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SoCon 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Western Carolina JR C Danny Bermudez
Western Carolina SR 1B Jacob Hoyle
East Tennessee State 2B Trey York
Wofford JR SS Alec Paradowski
Furman SR 3B Chris Ohmstede
Virginia Military Institute rSR OF Jordan Tarsovich
East Tennessee State JR OF Jeremy Taylor
Virginia Military Institute SR OF Brandon Angus

North Carolina Greensboro JR RHP Ryan Clark
North Carolina Greensboro JR RHP Keaton Haack
Mercer SR RHP Dmitri Kourtis
Samford SR RHP Andres Gracia
The Citadel JR RHP Skylar Hunter

The top seven pitchers ranked in the Southern Conference are as close as any conference’s top tier of pitching prospects that I’ve looked at so far. Every one of them has the stuff to pitch in pro ball, so picking a favorite among them amounts to revealing as much about the picker than the pitcher picked. There are guys built for the bullpen, riskier plays with starter upside, and even a former prep star primed for a breakout. JR RHP Ryan Clark (UNC Greensboro) and SR RHP Dmitri Kourtis (Mercer) have explosive 88-92ish fastballs that are extremely difficult to elevate. Both should find success as relievers professionally, though the 6-5, 230 pound Clark has a pair of offspeed pitches good and command enough to start if called upon. SR RHP Andres Gracia (Samford) and SR RHP Tyler Powell (Western Carolina) also both profile as intimidating pro relievers thanks to good fastballs (90-95 for Gracia, 88-93 with 94-95 peaks for Powell) and breaking balls that flash plus. JR RHP Skylar Hunter (The Citadel) can’t match their size at just 6-1, 185 pounds, but offers similar stuff and upside out of the bullpen. I’m particularly intrigued at the moment by JR RHP Keaton Haack (UNC Greensboro) and JR RHP Will Stillman (Wofford). Both player still have a little projection left while presently throwing three pitches for strikes (87-91 FB and average or better CU and SL for Haack; 88-92 FB and average or better CU and CB for Stillman) with flashes of dominance (9.00 K/9 for Haack last year; 11.74 K/9 [but wild] for Stillman last year) that portend good things to come. Haack is an Alabama transfer who has long been a favorite; in fact, he was my 43rd ranked overall pitching prospect back in 2012. The only unsigned pitchers ahead of him that year were Walker Buehler, Hunter Virant, Kyle Twomey, Trey Killian, Grayson Long, Carson Fulmer, Justin Garza, Alec Rash, Ryan Burr, and Cody Poteet. Pretty nice company to be in, I’d say.

The bats in the SoCon aren’t quite as exciting, but there are a few names worth knowing as we head into the mid-way mark of the season. JR 2B Trey York (East Tennessee State) got the nod as the top second baseman on the this list because of his game-changing speed and above-average or better glove work. I had no idea that the guy who hit .231/.305/.349 last season would start this year hitting .469/.532/.922. It’s only 64 AB, but I’d take hot hitting over cold hitting in any sample. I have a hunch he won’t keep slugging .900+ the rest of the way, though he’s been praised for being stronger with a swing built for more power than most college middle infield prospects in the past. Once the power surge ends you’ll still have a capable defender with plus to plus-plus speed and good size. There’s something work watching in York.

SR 2B/3B Brad Strong (Western Carolina) is a senior sign that I’d have high on my preference list this June and not just because his weird every other year plate discipline thing fascinates me. His BB/K numbers over the years…

2012: 4 BB/30 K
2013: 25 BB/31 K
2014: 19 BB/41 K
2015: 6 BB/4 K

This year isn’t far enough along to even pretend that this is a trend, but it’s still fun. Strong is a pesky hitter who can both run and field enough to be useful in a utility role going forward. Works for me.

JR C Danny Bermudez (Western Carolina) is a reliable defender with plenty of sock but not a ton of patience. SR 1B/LHP Jacob Hoyle (Western Carolina) is a big man with the power you’d expect but far fancier footwork around the bag than you’d expect defensively. The power is nice, but he’s too much of a hacker for my tastes. SR 1B/OF Eric Kalbfleisch (North Carolina Greensboro) is a curiously underrated hitter who has pro size (6-3, 210), an average or better hit tool, and more average-ish tools (speed, arm) than most first base prospects. All three players could get some late round love with continued growth this spring.

The Southern Conference has a swell collection of speedy center fielders headlined by rSR OF/2B Jordan Tarsovich (VMI) and JR OF Jeremy Taylor (East Tennessee State). Tarsovich is a pretty well-rounded prospect who fits the leadoff hitter profile nicely. Taylor, the more powerful of the two, runs and defends in center as well as any other player in the conference. SR OF Garrett Brown (Western Carolina) gets a spot on these rankings as long as he has college eligibility left. He’s a sensational athlete with plus-plus speed who brings a football mentality to the diamond. I could see the fans of the team that drafts him in June confused at what they are getting if they check the numbers, but if he ever devotes himself to baseball full-time then it’ll all make sense. I’m not prognosticating anything specific when it comes to Brown’s future, but rather pointing out how appealing a late round gamble he’ll be.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Virginia Military Institute rSR OF/2B Jordan Tarsovich
  2. East Tennessee State JR 2B Trey York
  3. Western Carolina SR 2B/3B Brad Strong
  4. Wofford JR SS Alec Paradowski
  5. East Tennessee State JR SS Jordan Sanford
  6. Western Carolina SR 1B/LHP Jacob Hoyle
  7. North Carolina Greensboro SR 1B/OF Eric Kalbfleisch
  8. East Tennessee State JR OF Jeremy Taylor
  9. Virginia Military Institute SR OF Brandon Angus
  10. Wofford SR OF/C Matt Ramsay
  11. North Carolina Greensboro SR 2B Hunter King
  12. Furman SR 3B Chris Ohmstede
  13. Western Carolina JR C Danny Bermudez
  14. Western Carolina SR OF Garrett Brown
  15. Samford JR SS Frankie Navarette
  16. East Tennessee State JR 1B/C Kevin Phillips
  17. Furman SR OF Jake Jones
  18. Mercer SR 2B Devin Bonin
  19. North Carolina Greensboro rSR OF Zac MacAneney

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. North Carolina Greensboro JR RHP Ryan Clark
  2. North Carolina Greensboro JR RHP Keaton Haack
  3. Mercer SR RHP Dmitri Kourtis
  4. Samford SR RHP Andres Gracia
  5. The Citadel JR RHP Skylar Hunter
  6. Western Carolina SR RHP Tyler Powell
  7. Wofford JR RHP Will Stillman
  8. Wofford SO RHP Jacob Condra-Bogan
  9. Wofford JR RHP Luke Leftwich
  10. Western Carolina JR LHP Taylor Durand
  11. Western Carolina JR RHP Colton Davis
  12. Virginia Military Institute SR RHP Andrew Woods
  13. Samford SR RHP Mikel Belcher
  14. East Tennessee State JR RHP Griffin Krieg
  15. Furman SR RHP Elliot Warford
  16. Furman SR LHP/1B Ryan Morse
  17. Mercer SR RHP Ben Lumsden
  18. The Citadel rJR LHP James Reeves
  19. Samford SR RHP Cole Limbaugh
  20. Samford JR RHP Parker Curry
  21. Samford rSR RHP Mark Donham
  22. Wofford JR RHP Matthew Milburn
  23. Samford SR RHP Alex Ledford
  24. East Tennessee State SR RHP Jimmy Nesselt
  25. Wofford JR LHP Connor Foltyn
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