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2014 MLB Draft: Top College Pitching GB% Through March

I’ve gotten some good comments and emails lately, and it’s my goal to get back to everybody within the next few days. Just wanted to get that out there just so nobody thinks I’m giving them the cold shoulder. My shoulders are nothing if not warm, so stay tuned.

Quick bit of other site-related news: College third base list just needs to be formatted, but is 99% complete and should be up by Thursday morning. While you wait, here’s the latest info on some of this year’s top collegiate arms in terms of ground ball rates. Sample sizes are still on the smaller side, so I’m thinking I may try to look back over each player’s college career before the next update. We’ll see. As always, if you’d like me to add a player to track, feel free…

NC State LHP Carlos Rodon | 59.7%
East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman | 58.8%
Vanderbilt RHP Tyler Beede | 47.8%
Florida State RHP Luke Weaver | 61.5%
Mississippi RHP Chris Ellis | 43.3%
UNLV RHP Erik Fedde | 68.9%
LSU RHP Aaron Nola | 41.8%

And by request…

Portland LHP Travis Radke | 46.2%

EDIT: Just because I couldn’t go to bed without at least digging a little deeper, I went through Rodon’s box scores from last year. I can’t guarantee I have every appearance, but I think we’ve got enough here to run with the number. Last year’s GB% for Carlos Rodon was 62.1%, not terribly far off his current 2014 mark. Not sure if I can do this for every pitcher on the list since I quickly realized that doing it with consistent Friday night guys, a position many freshman and sophomores aren’t in no matter how talented (Rodon included), is much easier than having to hunt down starts by guessing correct days, but we’ll see.

2014 MLB Draft College Shortstop Follow List (and Ranking)

Trea Turner is the trendy prospect to pick apart this spring based mostly on the fact he’s been a big name for years and we all tend to overanalyze prospects the longer they’ve been the scene. Actually, that’s not entirely fair: there are valid criticisms about his game, most notably how his swing could limit his future power output against better pitching, so my only real beef with those lower on Turner than most is the insinuation that anybody who likes him as a top ten talent are merely scouting his impressive box scores. I’ll be sticking with my Jacoby Ellsbury (wacky peak year excluded) or Brett Gardner offensive comps for now as I think .300/.350/.400 with 50+ SB in any given year is a reasonable albeit optimistic projection if we’re talking ceiling only. I don’t have any questions about his defensive future, but that’s another area where some worry about his transition in pro ball. I’ve seen him make far too many big league caliber plays – to say nothing of many of the boring, routine plays that count the same – to have any doubts. He’s a shortstop, and potentially a really good one. The fact he could be damn good in center field is a nice though likely unnecessary fallback option. In a down year for college bats, I still think he’s the best option.

There seems to be little consensus about Joey Pankake’s future position; in fact, after asking around, people in the know gave me an even 50/50 split whether or not they thought he could stick up the middle or if he’ll be better served at third base. His placement on this particular list should give you a hint where I’m currently leaning, though I reserve the right to change my mind before June. His relative lack of foot speed – he’s an average at best runner – is why I think some evaluators are turned off at him staying at shortstop, but his first step instincts, arm strength, and athleticism give him a good shot of sticking.

After Turner and Pankake the best college shortstop prospect is…well, I have no idea. I mean, sure, I have some idea, but it’s wide open after those two and probably fair to say that the most honest outcomes for names 3-66 is utility infielder as a professional. Vince Conde and Michael Russell have tons of experience (both starters from day one on campus, more or less) and the requisite positional versatility to profile as potentially strong bench guys at the next level. Julius Gaines, Cole Peragine, and Chris Mariscal were all highly touted prep players who have held their own without lighting the world on fire in college. I have a soft spot for Garrett Mattlage, an underrated prospect with a mature approach to hitting, steady glove, and intriguing power/speed combination. I also like Sutton Whiting, a really good defender and runner who is smart enough to play within himself as a 5-9, 165 pound grinder.

Like the catcher spot, shortstop seems to be a position where a few senior signs get overdrafted in the top ten rounds to help teams stretch their bonus caps to grab higher priced prep talent later. Two-true outcome college star Justin Gonzalez could be that guy, as could the productive Aaron Attaway, the strong-armed Kyle Convissar, or the steady Austin Anderson.

  1. North Carolina State JR SS/OF Trea Turner
  2. South Carolina JR SS/RHP Joey Pankake
  3. Vanderbilt JR SS/2B Vince Conde
  4. North Carolina JR SS/OF Michael Russell
  5. Florida International JR SS Julius Gaines
  6. Texas State JR SS/2B Garrett Mattlage
  7. Rhode Island JR SS Tim Caputo
  8. Stony Brook JR SS Cole Peragine
  9. Florida State rSR SS/3B Justin Gonzalez
  10. Virginia Commonwealth JR SS Vimael Machin
  11. Louisville JR SS/2B Sutton Whiting
  12. Western Carolina SR SS/2B Aaron Attaway
  13. Kansas State JR SS Austin Fisher
  14. San Diego JR SS/2B Austin Bailey
  15. Maryland SR SS Kyle Convissar
  16. Illinois State rJR SS Brock Stewart
  17. Fresno State JR SS Chris Mariscal
  18. Florida Atlantic JR SS Mitch Morales
  19. Florida Atlantic JR SS Ricky Santiago
  20. Arkansas JR SS Brett McAfee
  21. Kentucky JR SS/2B Max Kuhn
  22. Mississippi SR SS Austin Anderson
  23. Washington State rJR SS Trace Tam Sing
  24. Louisville JR SS/2B Zach Lucas
  25. California JR SS Chris Paul
  26. Rutgers SR SS/2B Nick Favatella
  27. Rhode Island SR SS Joe Landi
  28. Missouri State JR SS/C Eric Cheray
  29. San Diego State JR SS/RHP Steven Pallares
  30. Washington JR SS Erik Forgione
  31. Oregon State SR SS/3B Kavin Keyes
  32. Auburn SR SS Dan Glevenyak
  33. Troy SR SS Tyler Vaughn
  34. Texas-San Antonio SR SS/2B RJ Perucki
  35. Western Michigan JR SS/RHP Andrew Sohn
  36. Lamar SR SS Sam Bumpers
  37. Arkansas-Little Rock JR SS/RHP Austin Pfeiffer
  38. Georgia State SR SS Chad Prain
  39. Alabama State JR SS Emmanuel Marrero
  40. Northwestern State JR SS Joel Atkinson
  41. Texas Tech JR SS Tim Proudfoot
  42. Minnesota rJR SS Michael Handel
  43. South Florida rSO SS/2B Nik Alfonso
  44. Southern Mississippi rJR SS Michael Sterling
  45. Gardner-Webb JR SS Ryan Hodge
  46. Central Florida JR SS/3B Tommy Williams
  47. High Point JR SS/2B Mike Miedzianowski
  48. Memphis JR SS Jake Overbey
  49. Eastern Michigan JR SS John Rubino
  50. UNLV JR SS TJ White
  51. Indiana State SR SS Tyler Wampler
  52. Mississippi State JR SS Matthew Britton
  53. The Citadel JR SS Johnathan Stokes
  54. Kent State JR SS Sawyer Polen
  55. Cal State Fullerton SR SS/OF Keegan Dale
  56. Oregon SR SS Kevin Minjares
  57. Columbia SR SS Aaron Silbar
  58. Oklahoma SR SS/2B Hector Lorenzana
  59. Southern Illinois SR SS/2B Jake Welch
  60. Canisius SR SS Ronnie Bernick
  61. Louisville SR SS/3B Alex Chittenden
  62. Northern Colorado JR SS/2B Ryan Yamane
  63. California rJR SS Derek Campbell
  64. California JR SS Brenden Farney
  65. Central Connecticut State SR SS Anthony Turgeon
  66. Southern Mississippi rSO SS Breck Kline

2014 MLB Draft – Prep FAVORITES

Coverage of high school ball is about to blow up around the internet over the next few days with the NHSI starting up today in beautiful Cary, North Carolina. Naturally, the actual list below has nothing to do with that, other than the fact that I have driven those around me — especially the gal who inexplicably chooses to live with me — to the point of insanity with my all too often refrain of “man, I can’t believe I didn’t get that post about Player X before his huge game yesterday got him tons of online ink…now when I mention him, everybody will assume I’m just stealing somebody else’s scouting report and hopping on the bandwagon.” Not saying I don’t keep my eyes glued on Twitter for updates like any good draft fan, just saying that I think I’ve built up enough goodwill around here over the years that most people realize I’m not the crazy reactionary move a guy up 50 spots because one national writer saw four life-altering at bats type of hack. I’m a hack in a million other ways, obviously, but don’t believe that’s one of them. And yet here I sit still getting nervous about people assuming the worst about me hence the need for the preceding disclaimer. Sorry to go all meta on you, just working through some stuff.

There are a few players listed below who will be in Cary — and more than a few have been blown up the last few weeks on the internet already, Bukauskas and Adams being arguably the most notable — but the real purpose here is to highlight quality early-round talents that have caught my eye at one point or another over the past few months. I debated on whether or not to exclude some of the super obvious names on here, but figured it couldn’t hurt to make mention of my affection for the Jackson’s, Gatewood’s, and Aiken’s of the world. It’s also worth noting that the FAVORITE tag gets put on a guy as soon as it feels right; I won’t BS you and say Gatewood has been a FAVORITE since middle school or anything, but hopefully it is understood that the bigger names have had the label slapped on them for many months at this point. Lastly, a player not getting the FAVORITE tag doesn’t mean he isn’t damn good; case in point, an absolute stone cold top of the first round talent in Tyler Kolek isn’t a FAVORITE for whatever reason, but he’s still really awesome and I’d be pretty pleased if he fell to the Phillies at 7.

I also like to use my FAVORITES list as a personal shopping cart of sorts on draft day. If I was a greedy scouting director, I’d be hoping for at least five of these bats and three of the arms signing contracts with my team this summer. Not sure how realistic that is at this point — those numbers are as low as I’m willing to go in my dream world — so it’ll be fun to check back in mid-June to see how possible hitting those targets will be.

Finally, since you know I hate lists without some kind of added value, I am planning on adding notes about why I love as many as these prospects as I can get to throughout the day. Posting will then be fairly light for a few days as I’m off to go watch some of the names below myself starting Thursday…

  • C Alex Jackson
  • C Simeon Lucas
  • C Evan Skoug
  • 1B Jeremy Vazquez
  • 1B Bobby Bradley
  • 2B Max George
  • 2B Isan Diaz
  • 2B Jack Gerstenmaier
  • 2B Shane Mardirosian
  • SS Ti’Quan Forbes
  • SS Josh Morgan
  • 3B Jacob Gatewood
  • 3B Jack Flaherty
  • 3B Charlie Cody
  • OF Braxton Davidson
  • OF Marcus Wilson
  • OF Stone Garrett
  • OF Zach Shannon
  • OF Monte Harrison
  • OF Carl Chester
  • OF Derek Hill
  • OF Jeren Kendall
  • LHP Brady Aiken
  • RHP Dylan Cease
  • RHP Jacob Bukauskas
  • RHP Cameron Varga
  • RHP Jonathan Teaney
  • RHP Keaton McKinney
  • RHP Spencer Adams
  • LHP Kodi Medeiros
  • RHP Sean Reid-Foley
  • RHP Cobi Johnson
  • RHP Bryan Dobzanski
  • RHP TOUKI TOUSSAINT

2014 MLB Draft: College Pitching

I’ve been sitting on this list for over a month, forgetting to hit the Publish button and change things up from rough draft to public piece each day. With this past weekend being so crazy for so many Friday night starters around the nation, I figured it’s better to get this first iteration out ASAP before changes are made in June. A few quick notes on what you see below…

I didn’t include pitchers from outside D-1 ball. Not yet. There would certainly be a few additions to this list if I were to add them in. In due time. A few injuries (Troupe, Stephens) and a few risers (like everybody’s new favorite senior Jake Stinnett, ranked 199th on my college pitching list last year for what it’s worth) were not really taken into account, as this list was originally drafted right before the start of the current college season. This has annoyed some people in the past, but it’s how I like it. Barring extreme circumstances, I don’t actually move college guys (HS is a different story) around my personal rankings all that much in the months leading up to the draft. The sites that update big boards every week don’t reflect what actually goes on this time of year in front offices, but, hey, different strokes and all that. Gotta move those draft books somehow, I guess.

As for the list itself…damn, that top ten is a thing of beauty. Not my rankings (though if you want to say that, I won’t stop you), but the quality of the talent available. Even if you quibble with my list — feel free to do so in the comments or via email, by the way — I think there’s enough depth at the top of this year’s pitching class to come up with an outstanding top ten any way you want to break it down. There’s definitely some separation after the top three, but a team drafting late in first round can realistically get their fourth-rated college arm if things line up their way on draft day. Team preference will go a long way in sorting out these pitchers from four on. I’m not sure which pitcher will take that fourth spot come June, but, if pressed today to give a name, I’d say I’m currently leaning Finnegan. I also have to say that I won’t sleep as well tonight knowing I didn’t mention how unhappy I am with Freeland’s low placement. Not sure what I was thinking last month other than the fact I just liked the names above him more (i.e. his ranking is not a knock on him, but a testament to this year’s crazy pitching depth), but I’m 99.99% sure he’ll be significantly higher than this on the next version of a similar list. 

The June list will go way deeper than 72 names (did 500 last year, might do it again this year), but I capped it for now in an attempt to maintain what’s left of my sanity. So many fascinating names didn’t make the cut here, but I’m more than happy to talk about anybody here or not in the comments/via email. Putting this together was a fun little exercise…hope it’s a worthwhile list.

  1. East Carolina JR RHP Jeff Hoffman
  2. North Carolina State JR LHP Carlos Rodon
  3. Vanderbilt JR RHP Tyler Beede
  4. Mississippi JR RHP Chris Ellis
  5. Florida State JR RHP Luke Weaver
  6. UNLV JR RHP Erick Fedde
  7. TCU JR LHP Brandon Finnegan
  8. LSU JR RHP Aaron Nola
  9. Hartford JR LHP Sean Newcomb
  10. San Diego State JR RHP Michael Cederoth
  11. Louisville JR RHP Nick Burdi
  12. Arizona JR RHP Matthew Troupe
  13. Rice JR RHP Zech Lemond
  14. Notre Dame JR RHP Patrick Connaughton
  15. Cal Poly JR LHP Matt Imhof
  16. Oregon State JR LHP Jace Fry
  17. Louisiana-Lafayette JR RHP Austin Robichaux
  18. Fresno State JR RHP Derick Velazquez
  19. Florida rJR RHP Karsten Whitson
  20. Stanford SR RHP AJ Vanegas
  21. Oregon rSO LHP Porter Clayton
  22. Southern Mississippi JR RHP Brad Roney
  23. Evansville JR LHP Kyle Freeland
  24. Hawaii JR LHP Scott Squier
  25. USC JR RHP Wyatt Strahan
  26. Arizona JR RHP Tyler Parmenter
  27. Portland JR LHP Travis Radke
  28. Texas A&M JR RHP Daniel Mengden
  29. North Carolina JR RHP Benton Moss
  30. Miami JR LHP Andrew Suarez
  31. Fresno State JR RHP/OF Jordan Brink
  32. Virginia JR RHP Nick Howard
  33. Mississippi JR RHP Hawtin Buchanan
  34. Southern Illinois JR RHP Sam Coonrod
  35. Texas JR RHP Parker French
  36. Wichita State JR RHP AJ Ladwig
  37. Central Florida JR LHP Eric Skoglund
  38. Rice JR RHP Jordan Stephens
  39. Texas A&M JR RHP Corey Ray
  40. Auburn JR RHP Rocky McCord
  41. Mississippi State JR RHP Jonathan Holder
  42. Kentucky JR RHP Chandler Shepherd
  43. Florida JR RHP Ryan Harris
  44. Arkansas JR RHP Chris Oliver
  45. Texas JR LHP Dillon Peters
  46. North Carolina State JR RHP Logan Jernigan
  47. Clemson SO LHP Matthew Crownover
  48. Mississippi State JR LHP Jacob Lindgren
  49. South Carolina Upstate JR RHP Chad Sobotka
  50. Central Michigan JR RHP Jordan Foley
  51. UNC Wilmington JR RHP Jordan Ramsey
  52. Tulane rJR RHP Randy LeBlanc
  53. Portland JR RHP Kody Watts
  54. North Carolina Greensboro JR RHP Max Povse
  55. Western Illinois JR RHP Tyler Willman
  56. USC JR RHP Nigel Nootbaar
  57. Clemson JR RHP Daniel Gossett
  58. Pepperdine JR LHP Aaron Brown
  59. Illinois State JR RHP Jeremy Rhoades
  60. Mississippi State JR RHP Brandon Woodruff
  61. Charlotte rJR RHP Ryan Butler
  62. Texas rSO RHP John Curtiss
  63. Ohio State rJR RHP/1B Josh Dezse
  64. Oregon JR RHP Jake Reed
  65. Texas JR RHP Lukas Schiraldi
  66. Washington State rJR RHP Scott Simon
  67. Loyola Marymount JR RHP Trevor Megill
  68. Lipscomb rJR RHP Hunter Brothers
  69. Arizona State JR RHP Darin Gillies
  70. Alabama JR RHP Spencer Turnbull
  71. Texas A&M JR RHP Gandy Stubblefield
  72. Louisville JR LHP Joey Filomeno

2014 MLB Draft College Second Base Follow List (and Ranking)

Brian Anderson checks a ton of boxes: arm, defensive versatility, speed, power, size, approach, and bat speed in excess. All aforementioned tools are at least average, so the only real question is how much he’ll actually hit going forward. My total not a comp comparison for him is JaCoby Jones, both in terms of talent level and draft floor. This may be an oversimplification, but Alex Blandino has almost the opposite scouting profile: not crazy toolsy, but born to hit. If he keeps doing what he’s done so far this spring, he’ll likely find himself atop this list by June.

After A and B, there’s C. Branden Cogswell follows Anderson and Blandino because of his solid all-around skill set and outstanding plate discipline. I’m not quite there in proclaiming him, or anybody following him on the list for that matter, a future regular in the big leagues due to his limited power ceiling, but I do enjoy scooping up quick-moving, valuable bench contributors from college after most of the upside gambles are off the board.

As mentioned above, there really is a significant gap between Anderson/Blandino (easy to see starter upside) and the rest of the 2B class (likely backups, but some good ones). I’m not saying that you could put the next dozen names or so and a hat and pull a perfectly acceptable order, but I’m not saying you can’t, either.

I genuinely like the two seniors (Ross Kivett and Kyle Ruchim) as top ten round targets that can both save you some dough and give you a potentially useful role player going forward. Kivett is the more famous prospect – still shocked he didn’t sign as a tenth rounder last year – and his speed, smarts, and sneaky pop make him fun to watch. Ruchim is less well-known, but, in my view, no less talented. I actually had Ruchim as high as fourth on original iterations of this list because of my appreciation of his approach, defense, versatility (fine in both SS and CF in a pinch), and the always comforting fallback plan on the mound (low-90s FB and SL that flashes plus).

The juniors are an interesting class at the top as I think there are more tools here than in most years. Gunnar Heidt’s flashes of power, Austin Davidson’s pedigree, Caleb Whalen’s offensive upside, Casey Turgeon’s glove and baseball IQ, Trent Gilbert’s swing, Grant Kay’s breakthrough, and Frankie Ratcliff’s redemption (I’m cheating since he’s a senior but go with it) are all worth following this spring. Really like Jace Conrad’s underrated speed/glove/approach/experience vibe; Caden Bailey’s tools aren’t quite at that level, but he’s above-average in those areas all the same. There are many others that I’d love to write about like Dante Flores (another pedigree guy), old favorite Steve Wilkerson, Stephen Ventimilia (love his athleticism and energy), and Ivy League star Thomas Roulis, but I need to cut myself off before I put people to sleep. One last name that I’ll be very curious to see gets drafted is Kevin Kramer, a good prospect who is out in 2014 (shoulder) yet still might be worth a mid-round pick if deemed even remotely signable. I’d guess he’s back at UCLA in 2015, but you never know.

  1. Arkansas JR 2B/SS/OF Brian Anderson
  2. Stanford JR 2B/3B Alex Blandino
  3. Virginia JR 2B/SS Branden Cogswell
  4. College of Charleston JR 2B/SS Gunnar Heidt
  5. Pepperdine JR 2B/SS Austin Davidson
  6. Kansas State SR 2B Ross Kivett
  7. Northwestern SR 2B/RHP Kyle Ruchim
  8. Portland JR 2B/OF Caleb Whalen
  9. Florida JR 2B/SS Casey Turgeon
  10. Arizona JR 2B Trent Gilbert
  11. Louisville JR 2B Grant Kay
  12. Houston SR 2B Frankie Ratcliff
  13. Louisiana-Lafayette JR 2B Jace Conrad
  14. Georgia State JR 2B/SS Caden Bailey
  15. Long Island-Brooklyn SR 2B/SS John Ziznewski
  16. USC JR 2B Dante Flores
  17. UC Davis rJR 2B/OF Tino Lipson
  18. North Carolina State JR 2B/3B Logan Ratledge
  19. Clemson SR 2B/SS Steve Wilkerson
  20. Nebraska JR 2B/SS Pat Kelly
  21. Hawaii JR 2B Stephen Ventimilia
  22. Western Carolina JR 2B/3B Brad Strong
  23. Dartmouth JR 2B/SS Thomas Roulis
  24. UCLA JR 2B/3B Kevin Kramer
  25. Mississippi State SR 2B Brett Pirtle
  26. Washington JR 2B/3B Robert Pehl
  27. South Alabama rJR 2B Logan Kirkland
  28. Wisconsin-Milwaukee JR 2B Michael Porcaro
  29. Northeastern JR 2B/SS Jason Vosler
  30. UC Riverside JR 2B/OF Joe Chavez
  31. Charlotte JR 2B/SS Mikal Hill
  32. Bradley rSO 2B Chris Godinez
  33. Georgia Tech JR 2B/SS Thomas Smith
  34. UNC Wilmington SR 2B Luis Renvill
  35. Indiana JR 2B/OF Casey Rodrigue
  36. Miami SR 2B/SS Alex Hernandez
  37. Charlotte JR 2B/OF Brad Elwood
  38. Georgia Tech SR 2B/SS Mott Hyde
  39. Maine SR 2B/SS Troy Black
  40. Richmond SR 2B Adam Forrer
  41. Arizona State JR 2B/SS Drew Stankiewicz
  42. South Florida JR 2B/SS Kyle Teaf
  43. San Diego State SR 2B Tim Zier
  44. Georgia JR 2B/SS Nelson Ward
  45. Texas A&M JR 2B/SS Blake Allemand
  46. The Citadel JR 2B Mason Davis
  47. Cal State Bakersfield SR 2B Oscar Sanay
  48. Elon SR 2B/SS Sebastian Gomez
  49. Arkansas-Pine Bluff SR 2B/SS Isias Alcantar
  50. Loyola Marymount JR 2B/SS David Edwards
  51. Oklahoma JR 2B/SS Josh Ake
  52. Texas JR 2B Brooks Marlow
  53. North Carolina Greensboro rSO 2B/OF Benigno Marrero
  54. Tennessee Tech JR 2B/SS Dylan Bosheers
  55. San Jose State SR 2B Jacob Valdez
  56. Wichita State SR 2B/SS Dayne Parker
  57. Oregon SR 2B Aaron Payne
  58. Maryland JR 2B Andrew Amaro
  59. UC Riverside JR 2B/SS Alex Rubanowitz
  60. Youngstown State SR 2B/SS Phil Lipari
  61. Baylor rSR 2B Lawton Langford
  62. UCLA SR 2B/OF Kevin Williams
  63. Stanford SR 2B/RHP Brett Michael Doran
  64. Stanford SR 2B/SS Danny Diekroeger
  65. Oregon State SR 2B/SS Andy Peterson
  66. Tennessee Tech SR 2B/SS Zach Zarzour
  67. Nicholls State SR 2B Phillip Lyons
  68. Monmouth SR 2B/SS Jake Gronsky
  69. Binghamton SR 2B Daniel Nevares
  70. Radford JR 2B Josh Gardiner
  71. Rice JR 2B/SS Ford Stainback
  72. Nebraska-Omaha JR 2B Caleb Palensky
  73. Mississippi State rJR 2B/OF Demarcus Henderson
  74. Oral Roberts JR 2B Matt Brandy
  75. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi SR 2B Cody Stephens
  76. Wright State SR 2B Joe Ford
  77. North Dakota State SR 2B Wes Satzinger
  78. Siena SR 2B Vince Citro
  79. Kentucky SR 2B Matt Reida
  80. Towson SR 2B Pat Fitzgerald
  81. McNeese State rJR 2B/SS Connor Lloyd
  82. Kansas JR 2B Justin Protacio
  83. Hofstra SR 2B Matt Ford
  84. Georgetown JR 2B Ryan Busch
  85. Central Michigan JR 2B Pat MacKenzie
  86. Xavier SR 2B Selby Chidemo

GB%

Title says it all. Stats have been updated through this past weekend. Radke’s only made three starts, but the rest haven’t missed a turn yet. It’s still early enough in the year that I’m happy to add another name or two to the list if anybody has a request. Most recently added player is LSU RHP Aaron Nola. I know stuff like this doesn’t matter, but pretty crazy that in Nola’s first four starts of the year his team won by a combined score of 50-0. After beating a decent Vanderbilt team this past Friday — apparently there was some hype around this game, who knew — his combined score when starting is down to a paltry 54-2. Pretty good.

NC State LHP Carlos Rodon | 67.9%
East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman | 57.7%
Vanderbilt RHP Tyler Beede | 49.1%
Florida State RHP Luke Weaver | 51.2%
Mississippi RHP Chris Ellis | 43.1%
UNLV RHP Erik Fedde | 64.4%
LSU RHP Aaron Nola | 44.0%

And by request…

Portland LHP Travis Radke | 46.2%

2014 MLB Draft: High School “Dream Team” (Hitters)

Last few days have been hectic, but I’ve been doing some catch-up work on the 2014 HS class in whatever downtime I’ve had. I’ll preface all mentions of prep talent by reminding anybody who will listen that I’m a) not a scout, and b) not a guy with the magical powers of teleportation and therefore don’t stick to the admirable rule of only ranking players I’ve seen in person. That said, I did see way more HS baseball (including everybody listed below) this past summer than damn near anybody in the country not drawing a paycheck for their work, wonderfully devoted parents of players not included. I actually think I saw more HS baseball this summer than I’ve seen in the four — has it been that long? — summers I’ve been running the site put together, though you could argue that’s more of an indictment of my prior laziness/cheapness than anything else. Again, I don’t mention any of that to position myself as any kind of authority on the matter, just providing some context and background.

It should be no surprise that I find the players who currently rank second at each spot way more fascinating to discuss at this juncture, but we have plenty of time to flesh out longer position lists in the coming weeks. I don’t think there are any particularly insightful picks here as I’m fairly certain these align with much of what the internet currently thinks about this class, but I’ll do my best to briefly explain my rationale and hopefully provide something a little bit different from the copy/paste world we live in. First the “team” (2-9 on the diamond only, no pitchers yet) and then me rambling…

C/OF Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo HS, California)
1B Jeremy Vasquez (Martin County HS, Florida)
2B/SS Greg Deichmann (Brother Martin HS, Louisiana)
SS/RHP Nick Gordon (Olympia HS, Florida)
3B/SS Jacob Gatewood (Redwood HS, California)
OF/1B Braxton Davidson (Roberson HS, North Carolina)
OF/RHP Michael Gettys (Gainesville HS, Georgia)
OF Marcus Wilson (Junipero Serra HS, California)

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but after seeing Alex Jackson up close a few times, I never could quite grasp why so many wanted to move him off catcher as soon as the ink dries on his first pro deal. He’s a first round prep catcher for me, but not necessarily a slam dunk first round prep bat (though damn close), if that makes sense. As a point of reference (and not comp), newly minted OF Stryker Trahan’s development path is probably how I’d approach Jackson’s future. Give Jackson a real, honest chance to catch, but be prepared to make the switch if circumstances call for it. If that sounds like common sense, well, that’s because it is.

1B, 2B, and third OF were easily the toughest calls. I know I could have made life much easier by classifying Braxton Davidson as a 1B (where my comp of him to Freddie Freeman works even better), but he’s good enough in an outfield corner that it would be a shame not to at least try him there at first. Jeremy Vasquez doesn’t have the power upside that would make me feel more confident in his spot atop a position list known for the long ball, but he does too many other things so well at the plate — the man can track offspeed stuff like a seasoned vet — that I like the upside regardless.

Greg Deichmann’s placement is dangerous because I think that’s the one spot where I went with my own eyes more than my accrued notes. Maybe I’ll regret it, but there were few players I saw hit the ball as hard and as often as Deichmann did throughout the last nine or so months.

Marcus Wilson’s eye-opening skills (his tools are awesome, obviously, but he was much, much further along as a ballplayer than I was led to believe prior to seeing him live) made me a believer over time, so that’s why I narrowly went with him as the third OF. Still love Stone Garrett, newly fallen for Matt Railey, and extremely impressed with the Zach S’s (Sullivan and Shannon), so expect this race to tighten over time. There’s also Monte Harrison, Scott Hurst, Luke Bonfield, Kevin Bryant, Gareth Morgan, Dalton Ewing, Alex Verdugo, to say nothing of all the speed/range standouts like Carl Chester, Derek Hill, and Todd Isaacs. (I didn’t name everybody at the top, so don’t scream at me for “forgetting” your guy…or do, and we can talk about him in the comments/via email!). It’s a good year for prep outfielders, but, then again, it’s always a good year for prep outfielders, you know?

SS was surprisingly close, but that’s not a knock on the top guy in the least. Nick Gordon in so many ways reminded me of JP Crawford, last year’s 16th overall pick, every time I saw him this summer. All the reports that say he’s bulked up and looks better than ever early this season are nothing but encouraging. Easy first round talent. What made the battle for the top spot close, however, is my enduring infatuation with Ti’Quan Forbes. Not only do I think the gap between Gordon and Forbes is smaller than most, I’ll go the extra step and make the direct and obvious (in my mind) link between the 6-4, 180 pound middle infielder to this class’ other oversized shortstop, none other than Jacob Gatewood. I’m a big Gatewood fan — he’s comfortably atop the 3B rankings, and would have ranked tops at SS or OF if that’s where you happen to think he winds up professionally — but I can’t say that there is nearly as much separation between Forbes and Gatewood as many on the internet currently believe. These next few months will be especially huge for both Gatewood and Forbes, so…we’ll see.

Almost 1,000 words so far and I couldn’t find a way to shoehorn Michael Gettys into the conversation. I’ll say this: the Clint Frazier comp that is now the norm in every report you read on the internet about him could not have felt more real the first time (without hearing that comp, either) I saw him up close. The arm, the smarts, the build, the style of play…it is a very natural fit. I’ll see the industry’s Frazier comp and raise it one better. Watch out now. Person in baseball that I trust (or, as I like to think of him, a PIBTIT) mentioned this one to me and I can’t say I hate it. Michael Gettys, he of the easy plus arm strength, big raw power, ample speed, and quick bat occasionally mitigated by an overly aggressive approach to hitting, reminded him of none other than Yasiel Puig. Love comps, hate comps, no strong feelings about comps because you stumbled across this site by accident and are frantically trying to click the tiny red X to escape the insanity of one man’s thousands of hours spent analyzing teenage ballplayers…but, come on, that’s a pretty cool one to have out there.

2014 MLB Draft College First Base Follow List (and Ranking)

College first basemen are some of the most difficult players to rank this early in the draft process because, of any amateur position, first base is the spot I utilize data almost as much as scouting reports. There are many things to look for in young batters when it comes to projecting the hit and power tool; for starters, you’re looking for swing mechanics (balance, rotation, gather, load, fluidity, repeatability, etc.), vision (tracking pitches), bat to ball contact (cliché or not, there is a unique sound you’re hoping to hear), bat speed, and, one of my biggest things for power, how well the hitter’s upper and lower body work together. Seeing and hearing about these things is vitally important, but, more so than any other tools (and to paraphrase national treasure Rasheed Wallace), bat don’t lie. If you can hit, your production will reflect it.

There’s obvious risk in selecting a two tool (or 1.5 if you think less of his pure hit tool than I) player with a high pick, but if you’re going to do so then it’s alright if it’s a) the power and hit tool we’re talking about, and b) a first baseman. That’s the argument in favor of one of my favorite 2014 hitters, Casey Gillaspie. The argument against is similarly succinct: he won’t do the same damage with wood, his bat speed is more good than great, and, my favorite, the “I know it may not matter as much as an up-the-middle spot, but defense at first base still matters, dummy!” line. Perfectly reasonable points, all. I currently have a hard time seeing him dipping below where last year’s first college first baseman went (late third round), but we’ll see.

It could be a byproduct of a faulty memory, but this year’s class seems to have a higher number of “name” prospects that haven’t lived up to their college billing just yet. Kevin Cron is the poster boy for said group, but you can also slot in Ryan Krill, Zach Ratcliff, Rouric Bridgewater, and AJ Murray. On production alone, these guys shouldn’t be anywhere close to the top of the rankings, but tools are tools and upside is upside, you know? It’ll be fun to track each of these guys this spring; hopefully one or more bust out and become the players many thought they could be.

I think the signature rankings here are probably the aggressive placement of Austin Byler, Jake Madsen, Zander Wiel, and Tyler Mautner. Slow start notwithstanding, Byler’s power is legit and his approach to hitting, while not reflected just yet in terms of BB/K ratios (36 BB/79 K coming into the season), is well-suited for professional ball. Madsen’s early season struggles mirror Byler’s, but I know some in the game who think he can be a high-average, plus glove at first base at the next level. Wiel, a powerfully built 6-3, 215 pounder, impressed in limited 2013 at bats and has picked up where he left off so far in 2014. Mautner has been one of the best hitters in college ball to date (just hitting .500/.605/.917 in 8 games), but I’m more interested in hearing about how he’s looked defensively. The bat is one I believe in without question, but if he can hang in outfield corner as some have speculated then his stock will shoot up. Reports on his body and athleticism will be big.

It’s impossible for me to not comment on one of this draft’s most interesting prospects, Bo Thompson. I’ll throw down five imaginary internet dollars that he’s an Astro (if signable) by mid-summer. The 5-10, 255 pound round mound of [clever rhyming word that denotes plate discipline] walked twice as often as he struck out last season all while putting up a .325/.493/.613 schedule/park adjusted line.

AJ Reed feels right where he is, but any spot on a prospect ranking does a disservice to what kind of college player he is. He’s a legit two-way prospect with big league tools both at first and on the mound. I’ve gone back and forth on his eventual home since his first day at Kentucky, but his crazy hot start to 2014 as a hitter has me leaning that way.

You may have noticed that the top name on the list hasn’t been written about in this space yet. I’ve always been at a loss as to what to say about the best prospects in each year’s draft class. There are only so many ways to say “he’s good” without sounding like a fool. I’ll give it a shot anyway. Kyle Schwarber is a really gifted hitter who, solely in terms of amateur prospect stock, reminds me a good deal of CJ Cron. Cron was another college catcher expected to move to first base professionally. The popular comp for Cron in his draft year is the same as one I’ve heard mentioned for Schwarber as well: Paul Konerko. The slightly less popular comp for Schwarber but one that I see gaining steam as we get closer to June: left-handed hitting Mike Napoli (think Aaron Fitt has been using that one). I held the minority view that Cron could be a passable catcher in the pros with work, so it should be no shock I feel the same way about Schwarber. That said, if my job depended on it, I’d probably want Schwarber to move out from behind the dish as soon as possible in order to get his bat to the big leagues in a hurry. That’s where the Konerko and Napoli comps really work. It also makes me wonder how legitimate the whole “moving off of catcher to hurry along the bat” argument is; true, common sense seems to be a point in its favor, but I’d love to see a real study done on the matter. No idea how you’d even begin to figure something like that out, as there are so many variables at play and no clear way to find a control group without opening up alternate universes or something. Pouring one out for Jeff Clement tonight.

The meanest thing I’ve heard a scout say about Schwarber is that he reminded him far too much of Rich Poythress for his liking. Beyond that, there’s been nothing but praise about the bat. Kiley McDaniel has compared him to both Travis Hafner and DJ Peterson. Perfect Game has mentioned the name Matt Nokes. One unique name that I heard – and my favorite player when I was ten years old and way too into playing World Series Baseball for Game Gear – is former Oriole Chris Hoiles. Any of those outcomes would be more than fair value for where he’s expected to go (mid-first ceiling) in the draft. So, yeah, four hundred plus words later we’ve reached our conclusion: he’s good.

37 first basemen from four-year colleges were selected last June beginning with Daniel Palka at 3-88 and ending with Cody Yount at 37-1113. Here is almost three times that amount for your consideration…

  1. Indiana JR 1B/C Kyle Schwarber
  2. Wichita State JR 1B Casey Gillaspie
  3. Indiana JR 1B/OF Sam Travis
  4. Cal State Fullerton JR 1B/RHP JD Davis
  5. Kentucky JR 1B/LHP AJ Reed
  6. TCU JR 1B Kevin Cron
  7. Nevada JR 1B/3B Austin Byler
  8. Ohio JR 1B Jake Madsen
  9. Mississippi State JR 1B Wes Rea
  10. Vanderbilt rSO 1B Zander Wiel
  11. Rice JR 1B/C Skyler Ewing
  12. Buffalo rSO 1B/3B Tyler Mautner
  13. Michigan State JR 1B Ryan Krill
  14. Ohio State SO 1B/OF Zach Ratcliff
  15. Grand Canyon JR 1B/OF Rouric Bridgewater
  16. Duke rJR 1B Chris Marconcini
  17. Georgia Tech JR 1B/C AJ Murray
  18. Central Florida JR 1B/OF James Vasquez
  19. UC Irvine JR 1B Connor Spencer
  20. The Citadel JR 1B Bo Thompson
  21. Hawaii SR 1B Marc Flores
  22. UC Santa Barbara rJR 1B Tyler Kuresa
  23. Texas A&M JR 1B/C Cole Lankford
  24. Wake Forest rSR 1B/LHP Matt Conway
  25. James Madison SR 1B Conner Brown
  26. Portland rJR 1B/OF Turner Gill
  27. New Mexico JR 1B/OF Ryan Padilla
  28. East Tennessee State SR 1B/LHP Clint Freeman
  29. Long Beach State SR 1B/OF Ino Patron
  30. Washington JR 1B Trevor Mitsui
  31. Towson JR 1B/3B Brendan Butler
  32. Florida State JR 1B John Nogowski
  33. Louisiana State JR 1B/C Tyler Moore
  34. Mercer SR 1B Nick Backlund
  35. Louisiana-Lafayette SR 1B/3B Chase Compton
  36. Presbyterian SR 1B/C Brad Zebedis
  37. Kansas State rJR 1B/LHP Shane Conlon
  38. Nevada JR 1B/LHP Kewby Meyer
  39. Texas A&M SO 1B/RHP Hunter Melton
  40. Oklahoma State SR 1B/RHP Tanner Krietemeier
  41. Louisville SR 1B/OF Jeff Gardner
  42. Western Carolina SR 1B/C Adam Martin
  43. Seton Hall JR 1B/OF Sal Annunziata
  44. Central Michigan rJR 1B Cody Leichman
  45. South Carolina JR 1B Kyle Martin
  46. Tennessee SR 1B/OF Scott Price
  47. Clemson SR 1B/OF Jon McGibbon
  48. Lipscomb JR 1B/RHP Griffin Moore
  49. Tulane JR 1B/3B Tyler Wilson
  50. San Jose State SR 1B Matt Carroll
  51. Northeastern JR 1B Rob Fonseca
  52. UNC Wilmington JR 1B Corey Dick
  53. St. Mary’s JR 1B/LHP Collin Ferguson
  54. Northern Colorado SR 1B/LHP Nick Miller
  55. Texas State SR 1B Austin O’Neal
  56. Samford SR 1B/OF Caleb Bryson
  57. Appalachian State rSO 1B/OF Alex Leach
  58. San Francisco SR 1B/C Zachary Turner
  59. Eastern Michigan SR 1B Lee Longo
  60. West Virginia SR 1B Ryan McBroom
  61. Houston rSR 1B Casey Grayson
  62. Minnesota rSR 1B/OF Dan Olinger
  63. Sacramento State JR 1B/OF Rhys Hoskins
  64. North Dakota JR 1B/RHP Jeff Campbell
  65. Western Carolina JR 1B/LHP Jacob Hoyle
  66. Texas A&M JR 1B/OF GR Hinsley
  67. Alabama SR 1B Austen Smith
  68. Texas State JR 1B/OF Colby Targun
  69. Prairie View A&M SR 1B Dominiq Harris
  70. California rSR 1B Devon Rodriguez
  71. UCLA JR 1B/3B Chris Keck
  72. Tennessee Tech SR 1B Zach Stephens
  73. Southeast Missouri State SR 1B Matt Tellor
  74. Maine SR 1B/3B Alex Calbick
  75. McNeese State SR 1B/3B Taylor Drake
  76. Liberty JR 1B/3B Alex Close
  77. Arkansas-Pine Bluff JR 1B/LHP Andre Davis
  78. Canisius JR 1B/3B Connor Panas
  79. New Jersey Tech SR 1B Tom Bouck
  80. Stony Brook SR 1B/LHP Kevin Courtney
  81. Canisius SR 1B Jimmy Luppens
  82. Mississippi JR 1B/C Sikes Orvis
  83. North Florida SR 1B/C Ryan Roberson
  84. South Carolina rSR 1B Brison Celek
  85. Washington JR 1B Branden Berry
  86. Wisconsin-Milwaukee SR 1B/OF Ryan Solberg
  87. Xavier rJR 1B/OF Brian Bruening
  88. Sam Houston State JR 1B Ryan O’Hearn
  89. Morehead State JR 1B Kane Sweeney
  90. North Carolina Greensboro JR 1B Aaron Wright
  91. Georgia State SR 1B Nic Wilson
  92. Dartmouth SR 1B Dustin Selzer
  93. McNeese State SR 1B Chayse Marion
  94. Norfolk State SR 1B Zach Markel
  95. Samford SR 1B/LHP Patrick McGavin
  96. North Dakota State SR 1B/C Kyle Kleinendorst
  97. Nicholls State rSR 1B/3B Tyler Duplantis
  98. Navy SR 1B Kash Manzelli
  99. Wofford rSR 1B Seth Neely
  100. Cornell SR 1B Ryan Plantier
  101. Yale SR 1B Jacob Hunter
  102. Arkansas rJR 1B Eric Fisher
  103. Lehigh SR 1B Tyler Brong

2014 MLB Draft (And Beyond) – Big West Follow List

One of the few questions I occasionally get asked is often the simple “I’m seeing ______ this weekend. Do they have anybody worth watching?” Here’s your answer for the Big West…

Cal Poly

rJR RHP Reed Reilly
JR LHP Matt Imhof
JR RHP Bryan Granger
JR LHP Taylor Chris
SR 3B/2B Jimmy Allen
JR OF Nick Torres
SR C Chris Hoo
SR 1B/OF Tim Wise
JR OF Jordan Ellis
JR OF Zack Zehner
JR OF Alex Michaels
SO RHP Casey Bloomquist (2015)
SO C Brian Mundell (2015)
SO SS Peter Van Gansen (2015)
FR RHP Justin Calomeni (2016)
FR LHP Slater Lee (2016)

Cal State Fullerton

rJR RHP Grahamm Wiest
JR RHP Koby Gauna
JR LHP Tyler Peitzmeier
JR RHP Willie Kuhl
JR 1B/RHP JD Davis
JR 3B/RHP Matt Chapman
JR OF Clay Williamson
JR OF Austin Diemer
SR SS/OF Keegan Dale
SR OF Greg Velazquez
SR C Jared Deacon
SO RHP Justin Garza (2015)
SO RHP Thomas Eshelman (2015)
SO 1B Tanner Pinkston (2015)
SO 2B/SS Jake Jefferies (2015)
SO LHP Bryan Conant (2015)
SO OF Tyler Stieb (2015)
SO C AJ Kennedy (2015)
SO OF/INF David Olmedo-Barrera (2015)
rFR RHP Shane Stillwagon (2015)
FR RHP Phil Bickford (2016)
FR RHP Ryan Kayoda (2016)
FR SS Timmy Richards (2016)
FR RHP Chad Hockin (2016)
FR 3B/SS Taylor Bryant (2016)
FR INF Christian Rossi (2016)
FR OF Marcus Vidales (2016)
FR C/1B Niko Pacheco (2016)

Cal State Northridge

rSR RHP Shay Maltese
SR RHP Michael Coates
rJR RHP Kyle Ferramola
rSO RHP Jordan Johnson
JR LHP Jerry Keel
rJR RHP Louis Cohen
JR RHP Brandon Warner
SR LHP John Salas
rJR OF Chester Pak
JR OF Daniel Timmerman
JR C Nick Murphy
JR INF Michael Livingston
SO RHP Calvin Copping (2015)

Hawaii

SR 1B Marc Flores
JR OF Keao Aliviado
JR OF Jordan Richartz
JR 2B Stephen Ventimilia
JR C/1B Trevor Podratz
JR LHP Scott Squier
rJR LHP Jarrett Arakawa
rJR LHP Andrew Jones
JR LHP Lawrence Chew
SR RHP Matt Cooper
rFR LHP Quintin Torres-Costa (2015)
FR OF/2B Marcus Doi (2016)
FR RHP Eric Gleese (2016)

Long Beach State

JR LHP Nick Sabo
SR RHP Josh Frye
SR LHP Jake Stassi
rJR LHP Ryan Strufing
rSR RHP Ryan Millison
rJR RHP Kyle Friedrichs
JR LHP Cameron Pongs
JR RHP Jason Alexander
JR OF/1B Richard Prigatano
SR 3B/SS Michael Hill
SR 1B/OF Ino Patron
rJR OF Johnny Bekakis
JR C Alex Bishop
SO 3B Zack Rivera (2015)
SO C Eric Hutting (2015)
FR SS Garrett Hampson (2016)

UC Davis

SR RHP Harry Stanwyck
JR RHP Spencer Koopmans
rJR RHP Craig Lanza
rJR RHP Robert Parucha
JR OF Kevin Barker
SR 3B/2B Steve Patterson
SR SS Adam Young
rJR 2B/OF Tino Lipson
rJR 1B/3B Nick Lynch
SO LHP/1B Spencer Henderson (2015)
SO C Cameron Olson (2015)
FR RHP Zach Stone (2016)

UC Irvine

rSR RHP Mitch Merten
rSR RHP Evan Brock
SR LHP Jimmy Litchfield
SR RHP Andrew Morales
JR LHP Evan Manarino
JR 1B Connor Spencer
JR 3B Taylor Sparks
JR C/SS Chris Rabago
rJR C Jerry McClanahan
JR C Raul Silva-Martinez
JR OF Kris Paulino
rSO INF Jonathan Munoz
SO OF Jonathan Herkins (2015)
rFR INF Andrew Martinez (2015)
rFR OF Evan Cassolato (2015)
FR OF Adam Alcantra (2016)

UC Riverside

JR LHP Kevin Sprague
SR RHP Jacob Smigelski
SR LHP Dylan Stuart
SR RHP Joie Dunyon
JR LHP Antonio Gonzales
SR LHP Ben Doucette
SR RHP Zach Varela
rSR OF David Andriese
JR 2B/SS Alex Rubanowitz
JR 3B/SS Nick Vilter
JR 2B/OF Joe Chavez
SR 1B/OF Cody Hough
SO C Matthew Ellis (2015)
FR INF Mark Contreras (2016)

UC Santa Barbara

rJR 1B Tyler Kuresa
rSR OF/1B Joe Epperson
JR OF Cameron Newell
rJR 2B/OF Woody Woodward
JR LHP/1B Greg Mahle
JR LHP Andrew Vasquez
JR RHP Austin Pettibone
SO RHP Dillon Tate (2015)
SO RHP Dylan Hecht (2015)
SO LHP Justin Jacome (2015)
SO RHP/3B Robby Nesovic (2015)
SO OF Andrew Calica (2015)
SO RHP Connor Baits (2015)
SO SS Devon Gradford (2015)
SO RHP Kenny Chapman (2015)
SO LHP Domenic Mazza (2015)
FR OF Josh Adams (2016)
FR SS Brody Weiss (2016)
FR C Dempsey Grover (2016)
FR RHP Shane Bieber (2016)

2014 MLB Draft College Catcher Follow List (and Ranking)

Mark Zagunis and Max Pentecost are both exceptional athletes for the position. Heck, forget position: both are really good athletes full stop. The latter is the better bet to stick behind the plate as a pro – there are really no questions there – but the former has more present power, a more disciplined approach, and comparable defensive upside. Zagunis needs more work behind the plate, but the strides that he has made since enrolling at Virginia Tech have made me a believer that he’ll keep working to get there. The bat will play anywhere, but, man, it’ll look so much better if he’s an average or better backstop. More on Pentecost, the internet’s consensus top catching prospect from earlier…

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?

Chris Harvey is a really difficult prospect to pin down, in no small part to the limited playing time he’s received through two full seasons at Vanderbilt. He’s different from the well-rounded, plus running (for the position) duo discussed in the preceding paragraph: Harvey’s game is built around power upside, arm strength, and brute strength, something he does not lack one bit in his 6-5, 220 pound frame. I’ve written a lot about those two main catcher archetypes over the years and this year’s class does not lack for each type. We have Zagunis, Pentecost, and Brett Austin on one side, and Harvey and Aramis Garcia on the other. These are imperfect categories, of course, as Zagunis has showed as much present power as any other 2014 college catcher (save Garcia) and Harvey is a really underrated athlete in his own right, but we’ve chosen our narrative so might as well run with it.

Grayson Greiner is easy to like on paper, especially if you like his defense as much as I do (more than most, I concede), but he’s one of those rare amateurs that it helps to watch up close and talk to those who’ve played with him to fully appreciate. He’s talented enough to eventually emerge as a starting caliber professional catcher, but, failing that, he’s still the kind of person you want on your 25-man roster in some capacity. I’ve heard but not seen firsthand the same things about Wayne Taylor. Both profile as high-floor backup backstops at minimum.

Riley Moore was a big prep favorite who has more than held his own collegiately so far. Bre’shon Kimbell is another former famous high school prospect who could move up boards with a big spring. Tyler Baker (compact frame but really good athleticism and one of college ball’s biggest performance jumps between year one and two portend good things to come) and Shane Zeile are converted infielders with ample defensive upside.

I mentioned this in an earlier post on catchers, but the ACC really is stacked this year. If you’re at an ACC game, chances are you are witnessing a future professional catcher. Zagunis, Boulware, and Austin are the most famous, but Garrett Kennedy (unheralded prospect who just keeps getting better) and Nate Irving (if you believe in his defensive tools as I do) bear watching.

Speaking solely about defense, I think there are very few players who may be asked to move out from the plate professionally. It’s hard to say if that’s because of a stronger than usual defensive bunch or due to my rankings weighing that side of the game more heavily than in years past. Zagunis could be moved to an outfield spot if a team wanted to get his bat to the bigs as quickly as possible, but I think that’s unlikely. Harvey and Greiner both have the size that may scare teams away (again, not likely as both players would lose most of their value at any other spot), and Gushue’s slow and steady defensive improvement may not have come quick enough for some teams to buy him as a pro catcher. Kimbell and Kevin Krause are rough around the edges but show promise, and Nate Causey and Wade Wass may be better as first basemen in the long run.

Connor Joe (if his defense holds up), Kyle Pollock (if his hit tool plays), and Chase Griffin (if he can tap into his big raw power) all could be big risers with big springs.

  1. Virginia Tech JR C/OF Mark Zagunis
  2. Florida International JR C Aramis Garcia
  3. Kennesaw State JR C Max Pentecost
  4. South Carolina JR C Grayson Greiner
  5. Vanderbilt C Chris Harvey
  6. Clemson JR C/OF Garrett Boulware
  7. North Carolina State JR C Brett Austin
  8. Arizona JR C Riley Moore
  9. Florida JR C Taylor Gushue
  10. Stanford JR C Wayne Taylor
  11. Florida JR C Braden Mattson
  12. Rice JR C John Clay Reeves
  13. Miami JR C Garrett Kennedy
  14. Louisiana Tech JR C/3B Bre’shon Kimbell
  15. Virginia JR C Nate Irving
  16. Stony Brook JR C/OF Kevin Krause
  17. Wichita State JR C Tyler Baker
  18. New Mexico JR C Alex Real
  19. UCLA JR C/3B Shane Zeile
  20. Arizona State JR C/1B Nate Causey
  21. Alabama rJR C/1B Wade Wass
  22. Texas SR C Jacob Felts
  23. Auburn SR C Blake Austin
  24. Mercer SR C Austin Barrett
  25. Michigan State JR C/1B Blaise Salter
  26. San Diego JR C/1B Connor Joe
  27. Louisiana-Lafayette rJR C/OF Mike Strentz
  28. Nebraska JR C Tanner Lubach
  29. Stetson JR C Garrett Russini
  30. Evansville JR C Kyle Pollock
  31. Texas-Arlington SR C Greg McCall
  32. Georgia Southern JR C Chase Griffin
  33. Kentucky rSO C Greg Fettes
  34. Pepperdine JR C Kolten Yamaguchi
  35. Florida State JR C Daniel De La Calle
  36. Alabama State JR C Richard Gonzalez
  37. Evansville SR C/1B Jake Mahon
  38. UNLV rSO C Scott Tomassetti
  39. Duke rJR C Mike Rosenfeld
  40. USC JR C Garrett Stubbs
  41. Washington State SR C/OF Collin Slaybaugh
  42. Illinois State SR C Mike Hollenbeck
  43. South Carolina rJR C/OF Patrick Harrington
  44. South Carolina Upstate SR C Luke Weber
  45. High Point JR C Josh Spano
  46. TCU rSO C Ryan Delso
  47. Xavier JR C Derek Hasenbeck
  48. North Dakota SR C Taylor Petersen
  49. Seattle rSR C/OF Ryan Somers
  50. North Dakota SR C Zack Trygstad
  51. Mississippi SR C Will Allen
  52. Wagner JR C Nick Dini
  53. Sam Houston State SR C Anthony Azar
  54. Eastern Michigan SR C/1B Adam Sonabend
  55. USC SR C/1B Jake Hernandez
  56. Michigan SR C Cole Martin
  57. Louisville SR C Kyle Gibson
  58. Kansas SR C/2B Kai’ana Eldredge
  59. Kansas State rSR C Blair DeBord
  60. UC Irvine JR C/SS Chris Rabago
  61. Middle Tennessee State JR C Michael Adkins
  62. Florida Atlantic SR C Levi Meyer
  63. Mississippi JR C Austin Knight
  64. Texas A&M SR C Troy Stein
  65. San Diego State rJR C Brad Haynal
  66. Missouri SR C Dylan Kelly
  67. Stanford SR C Brant Whiting
  68. UC Irvine rJR C Jerry McClanahan
  69. Columbia SR C Mike Fischer
  70. Bradley SR C Austin Jarvis
  71. Cal Poly SR C Chris Hoo
  72. Texas A&M JR C Mitchell Nau
  73. Mississippi State JR C Cody Walker
  74. Texas State rSR C Tyler Pearson
  75. Northwestern State JR C CJ Webster
  76. Louisiana-Lafayette JR C/3B Evan Powell
  77. Dartmouth JR C Matt MacDowell
  78. Sacred Heart SR C Dan Perez
  79. Arkansas SR C Jake Wise
  80. Wofford JR C Matt Ramsay
  81. UNC Wilmington SR C Drew Farber
  82. New Orleans SR C Brian Dixon
  83. Elon rSO C/RHP Michael Elefante
  84. Penn JR C Austin Bossart
  85. Delaware State SR C Mike Alexander
  86. Austin Peay State SR C PJ Torres
  87. Belmont JR C Matt Beaty
  88. Southern JR C/RHP Sam May
  89. Belmont JR C/INF Alec Diamond
  90. Belmont JR C Jamie Ritchie
  91. Eastern Kentucky SR C Sean Hagen
  92. Nebraska-Omaha JR C/OF Alex Mortensen
  93. Lehigh SR C Joe Abeln

Emails

This may shock you, but I like to talk baseball. A lot. It’s something I do literally every single day. I try not to bother too many people in real life with it, but I do have a small circle of similarly passionate baseball fan friends who put up with my all too frequent emails about whatever random baseball topic (bigs, minors, draft, anything) pops into my head in a given day. I love sharing ideas, coming up with new theories, dreaming about future rosters, and, most of all, reading the occasional reply from pals (occasional only because my outgoing mail tends to outnumber incoming messages at a rate of, like, ten to one…or so it seems). When work is a challenge and real life gets too real, talking baseball becomes more than just my preferred option of escapism, but the only thing that keeps me sane. Despite four years living in Boston, I can’t say I’ve ever seen Fever Pitch all the way through; truth be told, the parts I’ve seen were more than enough for me to know I never need to make time to watch it beginning to end. One line that always stuck with me was when Jimmy Fallon’s character was talking to…a young boy, I think…and the boy said the following: “You love the Red Sox, but have they ever loved you back?” Shitty movie or not, that’s a solid gut punch of a line for any hopelessly devoted sports fan to hear. No, the Red Sox/Yankees/Dodgers/Pirates/Whatevers don’t love you back, but that’s not the point. It’s hard to properly explain, but the teams (businesses, really) can’t and won’t love you; the sport itself, however, can give you something pretty damn close. Baseball has a special way of uniting, dividing, distracting, engaging, and otherwise entertaining so many of us on a daily basis. I’m absolutely rambling now — and way off-topic — but, love or not, I’ll take whatever that feeling is. I’d rather watch a ballgame than just about anything, but writing about it comes in solidly at second place.

Writing for this site doesn’t often give me that same feeling. That sounds awful, but it’s not. Something about the medium locks me up and I wind up writing very unlike myself. It could be that I feel some small degree of responsibility to not write anything that could bum out a player’s family or friends in a public forum. I know what I write doesn’t matter to anybody making the big decisions on prospects’ futures, but I still don’t enjoy writing about players I don’t think will make it at the next level. I realize that’s a part of the process, but I don’t have to enjoy it. Because of that, despite the fact I have no aspirations to write anywhere but here, I feel like I need to write in a manner more befitting a “professional” draft writer, so as not to be that shit-stirring nobody on the internet who exists solely to pop off with random opinions and can’t be trusted. I do have opinions, damnit, and I think my instincts are good, but I lack whatever it is inside of a person to get up on a rooftop and share with the world. I’m a much more relaxed writer via email, but something about putting something up on “the site” changes me. Barely anybody reads this darn thing — as always, thanks to all that do — so I don’t know why I get that weird writer stage fright just before hitting publish. I’m trying to get over that, so bear with me.

All this is a long way of saying that this post is hopefully a little bit closer to my original version of the site. Less formulaic, more conversational. More open-ended, less…list-y. Yeah, there will still be lists and rankings and content that gets published without me feeling 100% about the level of information provided (much as I think the conference follow lists are a solid resource, I hate that I don’t have the time to do more commentary within each piece), but, for at least one post, we all get a reprieve. And, who knows, maybe this will be the start of a personal breakthrough for me as I try to loosen up as a writer. We’ll see.

With no further ado, here we have a series of emails sent by me over the past ten days. Some of the conversation may seem a bit out of nowhere, but that’s because it is. I tend to slip in draft related stuff when the unlucky email recipients (and total draft novices) are least suspecting it. Why shouldn’t a conversation about bullpens around the league turn into a chat about the draft’s top relief arm? Opinions are all mine, all honest, all more “off the cuff” than usual, yet still well-supported with intelligence acquired firsthand or otherwise.

Perfect World Second Round Draft Targets

The pick at 7 is going to be a college arm, prep bat, or Trea Turner. I’m fairly sure, at least (more on that in the SS section).That means it won’t be a non-Turner college bat at 7. As mentioned, I spent the last three months getting my scouting database up and running for this year’s college position player group and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the fact there are no real top of the first round talents (outside of Turner) get in the way of a Phillies draft discussion.

So, forget 7. We’ll talk 7 to death over the next few months anyway. Pick 47 holds way more intrigue to me at the moment. I have to believe that at least one of these 15 players will be there at 47. If they go with an arm at 7, I sure wouldn’t mind one of these guys later…

C

There’s some above-average relative depth at the top, but I couldn’t see the Phils going C early when you factor in the prospect depth in the system already and the high picks used on it last year in Knapp and Sweaney. If they do make a move at 47, I think Mark Zagunis should be a target. Almost everybody has Max Pentecost as the draft’s top catcher — I’ve compared his ceiling to Jon Lucroy, so he is a fine prospect — but I like Zagunis a touch better. Pentecost will likely be gone between 8 and 47, but I could see Zagunis still there. I’d be tempted. He actually reminds me a little bit of Knapp, from a scouting perspective. By the numbers, Pentecost is actually close to a Knapp doppelganger through two college seasons. I think both are better prospects through two years than Knapp, for what it’s worth.

Virginia Tech JR C/OF Mark Zagunis, Kennesaw State JR C Max Pentecost

1B

Surprising yet intriguing position of “need” as Howard will only have 2.5 years remaining on his deal come draft day. Draft a college guy, let him dominate rookie ball and get a taste of A-ball, then move him up to A/A+ (maybe AA) in 2015, AA/AAA in 2016, and have him ready to replace Howard in 2017. Not much depth at the spot as usual, but Casey Gillaspie stands out. The big name is Kyle Schwarber, a bit of a lefthanded Mike Napoli clone both at the plate (he mashes) and in the field (he’s currently a “catcher,” but doesn’t profile there as a regular). If I was confident he could get himself up to league average with the glove behind the plate, he’d be in the mix at 7. As is, he’s a stretch there, but a complete lock to be gone shortly thereafter. That’s what makes Gillaspie stand out. He’s arguably the next best pure college bat in the draft. His power, hit tool, and plate discipline are all big league regular quality.

Indiana JR 1B/C Kyle Schwarber, Wichita State JR 1B Casey Gillaspie

2B

It’s a relatively good year for college 2B, a position group that is oft-ignored on draft day. I’m with the consensus that most good 2B are made and not born (i.e. converted from other positions), but there are a fair number of intriguing “natural” 2B to consider early on. The Phillies could also take a pass here in the first few rounds since there is nice depth at the position. If they do make a move at 47, the top two names are Brian Anderson and Alex Blandino. Both actually fit the aforementioned consensus view as Anderson has spent time at SS, 3B, and CF while Blandino is seen as a 3B by many (I think he might be alright at SS, but that’s a minority view).

Arkansas JR 2B/SS/OF Brian Anderson, Stanford JR 2B/3B Alex Blandino

3B

I know 3B isn’t the target area like it has been in the past, but I can’t help myself from fixating on the position because, honestly, it’s all I really know. For no reason at all, I have a really strange feeling about Matt Chapman at 47. I have no insider scoop nor am I utilizing any past draft trends, but I can just picture him as the pick. I’d love it if true (and if he’s even on the board) as I think he’s going to be an excellent pro. Taylor Sparks probably fits the Phillies prototype better — or the old prototype, at least — as a tooled-up, boom/bust, athletic free-swinging kind of guy.

Cal State Fullerton JR 3B Matt Chapman, UC Irvine JR 3B Taylor Sparks

SS

It’s pretty much Trea Turner at 7 or bust, though I think they would be smart to consider Joey Pankake — think of the merchandising opportunities — if he’s there at 47. Pankake is already being moved off SS by most of the draft experts, but I don’t see why he’ll have to make the switch to 3B just yet. I think it’s an overreaction to his lack of foot speed, a vastly overrated (in my view) aspect of infield defense. The big question at the position will be what happens if Turner is there at 7 (I think he’ll be). So many things to consider there. Everybody says BPA BPA BPA in baseball, something I obviously agree with, but I think there are limits to that kind of thinking. I mean, at some point common sense needs to take over: if you’re locked in with a young franchise 1B, you don’t draft a 1B every year in the first round just because he’s the top guy on the board. I think there are enough close calls in the draft that organizational need can be taken into account if you are in need of a “tie-breaker.”

Obviously, unlike 1B, a position like SS can be drafted in bulk with more confidence since these players can be moved around the diamond a bit. There’s already talk about Turner being an option in CF (he’s played there some as well as 3B) and Crawford could fairly easily handle a switch to 2B if need be. There’s also the school of thought that values minor leaguers as assets only. Accumulating as many valuable assets as possible is wise, and if you have two players on similar timelines at the same position you can always utilize the other as a trade chip when the time comes. All true. Long story short, if Turner is the top guy on the board by a large enough margin over the next guy then you have to take him and sort the rest out later. I’m not convinced Turner will be the best guy on the board — Carlos Rodon, Jeff Hoffman, Tyler Beede, Alex Jackson, Jacob Gatewood, and your top HS arm or two all are equally in the mix at this point, I believe — but I’d be more than happy with taking a second shortstop in the first round if he’s the top guy there. I have a lot of ideas for comps after watching Turner up close and envisioning the kind of career he’s capable of, but I think my favorite is a mashup of Yankee outfielders: Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner spliced together. Or, alternatively, Ellsbury (minus that 30+ HR outlier year) or Gardner (with a little bit more pop). Put that at SS, you’ve got something special. Also considered Stephen Drew with plus-plus speed and, if we’re going nuts, a slightly less lanky version of Jose Reyes. The fact that I think such lofty heights are attainable should tell you all you need to know about how I feel about him. Turner is an impact talent.

North Carolina State JR SS/OF Trea Turner, South Carolina JR SS/RHP Joey Pankake

OF

Unless we see a crazy Kris Bryant kind of season out of one of the top dogs here (not likely), I don’t see a real outfield option at 7. There are, however, plenty of talented guys who will fly off the board between 8 and 47. If one of these five below somehow survives, then he very well could be your guy. I think there’s only one player here with a better than average shot to be there at 47: local guy (kind of) Mike Papi. Notes on his tools are below [going against much of what I said in the intro here and saving said notes for the site later on, sorry], so I’ll just reiterate his 2013 line here as the driving force of my rationale for loving him at 47: .409/.542/.653 – 47 BB/24 K – 6/8 SB – 176 AB. It’s a risky game to play, but, since I love him more than the general consensus at this point, there’s a chance he’s there at 82, 113, or even 143.

San Francisco JR OF Bradley Zimmer, Oregon State JR OF/1B Michael Conforto, Virginia JR OF Mike Papi, Oregon State JR OF Dylan Davis, Virginia JR OF Derek Fisher

*****

Alex Jackson: Top Ten Pick?

I saw [Alex] Jackson in person twice this summer and way more than that on TV/video. With the everlasting caveat that I’m not a scout, I walked away each time surprised — well, surprised the first time and more confused thereafter — that everybody had hyped up his bat while downplaying his glove. Not doing the Charlie Contrarian shtick, but I was more impressed with his glove than I thought and not really wowed by the bat. It’s still a really impressive, first round quality stick, especially since I think he could stick at catcher, but not the Bryce Harper (not a comparison, just mentioning him as the most recent high profile catcher to outfielder conversion) kind of hit/power/approach combination that makes you want to rush him to the big leagues as a right fielder. I’d draft him with high confidence as a mid-first round pick — could rise to top ten, easily — as a catcher, obviously a little bit lower as an outfielder (where there’s way more competition in this draft class, both prep and college). Lots of rumblings that he wants to move to the outfield ASAP to speed up his developmental timeline. That’s a fun twist on the usual team-first approach to that kind of thing.

*****

College Ball’s Best Relief Prospects

Here’s a somewhat bizarre followup question that ties the bullpen to the draft talk from the other day. Top pure reliever in the draft is Nick Burdi from Louisville. I saw him last year and should see him again this year. He is pretty damn good, easily the hardest thrower I’ve ever seen up close. I don’t think I’d ever take a reliever in the first round, but at 47…maybe.

Louisville JR RHP Nick Burdi: 95-99 FB, 100-102 peak; plus 88-93 SL; passable CU, but doesn’t need it in relief role; much improved command, inconsistent but better; 6-4, 225 pounds

2012: 5.56 K/9 | 3.97 BB/9 | 4.33 FIP | 22.2 IP
2013: 15.90 K/9 | 3.28 BB/9 | 1.31 FIP | 35.2 IP

15.90 K/9 last year isn’t a typo. He should be ready to pitch in the big leagues by next season (2015), but could conceivably be up in 2014, especially considering the relative low-mileage on his arm. Cost-certainty in the bullpen is a nice thing, so if you can get an excellent late-inning reliever at a low price for the next six years…maybe. I think there will be better options at the point — seriously, this class is looking really deep in the first few rounds — but somebody to think about.

Here’s another total draft wild card to keep in mind: San Diego State RHP Michael Cederoth.

JR RHP Michael Cederoth: 93-97 FB, 100 peak; average 73-80 CB, flashes better; 79-85 SL flashes plus; threw above-average CU in past, but hasn’t shown it yet in 2014; has some command issues stemming from inconsistent mechanics; 6-6, 200 pounds

2012: 8.55 K/9 | 6.15 BB/9 | 3.62 FIP | 67.1 IP
2013: 10.57 K/9 | 4.44 BB/9 | 3.07 FIP | 95.1 IP

Numbers aren’t obviously as dominant as Burdi’s, but that can at least be partially explained by him being a starter and not a closer. He made one start this year before being moved to the bullpen. I lump him together with Burdi because they are pretty comfortably the two hardest throwers in this year’s college class, but I think they are two very different prospects. Burdi strikes me as really safe: he’s going to be a good reliever, maybe a great one, but that’s almost certainly his role in the big leagues. Maybe you give him a tiny shot at starting, but the odds are against him. Cederoth is far less safe, but comes with the upside of a big-time starter…if he puts it all together. PG has compared him to Kevin Gausman in the past, but the industry is down on him now (based on what I’ve heard) relative to where they’ve been in the past. I do think it’s fair to wonder what kind of numbers he would have put up as a reliever; perhaps the gap in perception for some wouldn’t be as great. Great relievers are often made and not born. Burdi looks like an exception — he was born to close in the bigs — but Cederoth could be that guy who just couldn’t figure it out as a starter yet thrived in short bursts coming out of the bullpen.

All that said, Cederoth is less likely to be there later on (i.e. after 7) than Burdi (I think), so the whole comparison might be moot anyway. A big guy like him with a plus-plus fastball, potential plus slider, and a usable second breaking ball (and maybe change) is intriguing to pro teams just as he is to me…not like I’m the only one out there dreaming he falls and you’ve got a steal. Somebody will wise up and take him before he becomes too great of a steal…and yet he still could/should pay off big time for them.

*****

Early First Round Prospect Timelines 

[Trea] Turner on the Kris Bryant track would be great. Might be aggressive, but would love to see him up to AA by his first full year (2015) and potentially challenging for a big league spot by 2016. I know the hit tool isn’t for everybody, but I think the swing works, the hands definitely work, and his overall balance and approach look fine.

Think [Tyler] Beede could be more of a 2017 arrival as you mention since he has some clear things to work on (though he seems to be working through said things quite well so far this year). I think [Jacob] Gatewood’s best case scenario developmentally — and a decent physical comp, by the way — is what we’re seeing with Carlos Correa now. Drafted in 2014 (rookie ball all the way, chance at W-Port [Phillies short-season affiliate] down the stretch if all goes well), Low-A to start 2015, and then quite possibly one level per year all the way through. That would mean AAA by 2018, so maybe a September ’18 callup and ready for prime time in 2019.

*****

Most Likely Top Ten Pick HS Pitchers

Also probably time to add one more name to the list at 7. I mentioned three HS arms as consensus favorites a while back (Kolek, Aiken, and my man TOUKI), but I think it’s appropriate to add Grant Holmes now. He’s been pretty great so far in the early going with the latest rumors of him hitting triple digits in his last start. I wasn’t as excited about him as most because there’s not much projection to him — he’s 6-1, 210 pounds — but, like Kolek, his present stuff may be good enough that it doesn’t matter. Not quite going there with the comp just yet, but the last HS arm with little projection and similar present stuff like Holmes that I can remember is Dylan Bundy…just saying.

2014 MLB Draft (And Beyond) – Big South Follow List

One of the few questions I occasionally get asked is often the simple “I’m seeing ______ this weekend. Do they have anybody worth watching?” Here’s your answer for the Big South

Campbell

SR LHP/1B Matt Nadolski
SR LHP Hector Cedano
JR RHP Heath Bowers
SR RHP Ryan Thompson
SR 3B Elijah Trail

Charleston Southern

rJR RHP Denis Buckley
JR RHP Austin Weekley
SR LHP Tony Schroff
SR RHP Stephen Leopard
JR OF/LHP Chase Shelton
SR 3B/SS Alex Tomasovich
JR 1B Robbie Streett
JR OF Bobby Ison
SR OF/LHP Zack Hagaman
SO LHP Andrew Tomasovich (2015)

Coastal Carolina

JR LHP Ben Smith
SR RHP Tyler Herb
JR LHP Austin Kerr
rSO RHP Tyler Poole
JR RHP Patrick Corbett
rJR 1B Johnny Cole
SR 1B/OF Colin Hering
SR 2B Jake Kane
SO 3B Zach Remillard (2015)
SO C/3B Tyler Chadwick (2015)
SO RHP Alex Cunningham (2015)
SO RHP Seth Lamando (2015)
FR LHP Dalton Moats (2016)
FR 1B GK Young (2016)
FR SS Michael Paez (2016)

Gardner-Webb

JR SS Ryan Hodge
JR 2B/SS Henry Rundio
SR 3B/OF Scott Coleman
SR OF JJ Nazzaro
SR RHP Andrew Barnett
JR LHP Beau Hilton
JR RHP Matt Fraudin
JR LHP Mitch Warner
rJR LHP Erik Heiligenstadt
SO RHP Brad Haymes (2015)
SO RHP Hunter Smith (2015)
FR RHP Jeremy Walker (2016)

High Point

SR OF/SS Kyle Brandenburg
JR C Josh Spano
JR SS/2B Mike Miedzianowski
JR OF Cody Manzella
JR C/1B Spencer Angelis
JR RHP Joe Goodman
SR LHP Mike Krumm
SR RHP John Maloney
FR OF Josh Greene (2016)

Liberty

JR RHP/OF Ashton Perritt
rSO RHP Adam Parks
JR LHP Matt Pennington
JR LHP Jared Lyons
rSO RHP Kyle McKelvey
SR LHP Blake Fulghum
SR RHP Trey Lambert
JR RHP Carson Herndon
SR C/RHP Danny Grauer
JR 1B/3B Alex Close
JR 1B Ryan Seiz
FR OF Will Shepherd (2016)
FR LHP Michael Stafford (2016)
FR 3B Dylan Allen (2016)
FR OF Parker Bean (2016)

Longwood

JR LHP Brandon Vick
JR RHP Aaron Myers
SR RHP Ryan Schubert
JR RHP Tyler Wislocki
JR OF Brandon Delk
SR C Scott Burkett
SR 3B Alex Owens
SR 2B/SS Matt Dickason
SO RHP Blake Ream (2015)
SO OF Kyri Washington (2015)

Presbyterian

SR 1B/C Brad Zebedis
rSR OF Nathan Chong
JR SS Billy Motroni
JR 3B Jay Lizanich
rSR C/OF Brandon Paul
SR RHP/OF Chandler Knox
SR LHP Chad Sanders
JR LHP Beau Dees
SO C Derek Long (2015)
SO RHP Brett Byrum (2015)
SO Ryan Hagen (2015)

Radford

JR 2B Josh Gardiner
rSO 3B Zach Woolcock
JR OF Patrick Marshall
rJR OF Aaron Scoville
SR OF Blake Sipe
SR C Josh Reavis
rJR RHP Mike Costello
rJR RHP Tyler Costello
JR LHP Jeff Maxwell
SO LHP Michael Boyle (2015)
SO SS/OF Chris Coia (2015)
SO C Jordan Taylor (2015)
SO RHP Dylan Nelson (2015)
SO RHP/INF Nygeal Andrews (2015)
FR RHP Austin Ross (2016)

UNC Asheville

rJR RHP Elliot Criss
SR RHP Dean Roland
SR RHP Brian Connolly
rJR RHP/SS Tommy Houmard
SR SS Eli Miller
rSR 3B Robert McIntosh
JR 1B Hunter Bryant
SO LHP Zach Wiseman (2015)
SO RHP Corey Randall (2015)
FR Kyle Carruthers (2016)

Virginia Military Institute

SR LHP Connor Bach
SR LHP Campbell Henkel
JR LHP Jonathan Kelley
JR RHP Reed Garrett
JR RHP Andrew Woods
JR OF Brandon Angus
JR OF Sheldon Shifflett
rSO OF Gary LeClair
JR 2B/SS Thomas Stallings
rJR C Matt Winn
rJR OF Jordan Tarsovich
FR OF Will Malbon (2016)

Winthrop

rJR OF TJ Olesczuk
SR OF Cody Dolan
JR C Zac Goodno
JR LHP Josh Strong
rSO LHP Sam Kmiec
rSO RHP Brock Goodling
SO RHP Joey Strain (2015)
SO INF Stephen Wallace (2015)
FR RHP Zach Cook (2016)
FR LHP Matt Crohan (2016)

2014 MLB Draft (And Beyond) – Big East Follow List

One of the few questions I occasionally get asked is often the simple “I’m seeing ______ this weekend. Do they have anybody worth watching?” Here’s your answer for the Big East

Butler

SR OF Marcos Calderon
JR LHP Eric Stout
SR RHP Billy Laing

Creighton

SR OF Mike Gerber
SR OF Brad McKewon
rJR C Kevin Lamb
rSO 1B Reagan Fowler
JR RHP/2B Jake Peter
rSO RHP Tommy Strunc
rJR RHP Max Ising
SR RHP Bryan Sova
SO RHP Taylor Elman (2015)
SO RHP Nick Highberger (2015)
SO RHP Matt Warren (2015)
FR Jeff Albrecht (2016)

Georgetown

JR LHP Matt Hollenbeck
JR RHP Will Brown
rJR RHP Jack Vander Linden
JR 2B Ryan Busch
SR 1B Steve Anderson
SO C Nick Collins (2015)
SO RHP Tim Davis (2015)
FR David Ellingson (2016)

St. John’s

rSR RHP James Lomangino
rSO RHP Joey Christopher
JR RHP Chris Kalica
JR RHP Joe Kuzia
SR 3B/1B Kyle Lombardo
JR SS/2B Bret Dennis
JR SS Jarred Mederos
JR 1B Matt Harris
JR OF Zach Lauricella
SO LHP Alex Katz (2015)
SO RHP Ryan McCormick (2015)
SO LHP Matt Clancy (2015)
SO RHP Anthony Rosati (2015)
SO RHP Michael Sheppard (2015)
SO RHP Joey Graziano (2015)
SO 2B Ty Blankmeyer (2015)
FR OF Michael Donadio (2016)

Seton Hall

SR 3B Chris Selden
JR 1B/OF Sal Annunziata
JR OF John Beaubien
JR 3B Kyle Grimm
JR RHP Conor Krauss
JR RHP Jose Lopez
SR RHP Josh Prevost
JR LHP Anthony Elia
SO OF Zack Weigel (2015)

Villanova

rJR RHP Maximo Almonte
rJR RHP Matt Lengel
SR LHP Matt Meurer
JR LHP Josh Harris
SR RHP Chris Haggarty
SR OF/1B Connor Jones
SO OF Luke Emling (2015)
SO RHP Max Beermann (2015)
FR OF Donovan May (2016)
FR LHP Hunter Schryver (2016)

Xavier

JR RHP Jacob Bodner
rSO RHP Adam Hall
rSR RHP Vinny Nittoli
JR LHP Alex Westrick
rSR OF Mitch Elliot
rJR 1B/OF Brian Bruening
SR 2B Selby Chidemo
JR C Derek Hasenbeck
JR 1B/OF Joe Forney
rSR 3B Stephen Schoettmer
rFR 3B Andre Jernigan (2015)

GO/AO 2014

Long-time readers of the site may remember I’ve done a good bit of box score sleuthing over the years to determine ground ball/fly ball ratios for the draft’s top pitching prospects.

I’ll open it up to the wisdom of our crowd to name any interesting pitchers worth tracking. I’m going off my own personal board for now (spoiler alert!), so that means I’m currently following Jeff Hoffman, Carlos Rodon, Tyler Beede, Chris Ellis, Luke Weaver, and Erik Fedde. It probably comes as no surprise, but Weaver (he of the popular Tim Hudson comp) is the early front runner for highest GB% — I suppose that should be the title of the post rather than GO/AO, but old habits die hard — with Tyler Beede bringing up the rear. Sample sizes are obviously still quite small, but fun to track all the same.

I don’t mind going up to ten guys this season, so there are still up to four free spots on my list. I’d like to avoid relievers if at all possible — Michael Cederoth would be next on my list, but I’m not patient enough to go through every game of his — and I tend to prefer righthanders, but I’m flexible. Really long-time readers of the site remember that I originally tried to track literally hundreds of pitchers…man, what began as a fun way to get a little extra data out there spiraled way out of control in a hurry. I mean, I enjoy looking through the box scores and inputting data, but not when the scope of the task made it feel like a part-time job. Now that I’m older and, depending on your view, either wiser or lazier, I’ll stick with a manageable number that allows me to still get excited when doing the weekly update.

2014 MLB Draft (And Beyond) – Big 10 Follow List

One of the few questions I occasionally get asked is often the simple “I’m seeing ______ this weekend. Do they have anybody worth watching?” Here’s your answer for the Big 10…

Illinois

JR RHP John Kravetz
SR RHP Ronnie Muck
rJR RHP Drasen Johnson
JR RHP/1B Josh Ferry
rJR RHP/2B Reid Roper
JR SS David Kerian
JR INF Michael Hurwitz
rJR C Kelly Norris-Jones
SO C Jason Goldstein (2015)
SO LHP JD Nielsen (2015)
SO RHP Ryan Castellanos (2015)
SO SS Adam Walton (2015)
SO OF/1B Ryan Nagle (2015)
SO LHP Kevin Duchene (2015)
SO LHP Tyler Jay (2015)
SO RHP Nick Blackburn (2015)
FR RHP Cody Sedlock (2016)

Indiana

JR 1B/C Kyle Schwarber
SR 3B/SS Dustin DeMuth
JR 1B/3B Sam Travis
rJR OF Scott Donley
JR 2B/OF Casey Rodrigue
JR C Brian Hartong
rJR OF Will Nolden
JR OF Chris Sujka
rSR OF Casey Smith
JR 2B/C Chad Clark
SR RHP Ryan Halstead
SR LHP Joey DeNato
SR LHP Brian Korte
JR LHP Kyle Hart
SO LHP Will Coursen-Carr (2015)
SO RHP Christian Morris (2015)
rFR RHP Kent Williams (2015)
SO 2B/SS Nick Ramos (2015)
SO LHP Scott Effross (2015)
SO LHP Sully Stadler (2015)
rFR RHP Jake Kelzer (2015)
FR SS Austin Cangelosi (2016)

Iowa

JR LHP Sasha Kuebel
JR RHP Nick Hibbing
JR LHP Andrew Hedrick
JR LHP/OF Taylor Kaufman
JR OF/2B Eric Toole
SR 1B/C Trevor Kenyon
SO RHP/C Blake Hickman (2015)
SO RHP Calvin Mathews (2015)
SO SS/RHP Josh Martsching (2015)

Michigan

SR C Cole Martin
JR C/OF Kevin White
JR OF Jackson Glines
JR OF Zach Zott
JR LHP Kyle Jusick
SR RHP/1B Alex Lakatos
rSR LHP Logan McAnallen
JR LHP Trent Szkutnik
JR RHP Matthew Ogden
JR RHP James Bourque
SO LHP Evan Hill (2015)
SO 3B/RHP Jacob Cronenworth (2015)
SO SS/3B Travis Maezes (2015)
FR RHP/INF Jackson Lamb (2016)
FR OF Johnny Slater (2016)
FR INF Ramsey Romano (2016)
FR RHP/SS Hector Gutierrez (2016)

Michigan State

JR OF/C Jimmy Pickens
JR 1B Ryan Krill
SR C/1B Joel Fisher
rSR C/OF John Martinez
rJR SS Ryan Richardson
JR C/1B Blaise Salter
JR OF Anthony Cheky
rJR LHP/OF Jeff Kinley
rSR RHP Michael Theodore
JR RHP Mick VanVossen
SO 3B/SS Justin Hovis (2015)
SO LHP Anthony Misiewicz (2015)
SO OF Cameron Gibson (2015)
rFR LHP Cameron Vieaux (2015)
SO RHP Justin Alleman (2015)
rFR INF Alex Rapanos (2015)
FR Jake Lowery (2016)
FR Walter Borkovich (2016)

Minnesota

SR 1B Alex LaShomb
rSR 1B/OF Dan Olinger
rJR 1B/2B Kyle Crocker
SR C Matt Halloran
SR OF Bobby Juan
rJR SS Michael Handel
JR OF Jake Bergren
rSO LHP Jordan Jess
rSO RHP Lance Thonvold
JR RHP Ben Meyer
SR RHP Alec Crawford
JR RHP Ty McDevitt
SO SS/2B Connor Schaefbauer (2015)
SO OF Dan Motl (2015)
SO LHP Dalton Sawyer (2015)
FR RHP/1B Tyler Hansen (2016)
FR RHP/INF Matt Fiedler (2016)
FR RHP Toby Anderson (2016)
FR RHP Cody Campbell (2016)

Nebraska

JR 2B/SS Pat Kelly
SR OF Mike Pritchard
JR OF Austin Darby
JR SS Steven Reveles
JR C Tanner Lubach
SR C Corey Stringer
JR INF Blake Headley
rSO LHP/1B Austin Christensen
rSR RHP Robert Greco
JR LHP Aaron Bummer
JR LHP Kyle Kubat
JR RHP Chance Sinclair
SR LHP Tyler King
SR LHP Zach Hirsch
SR RHP Christian Deleon
JR RHP Josh Roeder
SR RHP Luke Bublitz
SO SS Jake Placzek (2015)
FR OF Ryan Boldt (2016)
FR LHP Max Knutson (2016)
FR RHP Derek Burkamper (2016)
FR LHP Grant Gamble (2016)
FR LHP Ben Miller (2016)

Northwestern

JR 3B Reid Hunter
SR 2B/RHP Kyle Ruchim
SR RHP/OF Jack Quigley
SR LHP Dan Tyson
SR RHP Ethan Bramschreiber
JR RHP Brandon Magallones
SO 3B/OF Jake Schieber (2015)
SO LHP Matt Portland (2015)
SO LHP Reed Mason (2015)
FR OF Joe Hoscheit (2016)

Ohio State

SR RHP Greg Greve
JR LHP Ryan Riga
rJR RHP/1B Josh Dezse
JR RHP Trace Dempsey
SO 1B/OF Zach Ratcliff
SR OF Tim Wetzel
JR C Aaron Gretz
JR C Connor Sabanosh
rSO INF Ryan Leffel
JR OF Patrick Porter
SO 3B/1B Jake Bosiokovic (2015)
SO RHP Jake Post (2015)
SO SS/2B Troy Kuhn (2015)
SO 3B Craig Nennig (2015)
FR OF Troy Montgomery (2016)
FR Zach Farmer (2016)

Penn State

SR LHP Greg Welsh
rJR RHP TJ Jann
rSR OF Steve Snyder
SR C Alex Farkes
rSO OF Greg Guers
SO OF James Coates (2015)
FR INF Jake Pribanic (2016)

Purdue

rSO RHP Connor Podkul
SO LHP Jordan Minch
JR RHP Brett Haan
rSO LHP/OF Kyle Wood
SR C/OF Sean McHugh
SO OF/RHP Kyle Johnson (2015)
SO C/OF Jack Pichiotti (2015)