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2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Georgia

JR 1B Morgan Bunting (2015)
JR C Zack Bowers (2015)
JR 1B David Nichols (2015)
JR OF/RHP Sean McLaughlin (2015)
SR OF/RHP Heath Holder (2015)
rSR C/RHP Brandon Stephens (2015)
SR 1B/LHP Jared Walsh (2015)
SR RHP Jared Cheek (2015)
rJR RHP Mike Mancuso (2015)
rJR RHP David Sosebee (2015)
JR LHP Ryan Lawlor (2015)
JR RHP David Gonzalez (2015)
rSO RHP Austin Wallace (2015)
SO RHP Robert Tyler (2016)
SO LHP Connor Jones (2016)
SO OF Stephen Wrenn (2016)
SO SS/2B Mike Bell (2016)
SO C/OF Skyler Webb (2016)
FR LHP Ryan Avidano (2017)
FR LHP Bo Tucker (2017)
FR OF Keegan McGovern (2017)
FR OF/3B Mitchell Webb (2017)

Georgia is a program on the rise, but it’s not going to happen overnight. The up-and-comers are, well, up and coming (and quickly, too) but we won’t have to worry about them crashing the 2015 Draft party just yet. SOs RHP Robert Tyler and LHP Connor Jones will play a big part in leading the team back to glory. They’ll get help both at the plate and in the field from outstanding defensive center fielder SO Stephen Wrenn. But those guys will have to wait their turn another year as this year’s 2015 class will take center stage this spring. That’s all well and good in theory, but in reality it’s very difficult to peg a clear front-running lock to be drafted among Georgia’s current crop of draft eligible players. I guess I’d go JR C Zack Bowers, but I don’t feel particularly great hitching my wagon a player who hit .189/.299/.302 with 18 BB and 43 K (24 BB/79 K career) in 159 AB last season. Bowers can at least boast of having the tools to be a premium draft pick. He fits the old plus raw power/plus arm strength young catcher archetype like a glove. Unfortunately for him, the pro game seems to be on a current kick of valuing catcher defense — amazing how these things run in cycles — so a premium has been placed on pitch-framing, receiving, and athleticism and mobility behind the dish. The big, strong power/arm guys still have a place in the game, but it’s not what it once was. More simply put, if Bowers doesn’t clean things up on the defensive end (to say nothing of the need for improvement in approach), then all the plus power and arm strength in the world won’t get him drafted where those tools would otherwise suggest. He’s still my favorite Georgia 2015 prospect because, you know, tools.

If not for Bowers, I’d say JR 1B Morgan Bunting, especially if he proves playable at third base and the corner outfield spots, as some have suggested. He might hit enough to wind up as the first Bulldog off the board. JR OF/RHP Sean McLaughlin should probably be listed as a RHP/OF. Same should be said for all the two-way guys listed above, come to think of it. SR OF/RHP Heath Holder’s best bet as a pro would be as a potential reliever, rSR C/RHP Brandon Stephens could be interesting on the mound if healthy, and SR 1B/LHP Jared Walsh’s performance at the plate last season (.188/.345/.217) is enough to make me think pitching might be in his best interest going forward. As for the full-time pitchers, SR RHP Jared Cheek, JR LHP Ryan Lawlor, and rJR RHP David Sosebee all could get late looks as professional relief prospects. JR RHP David Gonzalez has the kind of hard stuff you’d think would miss bats, but he’s yet to do so as a Bulldog.

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