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2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Wake Forest

JR RHP/C Garrett Kelly (2015)
SR RHP Matt Pirro (2015)
rSO LHP Max Tishman (2015)
rJR RHP Aaron Fossas (2015)
rSR OF Kevin Jordan (2015)
JR OF/2B Joey Rodriguez (2015)
JR OF Luke Czajkowski (2015)
SO C Ben Breazeale (2016)
rFR RHP Chris Farish (2016)
SO 2B/OF Nate Mondou (2016)
SO 3B/RHP Will Craig (2016)
SO RHP John McCarren (2016)
SO RHP Connor Johnstone (2016)
SO RHP Parker Dunshee (2016)
FR OF Stuart Fairchild (2017)
FR INF Bruce Steel (2017)
FR 1B Gavin Sheets (2017)
FR SS Drew Freedman (2017)
FR 3B Justin Yurchak (2017)

I kept reading the names on the list above over and over trying to remember when I had written about them before. I swear I covered Wake Forest already. It had to be this year, right? Maybe last year, but this year made so much more sense. I guess I’m just losing it, I thought, so let’s jot down some quick notes on what I want to say about certain players…

SO 2B/OF Nate Mondou and SO 3B/RHP Will Craig are both names that all Brewers, Phillies, and any other team in the basement should know in advance of next year’s draft. Mondou can really hit, so the question about him will come down to his projected professional position. Craig is doing his best DJ Stewart impersonation so far at the plate: .396/.500/.758 with 31 BB/16 K in 149 AB.

JR OF/2B Joey Rodriguez isn’t big, but his tools are. If he can play second, he’s a real prospect. I keep reading his name as Joely Rodriguez, recently acquired Phillies minor league lefthanded pitcher. Edit that last sentence out before you publish.

SR RHP Matt Pirro has a good arm (88-93 FB, 95 peak) with a knuckle-curve that flashes plus, but his below-average control hasn’t gotten much better over the years. Feels like a late round flier on a guy with arm strength is his best bet. Wonder if his bad control stems from bad mechanics; if so, can it be fixed?

At this point, I got to JR RHP/C Garrett Kelly’s name in my notes. There is no way I didn’t write about him already this year. I couldn’t find the finished Wake Forest copy anywhere. Searched my site and found nothing. Searched my mail (where I write the occasional rough draft of these things) and found…

I’m a big fan of JR RHP/C Garrett Kelly. He’s a good ballplayer. He’s better at baseball than I ever was and better than 99.99% of the world’s population. Unfortunately, Kelly can’t hit. It was only 32 at bats, but his .094/.310/.125 line last season was not the kind of line you print out and stick on the fridge. That’s what makes his rumored full-time switch to the mound so anxiously awaited. Even though life as a hitter didn’t work out, there’s still a chance for him. As a pitcher, Kelly is a legit pro prospect. He’s already got that nice FB/SL relief combo going (already up to 93 with more likely coming), and the huge perk of being a low-mileage arm won’t go unnoticed by decision-makers this spring. I’ve long been been a sucker for players making the position player to pitcher switch and think Kelly could be a helium guy this spring. He’s joined in what could be one of the more underrated pitching staffs in the conference. SR RHP Matt Pirro finally started missing bats last season, a development that took longer than expected given his impressive stuff (88-92 FB, 94 peak, kCB that flashes plus) but is surely welcomed by the coaching staff all the same. rSO LHP Max Tishman is another arm with a better than 50/50 shot at being drafted this June.

There’s less to like on the hitting side, but that’s all right because of the mere presence of rSR OF Kevin Jordan running around the diamond. Jordan could still hit his way into draft consideration, but failing to do so wouldn’t be the end of the world. His story may not get that Disney ending of him finally climbing the big league mountain, getting a big hit, and then presenting the game ball to Tom Walter, his head coach that donated a kidney to him before his freshman season, but in the real world we can all accept that both he and his coach are already huge winners. I don’t know anybody in and around the game who isn’t rooting for him to succeed. A complete, healthy season where he can start to realize his substantial potential (speed, defense, power, smarts) is the current goal. JR OF/2B Joey Rodriguez’s story doesn’t carry the same weight, but his tools are pretty darn interesting in their own right. He’s still very raw and not particularly big, but a season where he puts it all together would be exciting. Guys like SO 2B/OF Nate Mondou, SO 3B Will Craig, and SO RHP John McCarren should make this a nice spot for scouts next spring.

Yesssss. I wrote those things on November 29, 2014. Let’s see how wrong they are now. First, the most wrong prediction of all: Garrett Kelly. His line so far this year: 9.68 ERA in 17.2 IP with 11 K and 16 BB. Not sure what the opposite of a helium guy would be, but pretty sure those are the numbers of what one would look like. Google says the opposite of helium is sulfur hexaflouride, by the way. The more you know. Pirro is still missing bats, but the aforementioned control woes undermine the rest of his game. Max Tishman hasn’t been able to get healthy, but I still like his arm if/when he gets back on the mound.

Kevin Jordan is a success even while hitting .167/.265/.333. He’s the kind of guy you keep as the last name on your draft board even through the struggles. Rodriguez has come pretty close to putting it all together this season. My only quibble is his still less than stellar BB/K ratio (17/33 as of now), but he’s done enough to get drafted in my view. Mondou and Craig have delivered, but McCarren, despite possessing the third best ERA on the squad, hasn’t missed bats as needed.


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