See yesterday’s post for an explanation of what we’re doing here. Now let’s get on with it…
Maryland JR 2B/OF Nick Dunn
I got legitimately excited about Dunn after his big freshman season. A quick comparison…
A – .300 BA – .092 ISO – 25 BB/25 K
B – .348 BA – .116 ISO – 34 BB/20 K
C – .261 BA – .123 ISO – 28 BB/23 K
A was Dunn’s true freshman season, B was Brandon Lowe’s redshirt-freshman season. Lowe took a leap in his first draft-eligible season, so maybe Dunn does the same in 2018. That’s where I was planning on ending the comparison, but I threw C (Dunn’s sophomore year) in one I realized it stacked up better than I first imagined. Obviously there’s a gulf between Lowe’s average and what Dunn has done, but that difference could be made up in a hurry
My only concern with Dunn is how his defense and athleticism continue to develop. “Average on his best days” was the description I got on him at the start of this past season. Then again, many weren’t as keen on Lowe’s glovework back in the day as they are now. Maybe Dunn can work himself to average and become the interesting top three round prospect Lowe became.
Michigan rSR RHP/OF Jackson Lamb
Sometimes I wonder why I do this at all. Lamb going undrafted and unsigned makes me question if I know what I’m talking about at all. There’s nothing about his profile not to like, at least from the outside looking in. Quality sinking fastball that reach the mid-90s, above-average splitter, and rapidly improving mid-80s cut-slider. That repertoire combined with his athleticism adds up to a really interesting relief prospect for me. Maybe his medicals are a mess. That’s the only reason I could possibly come up with for him not yet getting his shot in pro ball.
Rutgers JR OF Jawuan Harris
On one hand, it feels possible, nay likely, that Harris will wind up too good to be called a FAVORITE by next June. His upside is very real. On the other hand, like many players who flash extreme athleticism and five-tool upside, there’s still a sizable gap between what he is and what he’ll eventually be. Bridging that divide is easier said than done. I think Harris does just that; more accurately, I think his strong sophomore season already started the process. Tools + skills = deserved early round buzz.
Oklahoma JR OF Steele Walker
Plenty as been written about Walker during his busy summer, so I’ll be brief: he’s really good. All of those things people write about hitters that can be filed under “stuff you can’t teach,” Walker has. The rest of his game brings more questions — namely his true power upside and ability to remain in center despite average at best speed — but an appreciation for his advanced hit tool is more than enough to make him a FAVORITE for now.
Oklahoma JR 3B Brylie Ware
You can put Ware in the same category as Kyle Datres from yesterday’s post as players with a shot to be 2018’s version of Will Toffey. Toffey went from round 25 to round 4 from his sophomore to junior season. I’m not sure Datres or Ware winds up going that high, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fine prospects in their own right.
Oklahoma SR 2B/3B Jack Flansburg
What can I say? I like scrappy middle infielders who work deep counts and agitate opposing pitchers. I’m not perfect.
TCU JR RHP/1B Luken Baker
Baker is too good to be a FAVORITE, but the love affair with the two-way star goes back long enough that we can let it slide. From May 2015…
Baker is typically listed as a primary righthanded pitcher who moonlights as a hitter, but I prefer him as the hulking slugger with plus to plus-plus raw power that whatever maker created his 6-4, 250 pound frame was hoping he’d turn out to be. I don’t know if he’s fleet of foot enough to handle even faking it as an outfielder over the long haul, but he’s a reasonably good athlete with the kind of plus arm strength you’d expect out of player ranked by most as a potential first-day pitcher.
Baker went on to finish 61st on my draft ranking that year. Interestingly enough, that ranking includes the scouting notes that mentions Baseball America comping him to Mark Trumbo. First, that’s a tremendous comparison. Second, they’ve since compared him to CJ Cron. I like when guys see their comps evolve over time. I know it could very well be different individuals making different comparisons — BA is not a monolith, after all — but I prefer to believe the HS version of Baker and the college version of Baker aren’t quite the same player. Anyway, Baker is really good. I really want to be bold and say I like him more than Seth Beer, but…I don’t. It’s close, though! So at least there’s that. Also, most people I talked to seem to like him better as a pitching prospect than as a hitter. When I say “people I talked to” I want to make it clear that it was, like, two people. There’s still so much time to figure out his long-term position, and only two people responded strongly in either direction of the many that I asked. Most gave some fancy version of “RELAX, we’ll see.” It’s also worth keeping in mind that last year at this time damn near everybody had Brendan McKay as a stone cold mortal lock to be drafted as a pitcher and pitcher only this past June. RELAX, we’ll see.
TCU JR OF Joshua Watson
I love a big freshman season. That’s exactly what Watson delivered in 2016. I also love a good comp. A coach — again, regrettably, I can’t find the source — once compared Watson to Nick Swisher. That’s more than enough to be a FAVORITE. Unfortunately, Watson’s sophomore season was nowhere near as impressive as his freshman campaign. Though it shouldn’t be held against him, it’s also interesting to note that the two other players linked to Swisher here over the years — Jared King and Alex Call — haven’t exactly set pro ball on fire to date. King is already out of organized ball while Call, a big favorite still, has battled injuries throughout this down sophomore season.
St. John’s SR OF/RHP Jamie Galazin
Galazin isn’t quite on the same level athletically as Jawuan Harris (see above), but he’s not all that far off. One source said that Galazin was the guy that many in draft media were hyping Donovan Casey up to be. Thought that was an interesting (and potentially prescient) comment.
Liberty SR C Matt Allen
One of the dangers of FAVORITES is that sometimes I’ll hear something totally off the record about a player and decide right then and there that they are going on the FAVORITES list. That in and of itself isn’t an issue, but it then creates silly scouting notes like the one for Allen that doesn’t list anything specific about his game except for the fact that he is a FAVORITE. Why do I like him so much? In some cases, I remember but I can’t say. In most cases, however, I forget. I’m only 31-years-old, but it’s an OLD 31-years-old. My memory ain’t what it used to be. I’ll hear about a player, remember the name, remember to tag him once I get back to my computer, and forget the rest. In my defense, it’s often many players being discussed so I’m juggling a fair amount of information in my head at a time…but still. I did the same thing with Nick Maton this year. I really like that guy. Heard some really excellent things about him from people who see a bit more Lincoln Land JC baseball than I do. But then I forget the specifics. Or maybe in this case I have them jotted down somewhere but didn’t want to blow up the spot publicly of my INSIDE SOURCE WITH THE PHILLIES because obviously what I write on this WordPress blog gets read by every front office in the hours before the draft kicks off.
Anyway, Allen was a favorite going back to his junior college days. Why? I can’t recall. Perhaps I have some notes on a scrap of paper somewhere I can fill in the blanks with. Until then he’ll remain a mysterious FAVORITE despite hitting a whopping .220/.340/.250 in his first season at Liberty. If he puts it all together in 2018, then the magic of the FAVORITE should never be doubted again.
I capped these to ten per day, something that is very clearly a mistake in hindsight. I’d love to break my own rule and add an eleventh guy because I’m really, really excited about him…but I won’t. We’ll let the suspense build until tomorrow.