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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Big South

Matt Crohan at the top of the Big South’s pitching pile is easy. He’s really good. I currently have him as the seventh best college arm in this class and a dark horse to crash the top half of the first round this June. It’s a minority opinion to be sure, but I still don’t see what separates him all that much from AJ Puk at this point. After Crohan, however, this list gets difficult to sort in a hurry. Thankfully, it’s not for lack of quality options. The top dozen or so names listed below are all really exciting pro prospects in their own ways.

Parker Bean and Andre Scrubb are both big guys (Bean a little leaner) with mid-90s fastballs and quality offspeed stuff to match. The former’s 2015 was one to forget, but I think his athleticism and the depth of his offspeed stuff (cut-SL, CB, CU) are enticing enough that I can forgive it. Scrubb’s heft and arm action have me leaning towards more of a bullpen future for him – fair or not – but he can throw two breaking balls for strikes, so starting as a pro shouldn’t be off the table. He’s coming off a really impressive 2015 season, so I could see teams that value performance giving him the edge.

The Big South has a pair of pitchers in Devin Gould and Jeremy Walker that had me questioning my own core pitching beliefs. Both are righthanded juniors with sturdy frames and some projection left. Both have fastballs that creep into the mid-90s. Both have average or better sliders with above-average promise. Gould has missed more bats, but has been far too wild. Walker has average to above-average control, but to date hasn’t lit the world on fire with his ability to get swings and misses. Their relative youth and similar stuff sets up an interesting (albeit admittedly flawed) study in what area is more “fixable” in pitching prospects. Is it easier to fix one’s control or the increase one’s ability to miss bats? I send this question around to three BASEBALL MEN. Two opted for the guy with the iffy control but better strikeout numbers while the third claimed the guy with better control and decent K/9 had an easier path towards overall improvement (he also said he’d pay to see a real study done on this…we both freely admitted we were too stupid to figure out the logistics – so many variables! – of such a thing). Anyway, this was one of my conclusions…

Control seems more fixable due to circumstantial stuff — improved mechanics, better/different coaching, having some baseball or non-baseball epiphany between the ears — so I think I’d take the wild guy over the lower-K/lower-BB option. The only thing that gives me pause is that spikes in K/9 (when they happen at all) — again, assuming quality stuff throughout — seem to come with incremental change rather than major overhauls. That 6.50 K/9 to 9.00 K/9 jump can come with just changing a grip on an existing cutter or something since the “new” pitch better complements what you’ve been doing already. Still going with the control guy over the alternative, but it’s close.

Of course, that conversation sent me down a rabbit hole that eventually led to an interesting discussion that expanded on the idea of what the least worrisome flaw a prospect can be. It reminded me of a football coach I once had who swore that he could fix any player’s – he specialized in QB’s, but said he could help anybody – footwork in a matter of weeks. Paxton Lynch, a potential early first round QB in this year’s NFL Draft, has been dinged by many for ugly footwork. When I see some draft experts call this a fatal flaw, I’m reminded of that coach. One man’s fatal flaw is another’s easily correctable foible. For the record, I don’t know nearly enough about correcting a quarterback’s footwork to add much to the Lynch conversation. On one hand, it does seem like something that can be retaught. On the other, I’ve heard and read elsewhere that bad footwork is more of a symptom of something larger (inability to make decisions and read defenses, for example) than a singular physical issue. Scouting and development is hard work, I guess.

Anyway, due to my current belief that below-average control at the amateur level, often stemming from inconsistent mechanics, ineffective coaching, or some unknowable to the outside world mental barrier, is the simpler of the two issues to improve on, the wild Devin Gould gets the edge over the ordinary K/9-ing Jeremy Walker…for now. Your mileage might vary.

Alex Cunningham is a good arm on a good team, so he’ll get plenty of deserved attention all spring long now that he’s fully recovered from a fractured elbow. His command of three pitches (88-95 FB, mid-70s CB, upper-70s CU) should allow him to stay in the rotation professionally. Austin Ross has more of a reliever feel (good FB, plus SL), but with the chance to be a damn fine one. Mitchell Kuebbing has a little less fastball than the aforementioned Gould, so teams might not be as willing to overlook his similar control issues. I’m just a guy on the internet with little to lose, so gambling on his impressive arm – 88-92 FB, breaking ball that flashes plus, changeup that improves with every outing – is a no-brainer for me. I switched the order of these three pitches about a dozen times before finally settling on the ranking you see below. That kind of waffling is indicative of the overall time spent on sorting through these arms. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason why, but Big South pitching has been the hardest conference/position group to organize so far. That’s probably bad news for the conference’s hitters…

I last took Spanish in school a dozen years ago, so forgive me for the few days of excitement when I thought I had a nickname for Michael Paez cued up and ready to leash on the unsuspecting world. Turns out that vocabulary, once my one and only language strength (boooo grammar), had let me down: country in Spanish is país and not paez. Turns out we can’t call him Little Country after all. What we can call him is a damn fine ballplayer, lame nickname or not. Paez was my preferred First Team All-Prospect college player from two weeks ago for a reason. My indirect comp for him — more about how I perceive him as a prospect than a tools/physical comparison — was Blake Trahan, a third round pick of Cincinnati last season. I don’t know that he’ll rise that high in the eyes of the teams doing the picking in June, but there’s nothing in his prospect profile to suggest he doesn’t have a chance to finish around the same range (early second round) on my final big board. In a draft severely lacking in two-way college shortstops, he’s as good as it gets.

Josh Greene uses his plus speed to his advantage both in tracking down balls in center and on the base paths. He’s also one of the many toolsy college outfielders in this class who scouts insist has a better approach at the plate than his BB/K ratios to date suggest. Speed, range for center, leadoff approach, and sneaky pop all add up to a quality prospect too good to be called a sleeper.

Connor Owings and Nate Blanchard are both solid second base prospects coming off good 2015 seasons. Owings has an impressive hit tool and a patient approach while Owings is a strong defender with a similarly keen batting eye. I’m intrigued by Roger Gonzalez, a plus defender behind the plate and a potential contributor at it. The Miami transfer had a fine junior season and now rates as one of this class’s better senior-signs at the position. Tyler Chadwick is a really fun college player who might get dinged by pro teams unsure what to do with him defensively at the next level. It’s hard to believe that being too versatile a player can be seen as a negative by some front offices in 2016, but that’s some of the feedback I’ve gotten on him as a prospect. It’s such a ridiculous notion to me that it feels like a strawman argument to otherwise – especially considering that Chadwick is a good athlete who legitimately can play multiple spots; it’s not like’s a future DH without a position – but here we are. Chadwick’s versatility make him a far more appealing to prospect to me than he otherwise might be for no other reason than the utility he could bring a low-level minor league roster in flux with promotions, demotions, and injuries. That in and of itself gives him value, and that’s even before we get to his sound approach at the plate, average speed, and the possibility he could be nurtured full-time behind the plate as a viable catching prospect.

My quick search didn’t find the whereabouts of former Big South prospects Connor Pate, Al Molina, and Cas Silber. If anybody knows anything – or knows how to Google better than I can, evidently – drop me a line. I did find Dalton Moats, formerly of Coastal Carolina, at Delta State. He’s a good name to know as a three-pitch lefty with projection and velocity.

Hitters

  1. Coastal Carolina JR SS/2B Michael Paez
  2. High Point JR OF Josh Greene
  3. Coastal Carolina SR 2B/OF Connor Owings
  4. Charleston Southern JR 3B/2B Nate Blanchard
  5. Winthrop SR C Roger Gonzalez
  6. Coastal Carolina SR 3B/C Tyler Chadwick
  7. High Point JR 2B/SS Chris Clare
  8. Radford SR OF Shane Johnsonbaugh
  9. High Point SO 1B/OF Carson Jackson
  10. Liberty SR SS Dalton Britt (2016)
  11. Coastal Carolina SR 3B Zach Remillard
  12. Liberty JR OF Will Shepherd
  13. Coastal Carolina JR C/1B GK Young
  14. Liberty JR 3B/1B Sammy Taormina
  15. Coastal Carolina SR OF Anthony Marks
  16. Gardner-Webb SR C Collin Thacker
  17. Radford SR SS/OF Chris Coia
  18. UNC Asheville JR OF/3B Joe Tietjen
  19. Campbell SR OF/RHP Cole Hallum
  20. Radford rSO OF Trevor Riggs
  21. Liberty JR 1B Andrew Yacyk
  22. Liberty JR 2B Eric Grabowski
  23. Radford JR C John Gonzalez
  24. Winthrop rSR OF Anthony Paulsen
  25. Winthrop JR OF/C Babe Thomas
  26. Longwood SR OF Colton Konvicka
  27. Charleston Southern SR OF Sly Edwards
  28. Coastal Carolina SR C/OF David Parrett
  29. Liberty SR OF Aaron Stroosma
  30. UNC Asheville JR OF Kyle Carruthers
  31. Presbyterian SR OF Weston Jackson
  32. UNC Asheville SR C Lucas Owens
  33. Charleston Southern SR SS Cole Murphy
  34. UNC Asheville SR C Pete Guy

Pitchers

  1. Winthrop JR LHP Matt Crohan
  2. Liberty JR RHP Parker Bean
  3. High Point JR RHP Andre Scrubb
  4. Coastal Carolina rJR RHP Alex Cunningham
  5. Longwood JR RHP Mitchell Kuebbing
  6. Radford JR RHP Austin Ross
  7. Coastal Carolina SR RHP Mike Morrison
  8. Longwood JR RHP Devin Gould
  9. Gardner-Webb JR RHP Jeremy Walker
  10. Coastal Carolina rSR RHP Tyler Poole
  11. Radford SR RHP Dylan Nelson
  12. Gardner-Webb SR RHP Brad Haymes
  13. High Point rSR RHP Scot Hoffman
  14. Liberty JR LHP Michael Stafford
  15. Gardner-Webb SR LHP Ryan Boelter
  16. Coastal Carolina JR RHP Andrew Beckwith
  17. Liberty JR RHP Caleb Evans
  18. Liberty SR LHP Victor Cole
  19. Coastal Carolina rSR RHP Adam Hall
  20. Coastal Carolina rSO RHP Nicholas Masterson
  21. Gardner-Webb rSO RHP Andrew Massey
  22. Winthrop rSR LHP Sam Kmiec
  23. Presbyterian JR RHP Ethan Wortkoetter
  24. Liberty JR RHP Jackson Bertsch
  25. Liberty JR RHP Thomas Simpson
  26. Coastal Carolina rSR RHP Patrick Corbett
  27. Liberty SR RHP Carson Herndon
  28. Radford JR RHP Kyle Zurak
  29. Charleston Southern SR LHP Alex Ministeri
  30. Winthrop rSO RHP Zach Cook
  31. Winthrop SR SS/RHP Kyle Edwards
  32. Radford JR RHP Nygeal Andrews
  33. High Point rSR RHP Joe Goodman
  34. Gardner-Webb rSO RHP Wil Sellers
  35. Charleston Southern rSO RHP Wil Hartsell
  36. Longwood JR RHP Ryan Jones
  37. Charleston Southern SR RHP Chayce Hubbard
  38. Longwood JR RHP Luke Simpson
  39. Presbyterian JR LHP Hayden Deal
  40. Charleston Southern rSR RHP Evan Raynor
  41. Radford SR RHP Daniel Bridgeman
  42. Charleston Southern SR RHP Jon Piriz
  43. Winthrop SR RHP Zach Sightler
  44. Radford JR LHP Kyle Palmer
  45. Campbell SR RHP Nick Thayer
  46. Presbyterian SR RHP David Sauer
  47. Campbell JR LHP Andrew Witczak
  48. UNC Asheville SR RHP Corey Randall

Campbell

SR RHP Nick Thayer (2016)
SR RHP Grant Yost (2016)
JR LHP Andrew Witczak (2016)
SR OF/RHP Cole Hallum (2016)
rSR OF/RHP Brian Taylor (2016)
SR C Matt Parrish (2016)
rSR OF Kyle Prats (2016)
SR 2B/SS Anthony Lopez (2016)
SO C JD Andreessen (2017)
FR 1B/OF Michael Van Degna (2018)

High Priority Follows: Nick Thayer, Grant Yost, Andrew Witczak, Cole Hallum

Charleston Southern

rSR RHP Evan Raynor (2016)
SR LHP Alex Ministeri (2016)
SR RHP Jon Piriz (2016)
SR RHP Chayce Hubbard (2016)
rSO RHP Wil Hartsell (2016)
SR OF Sly Edwards (2016)
SR 1B Bryan Dye (2016)
SR OF Brandon Burris (2016)
SR SS Cole Murphy (2016)
JR 3B/2B Nate Blanchard (2016)
SR OF Jack Crittenberger (2016)
SR 2B Ryan Maksim (2016)
SO RHP Tyler Weekley (2017)
SO OF Chris Singleton (2017)

High Priority Follows: Evan Raynor, Alex Ministeri, Jon Piriz, Chayce Hubbard, Wil Hartsell, Sly Edwards, Nate Blanchard

Coastal Carolina

rJR RHP Alex Cunningham (2016)
rSR RHP Tyler Poole (2016)
rSR RHP Adam Hall (2016)
rSR RHP Patrick Corbett (2016)
SR RHP Mike Morrison (2016)
rSO RHP Nicholas Masterson (2016)
JR RHP Andrew Beckwith (2016)
rJR SS/RHP Jordan Gore (2016)
JR C/1B GK Young (2016)
JR SS/2B Michael Paez (2016)
SR OF Anthony Marks (2016)
SR C/OF David Parrett (2016)
SR 3B Zach Remillard (2016)
SR 2B/OF Connor Owings (2016)
SR 3B/C Tyler Chadwick (2016)
SO OF Dalton Ewing (2016)
SO RHP Bobby Holmes (2017)
SO RHP Zack Hopeck (2017)
SO 2B/SS Seth Lancaster (2017)
SO 2B/OF Billy Cooke (2017)
SO 1B/3B Kevin Woodall (2017)
FR RHP Jason Bilous (2018)
FR SS/OF Cameron Pearcey (2018)
FR C Kyle Skeels (2018)

High Priority Follows: Alex Cunningham, Tyler Poole, Adam Hall, Patrick Corbett, Mike Morrison, Nicholas Masterson, Andrew Beckwith, Jordan Gore, GK Young, Michael Paez, Anthony Marks, David Parent, Zach Remillard, Connor Owings, Tyler Chadwick, Dalton Ewing

Gardner-Webb

JR RHP Jeremy Walker (2016)
rSO RHP Andrew Massey (2016)
SR LHP Ryan Boelter (2016)
SR RHP Brad Haymes (2016)
rSO RHP Wil Sellers (2016)
SR C Collin Thacker (2016)
SR 1B Patrick Graham (2016)
SR 2B Tyler Best (2016)
JR OF/3B Matt Simmons (2016)
JR OF Jacob Walker (2016)
SR OF Taylor Fisher (2016)
SR OF Evan Hyett (2016)
SO RHP Bradley Hallman (2017)
FR OF Chris Clary (2018)
FR OF Mason Fox (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jeremy Walker, Andrew Massey, Ryan Boelter, Brad Haymes, Wil Sellers, Collin Thacker

High Point

JR RHP Andre Scrubb (2016)
rSR RHP Scot Hoffman (2016)
SR RHP Michael Hennessey (2016)
rSR RHP Joe Goodman (2016)
SR RHP Tyler Britton (2016)
JR OF Josh Greene (2016)
JR 2B/SS Chris Clare (2016)
SO 1B/OF Carson Jackson (2016)
SR OF Tim Mansfield (2016)
SR C Dominic Fazio (2016)
JR OF Luke Parker (2016)
SO 2B Hunter Lee (2017)
FR RHP Andrew Gottfried (2018)
FR C Nick Blomgren (2018)
JR INF Nick Capra (2018)

High Priority Follows: Andre Scrubb, Scot Hoffman, Michael Hennessey, Joe Goodman, Josh Greene, Chris Clare, Carson Jackson

Liberty

SR LHP Victor Cole (2016)
SR RHP Carson Herndon (2016)
JR LHP Michael Stafford (2016)
JR RHP Jackson Bertsch (2016)
JR RHP Thomas Simpson (2016)
JR RHP Shane Quarterley (2016)
JR RHP Evan Mitchell (2016)
JR RHP Cody Gamble (2016)
JR RHP Jordan Scott (2016)
JR RHP Alex Clouse (2016)
JR RHP Caleb Evans (2016)
JR RHP Parker Bean (2016)
SR SS Dalton Britt (2016)
JR 3B/1B Sammy Taormina (2016)
JR OF Will Shepherd (2016)
rSO 3B Dylan Allen (2016)
JR 1B Andrew Yacyk (2016)
SR OF Aaron Stroosma (2016)
JR 2B Eric Grabowski (2016)
SO OF Josh Close (2017)
FR RHP Jack Degroat (2018)
FR RHP Zack Helsel (2018)
FR OF DJ Artis (2018)

High Priority Follows: Victor Cole, Carson Herndon, Michael Stafford, Jackson Bertsch, Thomas Simpson, Jordan Scott, Caleb Evans, Parker Bean, Dalton Britt, Sammy Taormina, Will Shepherd, Andrew Yacyk, Aaron Stroosma, Eric Grabowski

Longwood

JR RHP Devin Gould (2016)
SR RHP Allen Ellis (2016)
SR RHP Travis Burnette (2016)
JR RHP Mitchell Kuebbing (2016)
JR RHP Ryan Jones (2016)
JR RHP Luke Simpson (2016)
SR OF Colton Konvicka (2016)
SR 2B CJ Roth (2016)
JR OF Drew Kitson (2016)
SR 1B Connar Bastaich (2016)
JR C Mac McCafferty (2016)
JR 3B Alex Lewis (2016)
JR OF Janos Briscoe (2016): 6-2, 200 pounds
SO LHP Michael Catlin (2017)
SO RHP Zach Potojecki (2017)
SO SS Mike Osinski (2017)

High Priority Follows: Devin Gould, Mitchell Kuebbing, Ryan Jones, Luke Simpson, Colton Konvicka

Presbyterian

SR RHP David Sauer (2016)
rJR RHP Aaron Lesiak (2016)
JR RHP Ethan Wortkoetter (2016)
JR LHP Brian Kehner (2016)
JR LHP Hayden Deal (2016)
SR OF/1B Peter Johnson (2016)
SR 3B/2B Jacob Midkiff (2016)
JR OF Tyler Weyenberg (2016)
SR OF Weston Jackson (2016)
SO RHP Tanner Chock (2017)
SO RHP Russell Thompson (2017)
SO RHP/3B Ryan Hedrick (2017)
SO INF/OF AJ Priaulx (2017)
SO 1B Nick Wise (2017)

High Priority Follows: David Sauer, Ethan Wortkoetter, Hayden Deal, Jacob Midkiff, Tyler Weyenberg, Weston Jackson

Radford

SR RHP Dylan Nelson (2016)
JR RHP Austin Ross (2016)
SR LHP Mitchell MacKeith (2016)
SR RHP Daniel Bridgeman (2016)
JR LHP Kyle Palmer (2016)
SR LHP Tyler Swarmer (2016)
JR RHP Kyle Zurak (2016)
JR RHP Nygeal Andrews (2016)
SR OF Shane Johnsonbaugh (2016)
JR C John Gonzalez (2016)
SR SS/OF Chris Coia (2016)
SR C Jordan Taylor (2016)
JR INF Danny Hrbek (2016)
rSO OF Trevor Riggs (2016)
SO LHP Zack Ridgely (2017)
FR RHP Brandon Donovan (2018)
FR RHP Ryan Sande (2018)
FR 2B/SS Cody Higgerson (2018)
FR 3B Matt Roth (2018)
FR OF Adam Whitacre (2018)

High Priority Follows: Dylan Nelson, Austin Ross, Daniel Bridgeman, Kyle Zurak, Nygeal Andrews, Shane Johnsonbaugh, Jose Gonzalez, Chris Coia, Jordan Taylor, Danny Hrbek, Trevor Riggs

UNC Asheville

JR RHP Joe Zayatz (2016)
SR RHP Corey Randall (2016)
JR OF/LHP Tanner Bush (2016)
SR C Pete Guy (2016)
SR C Lucas Owens (2016)
JR OF Kyle Carruthers (2016)
JR OF/3B Joe Tietjen (2016)
JR SS Derek Smith (2016)
rJR INF Justin Woods (2016)
SO LHP Jordan Fulbright (2017)
SO RHP Ryan Tapp (2017)
FR LHP Jordan Carr (2018)
FR LHP Zach Greene (2018)

High Priority Follows: Joe Zayatz, Corey Randall, Pete Guy, Lucas Owens, Kyle Carruthers, Joe Tietjen

Winthrop

JR LHP Matt Crohan (2016)
rSR LHP Sam Kmiec (2016)
JR RHP Reece Green (2016)
SR RHP Zach Sightler (2016)
rSO RHP Zach Cook (2016)
SR SS/RHP Kyle Edwards (2016)
rSR OF Jayce Whitley (2016)
rSR OF Anthony Paulsen (2016)
rSR OF Tyler Asbill (2016)
JR OF/C Babe Thomas (2016)
SR C Roger Gonzalez (2016)
rSR 1B Mark Lowrie (2016)
rJR 2B CJ Hicks (2016)
SO LHP Riley Arnone (2017)
SO LHP Freddie Sultan (2017)
SO 2B/3B Mitch Spires (2017)
SO SS Jake Sullivan (2017)
FR RHP Nate Pawelczyk (2018)
FR LHP Thad Harris (2018)
FR OF Hunter Lipscomb (2018)
FR OF Matthew Mulkey (2018)

High Priority Follows: Matt Crohan, Sam Kmiec, Reece Green, Zach Sightler, Zach Cook, Kyle Edwards, Jayce Whitley, Anthony Paulsen, Babe Thomas, Roger Gonzalez

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4 Comments

  1. Dill Webster says:

    If Raynor from Charleston Southern University had a better velo, I believe he would be a top 5 round pick. Been watching him progress at every level so far as a guy from his hometown

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Very interesting. I won’t lie: I don’t know a ton about him outside of his outstanding 2015 numbers and intriguing size. If you know anything and want to help me fill in the gaps, I’m all ears. Very cool that you’ve been able to track his progress over the years.

      • Dill Webster says:

        I have a little bit of background for you.. He played 3B up until his senior year of high school where he finally got a chance to pitch.. So he’s relatively new to pitching for someone at the college level… http://www.scnow.com/sports/baseball/article_f3b1252c-fcb4-11e2-a071-0019bb30f31a.html thats an article about his journey. This year from what I can keep up with he’s at a consistent mid to upper 80’s fastball with above average slider. I believe he hit 92 in his last start at Gardner Webb. 8IP 1 ER 7k’s 5 H 3BB. Team lost 1-0. He leads the Big South in ERA (1.78) but has a losing record due to a lack of hitting.. Looks good, and I still believe with the right coach he could change some mechanics and throw harder with his frame size. Ive been told he will out work anyone, but without the velo I just don’t see anyone taking him. I guess we will see come June. It was a joy watching an American Legion team he played on which has consisted of 2 MLB draft picks so far (Akeem Bostick 2rd Rangers, and Zack Shields 10th RD Reds) and went to the Legion World Series.

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