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2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Auburn

JR RHP Trey Wingenter (2015)
SR RHP Rocky McCord (2015)
rJR RHP Justin Camp (2015)
SR RHP Jacob Milliman (2015)
rSO RHP Cole Lipscomb (2015)
JR SS Cody Nulph (2015)
JR OF Sam Gillikin (2015)
JR 3B/SS Alex Polston (2015)
JR 2B/SS Melvin Gray (2015)
JR OF/2B Jordan Ebert (2015)
JR 1B/OF Dylan Smith (2015)
SO OF JJ Shaffer (2016)
SO RHP Kevin Davis (2016)
SO 2B/SS Damon Haecker (2016)
SO RHP/1B Keegan Thompson (2016)
SO OF Anfernee Grier (2016)
SO C Blake Logan (2016)
SO 1B/OF Daniel Robert (2016)
FR OF/INF Hunter Tackett (2016)
FR OF Austin Murphy (2017)

Put me down as believing JR RHP Trey Wingenter is in store for a monster 2015 campaign. All of the pieces are there for a big season: legit fastball (88-94, 95/96 peak), a pair of breaking balls ranging from average (mid-70s CB) to better than that (mid-80s SL), an average or better CU, a very low-mileage arm (only 36 innings through two college seasons), and an imposing yet still projectionable 6-7, 200 pound frame. Despite coming to the close of what surely has not been the kind of college career he once dreamed of, I’m still all-in on SR RHP Rocky McCord. McCord, who has only throw 45.1 innings in three years at Auburn, seems destined to be a quality big league reliever thanks to impressive now-stuff (mid-90s FB peak, excellent CU, rapidly improving SL) and a cool name. rJR RHP Justin Camp (solid stuff), SR RHP Jacob Milliman (size), and rSO RHP Cole Lipscomb (if healthy) all could be draftable with strong seasons.

It’s really hard to get a feel for how the 2015 Auburn lineup will play. On paper there’s all kinds of power, speed, and athleticism scattered throughout the roster, but very little in the way of proven returning talent. The team’s best two ’15 prospects — JR SS Cody Nulph and JR OF Sam Gillikin — are both major question marks (not in a bad way) heading into the season. Nulph is largely unproven on the big stage, but the Pepperdine transfer should bring a steadying glove, strong arm, athleticism, and a mature approach with a chance for average power. If it all works out, that’s a player. Gillikin, like Nulph, has been a prospect of note going back years now, but has been held back by limited playing time (only 100 career AB) and below-average performance indicators. Betting on Gillikin is a bet that his speed, center field defense, athleticism, and big raw power will all come together one of these days. I’m incredulous at this point, but it doesn’t hurt to be patient with a still-developing player like him at this point.

The surest bet in the Auburn lineup is JR OF/2B Jordan Ebert. Ebert doesn’t get enough love as one of the college game’s best pure hitters. That above-average or better hit tool combined with enough pop and speed allow him to potentially profile as an above-average regular offensively. I think his glove will play at any of the spots he’s tried — 2B, 3B, OF — but think his value will likely lie in his ability to play multiple spots — especially those where he can show off his plus arm — well. If you only knew what I just wrote about Ebert, you’d surely think he’s a big-time 2015 draft prospect, but, at least for now, an overly aggressive approach at the plate (31 BB/54 K) holds back his appeal to a degree. I still like him quite a bit; quite simply, guys with hit tools like his are not to be dismissed. If Ebert can settle in to a spot defensively (likely a corner OF spot), flash a touch more power, and clean up his approach a bit, he’ll become a prime candidate to become one of college ball’s fastest risers in 2015. I still think a pro team will try to keep him in the dirt for as long as humanly possible after signing. As an outfielder, he profiles as a high-level backup, especially if he can hang in center a bit. As an infielder, however, he’s a potential everyday contributor.

I don’t know much about JR 1B/OF Dylan Smith, but what I do know (power, speed, athleticism, size) I like. He’s one to watch. JR 2B/SS Melvin Gray is another interesting new name to track. The future looks strong past the 2015 class with SO RHP/1B Keegan Thompson emerging as a potential star, SOs 2B/SS Damon Haecker, C Blake Logan, and 1B/OF Daniel Robert putting up decent freshman seasons, and potential breakout players like the upside-laden outfield group of in SO JJ Shaffer, SO Anfernee Grier, and FR Austin Murphy waiting for their shot.

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