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2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Pittsburgh

SR OF Boo Vazquez (2015)
SR 1B Eric Hess (2015)
SR SS/2B Matt Johnson (2015)
SR RHP Hobie Harris (2015)
SO RHP Sam Mersing (2016)
SO RHP TJ Zeuch (2016)
FR 3B/SS Charles LeBlanc (2017)

Sometimes laziness can work to one’s benefit. If I had written similar college previews last year, I’m quite sure I would have championed SR OF Boo Vazquez as a breakout player to watch and a potential sleeper top ten round pick. He’s a big, strong corner outfielder (6-4, 215) with serious raw power, a strong arm, and decent speed. If I had written this last year, I would have been all-in after a .312/.405/.412 park/schedule adjusted season with more walks (27) than strikeouts (22) in 199 AB, all signs of growth after a really strong freshman year. Last year, however, Vazquez saw his number take a hit against the board. His still respectable .246/.312/.400 is nowhere near bad enough to have me jumping off the bandwagon, especially considering the consistency of which he’s shown his tools over his three years in school, so maybe my laziness isn’t as useful a virtue as I’d like to think. Perhaps my stubbornness — once I like a player, it takes an awful lot for me to turn on him — is the bigger flaw at work here. Vazquez’s relative struggles when many (like me) expected him to take off did play a part in dimming his draft prospects, but not so much that anybody is counting him out. There’s still time for him to turn it back around. The tools remain and the makeup gets high grades from all those who know him well. His composite raw college numbers (.302/.381/.427 with 64 BB and 78 K in 553 AB) are another point in his favor. Add it all up and you still have a prospect worthy of top fifteen round consideration. If anything, the decision to return to school could help his draft profile — though likely not his wallet — if a team hones in on him as an affordable senior sign target in rounds eight, nine, or ten. He’s Pittsburgh’s best 2015 prospect by a long shot and arguably one of the top ten returning bats in the conference. I can’t put him above DJ Stewart, Joe McCarthy, or Skye Bolt in the completely unimportant and entirely in my head All-Prospect ACC team, but he’s on the cusp.

(Did I start writing this with the premise that I overrated Vazquez coming into last year in mind? Yes. Did I wind up convincing myself in the process of writing the preceding paragraph that the expected breakout for Vazquez that didn’t come last year — when I was spared the public forum of predicting said unfulfilled breakout — might actually come this year, consequently opening myself up to the very same public ridicule (as if anybody really cared what I wrote, but let’s pretend) I avoided last year? Yes. I’m not a smart man.)

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