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2015 MLB Draft – College Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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6 Comments

  1. Galli Cribbs, Sr says:

    I know I am a little biased, but please check out Galli Cribbs, Jr at Bellevue University.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      I actually have notes on Cribbs from his time on the Cape. His speed and defense were mentioned as particularly impressive tools. Interesting prospect to watch for sure. Best of luck to him over the next two months.

  2. tom says:

    Is there a standout hitter after Happ and Bregman? Consensus top college P?

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Great question, wish I had a better answer. I think you’re right in identifying Happ and Bregman at/near the top. I like Trahan a lot as well, but after that there’s nobody that stands out 14 months ahead of the draft. Lots of toolsy guys, especially in the outfield, that will have a big-time shot to rise up based on how they finish the season and, more importantly, how they perform this summer. The good news is that HS hitters like Daz Cameron, Brendan Rodgers, Kyle Dean, and Chris Betts (among others) stand out as a potential strength at the top of the draft.

      I personally think consensus top college pitcher is a little easier to figure at this point: give me Matuella all day. I’ll also throw a little support towards Hunter Virant, but after two lost years of development I realize I may be alone on that island for now.

  3. Thomas Mayer says:

    Why does no one have Mike Murray from FGCU on their Radar for MLB Prospects?

  4. Stevie g says:

    Where is PJ Conlon, pitcher at USD on your list. I get it he’s not big enough and is not projectable(who came up with that ridiculous word). In two years at USD, he has a record of 16-3 with a sub 3.00 ERA. I would bet that those numbers are better than 80% of the pitchers on your list.

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