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Very Early Look: 2014 MLB Draft Names to Know

 

This isn’t the most substantive post I’ll ever write, but that’s what happens when you add real life distractions to a growing impatience towards a personal inability in finding a viable angle that makes 2013 draft prospects sound interesting in a way that doesn’t regurgitate the Twitter work being put in by the guys at BA and PG. I’m slowly beginning to realize that the general public cares only about the draft’s top 30ish or so names. I admit that this bummed me out for a few days, but I’m recommitted to being that one weird niche site that attempts to cover as much as the amateur game as possible.

Somehow all of that led to me thinking about the 2014 draft for the better part of the last week. All draft/college baseball fans know the name Carlos Rodon, the prohibitive favorite to go first overall in next year’s draft. He’s not quite as obvious a future number one pick as Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper once were, but I think Vegas would put him as a 50/50 shot against the entirety of the 2014 field. Knowing Rondon looms in 2014 could actually impact the 2013 draft. If it’s a coin flip between, say, Sean Manaea or Clint Frazier for the first pick this year, I wonder if the presence of Rodon and the near-certainty that Houston will finish with 2013’s worst record will have some within the Astros front office leaning towards a bat this June. Probably not, but stranger thought processes have borne fruit.

Early Front-Runners for Best in Class (2014)

  • North Carolina State LHP Carlos Rodon 
  • Vanderbilt RHP Tyler Beede 
  • San Diego State RHP Michael Cederoth 
  • C Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo HS, California)
  • RHP Touki Toussaint (Coral Springs Christian HS, Florida)
  • SS/RHP Jacob Gatewood (Redwood HS, California)
  • SS/RHP Nick Gordon (Olympia HS, Florida)

The Rest

Unlike this year, college catching looks like a big potential strength in 2014, though it should be noted that the headline talent is a high school prospect. As we’ve come accustomed to in recent years, 1B appears particularly weak. If you want an early round 2B, look to the west. There’s not much to love as of now when it comes to shortstop depth, but, damn, any class with three potential top ten talents (Gatewood, Gordon, Turner) who look like good shots to stick at the position is alright with me. It is also possible that my opinion re: the lack of SS depth can be chalked up to my lack of familiarity with 2014 bats more than anything. 3B is poised to be a letdown after this year’s impressive class — same could be said for 2014’s group of HS catchers, a group that suffers only in comparison to an outstanding 2013 crop — but Chapman and Travis both look like early first round talents. For a variety of reasons, I think we’re seeing more and more tools-first, skills-second college prospects (think Austin Wilson) infiltrate the draft process. 2014 looks no different in that regard.

I should note that this list is far, far, far from comprehensive. There were dozens of names that I left off for a variety of reasons — I mostly tried to select guys who have balanced some degree of positive performance with impressive raw tools, straying only a handful of times — and I’m happy to explain any omissions if asked.

P

  • Clemson RHP Daniel Gossett
  • North Carolina RHP Benton Moss  
  • North Carolina State RHP Logan Jernigan 
  • Louisville RHP Nick Burdi 
  • Notre Dame RHP Patrick Connaughton 
  • LSU RHP Aaron Nola 
  • Kentucky RHP Chandler Shepherd
  • Mississippi RHP Hawtin Buchanan
  • Mississippi RHP Chris Ellis  
  • Auburn RHP Rocky McCord 
  • Mississippi State RHP Brandon Woodruff 
  • Mississippi State LHP Jacob Lindgren 
  • Texas A&M RHP Gandy Stubblefield 
  • Texas A&M RHP Corey Ray 
  • TCU LHP Brandon Finnegan 
  • Texas RHP Parker French 
  • Arizona RHP Matthew Troupe
  • Oregon State RHP Dylan Davis
  • Loyola Marymount RHP Trevor Megill  
  • Hawaii LHP Scott Squier 
  • Portland LHP Travis Radke 
  • Portland RHP Kody Watts 
  • Rice RHP Jordan Stephens 
  • East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman 
  • Fresno State RHP Derick Velazquez 
  • RHP Cameron Varga (Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Ohio)
  • LHP Carson Sands (North Florida Christian HS, Florida)
  • LHP Justus Sheffield (Tullahoma HS, Tennessee)
  • LHP Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic HS, California)
  • RHP Michael Kopech (Mount Pleasant HS, Texas)
  • RHP Ryan Castellani (Brophy Prep, Arizona)
  • RHP Derek Casey (Hanover HS, Virginia)
  • RHP Bryce Montes de Oca (Lawrence HS, Kansas)

C

  • Virginia Tech C Mark Zagunis 
  • North Carolina State C Brett Austin
  • South Carolina C Grayson Greiner 
  • Vanderbilt C Chris Harvey 
  • Florida C Taylor Gushue 
  • Arizona C Riley Moore 
  • Indiana C Kyle Schwarber 
  • Florida International C Aramis Garcia
  • Riley Jackson (Lexington Catholic HS, Kentucky)
  • Ryder Ryan (North Mecklenburg HS, North Carolina)
  • Handsome Monica (St. Paul’s HS, Louisiana)  

1B

  • TCU 1B Kevin Cron 
  • Wichita State 1B Casey Gillaspie 
  • Ohio 1B Jake Madsen 
  • Braxton Davidson
  • Justin Bellinger (St. Sebastian’s School, Massachusetts)

2B

  • Arizona 2B Trent Gilbert 
  • UCLA 2B Kevin Kramer 
  • Pepperdine 2B Austin Davidson 
  • Bryson Brigman (Valley Christian HS, California)

3B

  • Maryland 3B KJ Hockaday
  • Indiana 3B Sam Travis 
  • Cal State Fullerton 3B Matt Chapman 
  • UC Irvine 3B Taylor Sparks 
  • Southern Mississippi 3B Brad Roney 
  • Wright State 3B Michael Timm 
  • Drew Ward (Leedy HS, Oklahoma)*
  • Jack Flaherty (Harvard-Westlake HS, California)
  • Charlie Cody (Great Bridge HS, Virginia)

* Ward is a good bet to win his fight to gain eligibility for the 2013 MLB Draft. Until official word comes out, however, he remains a 2014 prospect.

SS

  • North Carolina State SS Trea Turner 
  • Florida SS Casey Turgeon  
  • Stanford SS Alex Blandino 
  • Stony Brook SS Cole Peragine 
  • Valparaiso SS Spencer Mahoney 
  • Gregory Deichmann (Brother Martin HS, Louisiana)

OF

  • Virginia OF Derek Fisher 
  • Kentucky OF Austin Cousino 
  • Georgia OF Hunter Cole 
  • Mississippi OF Senquez Golson 
  • TCU OF Jerrick Suiter 
  • Oregon State OF Michael Conforto 
  • Stanford OF Domonic Jose 
  • San Francisco OF Brad Zimmer 
  • Southern Mississippi OF Mason Robbins 
  • Bradley OF Max Murphy 
  • San Diego State OF Greg Allen 
  • Gareth Morgan (North Toronto Collegiate SS, Ontario)
  • Stone Garrett (George Ranch HS, Texas)
  • Scott Hurst (Bishop Amat HS, California)
  • Matthew Railey (North Florida Christian HS, Florida)
  • Kel Johnson (Home Schooled, Georgia)
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16 Comments

  1. Baseball1228@aol.com says:

    Hey Rob, have you taken a look at the Georgia Tech guys for 2014?

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Straight from my notes, here’s what I’ve got. Players listed in no particular order with 2012 stats given when applicable. All of the arms look particularly promising, especially Pitts, Clay, and Heddinger. You see the size of that trio and begin to see a pattern in how Georgia Tech recruits arms. Pitts is certainly making his mark early on, while Clay and Heddinger each have some things to work on. Spingola and Murray look like early front-runners for top bat in the 2014 GT class as both are up-the-middle guys with athleticism and enough in the way of carrying tools (speed and defense for Spingola, power for Murray) to help facilitate big sophomore year breakouts. Looks like Murray is well on his way with his blistering start to 2013.

      SO RHP Cole Pitts (2014): 88-92 peak; average CU; iffy control; breaking ball needs work; 6-5, 220 pounds (2012: 7.38 K/9 | 3.81 BB/9 | 4.13 FIP | 78 IP)
      SO C Connor Lynch (2014): 6-0, 185 pounds (2012: .293/.348/.390 – 7 BB/10 K – 82 AB – 1/2 SB)
      FR LHP Sam Clay (2014): 87-92 FB; plus CB; emerging CU; 6-3, 200 pounds
      SO OF Jamal Golden (2014): great athlete; 6-1, 190 pounds
      SO OF Dan Spingola (2014): plus speed; CF range; above-average arm; 6-1, 175 pounds (2012: .349/.404/.419 – 4 BB/8 K – 43 AB – 4/5 SB)
      FR LHP/OF Jonathan King (2014): 6-0, 190 pounds
      SO C/OF AJ Murray (2014): big raw power; strong arm; great athlete; average or better speed; questionable defender at present who needs reps; 6-1, 210 pounds
      SO RHP Josh Heddinger (2014): 90-92 FB; good SL; average CB; 6-5, 220 pounds (2012: 7.28 K/9 | 5.33 BB/9 | 4.27 FIP | 50.2 IP)
      SO OF/1B Charles Sheffield (2014): 6-4, 210 pounds
      SO INF Thomas Smith (2014): 6-1, 170 pounds (2012: .302/.411/.349 – 16 BB/13 K – 126 AB – 5/9 SB)

      Really excited for Matt Gonzalez in 2015. He looks like a potential first round talent to me.

  2. Drew Satterfield says:

    Michael Gettys from Gainesville Ga may be the best 5 tool guy in the class as and outfielder, also throws 95 from the mound

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Great name in Gettys. I won’t pretend to know a ton about him, but what little I’ve heard (plus arm, pretty swing, line drive machine, good athlete) has all been positive.

  3. Regurgitating Gordon Wood says:

    Great site BTW…got a question. It looks like SS is pretty solid for 2014. How would you rank out of Jacob Gatewood, Trea Turner, Nick Gordon, Alex Bregman (I know he’s not a 2014 guy), Andy McGuire, if you could. Thanks!

    • Rob Ozga says:

      You’re making my life difficult – that’s a really good group of prospects. For what it’s worth, I think only Gordon is a lock to stay at shortstop. The rest seem like good bets — though I think Gatewood seems likely to outgrow the middle infield sooner rather than later — but not sure things like Gordon appears to be. Even with the risk of moving off short, I’d rank them Turner, Bregman, Gatewood, Gordon, and McGuire.

  4. Kevin says:

    Stone Garrett’s stock is way down right now

    • Rob Ozga says:

      True. Tools are still loud, but some doubt is beginning to creep in otherwise. I’m just glad I didn’t mention him as a front-runner as I had originally considered. Aaron Nola and Trea Turner should have been on that list, however. Dumb move by me.

  5. Kelly says:

    I heard that Julian Kelly LHP from Laney College, Ca , is being looked at to be included in this years Draft. Has anyone heard that?

  6. derek says:

    Any info on 2014 SS Drew Ellis of Jeffersonville HS in Indiana. Rumblings are he could go in the first 5 rounds with a solid summer this year.

  7. Mike says:

    Stone Garrett 2014 was outstanding at Marucci Memorial Day Pre Draft Showcase in Houston where he was one of the youngest player there with 2013 HS and college players. He ran a 6.5 in 60 and displayed high level hitting in BP and live pitching. Very high defensive skills.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Alright! Now that’s what I like to hear. I often miss out on the late spring showcases because of last minute draft prep, so the update is very much appreciated.

  8. Travis says:

    Whats the word on AJ Reed?

  9. Kevin says:

    Rob, I appreciate your response from my previous comment. I know you put in a lot of work on this site and I think it shows how thorough you try to be that you also take the time to read and respond to a lot of the comments.

    Mike, about Stone Garrett, a showcase will mainly show what everyone already knows about Stone- that he has good tools. Real games can be a different story. His swing needs a ton of work and he put up pretty pedestrian numbers this season for someone considered to be a top prospect. I’m also a bit skeptical of the 6.5 60 time you claim. In any case, yes he does have tools and he could improve his stock again with a great senior campaign and some adjustments to his swing. But a few home runs in batting practice in a showcase does not change my opinion of him as of yet.

    • Mike says:

      Stone Garrett’s Junior Year HS Numbers. (Not that high school stats tell much of major league future success)
      Maxpreps Ranked #7
      PA AB R H B 1B 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO HBP OBP SLG OPS AVG ROE
      96 78 16 28 1 15 6 0 6 22 11 12 4 .444 .667 1.115 .359 4
      Looking at the Stone’s high school stats above 43% of his hits went for extra bases. 21% of hits went for home runs. You might want to check Game Changer numbers when Stone played last summer on the Houston Banditos 17U Black with four Perfect Game All Americans. The same Bandito team that won the PG WWBA in Atlanta in July 2012. Stone being the only 2014 player that started for the Banditos 17U Black team put up some of the best hitting for the team over the summer circuit. Let’s hope Stone have another terrific summer and continue to develop as an outstanding baseball player.
      Not to compare players with high school stats but looking at MaxPreps 2014 ranked players’ stats
      Alex Jackson – Maxpreps Ranked #1
      PA AB H HR 2B 3B RBI BB SO OBP SLG OPS AVG ROE
      142 108 37 14 8 0 33 29 22 .429 .806 1.235 .343 3
      Jack Flaherty – Maxpreps Ranked #5
      PA AB H HR 2B 3B RBI BB SO OBP SLG OPS AVG ROE
      114 86 31 2 4 1 13 18 9 .505 .500 1.005 .360 0
      Bryson Brigman- Maxpreps Ranked #10
      PA AB H HR 2B 3B RBI BB SO OBP SLG OPS AVG ROE
      111 100 31 1 3 1 11 9 5 .378 .390 .768 .310 0
      Brady Aikens- Maxpreps Ranked # 11
      PA AB H HR 2B 3B RBI BB SO OBP SLG OPS AVG ROE
      103 88 22 0 3 0 16 9 7 .320 .284 .604 .250 4
      Let’s wish all of the players with future success in baseball.

      • Mike says:

        Kevin and Rob it looks like Stone Garrett had some pretty good summer numbers compared to the other highly ranked high school players that played in the top summer games and tournaments against a 2014 class with some of the best pitiching in recent history. Stone summer production:

        Under Armour All American Game, August 24, Wrigley Field
        AB H AVG
        4 2 .500 1 FC, 1 ground out, zero strikeouts
        PG All American Classic Game Aug 11, Petco Field, San Diego
        AB H AVG
        2 1 .500 1 ground out, 1 walk, zero strikeouts
        Area Code Games, Aug 5-12, Long Beach, CA Made All Area Code Team
        AB H 1B 2B AVG
        8 3 2 1 .375
        2013 PG 17U World Series, July 21-25 Goodyear, AZ Made All Tourney Team

        GP PA AB H 1B 2B 3B HR RBI R HBP ROE FC CI BB AVG OBP SLG OP
        7 23 21 7 5 2 0 0 2 5 1 2 0 0 0 .333 .364 .429 .792

        2013 PG WWBA 17U National Championship July 5–12, 2013 Marietta, GA Made All Tourney Team
        AB H 2B 3B HR RBI R BB SB AVG OBP SLG
        22 9 2 1 6 11 3 2 .409 .480 .636

        Tournament of Stars, June 19-23 Cary, NC Jun 19-23
        AB H 2B 3B HR RBI R HBP ROI BB K AVG OBP SLG OPS
        19 5 3 0 0 2 6 1 1 1 5 .263 .333 .368 .702

        2013 National Showcase June 13-17, 2013 Minneapolis, MN, Made National Showcase Top Position Prospect List
        6.47 60 time and 92 MPH outfield throw

        MLB Jr. Select Hr Derby, Powered by USA Baseball July 13-15 Citi Field, one of six high school players participated
        Hit a lot of balls out but wasn’t a finalist, event won by Jacob Gatewood

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