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2016 MLB Draft Prospects – Florida State

rSR RHP Mike Compton (2016)
rJR LHP Alex Diese (2016)
rSO RHP Taylor Blatch (2016)
JR LHP Alec Byrd (2016)
rSO RHP Andy Ward (2016)
rSO RHP Ed Voyles (2016)
JR RHP Jim Voyles (2016)
rSO RHP Will Zirzow (2016)
rSR LHP Matt Kinney (2016)
rSR RHP Logan Warmouth (2016)
JR OF/SS Ben DeLuzio (2016)
JR 1B/C Quincy Nieporte (2016)
SR 2B/SS John Sansone (2016)
JR C/OF Gage West (2016)
JR 1B/OF Hank Truluck (2016)
JR SS/2B Matt Henderson (2016)
JR C Bryan Bussey (2016)
FR LHP/OF Tyler Holton (2017)
SO RHP Cobi Johnson (2017)
rFR RHP Andrew Karp (2017)
SO RHP Drew Carlton (2017)
SO OF/RHP Steven Wells (2017)
SO C/1B Darren Miller (2017)
SO SS/3B Dylan Busby (2017)
SO SS/2B Taylor Walls (2017)
FR RHP Cole Sands (2018)
FR LHP Jared Middleton (2018)
FR RHP Chase Haney (2018)
FR RHP Ronnie Ramirez (2018)
FR RHP Dillon Brown (2018)
FR C Caleb Raleigh (2018)
FR C/OF Jackson Lueck (2018)
FR OF Donovan Petrey (2018)

I haven’t seen (or heard from those who have seen) enough of JR OF/SS Ben DeLuzio to offer a strong take on his professional future. Much of what I can share likely qualifies under “stuff I already know,” assuming you’ve come to this site willingly and under your own accord. DeLuzio is a fantastic athlete with easy plus foot speed, real arm strength, a quick bat, and average or better raw power. I’ve heard from some in the know who believe he’ll be tried back in the infield depending on how open-minded his drafting team is, but the backup plan of having him glide under balls from pole to pole in center isn’t bad, either.

As is the case with many players who have a bushel of tools rattled off at the top of their dossier, the big question surrounding DeLuzio is how much he’ll hit and whether or not his approach will ever improve enough to allow him to tap into his raw power and considerable athletic ability. In this way, he’s similar to many of this year’s draft’s top college prospects while also being a fascinating outlier in history of the Seminoles hitters. He’s not DJ Stewart. He’s not Stephen or Mike McGee. He’s not James Ramsey or Jayce Boyd or Devon Travis or Tyler Holt. That’s both a good and bad thing. I’m not a Florida State historian so I’m sure I’ll hear from fans of the team via email for this, but a case could be made that he’s the highest upside athlete to play in Tallahassee since Buster Posey. Maybe you could argue Taiwan Easterling, D’Vontrey Richardson, or Justin Gonzalez, but the point is that DeLuzio would be at or near the top of the list over the past decade or so. For all his gifts, however, DeLuzio still swings and misses a lot. That’s not a trait shared by the aforementioned Stewart, McGee’s, Ramsey, Boyd, Travis, or Holt. Of that group, the guy he is most similar to both athletically and from a plate discipline standpoint is Travis. In no way is it a direct comparison, but a bigger Devon Travis isn’t the worst frame of reference to what DeLuzio could be. DeLuzio needs to find out whatever it is that helped Travis make the jump from athletic yet raw college hacker to athletic yet refined professional hitter. If I knew what it took or could predict a breakout, I’d…well, I’d probably still be doing this because babies and mortgages are expensive and entry level baseball jobs are for men and women much younger than myself.

JR 1B/C Quincy Nieporte is more of a classic FSU hitter (.297/.391/.445 with 22 BB/19 K) with a reasonable shot to get drafted if he can do similar things in 2016. SR 2B/SS John Sansome has some sneaky pop and defensive versatility. JR C/OF Gage West needs at bats, but everybody I’ve spoken to about him see a breakout season ahead.

Was rSR RHP Mike Compton’s standout 2015 season an example of an older pitcher taking advantage of overmatched teenage competition or a return to 100% health after missing the 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery? It’ll be hard to answer that question with much certainty in 2016 now that the fifth-year senior has put another year between himself and the opposition, but a repeat of his excellent season (jumped from 5.36 K/9 in 2014 to 8.87 K/9 in 2015) will definitely put him on the draft radar. I like Compton as a gritty college performer with enough stuff (highlighted by mid-80s sinkers and above-average low-70s curves), a deceptive motion, impeccable fastball command, and a veteran big league pitcher’s knowledge of the craft. He’d be a mid- to late-round target if I had a say in a draft room. Both rSO RHP Ed Voyles and JR RHP Jim Voyles have the size (6-7, 200) and stuff (CU for Ed, SL for Jim) to get hitters out if they can get and stay on a mound. Jim did good work last year, so he’s currently ahead but the two figure to be as close as you’d expect on rankings throughout the spring. I’ve heard good things about rSO RHP Andy Ward (up to 93, nice slider) as a potential relief prospect if he can stay healthy.

rJR LHP Alex Diese hasn’t gotten a ton of exposure (just 16.1 IP last year), but he’s got enough fastball and flashes two really promising offspeed pitches (plus CU and average or better CB). If it all comes together for him, he could shoot up boards. JR LHP Alec Byrd isn’t too far off stuff-wise with some projection left in his 6-4, 180 pound frame. That’s good for almost half a foot on rSO RHP Taylor Blatch, the 5-11, 160 pound athlete capable of running it up to the low- to mid-90s on his best day. If he can curtail some of his wildness, he could join the rest of this group as a potential draft possibility.

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5 Comments

  1. Alan Woinski says:

    Rob

    When you cover the Patriot League and my son Alex Woinski who is on Lafayette, just a note that he is now 100%. He tore his PCL, wound up still hitting the game winning 3 run HR against Bucknell as a pinch hitter in the game after he got hurt (looked like Kirk Gibson around the bases) but then missed the rest of the season and playing in the Northwoods League last summer. He was a Louisville Slugger Freshman All American, had some nuisance injuries at the start of last season that hurt his first month of the season but then was batting near .500 in the 3 weeks leading up to his injury. They really only had 10 weeks given 1/4 of their games were canceled due to weather and he missed nearly 3 weeks of the season with the PCL.

    For some reason the team does not seem to want to put in writing or when interviewed that he was hurt last season. Not really sure why.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Really appreciate you letting me know this, Alan. Just added it to my notes and I’ll be sure to mention it when I do a real Patriot League preview. That Gibson-esque home run trot sound amazing, BTW. Must have been a cool moment. Hopefully he’s healthy and ready for a big junior season.

  2. shari says:

    Nothing has changed with Taylor, hes still throwing mid 90s, still same pitcher that was drafted out of high school if not better, only difference is he hasnt been given the opportunity to get on the mound

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