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2018 MLB Draft Profile – Hartford

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OF Ashton Bardzell is awesome and I won’t hear a word saying otherwise. He may get dinged by real scouts for the lack of a true carrying tool and underwhelming college competition, but that’s an evaluation that focuses on what he doesn’t do all that well as opposed to zeroing in on what he does really best. I’m not about that. When I look at Bardzell, I see an athletic outfielder who can play all three spots, hit for above-average power, post above-average to plus run times, and throw with the best of them. As importantly, I see a guy who has flat out raked over three years at Hartford. Was I a little aggressive calling him a potential top three round pick (and first round sleeper) back in October? Yes. It’s easy to get a little carried away in October. Maybe a more realistic expectation would be closer to where Erik Ostberg (round 13) went last year. That said, recalibrating my draft expectations for Bardzell in no way changes how I feel about him as a player and a prospect. All it really means is that some team is going to get a ridiculous value at whatever point they are willing to spend a pick on the massively underrated Bardzell.

Down final year or not, I’d still take a shot on 3B/SS TJ Ward based on his defensive acumen and overall body of work as a hitter. OF/1B Chris Sullivan makes more sense as a 2019 senior-sign (if that), though I can appreciate any prospect who can play multiple spots (Sullivan can also play third) while being a non-zero on offense. OF Nick Campana has been an offensive revelation as a senior. How much of that is him figuring something out versus simply getting older, stronger, and wiser enough to beat up on younger pitching is something the scouts on the ground get to determine. From the outside looking in, however, I’d say he’s well on his way to getting some draft late-round draft love from a team that heavily weighs performance. I’m only a man and not a team, but he’s certainly pushing for a spot late on my hypothetical big (500? 750? 1000?) board.

RHP Billy DeVito, RHP Seth Pinkerton, and RHP Justin Cashman all seemed like draftable talents coming into the year. Now I’m a little less sure. DeVito is a fairly straightforward prospect: size (6-4, 210), arm strength (88-92, 94 peak), breaking ball (78-82, flashes above-average), athleticism, and well below-average control. Do the many smaller positives outweigh that one massive negative? I’m inclined to say no for now, but have the feeling we’ll have the opportunity to revisit the discussion in a year. Pinkerton, the Hawks closer, has had a much better junior season than anything he’s shown before. His stuff (90-94 FB, above-average SL) is ready for a minor league bullpen. Cashman has a similar fastball (up to 93), but nowhere near the same track record. He’s 99.99% certain to need another year in college before getting his name into the draft conversation. All in all, one out of three ain’t bad.

I’m excited to see (or at least hear about) RHP/OF Sebastian DiMauro when he gets himself healthy and back on the mound. The word I wrote about him as my placeholder in my notes was “curious.” For now, DiMauro is a curiosity. We know he’s crazy athletic, sits 89-92 MPH with his fastball, and capable of throwing an impressive at times breaking ball. That’s about it. I don’t think there’s enough there to get him drafted as of this second, but a return to the mound — whether it’s this year or next year or whatever — could send his prospect stock flying. A more accomplished version of the same prospect genus, sophomore RHP Nathan Florence, figures to be a high priority follow next season.

JR RHP Billy DeVito (2018)
JR RHP Seth Pinkerton (2018)
rJR RHP Jake Regula (2018)
SR RHP Collin Ferguson (2018)
JR RHP Justin Cashman (2018)
rSO RHP Connor Lewis (2018)
rJR RHP/OF Sebastian DiMauro (2018)
JR OF Ashton Bardzell (2018)
SR 3B/SS TJ Ward (2018)
SR OF Nick Campana (2018)
rJR 2B Cam Belliveau (2018)
JR OF/1B Chris Sullivan (2018)
SO RHP Nathan Florence (2019)
SO RHP Jason Johndrow (2019)
SO RHP Alex Moconyi (2019)
SO LHP Drew Farkas (2019)
SO 2B Bryce Walker (2019)
SO 3B Zachary Ardito (2019)
SO SS Jackson Olson (2019)
SO C Bryce Ramsay (2019)
SO C Robert Carmody (2019)
FR LHP Nick Dombkowski (2020)
FR RHP Jarod Norcross Plourde (2020)
FR OF John Thrasher (2020)

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