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2014 MLB Draft (And Beyond) – ACC Follow List

Trying out something I’ve never done, but figured it was time to peel back the curtain a little bit this year. One of the few questions I occasionally get asked is often the simple “I’m seeing ______ this weekend. Do they have anybody worth watching?” If nothing else, this should answer that.

Publishing this should also help me identify any missing prospects from  my database. It only takes one devoted observer of a college team to pipe in and tell me I’m an idiot for not including a player that somehow escaped my attention to this point. Figure this could also be a springboard for discussion if anybody has any questions, comments, or concerns about the follow lists. I’ll try to get at least one of these up every day until we run through every D1 conference. I’ll also be throwing some position rankings up as I continue to work through sorting out 2014’s best college pitchers. Busy time of year, but damn exciting.

Boston College

SR LHP Steve Green
rSO LHP Andrew Chin
JR RHP John Gorman
SR RHP Eric Stevens
JR LHP Nick Poore
SR OF Tom Bourdon
JR 2B/SS Blake Butera
SO 1B/OF Chris Shaw (2015)
SO RHP Jeff Burke (2015)
SO LHP Jesse Adams (2015)
FR SS/3B Johnny Adams (2016)

Clemson

JR RHP Daniel Gossett
SO LHP Matthew Crownover
SR RHP Matt Campbell
JR RHP Patrick Andrews
rJR RHP Kevin Pohle
rSO LHP Kyle Bailey
rJR RHP Jake Long
JR C/OF Garrett Boulware
SR 3B/2B Shane Kennedy
SR 2B/SS Steve Wilkerson
JR OF Tyler Slaton
SR OF Joe Costigan
SR 1B/OF Jon McGibbon
SO SS/3B Tyler Krieger (2015)
SO OF Steven Duggar (2015)
rFR RHP Wales Toney (2015)
SO RHP Clate Schmidt (2015)
SO OF Maleeke Gibson (2015)
SO LHP Zack Erwin (2015)
SO RHP Brady Koerner (2015)
FR C Chris Okey (2016)
FR 3B/SS Weston Wilson (2016)
FR SS/2B Eli White (2016)
FR LHP Alex Bostic (2016)
FR RHP Drew Moyer (2016)
FR 3B Glenn Batson (2016)
FR OF Reed Rohlman (2016)
FR LHP Hunter Hill (2016)
FR RHP Tucker Burgess (2016)

Duke

SR RHP Drew Van Orden
JR RHP Andrew Istler
JR RHP Sarkis Ohanian
JR LHP Trent Swart
SR RHP Robert Huber
JR LHP Remy Janco
rJR 1B Chris Marconcini
SR 3B Jordan Betts
rSR OF Ryan Deitrich
rJR C Mike Rosenfeld
SO RHP Michael Matuella (2015)
SO RHP James Marvel (2015)
SO RHP/SS Kenny Koplove (2015)
FR RHP Bailey Clark (2016)
FR RHP Karl Blum (2016)
FR C Cristian Perez (2016)

Florida State

JR RHP Luke Weaver
rSO RHP Mike Compton
JR LHP Brandon Leibrandt
SR RHP Peter Miller
rSR RHP Gage Smith
SR LHP Brandon Johnson
JR LHP Bryant Holtmann
JR 3B/OF Jose Brizuela
JR 1B John Nogowski
rSR SS/3B Justin Gonzalez
rSR OF Brett Knief
JR C Daniel De La Calle
JR OF Josh Delph
SR C Ladson Montgomery
SO RHP/OF Jameis Winston (2015)
SO OF DJ Stewart (2015)
SO 2B/SS John Sansone (2015)
FR OF/SS Ben DeLuzio (2016)
FR RHP/INF MT Minacci (2016)
FR RHP Taylor Blatch (2016)
FR LHP Alec Byrd (2016)
FR RHP Andy Ward (2016)
FR C/OF Gage West (2016)
FR C/1B Derek Fritz (2016)
FR RHP Ed Voyles (2016):
FR RHP Jim Voyles (2016):

Georgia Tech

rJR RHP Matthew Grimes
SR RHP Dusty Isaacs
JR RHP Josh Heddinger
SO LHP Sam Clay
JR RHP Cole Pitts
SR RHP Jonathan Roberts
SO LHP/OF Jonathan King
SR LHP Devin Stanton
SR RHP/3B Alex Cruz
JR 1B/C AJ Murray
rSO OF Dan Spingola
JR 2B/SS Thomas Smith
SR 2B/SS Mott Hyde
SO 3B/SS Matt Gonzalez (2015)
FR RHP Zac Ryan (2016)
FR C Arden Pabst (2016)
FR OF Keenan Innis (2016)
FR 3B/RHP Brandon Gold (2016)
FR LHP Ben Parr (2016)
FR INF Elliott Barzilli (2016)
FR INF Connor Justus (2016)

Maryland

rJR OF Charlie White
SR SS Kyle Convissar
rJR OF Mike Montville
JR 2B Andrew Amaro
SR INF Blake Schmit
rSO LHP Zach Morris
SR RHP/3B Jake Stinnett
JR RHP Bobby Ruse
rJR LHP Ben Brewster
SR RHP Brady Kirkpatrick
SR LHP Jamie Pashuck
SO OF/LHP LaMonte Wade (2015)
SO OF Anthony Papio (2015)
SO LHP Jake Drossner (2015)
SO RHP Kevin Mooney (2015)
SO RHP Jared Price (2015)
SO LHP Alex Robinson (2015)
SO RHP Brandon Casas (2015)
FR LHP Tyler Stiles (2016)
FR Mike Shawaryn (2016)

Miami

rJR LHP Bryan Radziewski
SR RHP Adam Sargent
SR LHP AJ Salcines
SR RHP Javi Salas
JR LHP Andrew Suarez
JR LHP Chris Diaz
SR OF Dale Carey
SR 3B Brad Fieger
SR OF/3B Tyler Palmer
SR 2B/SS Alex Hernandez
JR C Garrett Kennedy
SO SS/RHP Brandon Lopez (2015)
SO 3B/OF David Thompson (2015)
SO 1B/OF Chris Barr (2015)
SO OF Ricky Eusebio (2015)
SO LHP Thomas Woodrey (2015)
SO RHP Enrique Sosa (2015)
FR C/1B Zach Collins (2016)
FR 1B Bradley Zunica (2016)
FR OF Willie Abreu (2016)
FR RHP/1B Derik Beauprez (2016)
FR OF Jacob Heyward (2016)
FR LHP Danny Garcia (2016)
FR RHP Bryan Garcia (2016)
FR C Carlos Diaz (2016):
FR SS Sebastian Diaz (2016):
FR RHP Cooper Hammond (2016)

North Carolina

JR RHP Luis Paula
JR RHP Benton Moss
JR RHP Chris McCue
JR RHP Trevor Kelley
rSO LHP Henry Sisson
SO RHP Taylore Cherry
rJR RHP Andrew Smith
SR LHP Tate Parrish
SR OF Parks Jordan
JR SS/OF Michael Russell
SO 3B/2B Landon Lassiter
SR OF/1B Thomas Zengel
rSO C/2B/OF Matt Rubino
SO OF Skye Bolt (2015)
SO OF Zach Daly (2015)
SO SS/OF Alex Raburn (2015)
SO C Korey Dunbar (2015)
SO RHP Trent Thornton (2015)
SO RHP Reilly Hovis (2015)
FR RHP Zac Gallen (2016)
FR LHP Zach Rice (2016)
FR OF Adam Pate (2016)
FR 1B Joe Dudek (2016)
FR C Adrian Chacon (2016)
FR 2B/SS Wood Myers (2016)
FR SS/RHP Spencer Trayner (2016)
FR RHP AJ Bogucki (2016)

North Carolina State

JR LHP Carlos Rodon
JR RHP Logan Jernigan
JR LHP Patrick Peterson
JR RHP Eric Peterson
SR RHP Andrew Woeck
JR LHP Travis Orwig
SO RHP Karl Keglovits
SR LHP DJ Thomas
JR SS/OF Trea Turner
JR C Brett Austin
JR OF Jake Fincher
JR OF Bubba Riley
JR 2B/3B Logan Ratledge
JR OF Jake Armstrong
SO C John Mangum
SO LHP Brad Stone (2015)
rFR RHP Johnny Piedmonte (2015)
SO C Chance Shepard (2015)
SO Will Nance (2015)
FR OF Garrett Suggs (2016)
FR 3B Andrew Knizner (2016)
FR 1B Preston Palmeiro (2016)
FR RHP Joe O’Donnell (2016)
FR LHP Ryan Williamson (2016)
FR LHP Cody Beckman (2016)
FR RHP Cory Wilder (2016)

Notre Dame

SR RHP Donald Hissa
JR RHP Patrick Connaughton
rJR RHP Cristian Torres
SR RHP Sean Fitzgerald
SO RHP Nick McCarty
JR RHP Scott Kerrigan
JR 3B Phil Mosey
JR OF/1B Ryan Bull
JR OF Mac Hudgins
JR OF Conor Biggio
SO RHP David Hearne (2015)
SO SS Lane Richards (2015)
SO C/OF Ricky Sanchez (2015)
SO LHP/OF Zac Kutsulis (2015)
FR 3B/2B Cavan Biggio (2016)
FR OF Torii Hunter (2016)
FR C Ryan Lidge (2016)

Pittsburgh

JR OF Boo Vazquez
SR OF Casey Roche
rSO OF AJ Lardo
JR RHP Adam Dian
rJR RHP Joe Harvey
JR 1B Eric Hess
rSR OF/1B Steven Shelinsky
SR OF/RHP Stephen Vranka
SR RHP Matt Wotherspoon
SR RHP Rhys Aldenhoven
rSR RHP JR Leonardi
SO LHP Andrew Belfiglio (2015)
FR TJ Zeuch (2016)

Virginia

JR OF Derek Fisher
JR OF Mike Papi
JR C Nate Irving
JR OF/C Brandon Downes
JR 2B/SS Branden Cogswell
JR 3B Kenny Towns
rJR RHP Artie Lewicki
JR RHP/3B Nick Howard
SO RHP Cameron Tekker
rSR RHP Whit Mayberry
SR RHP Austin Young
SO OF Joe McCarthy (2015)
SO RHP Josh Sborz (2015)
SO 2B/3B John LaPrise (2015)
SO LHP Brandon Waddell (2015)
SO LHP Nathan Kirby (2015)
SO LHP David Rosenberger (2015)
FR RHP Connor Jones (2016)
FR C Matt Thaiss (2016)
FR RHP Jack Roberts (2016)
FR SS Daniel Pinero (2016)
FR OF Tyler Allen (2016)
FR SS Tony Butler (2016)
FR RHP Ben Carraway (2016)
FR LHP Adam Bleday (2016)
FR RHP Alec Bettinger (2016)

Virginia Tech

JR C/OF Mark Zagunis
JR 2B/SS Alex Perez
JR 1B/RHP Brendon Hayden
JR LHP/1B Sean Keselica
SR RHP Brad Markey
SR RHP Tanner McIntyre
SO RHP Matt Tulley (2015)
rFR OF Saige Jenco (2015)
rFR 1B/LHP Phil Sciretta (2015)
FR 3B Ryan Tufts (2016)
FR RHP Aaron McGarity (2016)
FR LHP Kit Scheetz (2016)
FR OF Tom Stoffel (2016)

Wake Forest 

SR RHP Jack Fischer
JR RHP Connor Kaden
SR LHP John McLeod
SR RHP Nate Jones
JR RHP Matt Pirro
rSR 1B/LHP Matt Conway
SR OF Evan Stephens
rJR OF Kevin Jordan
SR 2B Conor Keniry
SR C Charlie Morgan
rSR OF Jack Carey
SO OF/2B Joey Rodriguez (2015)
SO LHP Mark McCoy (2015)
SO LHP Max Tishman (2015)

2014 MLB Draft: Atlantic Sun Follow Lists

Players aren’t listed in any particularly order — other than grouping them as hitters vs pitchers — so don’t read anything into placement, though I tried to highlight the best and the brightest in the comments. If I missed anybody that so obviously should have been there, please yell at me in the comments or via email.

East Tennessee State

SR 1B/LHP Clint Freeman
JR SS Jordan Sanford
JR SS Chris Riopedre
JR RHP Jimmy Nesselt
SR RHP Will Chesney
SR OF Dylan Tritsch

There has to be a home in pro ball for SR 1B/LHP Clint Freeman, right? There’s enough flashes of power, defensive versatility (he’s athletic enough to hang in an OF corner, I think), and a viable fallback option of moving to the mound to justify a mid- to late-round selection. Can’t say I see anybody else on the roster jumping off the page in the same way, unfortunately. JR SS Jordan Sanford or SR RHP Will Chesney, maybe?

Florida Gulf Coast

JR OF/1B Michael Suchy
JR OF Adam Eggnatz
rJR SS/RHP Alex Diaz
JR 3B/RHP Zack Tillery
rSO RHP/OF Brady Anderson
JR RHP Jack English
SR LHP Ryan Atwood

In a college class lacking in power – feel like that’s something we’ve repeated more years than not – JR OF/1B Michael Suchy’s impressive size/strength/swing geared for power combination bears watching. He also does enough well athletically that he should have no problem sticking in the outfield, perhaps even in right field. Like so many young power hitters, Suchy’s swing can get long, but, from what I’ve gathered, he’s improved his balance and overall approach quite a bit since enrolling. Fun, somewhat odd head-to-head prospect comparison between two guys with vaguely similar scouting profiles:

Florida State JR OF Michael Suchy

2012: .211/.319/.244 – 16 BB/40 K – 5/5 SB – 123 AB
2013: .327/.396/.487 – 23 BB/46 K – 7/11 SB – 226 AB

Michigan State JR OF Jimmy Pickens

2012: .268/.362/.448 – 13 BB/46 K – 2/3 SB – 183 AB
2013: .297/.372/.523 – 19 BB/39 K – 6/10 SB – 195 AB

JR RHP Jack English doesn’t have the size most teams want in a righthanded pitching prospect, but his present stuff is quite strong (90-93 FB, flashes plus 75-77 CB). I’d like to see rJR SS/RHP Alex Diaz unleashed on the mound to better put his similarly hot fastball to use, but I can understand the coaching staff wanting to keep his plus glove at short. If his bat shows any signs of life, then he becomes really interesting as a position player really fast.

rSO RHP/OF Brady Anderson missed last season due to an ACL injury, so his return to form may take a little bit of time. The real shame of his injury – besides the fact that leg injuries are absolutely no fan at all, said the has-been in need of a new hip – is that Anderson, despite modest speed numbers in his freshman season, could really, really run. If his fallback is on the mound, he remains a nice prospect if healthy: 88-92 FB (94 peak), good upper-70s SL, shows a CU, good athleticism (again, if healthy).

I don’t yet have a great read on the Florida Gulf Coast underclass prospects, but, for now, a pair of sophomore infielders, Nick Rivera and Tyler Selesky, sit atop my 2015 follow list.

Jacksonville

JR RHP Alex McRae
SR LHP Will Flor
SR RHP Adam Maxon
SR RHP Zach Gordon
JR RHP Jeff Tanner
SR C Drew Luther
JR OF Cameron Gibson

JR RHP Alex McRae has been a true workhorse since his taking the ball his first day on campus. I appreciate his fastball (88-92, spots it well) and his frame is one you can see growing into something sturdy, but, for all his innings-eating success thus far, his peripherals (4.47 K/9 in 2012, 4.29 K/9 in 2013) don’t exactly scream pro prospect. There’s too much good here to write him off this early in his development, but whether or not he can take matters into his own hands (arm?) this season will tell us something. McRae wasn’t the unanimous winner of “best Jacksonville pitching prospect” (yes, I asked multiple people who know about this stuff that question…and actually got back a few non-sarcastic answers!): SR LHP Will Flor also received some love. Now you know.

Excited to see what SO 1B/OF Conor Marabell and SO OF Dylan Dillard (looking to build on a really nice freshman year) do this season.

Kennesaw State

JR C Max Pentecost
JR OF Jacob Bruce
SR OF Bo Way
rJR OF Chris McGowan
JR 3B Matt Bahnick
JR LHP Will Solomon
rJR RHP Justin McCalvin
JR RHP Nathan Harsh

You can’t really follow amateur ball and not love what JR C Max Pentecost brings to the table. Catchers who flash all five tools (none worse than average) who are assured to stick behind the plate long-term have that kind of effect on people. I’ve long posited a theory that there are two central types of amateur catching prospects: plus arm/plus power oversized (and often stiff) all-or-nothing players and well-rounded, athletic smaller framed players. Pentecost clearly falls more into the latter group than the former. He’s really athletic, runs well (and not just for a catcher, either!), and throws well. I’m lighter on the bat that most – though average hit tool and average raw power are nothing to dismiss, especially for a catcher – but that’s more of a product of me being not 100% ready to buy his outstanding run on the Cape this summer as the “real” Pentecost. If that power spike is real, and many smarter than me seem to have bought in, I could see Pentecost getting some warranted Jonathan Lucroy comps. That would make him a no-brainer first rounder, right?

Pentecost will be joined in the lineup by a crowded outfield. JR OF Jacob Bruce, SR OF Bo Way, and rJR OF Chris McGowan all do enough well to at least enter the draft discussion at this point. I’d set the over/under on drafted outfielders from this group at 0.5. I’d put that number higher for members of the pitching staff as I think each one of JR LHP Will Solomon, rJR RHP Justin McCalvin, and JR RHP Nathan Harsh is draft-worthy. Solomon has above-average stuff and his lefthandedness going for him. McCalvin and Harsh both put up eye-popping 2012 numbers while showing, you guessed it, above-average stuff. McCalvin has the better present secondary stuff (his SL is a good one, flashes plus) and higher peak FB velocity (93ish vs. 90ish), but Harsh has the edge in projectability (Harsh goes 6-6, 230 vs. McCalvin’s 6-0, 180 pounds). All good, all draftable.

A strong group of underclass talent is usually the telltale sign of a healthy program. Astute observations aside, Kennesaw State really does have one heck of a nice thing going. Almost any of their 2015 class could emerge as the next early round candidate, but smart money right now goes to SO OF Alex Liquori. If you prefer SO RHP Jordan Hillyer, SO RHP Kendall Hawkins, SO SS Kal Simmons, or SO RHP Travis Bergen, well, I couldn’t really argue.

Lipscomb

JR 1B Griffin Moore
SR OF Chad Shannon
SR OF Drew Adams
JR OF Jonathan Allison
JR 1B/RHP Tyson Ashcraft
JR RHP Jaesung Hwang
rJR RHP Hunter Brothers
rJR RHP Will Blalock

JR 1B Griffin Moore got slapped with the FAVORITE tag from me based on a few looks over the years, positive commentary from old pals who have seen him more than that, and assorted observations from the industry leaders (BA and PG). I stand by it because of his power upside, bat speed, strong arm, steady glove, frame (6-4, 200), and patient approach. There’s really a lot to like there. Unfortunately, he followed up his .226/.308/.285 freshman year with a .205/.375/.313 sophomore year. No doubt that this upcoming year is a big one for him.

Doing this year-round – even when I’m not posting – gets me occasionally behind on which prospects sign and which prospects return to school. Based on raw stuff and the occasional flashes of dominance I figured there was little chance I’d see Hunter Brothers name pop up on the Lipscomb roster in 2014. Here he is, though, despite being draft-eligible last season and equipped with a fastball peaking at 96-97 MPH and a mid-80s SL that flashes plus. Control remains his biggest bugaboo, but his big league reliever upside is undeniable. rJR RHP Will Blalock has a less famous last name, but similar profile and upside. JR RHP Jaesung Hwang has less exciting peak stuff, but his well-rounded arsenal could make him a potential fifth starter/swingman prospect in either this draft or next. rFR RHP Dalton Curtis is one to watch for 2015.

Mercer

JR 3B/SS Chesny Young
SR C Austin Barrett
SR OF Derrick Workman
SR OF Sasha LaGarde
SR 1B Nick Backlund
SR 2B/SS Michael Massi
SR RHP/2B DJ Johnson
SR RHP Brandon Barker
JR RHP Ben Lumsden
JR RHP Dmitri Kourtis

I don’t know enough about college ball as an entity that exists beyond my draft Draft DRAFT worldview, but, damn, the Atlantic Sun looks like a really fun, really competitive conference on paper. I know it’s not one of the big boys, but there are some really good looking teams here, and the amount of depth to be found compares quite well with any mid-major (or whatever we’re calling them these days) conference I’ve looked at so far. Mercer, a school I don’t typically think of as one of the more talented compared to Kennesaw State and Florida Gulf Coast, exemplifies the depth this conference has to offer. Again, I’m just talking prospects here and not college won/loss results.

Max Pentecost has gotten all the headlines (deservedly so, of course), but don’t sleep on JR 3B/2B Chesny Young, a second early-round bat from the Atlantic Sun. As a draft prospect, he reminds me a little bit of old favorite Kolbrin Vitek. Young’s glove is stronger and his power less prodigious, but the basic template – positional versatility, well-rounded skill set, mature approach, smaller school background – is there. If he can play second base, as some believe, then his lack of raw power won’t be as big an issue for teams worried about traditional offensive roles for the starting eight (a bad habit of mine that I’m trying to break one weird wonderful prospect at a time).

SR C Austin Barrett looks like one of the better mid- to late-round organizational catcher prospects who may eventually hang around AAA long enough to make it as a serviceable big league backup catcher. I’ve always had a soft spot for those guys. SR OF Derrick Workman shows three big league tools (speed, arm, pop), but his approach is one of the most hacktastic (78 K, 71 K, and 59 K through three seasons) in all of amateur ball. SR OF Sasha LaGarde has a little more usable speed, a little less power, and similar swing-and-miss issues (55 K last year). SR 1B Nick Backlund joined the 50 K club, but he may have enough power to make it worth some team’s while in the later rounds.

I like both JR RHP Ben Lumsden and JR RHP Dmitri Kourtis a lot. Lumsden is a hard thrower (94 peak) with good size and a track record of success (2013: 7.97 K/9 | 1.79 BB/9 | 3.78 FIP | 55.1 IP). Kourtis may just qualify as a “sleeper” — I hate that term so much, yet use it all the time — even though he’s a pretty well-known name in the scouting community. What gives him “sleeper” potential for me is how high I think he can rise between now and June. What’s not to like about a guy who gets ground balls, lives 88-92 (touching 93), throws a mean changeup (flashes plus), and is coming off a strong season (2013: 8.02 K/9 | 2.00 BB/9 | 3.25 FIP | 67.1 IP)? The name of the game is missing bats and getting diplomatic ground ball outs, and Kourtis does both quite well.

North Florida

JR 3B Trent Higginbothem
rJR OF Alex Bacon
SR 1B/C Ryan Roberson
JR 3B/RHP Drew Weeks
SR RHP David Trexler
SR RHP Tyler Moore
SO RHP Corbin Olmstead
SO OF Donnie Dewees
SO 2B/SS Kyle Brooks
rFR SS Patrick Ervin
FR RHP Bryan Baker

SR 1B/C Ryan Roberson isn’t really a prospect unless he can stay behind the plate. I still like him as a college hitter. JR 3B Trent Higginbothem is probably North Florida’s best hitting prospect and a certifiable “sleeper” — everybody is a sleeper! — if he hits as expected in 2014. SR RHP Tyler Moore is probably North Florida’s best overall 2014 prospect and a certifiable “sleeper” — sorry! — if healthy in 2014. Moore has performed at every turn since stepping on campus and his stuff, while not overwhelming, is strong enough (88-92 FB, really good breaking ball) to make it in pro ball. FR RHP Bryan Baker is probably North Florida’s best overall prospect (draft year be damned).

Northern Kentucky

SR LHP Matt Jefferson
JR LHP Cody Cooper

A pair of lefthanded arms stood out to me among the rest when looking at Northern Kentucky: SR LHP Matt Jefferson and JR LHP Cody Cooper. Hard to put either in the draftable range at this point, but that’s why they play the games, right?

South Carolina Upstate

JR RHP Chad Sobotka
SR LHP David Roseboom
SR C Luke Weber
SR OF Tyler Lesch

Very easy to see why JR RHP Chad Sobotka is getting some loud early draft buzz. Size (6-6, 200), heat (90-94, 95-96 peak), a second knockout pitch (82-85 SL), and the ability to miss bats (9.77 K/9 in 2012, 10.61 K/9 in 2013) all have his arrow pointing up. Refining his stuff to include an effective softer pitch could make him a starter at the next level, but he may be one of those guys best left to let it fly out of the pen. Either way, his control needs some tightening up. Easy single digit round prospect no matter his future role, I think.

With Sobotka pitching out of the pen to this point, SR LHP David Roseboom is technically the best starting pitching prospect on the roster. He’s carried a heavy load the past two years and figures to use his average fastball, plus SL, and CU with promise to do much of the same in 2013. A year closer to his freshman season should get him drafted.

Stetson

JR C Garrett Russini
JR SS/2B Tyler Bocock
SR SS/2B K’Shawn Smith
SR OF Kyle Zech
JR 1B/OF Tanner Blackman
rSR RHP Kurt Schluter
SR LHP Austin Perez
rSO RHP Ben Rakus
JR RHP Josh Powers
rSO RHP Tyler Warmoth

JR C Garrett Russini has a little Atlantic Sun helium as a 2014 breakout candidate, according to those in the know. His defense is solid and the bat has a good deal of untapped upside. With a surprisingly impressive — surprising in that he hasn’t been scooped up by a pro team yet — four-pitch mix, rSR RHP Kurt Schluter is one of 2014’s best potential senior signs. SR LHP Austin Perez has done well for himself, but is short on stuff. rSO RHP Ben Rakus and JR RHP Josh Powers haven’t been as sharp — in terms of peripherals, mostly — but have the kind of size and stuff that could get them noticed with an uptick of bats missed.

SO 1B/C Pat Mazeika is already one of my favorite underclass bats to watch.

2014 MLB Draft: America East Follow Lists

Players aren’t listed in any particularly order — other than grouping them as hitters vs pitchers — so don’t read anything into placement, though I tried to highlight the best and the brightest in the comments. If I missed anybody that so obviously should have been there, please yell at me in the comments or via email.

Albany

rSR C/OF Josh Nethaway
SR C/OF DJ Hoagboon
rSR 2B Brian Bullard
JR SS Jeff VonMoser
JR 3B Joey Tracy
JR OF Cory Kingston
rJR RHP Stephen Carey
JR RHP Cameron Sorgie
SR LHP Kevin Archbold

There’s not much to write home about the 2014 group of Albany prospects (sorry, guys), but I have heard some interesting things about underclassmen RHPs Ryan Stinar (2015) and Stephen Woods (2016). Woods has the chance to wind up as the best Albany prospect since…well, ever. Quick research shows he will eventually have to crack the top 200 picks or so to wind up as the highest drafted alum in school history. With a legit fastball and the chance for three average or better pitches, Woods certainly has the chance.

Binghamton

JR RHP Mike Urbanski
rJR RHP Jack Rogalla
SR OF Billy Beresznewicz
SR SS John Howell
SR 2B Daniel Nevares
rJR 1B/3B Brian Ruby
JR OF/C Jake Thomas
JR OF Zach Blanden
SR OF Shaun McGraw

There is a lot to like about the Binghamton lineup. SR OF Billy Beresznewicz does a lot right: speed, arm, range in center. Unfortunately the total lack of power (.382, .253, and .286 = last three years’ worth of SLG) and difficult to spell name (I can see area guys getting frustrated and giving up midway through a report…) limit his pro prospects significantly. Despite my love of speed/defense/plate discipline prospects like Beresznewicz, I think it’s time for me to admit that these guys simply don’t fare well in pro ball. That’s more of an anecdotal observation, obviously, though I think sitting down and doing some research on amateur power numbers and pro success could be quite telling. Like most large-scale projects, maybe I’ll get to that next offseason…

Beresznewicz is joined by rJR 1B/3B Brian Ruby and JR OF/C Jake Thomas as potential 2014 draft picks. Ruby’s up and down college career thus far – up in 2012, down in 2013 – will be a distant memory if he comes through with a big 2014. Thomas has received very little scouting buzz from what I’ve seen, but his sophomore numbers (.365/.508/.517 in 178 AB) are good looking swing make him a worthwhile sleeper to store away.

SO RHPs Mike Bunal and Jake Cryts are intriguing 2015 follows. It’ll be particularly interesting to see if Bunal, an outfielder when not on the mound, sees more time as a pitcher as a sophomore than he did as a freshman.

Hartford

JR LHP Sean Newcomb
JR LHP Austin Barnes
SR RHP Alex Gouin
SR RHP/1B Brian Hunter
SR C James Alfonso

JR LHP Sean Newcomb does enough right that an eventual first round home seems well within reach. There’s little to quibble with his size (6-5, 240), fastball (88-94, 95-97 peak), and promising breaking ball (70-76, flashes above-average). As somebody more in the “like, yet not quite love” camp with Newcomb, I feel as though it’s my duty to mention his current shortcomings. Like any college arm (non-Rodon/Hoffman division), he has plenty to work on, beginning with tightening up his control and locking down a consistent effective third pitch (either the circle change or cutter, most likely). Kiley McDaniel’s comparison of Newcomb to Jon Lester is such a good one (especially physically) that, after fifteen minutes of trying to think of a better one, I’ll just go ahead and pass it along without much comment. Hey, sometimes these experts are really quite good at their jobs, you know?

If SR RHP Brian Hunter can get his control under control (sorry), then he could find himself as a mid-round senior sign candidate come June.

Newcomb obviously gets most (let’s be real: all) of the press, but there’s a chance he’s just the first in the line of early round pitching prospects. FR RHP David Drouin can’t match Newcomb in size, handedness, or depth of repertoire (in the amateur ranks these days few can), but he’s still one to watch. SO 2B/SS Aaron Wilson and SO OF Chris DelDebbio both got on the field as freshmen, an encouraging sign for their development.

Maine

SR 1B/3B Alex Calbick
SR 2B/SS Troy Black
SR OF Colin Gay
JR OF Brian Doran
rJR RHP Tommy Lawrence
SR RHP Shaun Coughlin
JR LHP/INF/OF Scott Heath

I’ve always had an odd soft spot for SR 2B/SS Troy Black, a player who deservedly gets consistent praise for area guys for his effort and overall style of play. He does just enough of everything well that I think he should get a shot to fill out a low-level roster with another solid year of college play. SR 1B Alex Calbick would be in the same boat if he can convince teams he can make it at third base (where he has been tried before) or at catcher (where many scouts speculate he could hang). SR RHP Shaun Coughlin (decent production, decent 88-90 FB) shows some upside as a senior sign. Staff workhorse rJR RHP Tommy Lawrence profiles a bit better than that.

Stony Brook

JR SS Cole Peragine
JR C/OF Kevin Krause
SR RHP/OF Josh Mason
SR LHP/1B Kevin Courtney
SR RHP Brandon McNitt
SR RHP Frankie Vanderka
SO LHP Daniel Zamora
rSO RHP Nick Brass

JR SS Cole Peragine is another player I like more than I probably should. He has a steady glove, great instincts on the bases, and a mature approach to hitting. Unfortunately, his pop, identified as both “sneaky” and “surprising” in my notes, hasn’t revealed itself just yet (.379 and .323 SLG) as a collegiate hitter. There’s also the question of whether or not said steady glove fits best at SS or 2B, though I think the answer to that will ultimately come down more to his arm (stretched on the left side, but passable in my view) than anything else.

JR C/OF Kevin Krause still has a rough edge surrounding his game, but there’s top ten round upside if he puts it all together this year. Like any guy who gets that C/OF positional designation, his defensive progress will tell us just as much as any offensive step forward will about his long-term outlook.

SR RHP Josh Mason is a good athlete with a live (and relatively fresh) arm. SR RHP Brandon McNitt has the stuff to get consistent groundballs. SR RHP Frankie Vanderka isn’t entirely dissimilar. All three could be late picks or potential undrafted free agents worth a tryout. All three have been eclipsed as prospects by a pair of draft-eligible sophomores, LHP Daniel Zamora and RHP Nick Brass. Brass gives you a little more “now” stuff (including a 94 MPH heater), but Zamora’s upside (could have three average or better pitches in time) is tantalizing.

Rough freshman year aside, I like SO 3B Johnny Caputo’s upside with the bat a lot. He’s just one of many intriguing underclassmen that litter the Stony Brook roster: SO RHP Tim Knesnik, SO LHP Tyler Honahan, FR RHP Ryley MacEachern, FR OF Josh Palacios, and FR OF Toby Handley stand out as particularly fun follows.

UMass Lowell

UMBC

SR OF/C Rob McCabe
JR OF/RHP Anthony Gatto
rSO 3B Mark Esposito

The three names I had on my personal follow list for 2014’s all struggled mightily in 2013. Huge turnarounds would be needed just to get SR OF Rob McCabe, JR OF Anthony Gatto, and/or rSO 3B Mark Esposito back on the prospect map.

SO RHP Mike Gomez is the best of what looks like an uninspiring group of younger talent.

2014 MLB Draft: Atlantic 10 Follow Lists

Hey, I’m back.

I’ve got 152 pages of college notes and 56 pages of HS notes (and counting) to somehow translate into coherent, readable content for the site. Also, not for nothing, but I saw about ten times more baseball this past summer than I ever have before. I’m still not a scout (nor will I pretend to be one on the internet), so don’t expect all that much to change with the information presented here. All blurbs and rankings will remain based on a combination of those firsthand observations (hey, even as a non-scout I am a baseball fan with eyes), tips received from friends who do this for a living, and, as always, whatever useful public information is made available by the hard-working folks at the industry leaders, Baseball America and Perfect Game (honesty time: 98% of all “independent” prospect sites on the internet, this one included, would shrivel up and die without the work done by the big boys).

As always, I have no plan for how I want to go forward with getting this info out. I’m starting with follow lists combined with a little bit of commentary on as many players/conferences as I can get to before the start of the college season. Players aren’t listed in any particularly order — other than grouping them as hitters vs pitchers — so don’t read anything into that, though I tried to highlight the best and the brightest in the comments. If I missed anybody that so obviously should have been there, please yell at me in the comments or via email.

I want to publish some updated master lists (big board, position rankings, etc.), but don’t want to do so prematurely (i.e. before I’m ready to add more than just a straight ranking). These lists are being wrapped up as you’re reading this (maybe not literally, I might be sleeping or at work or, and I know this sounds weird, doing something non-baseball related in my free time), so stay tuned for that. As always (note: I’m a bad writer who repeats himself a lot in these write-ups so I might as well prepare you for it now here in the intro), feel free to let me know if there’s anything you want to see on the site and I’ll be more than happy to make it happen.

As always (third time!), thanks for reading. Here’s the A-10!

Dayton

SR OF Mark Podlas
SR 3B/SS Robby Sunderman
JR 1B AJ Ryan
SR OF/1B Ryan Berry
SR LHP Tommy Konrad
rJR RHP Noah Buettgen

Many, myself included, had high hopes for Virginia transfer SR OF Mark Podlas last season. It’s hard to call his debut with Dayton anything but disappointing, but he’s still a good athlete with some juice in his bat. As the best pro prospect on a thin roster, there’s really no sense in giving up on him in what could be a bounceback senior sign season. Forced to pick a pitcher to watch, I’d probably go with rJR RHP Noah Buettgen.

Fordham

SR RHP/OF Tim Swatek
SR 1B Brendan Maghini

Fordham has a bunch of guys on the mound for 2015 worth tracking, but the player catching them, SO C Charles Galiano, is currently my highest priority follow of the group. As far as 2014 value goes, there’s not much to see. I do like SR RHP/OF Tim Swatek, but more as a two-way college guy than a legitimate pro prospect. Fordham would be smart to put him on the mound more, I think.

George Mason

rSR RHP Anthony Montefusco
SR RHP Michael Bowie
JR RHP John Williams
SR LHP Jared Gaynor
SR LHP/OF Jake Kalish
SR 3B Blaise Fernandez
rSR OF Josh Leemhuis
SR 1B/OF Mick Foley
SR C Tucker Tobin

rSR RHP Anthony Montefusco has a deep, varied repertoire of average-ish pitches that could play up in short bursts if converted to the bullpen as a pro. He quietly had an outstanding 2013 season after a really strong 2012 season, so there’s little to argue about with his results to date. SR LHP Jake Kalish qualifies as a deep sleeper.

Of the ten names on my George Mason follow list, all but two are seniors. I don’t venture much into the world of college ball in terms of won/loss records, but you’d have to think such a veteran-laden squad would pose problems for the rest of the league. From a draft perspective, older guys can potentially fit in as senior signs for teams up against the draft budget. SR 3B Blaise Fernandez is my favorite George Mason senior thanks to his power upside, strong arm, and quick reactions at the hot corner.

George Mason also has a fun familiar draft name for wrestling/pop culture fans: SR 1B/OF Mick Foley. I’ve got a hunch that his name alone won’t get him drafted after hitting .136/.255/.193 last season, but all it takes is one cage match fan to pull the trigger on draft day.

George Washington

SR RHP Aaron Weisberg
SR RHP Luke Staub
SR RHP Craig LeJeune
SR LHP/OF Colin Milon
SR OF/RHP Owen Beightol
JR C/OF Xavier Parkmond

SR RHP Aaron Weisberg is a massive man (6-7, 250) with pro-caliber stuff (88-93 FB, good CU, decent breaking ball). You’d like to see more flashes of dominance (his K/9 has settled in the 5 range the past two seasons), but the upside is enough to get him noticed.

La Salle

rSR LHP Shawn O’Neill
SR LHP Dominic Sgroi
rJR RHP Mike McLeod
rJR RHP Shane Hollman
rJR RHP Adam Cherry
JR 1B/RHP Mark Williams
JR OF/LHP Justin Korenblatt

Like Dayton OF Mark Podlas, rSR LHP Shawn O’Neill is another transfer who went from the state of Virginia (Richmond, in O‘Neill’s case) to an A-10 school (a lateral conference move, in O’Neill’s case). Also like Podlas, O’Neill’s first season with his new team was underwhelming. Lefthanders with his kind of stuff – 88-92 FB, pair of good offspeed pitches – typically get noticed in June, down junior season or not. A big season, as I expect, could get him in consideration for one of those 8-9-10 round senior sign spots.

Massachusetts

SR 2B Rob McLam
SR 1B Dylan Begin
SR 3B Nik Campero
rJR OF Adam Picard
JR RHP Andrew Grant
SR RHP DJ Jauss

SR 2B Rob McLam was the closest name to cracking the conference prospect list. Not much else going on here as far as I can tell. Just setting up UMass for one heck of a Cinderella run to Omaha, right?

Rhode Island

JR SS Tim Caputo
SR SS Joe Landi
SR C/1B Pat Quinn
rJR C Shane O’Connell
JR LHP Ty Sterner
SR LHP Nick Narodowy
SR RHP Tyler Bowditch
SR RHP Milan Mantle

It’ll be entertaining to track the upcoming seasons of JR SS Tim Caputo and VCU JR SS Vimael Machin. I think their tools will grade out as fairly similar and their first two seasons are fairly similar:

Machin
2012: .309/.364/.408 – 21 BB/29 K – 1/3 SB – 223 AB
2013: .287/.389/.419 – 22 BB/31 K – 2/3 SB – 167 AB

Caputo
2012: .328/.393/.364 – 16 BB/27 K – 13/15 SB – 195 AB
2013: .317/.395/.396 – 24 BB/29 K – 13/15 SB – 227 AB

SR SS Joe Landi should also get draft consideration with a solid senior season. Big things were expected of him last season, so he has some catching up to do after a down junior year. He has defensive versatility and a sound approach to hitting in his favor; working against him is his lack of power and the aforementioned disappointing 2013 season.

In addition to their pair of shortstop prospects, Rhode Island also has a pair of quality lefthanded pitching prospects. JR LHP Ty Sterner throws hard (94-95 peak), but control issues and a lack of a quality second pitch have hurt him. SR LHP Nick Narodowy doesn’t have quite the same fastball, but could still get some late round/tryout love this summer.

Richmond

JR RHP Ryan Cook
rJR LHP Chris Bates
SR RHP Andrew Blum
JR LHP Zak Sterling
rSO RHP Jonathan de Marte
JR RHP Ray Harron
JR RHP James Lively
SR 3B/OF Nick Poulos
SR 2B Adam Forrer
SR SS Mike Small

In a conference with a ton of relief prospects with big league upside, there’s certainly an argument to be made that JR RHP Ryan Cook is the best. He has the fastball (88-93), above-average SL (82-84), and flashes of dominance to rise up boards with a big spring. Minority, and possibly foolish, opinion: rJR LHP Chris Bates is as good a pro prospect as his more highly acclaimed teammate Cook. Bates sits at a lower velocity (upper-80s, mostly), but can crank it to a similar peak (92-93). His size (6-5, 200 pounds), breaking ball (quality), and performance (9.58 K/9 in 41.1 IP last season) add up to a draftable talent. A pair of “sleepers” if you’re into that kind of thing: rSO RHP Jonathan de Marte and SR 2B Adam Forrer.

SO OF Tanner Stanley (leadoff hitting CF prototype), rFR 1B Matt Dacey (Michigan transfer with serious power), and SO RHP Peter Bayer (promising frame/freshman season results) head up an exciting crop of underclassmen.

St. Bonaventure

SR RHP/1B Joel Rosencrance
SR RHP Asa Johnson

SR RHP/1B Joel Rosencrance is a really fun two-way player to watch. SO RHP Steven Klimek is a worthwhile underclassmen follow for 2015. That’s all I’ve got.

St. Joseph’s

SR RHP Daniel Thorpe
SR LHP Steven Schuler
JR RHP Tim Ponto
SR RHP Jordan Carter
JR RHP James Harrity
SR RHP/1B Mike Muha
JR C Brian O’Keee
JR OF Ryan Pater
JR 3B Stefan Kancylarz
SR OF Chris Hueth
rSR OF Collin Forgey

There are some interesting statistical follows I’ll be tracking this spring for St. Joe’s, but I’m pretty sure I’m most looking forward to seeing JR RHP Tim Ponto (6-8, 220) and SR LHP Steven Schuler (6-0, 150) standing together during the anthem.

Saint Louis

JR RHP James Norwood
rJR LHP Damian Rivera
SR RHP Clay Smith
JR RHP Nick Bates
JR SS Alec Solé
JR 1B Mike Vigliarolo

JR RHP James Norwood doesn’t get enough national love as a prospect, I think. Both his command and control need fine-tuning, but he could be a quick-moving professional reliever (FB up to 95-96, breaking ball with promise) in the right spot. rJR LHP Damian Rivera and SR RHP Clay Smith are both really good college arms (good CU and SL, respectively), but feel like longer shots to make it in pro ball due to a lack of fastball pop. JR SS Alex Solé (smart hitter, versatile defender, little to no power) and JR 1B Mike Vigliarolo (interesting power, underrated athlete, some contact issues) are probably in the same “good college guy, iffy pro prospect” boat, but each has at least the upcoming year to change some minds.

People I’ve talked to are excited about the underclassmen on the Saint Louis roster. SO 3B Braxton Martinez, SO C Jake Henson, SO OF Michael Bozarth, SO LHP Josh Moore, SO RHP Matt Eckelman, and FR RHP Nick Vichio all were mentioned as players to watch.

Virginia Commonwealth

SR OF Bill Cullen
SR 3B Joey Cujas
SR C Chris Ayers
JR SS Vimael Machin
SR LHP Logan Kanuik
JR LHP Heath Dwyer
JR LHP Matt Lees
JR RHP Tyler Buckley
rSR RHP Seth Greene

JR RHP Tyler Buckley has to find a way to bridge the gap between his raw stuff (low-90s FB, good SL) and pedestrian results. I won’t pretend to be experts on all things JR LHP Heath Dwyer and JR LHP Matt Lees, but I’ve heard some positive buzz about each pitcher.

A trio of potential senior signs highlight the VCU lineup. SR OF Bill Cullen gives you good range, sneaky pop, and a strong arm (and a whole lot of swing-and-miss) while SR C Chris Ayers is a capable backstop with a competent stick. The last of the trio, SR 3B Joey Cujas, is my favorite. I’ve heard good things about him from area guys and his collegiate production should get the attention of numbers-centric evaluators. Cujas’ park/schedule adjusted numbers in his career:

2011: .321/.373/.402 – 16 BB/18 K – 209 AB
2012: .413/.494/.570 – 27 BB/16 K – 223 AB
2013: .352/.423/.444 – 15 BB/13 K – 216 AB

I’m not nearly as familiar with Joey Cujas as I’d like to be, so consider his mention equal parts wanting to give him his due for three straight years of raking and me wanting to have a written reminder to dig deeper into his game this spring. To Cujas’ left will be JR SS Vimael Machin, arguably VCU’s most appealing prospect. There’s always a need for legitimate shortstops in pro ball and Machin fits the bill. My primary quibble with his profile to this point is how little his average to slightly above-average speed has shown up in game action (3/6 SB in career). Speed isn’t a must for any prospect, obviously, but it’s a decent proxy for athleticism and, at times, for defensive range up the middle. Again, just a minor concern at this point, but something to keep in mind.