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WAC 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Seattle SR C Brian Olson
Grand Canyon rJR 1B Rouric Bridgewater
Grant Canyon SR 2B Chad De La Guerra
Chicago State JR SS Julian Russell
Chicago State SR 3B Mattingly Romanin
Seattle JR OF Landon Cray
Sacramento State JR OF Nathan Lukes
Northern Colorado SR OF Jensen Parks

Sacramento State JR RHP Sutter McLoughlin
Grand Canyon SR LHP Brandon Bonilla
Grand Canyon SR RHP Jorge Perez
North Dakota SR RHP Andrew Thome
Grand Canyon JR LHP Andrew Naderer

The WAC’s highest upside arm is attached to the body of Sacramento State JR RHP Sutter McLoughlin, a big (6-6, 225) college reliever with the stuff and athleticism to potentially move to the rotation as a professional. His fastball is consistently in the low- to mid-90s (90-95, 97 peak) and his changeup is one the better pitches of its kind in college ball. If he stays put in the bullpen in the pros, I could see him being a sneaky contender for this year’s draft’s fastest moving pitcher. I won’t go so far as to say I think he’ll be the fastest, but with two plus pitches already in the bag he’d certainly be in the mix. Sacramento State SR RHP Brennan Leitao has been a good college pitcher for a long time now, but he’s done it without missing a ton of bats. That makes me more curious than ever about his GB% since his stuff (86-91 sinkers, tons of sliders) fits the groundball specialist profile.

Grand Canyon’s trio of pitching prospects includes SR LHP Brandon Bonilla, SR RHP Jorge Perez, and JR LHP Andrew Naderer. At last check (3/22), neither Bonilla nor Perez has thrown an inning yet this season. That makes ranking them above Naderer, Grand Canyon’s workhorse, a bit odd at face value, but, as in all but the most extreme cases, it comes down to pro projection over amateur production. Bonilla has long tantalized scouts with his size, velocity (upper-80s back in HS, but consistently in the low- to mid-90s now), and a really intriguing mid-80s circle-change. The parallels between his path and usage resemble what his teammate rJR 1B/OF Rouric Bridgewater have experienced over the years, but less game action can be spun more easily as a positive (or, more likely, considered neither good nor bad) for a pitcher than a hitter. Perez relies more on his ability to command the classic sinker (88-92, 93-94 peak) and slider (78-82, above-average upside) stuff. Naderer is a quality prospect in his own right with an exciting mid-80s fastball (90 peak) with all kinds of movement (he can cut it, sink it, and just generally make it dance), an average 79-81 changeup with promise, and a mid-70s curve; continued success could vault him past his more famous teammates by June.

Seattle SR C Brian Olson is a dependable defender with solid power and a decent approach. Grand Canyon SR 2B Chad De La Guerra has more pop than most middle infielders and picks his spots really well on the base paths. Chicago State SR 3B Mattingly Romanin makes his unconventional third base profile (more contact and speed than power and size) work in his own way. Seattle JR OF Landon Cray has demonstrated fantastic plate discipline at the plate and all kinds of speed and range in center. Northern Colorado SR OF Jensen Park does many of the same things well, but does it as a more affordable/signable senior sign. Sacramento State JR OF Nathan Lukes can’t match Cray or Park as a defender (he’s better suited for a corner, where he’s quite good), but offers a similar balanced offensive ability to go with a deadly accurate throwing arm. All of those players look like potential draft picks and contributors to a team’s minor league system. With the right breaks from there, anything can happen. None, however, can match the upside of a player I’ve long liked as a hitter, but now have to admit falls well behind the rest of the WAC pack.

“The guy can hit any pitch, works a mature whole field approach, and goes into each at bat with a plan in place.” Words written here about the aforementioned Bridgewater back in his high school days. I also cited his above-average power upside, though updated reports have it as being more than that in terms of raw power. The problems for Bridgewater can be traced to the difficulty of projecting big league futures on any teenager with a lot of growing up left to do. There’s a reason why the success rate for even first round picks isn’t nearly as high in baseball as it is in other sports. The space between now and later is filled with untold obstacles. Bridgewater’s development, or lack thereof, as a hitter can in part be traced to not getting the reps needed during the crucial baseball gestation period where boys become men. Since leaving high school in 2012 Bridgewater has gotten 88 at bats. Even a talented natural hitter like Bridgewater will struggle with so few opportunities to hone his craft against the kinds of arms he needs to see at this point.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Grand Canyon SR 2B Chad De La Guerra
  2. Seattle JR OF Landon Cray
  3. Seattle SR C Brian Olson
  4. Cal State Bakersfield JR 2B/SS Mylz Jones
  5. Sacramento State JR OF Nathan Lukes
  6. Northern Colorado SR OF Jensen Park
  7. New Mexico State rSR OF Quinnton Mack
  8. Chicago State SR 3B Mattingly Romanin
  9. Utah Valley State JR OF Craig Brinkerhoff
  10. Grand Canyon SR OF David Walker
  11. Grand Canyon rJR 1B/OF Rouric Bridgewater
  12. Cal State Bakersfield SR 1B Soloman Williams
  13. Chicago State JR SS Julian Russell
  14. New Mexico State JR 3B Derek Umphres
  15. Utah Valley State JR 1B Mark Krueger
  16. Sacramento State SR OF Kyle Moses

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Sacramento State JR RHP Sutter McLoughlin
  2. Grand Canyon SR LHP Brandon Bonilla
  3. Grand Canyon SR RHP Jorge Perez
  4. North Dakota SR RHP Andrew Thome
  5. Grand Canyon JR LHP Andrew Naderer
  6. Sacramento State SR RHP Brennan Leitao
  7. Utah Valley State SR RHP Chad Michaud
  8. Sacramento State rSO RHP Justin Dillon
  9. Cal State Bakersfield SR RHP James Barragan
  10. Utah Valley State JR RHP Danny Beddes
  11. Sacramento State SR RHP Ty Nichols
  12. North Dakota SR RHP/1B Jeff Campbell
  13. Seattle JR LHP Will Dennis
  14. Seattle JR RHP Skyler Genger
  15. Grand Canyon SR RHP Coley Bruns
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