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CAA 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Elon rJR C Michael Elefante
College of Charleston JR 1B Carl Wise
Elon SR 2B Casey Jones
College of Charleston rJR 3B Morgan Phillips
UNC Wilmington JR SS Terrence Connelly
Elon JR OF Will Nance
James Madison rJR OF Chad Carroll
UNC Wilmington JR OF Steven Linkous

UNC Wilmington SR RHP Jordan Ramsey
Elon rJR RHP Joe McGillicuddy
UNC Wilmington JR RHP Jared Gesell
UNC Wilmington JR RHP Nick Monroe
College of Charleston rJR RHP Taylor Clarke

rJR C/RHP Michael Elefante (Elon) has been more pitcher than hitter over the past few years, a seemingly logical step for a player with plus arm strength and an extremely raw bat. I can’t really argue with anybody who thinks his best future involves pitching rather than hitting. Still, I think his upside on the mound falls below what he could be as a cannon-toting power backstop. His plus arm strength/plus raw power combination is the kind of starter kit that many teams prefer in young catching prospects. The fact that the William & Mary squad has three catchers of note (JR C/1B Charley Gould, JR C Ryan Hissey, and SR C Devin White) is a pretty nice feather in the cap for that program.

There’s some nice variety at first base in the CAA this year with options including the more traditional power-hitting, aggressive swinging, plodding runner type (JR 1B/3B Carl Wise of College of Charleston), the increasingly popular athletic, average or better running, multi-purpose type (SR 1B/3B Brendan Butler of Towson), and everybody’s favorite the oversized hulking slugger type (SR 1B Corey Dick of UNC Wilmington). I personally think both Wise and Butler will stack up quite nicely against their 2015 draft peers. Wise is an aggressive hitter, as mentioned, but does so in a really smart, controlled way. Butler is more overtly patient in his approach, which is nice, but hasn’t flashed quite the same bit of power than Wise has shown to date. A big year for Wise could convince teams that he’s a viable first base prospect while Butler seems like he’s playing more to convince scouts that he could have utility as a four-corners bench bat.

I won’t pretend to know who the real SR 2B/3B Casey Jones (Elon) is, but I damn sure appreciate what he’s done at this level. He could very well be the player who scuffled his way through 106 forgettable freshman year at bats (like freshman do), but I’m choosing to believe he’s the guy who showed steady but real progress in 2013 before taking off in an unexpectedly great (.418/.502/.668 with 36 BB and 40 K in 196 AB) junior campaign. I lean that way based on what I’ve heard about his on-field game (average or better tools across the board plus the expected plus makeup and leadership abilities) and his stellar choice of walk-up music. From The Pendulum:

Jones brings an easygoing, bright atmosphere to Latham Park each day, and it’s translating for him at the plate. That shows in his walk-up song as well, which is “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child, a hit from 1999.

“Say My Name” might literally be the greatest song ever recorded. I speak as something of an authority on the subject what with my experience in doing a sixth grade project on the song in music class and all. Due to that report there’s a chance that I’ve listened to that song more times than even Beyonce, Kelly, LeToya, and LaTavia (yeah, this was the original iteration of the group…I’m old). Trust me when I say that going with “Say My Name” as your walk-up music is a sign of great character and limitless professional potential. In terms of just on-field baseball ability, Jones is a really steady talent who wears out the gaps as a hitter and knows how to pick his spots well as a runner. There’s some danger in overrating his upside by simply scouting his box scores, but if he puts up another season even within the same general ballpark of what he did last year then I’m not sure how you can keep him outside of the draft’s top ten rounds.

JR 2B/3B Blake Butler (College of Charleston) actually shares a lot of stylistic similarities with Jones. A breakout junior season not unlike the one just put up by Jones – not that one has ever gotten rich predicting .400/.500/.650 seasons, so don’t be too literal with this comp – is within reach for the talented and largely underrated Butler. Butler is far from alone on what looks to me to be a very competitive College of Charleston lineup. He has a pair of talented teammates that could also make some draft noise this June in rJR 3B/SS Morgan Phillips and rSR 3B/OF Brandon Glazer. Phillips is a raw talent at the plate who has flashed some defensive upside as a left side of the infielder glove, though some believe he’ll ultimately work best as an outfielder. Glazer is similarly raw with a bat in his hands, but the better present defender at the hot corner. Both guys haven’t performed quite as well as their tools would suggest, but the flashing of said tools over the years have area scouts on notice. Rounding out our All-CAA prospect infield is JR SS Terrence Connelly (UNC Wilmington). Connelly has no carrying tool, but does enough of everything well enough that he’s a draftable talent despite showing minimal power through two seasons. He probably profiles best as a 2016 senior sign, but the black hole of talent at shortstop in the conference helps him land this coveted honor more or less by default.

I’m throwing caution to the wind with the pick of JR OF Will Nance (Elon) as the conference’s best 2015 outfield prospect. Part of that is due to being enamored with Nance’s raw power and pedigree (plus and acclaimed NC State transfer, respectively) and part of it is the lack of any obvious alternatives. To give a little perspective on the pool of talent we’re talking about here, rJR OF/2B Chad Carroll (James Madison), the second name on the list, hit .219/.315/.297 in his injury-shortened (just 64 AB) 2014 campaign. His positional versatility – some have him as a primary 2B professionally, others think he could even stick at SS – and flashes of production over the years (his 2013 was really good, iffy BB/K ratio or not) make the speedy prospect worth paying attention to. I happen to like JR OF/3B Steven Linkous (James Madison) for his speed, glove, and athleticism, and SR OF/C Ryan Cooper (Elon) for his easy CF range and impressive developing pop.

When it comes to pitching, UNC Wilmington is the CAA version of Rice. In SAT terms, UNC Wilmington pitching: CAA as Rice pitching: Conference USA. There may be no more consistent pitcher in all of amateur baseball than SR RHP Jordan Ramsey (UNC Wilmington). Look at his career marks…

2012: 7.50 K/9 – 3.00 BB/9
2013: 7.36 K/9 – 2.51 BB/9
2014: 7.56 K/9 – 2.52 BB/9

I kind of get the feeling that this year he’ll finish with a K/9 around 7.5 and a BB/9 around 2.5, but that’s just me. Of course, how he puts up those numbers is what we care most about when trying to project professional success on him. Thankfully for him, he’s getting results through good old fashioned pitching his butt off with the classic fastball (88-94), slider (75-77), and changeup (77-80) mix. All three pitches can be thrown for strikes and all grade out as consistently average or better offerings. None of his teammates on this list have had anywhere near the success he’s had to date, so more wishcasting on their stuff is needed. JR RHP Jared Gesell’s control was his bugaboo in 2014, but the size (6-4, 200), stuff (very similar to Ramsey’s), and deception in his delivery all add up to an intriguing pro prospect. JR RHP Nick Monroe had more trouble missing bats last year than his strong stuff and underrated athleticism would suggest. He’s a tough guy to peg going forward because his size (6-4, 250 pounds) will always be something to monitor. Finally, there’s JR RHP Evan Phillips, the hardest throwing (95 peak) of the quartet. He’d have a shot to rank higher – in fact, I originally had him as high as fifth on my first run through the conference – if only he could show some semblance of understanding where the ball will travel with each pitch. Wildness aside, he’s got the kind of arm strength that teams are always seeking out. Like the rebel with the motorcycle and the leather jacket in way too many bad movies, teams see these guys and think that they can change them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If only I watched more movies and could give a pop culture example for each…

I’ll close this 1500 word opus out by briefly championing an arm that almost everybody I contacted told me to put higher with every revision of this piece. I was happy to oblige because he fits the pitcher archetype that I’ve come to really appreciate over the years. rJR RHP/SS Michael Foster (Northeastern) has a fresh arm capable of hitting the low-90s and all the athleticism you’d expect out of a capable offensive and defensive middle infielder My preference for athletic converted infielders has led to more hits than misses – if I was the boastful type I might mention being the earliest guy all-in on Braden Shipley, but I’m not so pretend I didn’t say anything – and I stand by Foster as one of this year’s most intriguing pitcher/infielder combo guys.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting

  1. Elon SR 2B/3B Casey Jones
  2. College of Charleston JR 1B/3B Carl Wise
  3. Towson SR 1B/3B Brendan Butler
  4. Elon JR OF Will Nance
  5. James Madison rJR OF/2B Chad Carroll
  6. Elon rJR C/RHP Michael Elefante
  7. College of Charleston JR 2B/3B Blake Butler
  8. College of Charleston rJR 3B/SS Morgan Phillips
  9. UNC Wilmington JR OF/3B Steven Linkous
  10. Hofstra rJR 1B Ryan Donovan
  11. Northeastern rJR 1B Rob Fonseca
  12. James Madison SR OF Kevin Husum
  13. Delaware SR OF Norm Donkin
  14. Elon SR OF/C Ryan Cooper
  15. UNC Wilmington JR OF Joe Bertone
  16. Towson SR OF Peter Bowles
  17. Elon SR OF Quinn Bower
  18. William & Mary rJR OF/C Josh Smith
  19. UNC Wilmington SR 1B Corey Dick
  20. William & Mary JR C/1B Charley Gould
  21. William & Mary JR C Ryan Hissey
  22. College of Charleston rSR 3B/OF Brandon Glazer
  23. UNC Wilmington JR SS Terence Connelly
  24. Delaware SR C Ty Warrington
  25. Elon SR C Chris King
  26. William & Mary SR C Devin White

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. UNC Wilmington SR RHP Jordan Ramsey
  2. Elon rJR RHP Joe McGillicuddy
  3. UNC Wilmington JR RHP Jared Gesell
  4. UNC Wilmington JR RHP Nick Monroe
  5. College of Charleston rJR RHP Taylor Clarke
  6. College of Charleston SR RHP Chase Henry
  7. Northeastern rJR RHP/SS Michael Foster
  8. UNC Wilmington JR RHP Evan Phillips
  9. College of Charleston JR RHP Nathan Helvey
  10. William & Mary JR RHP Joseph Gaouette
  11. Hofstra rSR RHP Nick Kozlowski
  12. William & Mary SR LHP Jason Inghram
  13. William & Mary JR RHP Mitch Aker
  14. Hofstra SR RHP David Jesch
  15. Hofstra JR RHP Alex Eisenberg
  16. Northeastern SR RHP Nick Berger

1 Comment

  1. Dennis Burnett says:

    I had the pleasre to umpire behind Ty Warrington when he played Cal Ripkin in the Piedmont baseball league Even then at 10 he was starter for the 12 yr old team He was my favorite to umpire behind Caught everything and if the pitch was close he would ask where was that and then tell pitcher just missed and not try to show me up I wish him well Whoever picks him in the draft will get your money worth A hustler all the time Go Get’m Ty You are my AllStar Thanks for the memories
    Dennis Burnett

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