Home » 2014 MLB Draft » 2014 MLB Draft College Outfield Follow List (and Ranking)

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
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3 Comments

  1. chris ahart says:

    what about University Of Indianapolis CF Zach Jacobs. He is in the top 10 in almost every offensive catigory in the GLVC Any thoughts on draft potential?

  2. Great list and thanks for all the hard work that must have gone into compiling all of the information, and the right information.
    I’m not going to be “that guy” and nit pick this list whatsoever, but I must say it was nice to see Regan Flaherty (Deering High, Portland, ME) included in your list. He’s actually straight mashing this year, his senior season at Western Kentucky. Check out his line if you get a chance. I got him on a Google Alert and it’s been hard to keep up with all the articles! A good problem. … You mention the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft as your official jump-off. Regan Flaherty was drafted out of high school in the 28th round in the 2009 MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners. Regan wisely chose the college game and is ready for the 2014 MLB Draft this June. (Side note: The Mariners sure could use a lefty bat as we speak!)
    Ryan Flaherty (Portland, ME), his older brother, was the top-ranked high school shortstop in America in 2005 after his all-Deering High team captured the American Legion National Championship in Spokane, WA. He’s was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2008. The Orioles used a Rule 5 pick and added Flaherty to the 25 man roster in time for the 2013 season. Look at his track record and understand, Ryan will hit and he’ll hit for power in this league. It’s funny to hear all Orioles fans concentrate solely on his great fielding, when any one that’s followed his career knows one thing: Ryan will hit. Stay tuned!.

  3. James Cullen says:

    What about D II guys ? I have been watching D II baseball the last few years and there are some very good outfielders.

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