strength — especially when they are both in the low-80 MPH range, but there’s enough separation between his mostly upper-70s curve (77-83, really) and his “hard CB” from high school (then 78-82) that is now a fully formed 80-85 slider that both get swings and misses. I will say that in my experience viewing him and talking to smarter people who have seen him way more, the two pitches don’t often seem to be in that above-average to plus range within the same game. I’d like to chart a few of his starts to test the validity of this claim, but it’s been said to me that he’ll figure out which breaking ball is working early in the game and then lean on it almost exclusively as his breaker of choice throughout the game. The ability to spin two quality breaking balls on top of an impressive fastball (90-94, 96 peak) and average mid-80s sinking changeup that flashes much better on top of all of Buehler’s previous strengths and two arguable weaknesses (size and inconsistencies with his breaking balls) make him a difficult pitcher to find an instructive comparable player for. Some of the names I’ve tossed out as ceiling comparisons over the past few years include Roy Oswalt, Javier Vazquez, and Julio Teheran. All of those work and don’t work for various reasons, I think. I also think I like Buehler so much as a prospect that I’m cool with dropping the Zack Greinke with a harder curve comp that’s been on my mind with him for a while now. It’s not meant to be a comparison we all get crazy carried away with — Greinke was already in the big leagues at Buehler’s current age, after all — but in terms of the total present prospect package of stuff, pitchability, build, and frame, I think it works very well.

Fulmer has had almost as much success as Buehler through two college seasons with their only significant difference coming in the former’s more common bouts of wildness. It’s not the kind of wildness that raises any kind of red flags, but rather something that falls somewhere between the typical developmental path of an electric young arm and the potential start of a long, fruitful run of being “effectively wild” from now until the day he retires. That aside, the biggest real question about Fulmer will be future big league role. I’d like to think I’ve long shown a willingness to allow players to play themselves from bigger roles (starting, up-the-middle defensive spots, etc.) to smaller roles, so it should be no shock that I’d run Fulmer out as a starter for as long as he shows he is capable of holding down the job in pro ball. A big part of believing in Fulmer as a starter is the fact that his stuff does not appear to appreciably suffer in longer outings. He has the three pitches he’ll need to go through lineups multiple times (mid-90s FB, honest 99 peak; plus low-80s breaking ball; mid-80s changeup with promise) and more than enough deception in his delivery to make him a tough matchup in almost any circumstance. There is some fair cause for concern that his delivery — I’m not expert on on these things and I mostly only care that it’s repeatable, but it’s rough enough that even I can see what the fuss is about — won’t allow him to hold up throwing 200+ innings a season. This isn’t the only reason why Buehler is universally regarded as the better prospect (see the silly amount of fawning I do over him above for more), but it’s a big one. Not all drafts are created equal, but I have a hard time imagining Fulmer falling too far on draft day one year after a very similar pitcher in Grant Holmes went 22nd overall.

Ferguson is sometimes the forgotten man when people discuss Vanderbilt’s awesome pitching. On just about any other staff in the country he’d be the unquestioned Friday night starter. The greater likelihood that he’ll remain in a rotation has me wondering if we’ll all look back on the pre-season draft rankings and wonder how he fell below Fulmer. I’m not sure I’m gutsy enough to make that call right now, but it’s super close. If Ferguson shows a better changeup (currently interesting but undeniably raw) than he has to date, I think the bandwagon will get very full, very quickly. He presently throws gas just like Buehler and Fulmer (90-95, 97 peak) with a pair of above-average breaking balls in his own right (above-average low- to mid-80s cut-SL and a mid- to upper-70s CB). He’s also the most conventionally looking big league starting pitcher of the trio (6-3, 225) with amusingly similar peripherals through two seasons, especially when looked through a park/schedule adjusted prism (7.71 K/9 and 3.51 BB/9 in year one; 7.60 K/9 and 3.51 BB/9 last year). Big, strong, and consistent with good stuff from a top flight program known for churning out good big league pitchers? What’s not to like? If he misses a few more bats and shows a little something extra with the changeup, he’s an easy first rounder.

Swanson broke out last season in a big, big way. His first real test at the college level was hardly a test at all as he hit .333/.411/.475 with 37 BB and 39 K in 282 AB. He also added 22 steals in 27 attempts for good measure. The numbers obviously speak for themselves, but it’s still nice when the scouting reports back it up. Swanson can really play. I’ll indirectly piggyback a bit on Baseball America’s Trea Turner (with less speed) comp and reuse one of my comps for Turner last year for Swanson. It actually fits a lot better now, so I don’t feel too bad going to the Brett Gardner well in back-to-back drafts. The package of athleticism, speed, defensive upside at a critical up-the-middle spot with an above-average hit tool and average-ish power (little less, probably) works out to a consistently above-average regular with the chance for stardom — certainly flashes of it — within reach.

There’s a bit of a gap between Vanderbilt’s (draft) class of 2015 and Wiseman, but that speaks to the strength of having four likely first round picks more so than any major deficits in Wiseman’s game. I’ve run into two interesting schools of thought about Wiseman while putting this together. The first, and I’ll admit that this was my initial view from the start, is that he’s still more tools than skills right now. The tools are quite strong, but the fact that they haven’t turned into the skills many expected by now gives some pause. Still, those tools that were clear to almost all going back to his high school days are still real and still worth getting excited about. The breakout could come any day now for him and when it does we’ll be looking at a potential first-division regular in the outfield. The opposing view believes that Wiseman’s development has gone as scripted and what we’re seeing right now is more or less what we’re going to get with him. He’s a great athlete and a far more cerebral hitter than given credit, but the tools were overstated across the board at the onset of his amateur career and now we’re seeing expectations for him correcting themselves based on what he really is. There really are no pluses in his game and no carrying tool that will help him rise above his future fourth outfielder station. I’m a believer that it’s always wise to bet on athletes having the light bulb turn on before too long, so count me in as still leaning closer to the former (and my original) position. I do understand the concerns about Wiseman potentially topping out as a “tweener” outfield prospect — he hasn’t shown the power yet to work in a corner, but that’s where he’s clearly best defensively — so going on the first day might be off the table. He’s still an intriguing blend of production (good, not mind-blowing) and tools (same) who could wind up a relative bargain if he slips much later than that. I could see him both being ranked and drafted in the same area that I had him listed (110th overall) out of Buckingham Browne & Nichols.

In any event, I don’t think Wiseman’s viewed by many as quite the prospect he was back in high school and a good part of that was the way many — me included — viewed his rawness, age, and relative inexperience as a New England high school product as positives. We all are guilty of assuming there are concretely meaningful patterns we can expect from prospect development and that all young players will continue to get better with age and experience. Development is not linear and can be wildly unpredictable. Some guys are as good as they are going to get at 17 while others don’t figure it out (unfortunately) until way after their physical peak. This speaks to the heart of what makes assessing and drafting amateurs so much fun. We’re all just trying to gather as much information on as many players as possible and then making the best possible guesses as to what we’ll wind up with.

Vanderbilt has good players beyond their special top five. rJR 1B Zander Wiel’s success in limited at bats in 2013 had me really excited to see what he could do with steady playing time in 2014. The results were more good than great, but I remain encouraged about his future. Like Wiseman, toolsy JR 3B Xavier Turner has held his own (and more, at times) in two years as a mainstay in the Commodores lineup. His offensive skill set doesn’t necessarily scream professional third baseman (more speed and gap power at present), but that doesn’t mean it won’t play at the next level. Also like Wiseman, I’d stick with Turner this year because it never hurts to bet on athleticism. He’s an elite athlete with the kind of strength and speed blend even a fine physical specimen such as myself can appreciate. It’s awful hard to top a college left side of the infield of Swanson and Turner…hopefully there’s some good news coming regarding the latter’s suspension that will make that infield a reality.

1/20/15 EDIT: SO LHP John Kilichowski is eligible for this year’s draft. FR 3B/SS Will Toffey is eligible for next year’s draft.

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Arkansas

JR RHP Trey Killian (2015)
rSR RHP Jackson Lowery (2015)
SR RHP Jacob Stone (2015)
rJR OF Tyler Spoon (2015)
JR 2B Max Hogan (2015)
rJR SS Brett McAfee (2015)
SR OF Joe Serrano (2015)
rJR 3B Mike Bernal (2015)
SR OF/C Krisjon Wilkerson (2015)
JR 3B Bobby Wernes (2015)
JR C Tucker Pennell (2015)
JR SS Matt Campbell (2015)
JR 2B/SS Rick Nomura (2015)
rFR C Carson Shaddy (2016)
SO INF Clark Eagan (2016)
SO LHP/INF Trent Hill (2016)
SO RHP Zach Jackson (2016)
SO RHP Dominic Taccolini (2016)
SO RHP Cannon Chadwick (2016)
SO RHP James Teague (2016)
SO OF Andrew Benintendi (2016)
FR OF Luke Bonfield (2016)
FR C Nathan Rodriguez (2017)
FR RHP Keaton McKinney (2017)
FR RHP Jonah Patten (2017)
FR 3B Blake Wiggins (2017)
FR C/1B Chad Spanberger (2017)
FR LHP Kyle Pate (2017)
FR OF Keith Grieshaber (2017)
FR LHP Ryan Fant (2017)

JR RHP Trey Killian’s performances through two year are confusing. His first year was quite strong (8.59 K/9 and 2.95 BB/9), but he did it in limited innings (36.2). Last year he proved to be more of a workhorse (94 IP) and he did a great job of keeping runs off the board (2.30 ERA), but he missed way less bats (5.94 K/9) yet wound up improving his control (1.72 BB/9). Good, less good, good, good, less good, good…you see how he can confuse even the most brilliant internet baseball writers, right? His track record, stuff (88-92 FB, 94 peak; good cutter; really good yet underused low-80s CU; above-average slider; usable curve), command, and athleticism all add up to strong back of the rotation starter material, so maybe I’m overthinking it with him anyway. Or maybe I’m still waiting on a year when he combines really good peripherals with really good run prevention and we all point to him as a guy who figured it out enough to get the bump to middle of the rotation material. That’s my hope — I want to say expectation, but I’m not quite there — for Killian in 2015. He’s the best returning arm on the Arkansas staff either way, though SR RHP Jacob Stone (capable of hitting the mid-90s and throws an occasional plus breaking ball) and rSR RHP Jackson Lowery both could get drafted afterwards. Stone (0.94 ERA in 38.1 IP) and Lowery (almost a strikeout per inning) boast strong numbers that help bolster their cause.

rJR OF Tyler Spoon and SR OF Joe Serrano, “eighth-year seniors” both, are talented guys who have yet to quite live up to the lofty expectations foisted upon them by no-nothing know-it-alls like myself. Spoon has a lot of 5’s on his scouting card, so it’s still possible he could get a look going forward as a backup outfielder type professionally. Neither Spoon nor Serrano has a strong arm, but they are solid all-around college players otherwise. The two were twins last year, by the way. They were so similar that I actually had to double-check the numbers because I assumed I had made a mistake…

Spoon: .256/.350/.363 – 29 BB/37 K – 5/7 SB – 234 AB
Serrano: .289/.366/.351 – 29 BB/37 K – 5/7 SB – 228 AB

Are we sure that Spoon and Serrano aren’t really just one outfielder somehow duping us into thinking it’s two guys? Joeler Spoonano? No? Stick to baseball and not awful, embarrassing attempts at humor? Fair enough. Moving on. Still kind of think Spoonano is funny, but whatever. I’m very interested to see what the double-play combination of JR 2B Max Hogan and rJR SS Brett McAfee can do in a full season together. Both could have utility futures in the big leagues with big junior seasons. There’s a lot of depth up the middle for Arkansas, as both JR SS Matt Campbell and JR 2B/SS Rick Nomura have gotten some positive buzz this fall. Much of the rest of the buzz coming out of Arkansas lately has been about the highly talented underclassmen coming up behind this year’s draft class. Big names like SO RHP Zach Jackson, SO RHP Dominic Taccolini, SO OF Andrew Benintendi lead the way while a loaded freshman class that includes OF Luke Bonfield, RHP Keaton McKinney, RHP Jonah Patten, 3B Blake Wiggins tops it off. I’m personally excited to see what less heralded prospects like SO INF Clark Eagan and FR C/1B Chad Spanberger have in store as well.

I’m still stunned that SO LHP Colin Poche left the program for Dallas Baptist over the summer. It’s great that he’s closer to home and I’m sure he has all kinds of reasons for doing what he’s doing — he’s set to miss the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery anyway, so not a bad time to transfer and miss a year — but it’s rare to see a player as talented as he is and as close to the draft finish line make such a big change. Really, really like that Dallas Baptist team this year, for what it’s worth. This is about Arkansas, however, so…they’re good, too! Really should have closed with me praising the underclass talent instead of whatever this was. At least I didn’t end with another Spoonano reference…

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Mississippi

rJR LHP Christian Trent (2015)
rSO RHP Brady Bramlett (2015)
JR RHP Jacob Waguespack (2015)
JR RHP Sean Johnson (2015)
SR RHP Sam Smith (2015)
rSR RHP Scott Weathersby (2015)
JR LHP Matt Denny (2015)
JR 1B Jack Kaiser (2015)
SR 1B/C Sikes Orvis (2015)
SR C Austin Knight (2015)
SO LHP Evan Anderson (2016)
rFR OF Peyton Attaway (2016)
SO 3B/1B Colby Bortles (2016)
SO LHP Wyatt Short (2016)
SO SS/2B Errol Robinson (2016)
SO OF JB Woodman (2016)
FR SS/2B Tate Blackman (2017)
FR RHP Will Stokes (2017)
FR RHP Calder Mikell (2017)
FR SS/2B Kyle Watson (2017)
FR 1B Joe Wainhouse (2017)
FR SS/2B Will Golsan (2017)
FR C Nic Perkins (2017)
FR RHP John Wesley Ray (2017)

There’s a serious void of power at first base in college this year, so much so that SR 1B/C Sikes Orvis could find himself in position to get drafted way higher than expected if he has another big spring. Maintaining his power numbers from last year while bumping up his already average (for a power-first bat) plate discipline should get the job done. That’s about it in the way of 2015 bats for Ole Miss, unless consistent at bats (he has less than 100 total in his first three seasons) are in store for good glove, questionable bat SR C Austin Knight. Thankfully, fans of the Rebels will have a deep pitching staff and an exciting group of underclassmen to pay extra close attention to.

I’ve called former Mississippi star RHP Scott Bittle one of my all-time favorite college pitchers to watch before. I think I’d now like to go on record, after careful consideration of all the arms that have come and gone before and since, and amend that to say he’s at the top of the list. When “The Thing” was working, he was, at times, literally unhittable. That pitch was the closest thing I’ve ever seen up close to Mariano Rivera’s cutter. The way his professional career unfolded is undeniably unfortunate (shoulders, man), but it’s fantastic to read that he’s doing well as he pursues his longstanding goal of becoming a doctor. I’m reminded of Bittle because of the presence of rSR RHP Scott Weathersby. Honestly, seeing the impressive K/9, relief profile, Ole Miss allegiance, and first name Scott were the triggers that got me to reminiscing. This isn’t a comparison beyond those similarities in any way. Weathersby is a solid draft prospect, though. He doesn’t have one pitch he relies on quite like Bittle’s cutter, but he does lean heavily on a darting fastball. Combine that with an average to above-average slider and an emerging change, and you’ve got yourself a nice looking relief prospect. SR Sam Smith and JR RHP Sean Johnson could both be called the same. The upside could be a little higher for the trio of Ole Miss pitchers at the top. rJR LHP Christian Trent is the safest of the bunch. He possesses strong “now” stuff in a solid 88-92 fastball (93 peak), above-average low-80s slider that flashes plus, and an above-average low-80s changeup that he’ll use in any count. He gets the safe designation because a) his performance last year showed what he can do in a nice sample of innings (7.04 K/9, 1.64 BB/9, 2.05 ERA, 110 IP), and b) the other two names listed with him have far more obvious questions that need to be addressed. rSO RHP Brady Bramlett is a big man with quality stuff — I especially appreciate his oddly effective sloooow curve — but a torn labrum in 2013 and the subsequent lost 2014 season make him a bit of a mystery as things currently sit. JR RHP Jacob Waguespack has had his own troubles staying on the mound (elbow) and hasn’t been nearly as effective as Bramlett when healthy. His stuff, however, is right there with him (upper-80s fastball, three offspeed pitches of varying effectiveness), so it could be that his frame (6-6, 215) could make him the preferred Rebel pitching option for some teams.

SO SS/2B Errol Robinson could wind up as a plus glove, average bat guy at shortstop. That adds up to an incredibly valuable potential player, obviously, and could vault him onto the short lists of top college shortstop prospects for 2016. SO OF JB Woodman and rFR OF Peyton Attaway are also high on any list of top 2015 season/2016 draft “curiosities,” as both guys are really athletic, fast, and loaded with offensive upside, yet largely unproven at the college level. Woodman showed enough in late flashes last year (.298/.346/.429 in 168 AB) that it might be a stretch to call him “largely unproven,” but let me just have this narrative and save me the trouble of rewording the previous sentence. Large human SO 3B/1B Colby Bortles (power, athleticism, aforementioned largeness) also held his own in a more limited sample (68 AB). SO LHPs Evan Anderson and Wyatt Short both did more than hold their own, and even more is expected of them going forward. I’m particularly looking forward to talking more about the aptly named Short, as any discussion about a 5-8, 160 pound lefthander capable of hitting the low- to mid-90s is all right in my book.

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