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2016 MLB Draft Prospects – Cincinnati

SR RHP Mitch Patishall (2016)
rSR RHP Bryan Chenoweth (2016)
rJR LHP Colton Cleary (2016)
JR RHP Andrew Zellner (2016)
SR C Woody Wallace (2016)
SR 1B Devin Wenzel (2016)
rSO 2B Connor McVey (2016)
SO LHP Dalton Lehnen (2017)
SO LHP JT Perez (2017)
SO RHP Tristan Hammans (2017)
SO 1B/OF Ryan Noda (2017)
SO 2B Kyle Mottice (2017)

Can we just talk about Ian Happ again? Please? I guess since it’s my site and I make the rules there’s really nothing me from doing just that, but it’s only right to turn the page and take a closer look to see who’s next in line.

If we’re swinging for the fences, then the most appropriate player to discuss is SO 1B/OF Ryan Noda. He’s obviously a 2017 draft candidate to know and we don’t typically try to get too far ahead of ourselves here, but his talent merits a mention. Power like Noda’s isn’t found at places like Cincinnati every day. He’s a good athlete with plenty of bat speed and no fear as a hitter, so if he can find a way to make his aggressive approach (77 K in 196 AB) work better for him then he’ll be talked about as a serious early round talent in 18 months or so.

The pitching staff returns a few intriguing names. My favorites among them include SR RHP Mitch Patishall, JR RHP Andrew Zellner, and SO LHP Dalton Lehnen. Lehnen, like Noda a 2017 draft prospect, showed solid stuff across the board as a freshman. Patishall had a 2015 season to forget, but could bring his decent fastball/curveball starting kit to a team willing to overlook some of his early college struggles. Zellner is your best Bearcat prospect heading into the 2016 draft season. His 87-91 heat and average or better slider could look even better by the end of the years as he’s got some projection left at 6-3, 190 pounds. Continued growth out of him could make him a worthy draft pick come June.

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3 Comments

  1. Marc Schaller says:

    Rob,

    I love reading your stuff. I have an unsigned high school senior and the experience of college recruiting has shown me that 10 people can watch and project players and have 10 different opinions on how their talent fares in the marketplace.

    A friend of my son’s team is an Associate major league scout and he says both college recruiting and the draft are the most frustrating part of his job and he has in recent years been involved in several drafted players. He can’t understand why my son is in his current position with his skill set… mind you … he projected my son in the MAC or Horizon league as a CIF.

    My brother sent me the following notes after reading your OF/3B high school evaluations as his son … also a 2016 player has played with the players in your article. My nephew is committed to a high level SEC school as a RHP.

    Grant Bodison – SS – Can’t hit a lick. Batted .235 for Canes, mostly against pussy pitching. Josh Lowe- 3B – great, athlete, can’t hit in games but is a great BP basher Joe Rizzo – 3B – Absolute worker, hits day in and day out, is always filthydirty and is relegated behind Lowe. Sad Avery Tuck OF – Great athlete, can’t hit in games. Got his average like Bodison against low low level teams. Blake Rutherford – OF – Player!

    As you can see .. add an 11th person watching these guys and you get yet another opinion.

    My son’s travel team has faced many of these 2016 kids from the Rawlings Hitters (lost) to the GRB Rays (won 1, lost 1) to the Indiana Prospects and many other high quality East of the Mississippi River teams. My opinion as the team scorekeeper will be as diverse as my brother’s. My son also takes lessons from Dave Kirilloff and it certainly has helped his game.

    Keep up the great work, perhaps my son and nephew will get some ink in the future.

    Marc Bowling Green, OH

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Thanks for getting in touch Marc, this is fascinating stuff. So many people don’t realize that the idea of beauty is in the eye of the beholder applies to talent evaluation and that there’s rarely (if ever) a “right” way of projecting what a teenage talent will look like five to ten years down the line. Scouting is far more art than science and it shows with the varied takes that you find on individual players. I think that’s what makes it so much fun…though that’s easy for me to say without any skin on the line. I’m just a weird baseball fan on the internet! Probably would feel a little differently if my son or nephew or friend or whomever was chasing the post-HS baseball dream that’s long passed me by.

      I don’t know enough about Bodison to refute the claims against his bat. In fact, how much he’ll actually hit is the biggest concern many who have seen him (like your brother) have mentioned to me.

      The Lowe/Rizzo comparison is particularly interesting to me. I really, really like Lowe (clearly), but…I get it. Rizzo is the better play right now. Lowe is the more intriguing collection of parts. I’d think most scouts would be tempted by the upside of Lowe and turned off by Rizzo’s frame, so it’s a testament to your brother that he could see past that here. Fake scout that I am, I admit that I have a hard time seeing a young hitter do his thing and making guesses about whether or not it’ll work professionally. In fact, I think that’s one of the great unspoken truths about scouting: nobody knows when it comes to young hitters. I mean, some people (not me!) know more than others, but it still comes down to a million dollar game of educated guesses. I’ve saved this scout quote about Jahlil Okafor for almost a year because I think it’s one of the most honest things I’ve ever read: “He needs to become a better shooter and free throw shooter. He either will or he won’t.” Projecting whether or not a teenager will develop as a shooter is almost impossible. Yes, you can look at his form, his ease of repeating said form, his athleticism, his track record, his coachability, his willingness to work at it…you can look at all those things in a shooter or a hitter, but you still won’t really know until the lights go on and the player is forced to do it or not. Facing mediocre high school arms for the majority of the year with a few high-level at bats against showcase talent makes for a really limited amount of looks to determine the most important question in the game (WILL HE HIT???), so I like the idea of going with Rizzo, a guy there’s a pretty damn strong consensus on will hit, over an arguably more talented all-around player like Lowe who still has a higher degree of projection left (or, less kind, wishcasting) with his bat. So I get Rizzo over Lowe based on the bat. Same logic applies for Rutherford over Tuck. Very fair, defensible positions to take.

      Also, curious if either you or your brother got a chance to see Nolan Jones at all. The more I thought about what I saw from him this summer (and the more I heard from smarter people than I since then) has me now thinking he could be the best high school position player in this class. Is that crazy?

      Best of luck to your son and nephew this upcoming season. Enjoy it all. And keep me posted as much or as little as you like…one of the best parts of having a site like this is the personal connection and finding new players/people to root for.

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