The Baseball Draft Report

Home » 2014 MLB Draft » “The Others” – Non-D1 Position Player 2014 MLB Draft Follow List

“The Others” – Non-D1 Position Player 2014 MLB Draft Follow List

Let’s preface this by saying that this is a world I’m not nearly as familiar with as the comfort zone that is D1 baseball. I’m trying to branch out, I’m trying to be fair to all prospects, and I’m trying to learn. If there are any glaring omissions (or minor ones, I’ll take anything), please don’t hesitate to let me know. I tried to include as many non-D1 position players as possible. Players are organized by position. Each position grouped is very tentatively ranked. I normally throw these guys in with all the D1 players, but I’m keeping it separate for now until I get a better feel for the talent level in this year’s class.

As for the week(s) ahead, I’m planning on releasing my complete set of D1 follow lists (by conference) for the first time ever. Just names (for now), but notes and stats are all ready to go in the next few weeks after that. I’ll also be sprinkling in the position follow lists (ranked) for all college hitters. Then I’ll turn the focus to college arms before doing a deeper dive into the HS ranks. Should be fun.

C

Chipola JC SO C Ian Rice
Eastern Oklahoma State JC SO C Daniel Salters
Polk State JC SO C Casey Schroeder
Palomar CC C Francis Christy
Broward JC FR C Ronnie Healy
Grayson County JC rSO C Jean Ramirez
Orange Coast CC SO C Collin Yelich
Canada JC SO C Justin Gubser
Miami-Dade JC rSO C Mario Amaral
Montevallo SR C Jackson Slaid
Cowley County JC SO C Gage Grant
Point Loma JR C Anthony Torres
Miami-Dade JC SO C Kevin Stypulkowski
Valdosta State JR C Bryant Hayman

Rice’s defense is still a little rough around the edges, but he’s both smart and a hard worker so I’m optimistic he’ll figure it out. Offensively he looks like a keeper thanks to a patient approach and legit raw power. Daniel Salters has the plus arm/plus raw power thing down, and his sturdy build (6-3, 225) should make him a favorite this spring. Outside of Chris Okey (Clemson), Francis Christy is my highest ranked 2013 HS catcher to attend college. He’s the first to be eligible for redraft, so keep a close on him on this season; if any catcher on the list can challenge Rice for the top spot, it’s him. Ronnie Healy fell a little further down that same 2013 HS catcher list, but he’s still well worth watching as he attempts to crack into pro ball this summer. Christy and Healy’s scouting blurbs from last summer are below:

9. C/3B Francis Christy (Casa Grande HS, California): above-average arm strength; good agility; decent speed; good athlete; big power upside, above-average to plus raw; still raw behind the plate, but getting better; 6-1, 200 pounds

23. C/RHP Ronnie Healy (Jupiter HS/Elev8 Institute, Florida): interesting bat; big power upside; advanced approach; questionable defense; plus arm strength; 92-94 FB

SEC transfers like Casey Schroeder (Kentucky), Jean Ramirez (Arkansas), Jackson Slaid (LSU), and Stypulkowski (Florida) bear monitoring, as do Collin Yelich (UNLV) and Anthony Torres (Iowa).

1B

Northwest Missouri State SO 1B Steve Garber
Indian River State JC rFR 1B Ryan Ripkin
Azusa Pacific JR 1B Jordan Brower
Tennessee Wesleyan SR 1B Tim Kiene
Central Arizona JC FR 1B Manny Ramirez
North Alabama JR 1B/3B Dylan Boston
Angelo State JR 1B Blake Bass
Gulf Coast State JC SO 1B Ryan Koziol
Grand Valley State SR 1B Giancarlo Brugnani
Cal State Monterey Bat JR 1B/OF Kevin Davidson
Chico State JR 1B/OF Danny Miller
Felician rSO 1B Scott DeJong
Tampa SR 1B/OF Mike Danner
Newberry College SR 1B Ryan Cranmer

Steve Garber takes the top spot because of that magical phrase I’ve heard from multiple people close to him: “approach beyond his years.” If his power takes off as expected – my notes claim “power should come,” so we’ll see – then he’ll fly up first base rankings around the web in no time. Ryan Ripkin and Manny Ramirez are both more than famous names as each young man is a deserving draft prospect on merit. I actually touched on this on Ripkin’s HS report from 2012, as you can read below. I’ve long lumped both Tim Kiene (Maryland transfer) and Giancarlo Brugnani together in my mind. It’s now or never for the duo, time to finally see which player will come out ahead on draft day. Ryan Koziol needs to add some weight to his 6-3 frame to get the most out of his intriguing power upside. That’s actually one thing I noticed when going through this list: there are some big boys duking it out for top billing outside of D-1 ball. My quick math gave me an average of 6-4, 220 for the top ten players on this list. That ain’t small.

52. 1B Ryan Ripkin (Gilman HS, Maryland): outstanding defender; strong arm; holds hands way back in swing setup allowing him to spray line drives all over the field after letting balls get in deep; was able to catch him in action this past year and came away much more impressed than I had expected going in – he’s much more than Cal’s son and anybody claiming he’s only a well-known draft prospect because of his day is doing him a disservice; like I said about Trevor Gretzky last year, I think Ryan Ripkin would be considered a better prospect by many if is name was Ryan Smith; 6-5, 200 pounds

2B

Florida Southern JR 2B/OF Keith Curcio
Georgia Gwinnett SR 2B/3B Zach Alvord
Contra Costa JC rFR 2B JR Davis
Tampa JR 2B/OF Orlando Rivera
Lewis-Clark State JR 2B/SS Joe Mello
Indiana (PA) JR 2B/SS Dylan Tice
Freed-Hardeman SR 2B Robert Prieto
California (PA) SR 2B/SS Matt Peters
Itawaba CC rFR 2B/SS Luke Gibbs
LSU-Eunice JC SO 2B Stefan Trosclair
Palomar FR 2B/SS Chris Stratton
Azusa Pacific JR 2B Blake James

It is far easier to get seduced by a pretty lefthanded swing than we’d all like to admit, but I’m willing to take that chance on Keith Curcio and his pretty as a picture lefty stroke. It also doesn’t hurt that he is coming off a great 2013 season and is already off to a blistering start in 2014. I’ve been accused of pumping up non-D1 prospects in the past, but I really, really like the well-rounded skill set Curcio provides. I feel like this is my Phillies prospect bias – not necessarily in terms of favoritism, but knowledge – coming out, but his game reminds me a little bit of Cesar Hernandez: above-average speed/defense/approach, limited arm, playable in CF, tools play up. I think he has a little more pop than Hernandez, but otherwise it’s not terribly out of line. Zach Alvord, formerly of Auburn and Tampa, is still well-regarded by many, but don’t sleep on JR Davis, a redshirt freshman ready to make his mark.

SS

Thomas rSO SS/OF Tyler Palmer
St. Mary’s (TX) JR SS Drake Roberts
Orange Coast CC SS Cody Nulph
Temple JC rFR SS/2B Cory Raley
Angelo State SR SS Christian Summers
Cowley County JC SO SS Kristopher Molter
Iowa Western CC rSO SS/2B Jason McMurray
Francis Marion SR SS/2B Michael Wilson

There are plenty of interesting stories at the shortstop position this year – transfers Drake Roberts (Oklahoma), Cody Nulph (Pepperdine), Cory Raley (Texas A&M*), Christian Summers (Texas), Kristopher Molter (Jacksonville), and Jackson McMurray (Notre Dame) all try to make their respective move up draft boards – but there’s really one story that stands out above the rest in terms of finding that sweet spot that encompasses both human interest and real deal baseball talent. Let’s talk Tyler Palmer.

After wrapping up his high school career, Palmer found himself three days away from signing a pro contract with the Marlins with a signing bonus in the upper-six figures before a freak accident changed his life. In his own words, courtesy of Amateur Baseball Report:

I was at my buddy’s house trying to get through the window because his keys were locked inside.  This was something we did a lot.  I was trying to pop the bottom piece out, and the glass shattered.  My hand went through the window and came down on a sharp piece of glass.  The glass went all the way through my arm, cutting all the muscle, tendons, and nerves in my whole forearm.  My buddy wrapped a shirt around my arm and he drove me to my house which was right down the road.  We hopped in my mom’s car and went to the hospital.  They looked at it and said I needed to go to Savannah.  The surgery in Savannah last a couple hours.  They didn’t do it right so we went home with my arm still open.  I then woke up the next morning and went to Pensacola to see Dr. Andrews (St. Andrews Institute).

He’s back and currently mashing through the first two weeks of the season at Thomas, a NAIA school in Georgia. He hasn’t been tested in the field as of yet (DH only), but it is believed he’s being held back because of his ongoing recovery from thumb surgery and not because of any long-term concerns. I can’t say with absolute confidence that he’ll be able to remain at SS over the long haul (hopefully he’ll get an opportunity to show off his slowly but surely regained arm strength this spring), but he could always settle in at 2B if needed. No matter the eventual landing spot, Palmer isn’t a player I’d bet against. He’s the kind of talented, determined young man any pro team would be lucky to add on draft day.

* I came really close to doing a short bit about the preponderance of Big 12 transfer talent on the list before I caught myself at the last possible second re: Texas A&M and the SEC. Conference realignment gives me a headache.

3B

Cameron JR 3B Codey McElroy
Tennessee Wesleyan JR 3B/OF KJ Hockaday
Cypress College SO 3B/OF Matt Tietz
College of San Mateo rSO 3B/SS Matt Glomb
Grayson County JC SO 3B/RHP Willie Schwanke
Indian River State JC SO 3B/OF George Iskenderian
Valdosta State JR 3B Michael Gouge
Broward JC SO 3B/SS Carlos Garmendia
Olney Central CC SO 3B Troy Paris
St. Thomas Aquinas JR 3B/SS Stanley Susana
San Jacinto JC SO 3B Geonte Jackson
UC San Diego JR 3B Erik Lewis

A case could be made that 3B is the deepest position on this list. Hey, since this is my site then I guess I’m the right guy to make said case, right? Codey McElroy (Texas transfer) has everything you could ask for from a third base prospect on paper: size, physicality, raw power, flashes of defensive upside, athleticism, arm strength, and better than average speed. KJ Hockaday’s tools aren’t on the same level, but he’s put up two years of decent performances in the ACC at Maryland so his present skill level isn’t as big a question mark. Matt Tietz and Matt Glomb have more in common than cool first names: both men earned the FAVORITE designation from me over the offseason. I like Tietz’s defensive upside, athleticism, and approach to hitting, not to mention the fact he held his own in his freshman year at Rutgers. Glomb (Santa Clara transfer) has a greater gap in what he is and what he could be, but he reminded me a bit of personal favorite Logan Forsythe in my looks at him. Willie Schwanke (Arkansas transfer) could top this list in a few months. He’s another guy who held his own as a freshman (in the SEC no less) and showed big league caliber tools and maturity at the plate. Outside of the top five, I’m curious to see what fellow SEC transfers George Iskenderian (South Carolina) and Geonte Jackson (LSU) can do with consistent playing time.

OF

CC Southern Nevada SO OF/1B Grant Heyman
Polk State JC SO OF Daniel Sweet
CC Western Nevada SO OF/RHP Conor Harber
Central Arizona JC rSO OF Spencer O’Neil
Concordia JR OF Blake Drake
South Carolina-Aiken JR OF/2B TJ Costen
Mt. Olive rJR OF Jay Gonzalez
Winston-Salem State JR OF Leland Clemmons
State College of Florida-Manatee rSO OF Cory Reid
South Carolina-Aiken JR OF Matt Bosse
Bellarmine JR OF Austin Crutcher
Central Missouri JR OF Trevor Jones
Kutztown JR OF Brandon Martinez
Broward JC SO OF Sly Edwards
Azusa Pacific SR OF Joseph Daris
Jefferson CC SO OF Ryan Rippee
Tallahassee CC SO OF Christian Dicks
Amherst JR OF Michael Odenwaelder
Shippensburg SR OF/RHP Patrick Kregeloh
Bluefield SR OF Chris Rosa
Cal State East Bay JR OF Kelly Starnes
Northeast Oklahoma JC SO OF Ramon Laureano
Orange Coast CC SO OF Tommy Bell
Texas Wesleyan JR OF Jake Howeth
Northwestern Iowa JR OF Mitch Peschon
CC Southern Nevada rFR OF James Young
Cal Poly Ponoma rJR OF/RHP David Armendariz
Campbellsville JR OF/1B Jacob Russell
East Los Angeles CC FR OF Kevin Amezquita
West Virginia Tech JR OF Hugo Rodriguez
Temple JC SO OF Blake Kopetsky
Hendrix SR OF Collin Radack
Shippensburg SR OF Michael Douglas
Catawba SR OF Keaton Hawks
Azusa Pacific SR OF Matt Kimmel
Massachusetts-Boston JR OF Jamill Moquette
Northeastern State SR OF/1B Cody Robinson

If 3B isn’t the top position here, it’s definitely OF. I don’t like comparing OF to the infield spots since the talent pool is that much larger, so let’s just call it a tie and move on. Top of this list has some potential impact names to know for June. The top two outfielders above both got easy FAVORITE designations from me early on. I have an unhealthy appreciation for what Grant Heyman does on the diamond. I think the former Hurricane gets unfairly pigeonholed as a raw, former football star still trying to find his way with the bat and ball sport. He’s way more advanced than given credit for, he knows how to hit, and his physical tools are off the charts. Again, I’ve been guilty of overrating this type of profile in years past, but Heyman is one to believe in. Daniel Sweet is an industry favorite for good reason: he runs well, flashes power, covers tons of ground in center, and shows ample promise as a hitter. Easy to dream on Sweet’s upside as a Andrew Toles style prospect with the chance to get himself drafted in a similar range (3-5 round). Fun fact that is almost certainly only fun to me: Daniel Sweet is but one of three “sweet” names in my database. He is joined by SR Zach Sweet (Florida International) and FR Trae Sweeting (Georgia State). The more you know.

If Spencer O’Neil can clean up his approach, he could move up boards quickly. Blake Drake’s name rhymes, so that’s awesome. He’s also got three big league tools (arm, speed, defense), so that’s pretty cool too. The only thing that will keep Conor Harber from being drafted up high as a hitter will be his right arm, an appendage capable of regularly whipping mid-90s heat towards the batter’s box. Seventh year junior (or so it feels) Jay Gonzalez is off to a slow start at Mt. Olive, but should hit enough to get noticed (or re-noticed, if such a word existed) this June.

Advertisements

7 Comments

  1. Lukas says:

    Great stuff.

    I’m almost more into D2 ball than D1 and have a lot of D2/Juco guys in my db, so might be able to help you out with some other names etc. at some point, once I get some extra time (which might not be all that soon).

  2. Lukas says:

    How in the world can Jay Gonzalez still be a junior? You’re not kidding when you say “seventh year” for him!

  3. chris teyro says:

    matt page Oklahoma baptist

  4. Chris L says:

    I agree about Blake Drake from Concordia (Portland Oregon). Great in the field with a big upside at the plate.

  5. Marty G says:

    One to take a serious look at, Josh Gooding Stats on CCCAA http://www.cccaasports.org/sports/bsb/2014-15/players/joshgooding6mza
    Raw power and hits for average. Currently playing at Victor Valley College in Hesperia/Victorville

  6. […] On JR Davis from way way way back in February 2014… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: