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2014 MLB Draft (And Beyond) – Atlantic Sun Follow List

Much like the Atlantic 10, I already covered the Atlantic Sun in detail a few weeks ago. Read that, read this, read both, read neither…the choice is entirely yours! I really want to get a few different things published this week, but can’t promise a ton of activity due to what looks like a busy work week. We’ll see.

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 Atlantic Sun…

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
SO OF Jeremy Taylor (2015)
SO RHP Griffin Krieg (2015)
SO LHP Josh Jacques (2015)
FR 3B/RHP Chris Cook (2016)
FR C Gage Downey (2016)

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
rFR RHP Brad Labozzetta (2015)
SO RHP Michael Murray (2015)
SO INF Nick Rivera (2015)
SO INF Tyler Selesky (2015)
FR 2B Jake Noll (2016)

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
SO 1B/OF Conor Marabell (2015)
SO OF Michael Babb (2015)
SO OF Dylan Dillard (2015)
SO LHP/OF Josh Baker (2015)
FR 2B Khalil Searcy (2016)

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
SO RHP Jordan Hillyer (2015)
SO OF Alex Liquori (2015)
SO RHP Kendall Hawkins (2015)
SO SS Kal Simmons (2015)
SO RHP Travis Bergen (2015)
FR SS Cornell Nixon (2016)
FR Chris Erwin (2016)

Lipscomb

JR 1B/RHP 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
rFR RHP Dalton Curtis (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
FR SS Matt Meeder (2016)

North Florida

JR 3B Trent Higginbothem
rJR OF Alex Bacon
SR 1B/C Ryan Roberson
JR OF/RHP Drew Weeks
SR RHP David Trexler
SR RHP Tyler Moore
SO RHP Corbin Olmstead (2015)
SO OF Donnie Dewees (2015)
SO 2B/SS Kyle Brooks (2015)
rFR SS Patrick Ervin (2015)
FR RHP Bryan Baker (2016)
FR C Alex Merritt (2016)

Northern Kentucky

SR LHP Matt Jefferson
JR LHP Cody Cooper

South Carolina Upstate

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

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
SO 1B/C Pat Mazeika (2015)
SO RHP Josh Thorne (2015)
SO INF/RHP Kevin Fagan (2015)
SO LHP Adam Schaly (2015)
FR RHP Taylor Cockrell (2016)

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

I’m a day behind schedule on this one, but for good reason: had a chance to catch my first live baseball of the “spring” yesterday. I’ve got something in the works there, so I can’t reveal too much on the actual site, but I did get permission to be vague…so let’s say I was very lucky to see one of this draft’s best prospects go up against my pick for college baseball’s best lineup. What a MYSTERY…

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 Atlantic 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
SO RHP Charlie Dant (2015)

Fordham

SR RHP/OF Tim Swatek
SR 1B Brendan Maghini
SO C Charles Galiano (2015)
SO RHP Brett Kennedy (2015)
SO RHP Cody Johnson (2015)
SO RHP Jimmy Murphy (2015)
SO RHP Joseph Serrapica (2015)

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
SO RHP Bobby LeWarne (2015)

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
JR OF Luke Willis
SR C Tucker Tobin
SO 2B/SS Brandon Gum (2015)
SO RHP Tyler Mocabee (2015)
SO RHP Mark Maksimow (2015)

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
SO 1B/RHP Joey Ravert (2015)

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

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
SO LHP Steve Moyers (2015)
FR OF Daniel Hetzel (2016)
FR C/3B Martin Tavares (2016)
FR 3B/1B Chris Hess (2016)

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
rFR 1B Matt Dacey (2015)
SO OF Tanner Stanley (2015)
SO RHP Peter Bayer (2015)

St. Bonaventure

SR RHP/1B Joel Rosencrance
SR RHP Asa Johnson
SO RHP Steven Klimek (2015)

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
SO LHP Jack Stover (2015)

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
SO 3B Braxton Martinez (2015)
SO C Jake Henson (2015)
SO LHP Josh Moore (2015)
SO OF Michael Bozarth (2015)
SO RHP Matt Eckelman (2015)
FR RHP Nick Vichio (2016)

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

Rodon, Hoffman, and 2014 MLB Draft College Pitching

Over the past few days I’ve sorted and ranked the top 72 college pitchers (coming soon!) in this year’s class. Lots to like. More on this to come, obviously, but a few stray thoughts to help up the conference follow list parade…

*** We’re not quite at the point where we need to choose sides in the Carlos Rodon vs Jeff Hoffman “debate,” but I think we’re squarely in the midst of a compelling discussion of whether or not Rodon really is the real deal destroyer of worlds best in show 2014 MLB Draft prospect that some have made him out to be. The whole thing fascinates me, as much for the players involved as the rhetoric already being thrown out by each side. You can’t just say “well, both are really, really good and even though I slightly prefer this guy to the other, I think we’ll have to continually reassess throughout the spring before coming to a reasoned, informed final decision in June.” That’s not BOLD! That’s not click-worthy! I’m not sure the MLB Draft is mainstream enough just yet for #HotSportsTakes, but we’ll see.

In fairness, even I’m guilty of doing a little #HotSportsTakin’ with that “destroyer of worlds” bit: nobody is saying that, but there are people saying that others are saying it, if you follow me. Strawmen arguments never get old, and I love passionately arguing against things that nobody in their right mind would ever claim in real life. Rodon is an elite prospect, no question, but there are enough questions surrounding him – overreliance on slider, inconsistent velocity, changeup I could take or leave – that the door is undoubtedly open for another worthy candidate to make a case for going 1-1. Rodon is still the odds-on favorite, but count me in as one of the growing number of draft obsessives who prefer Jeff Hoffman. Found an email from December from me to a pal in baseball where I wrote about my dream scenario for the Phillies first round pick (7th overall):

Anyway, I want RHP Jeff Hoffman from East Carolina. He’s my current perfect world pick. Mid-90s heat, serious FB movement, above-average FB command, knockout CB that he spots wherever and whenever, circle-CU that tumbles like a split, lots of projection left in his frame (6-4, 185 pounds), solid or better results his first two college years, breakout summer on the Cape…yeah, he’s my guy. Instantly the top prospect in the system when he signs and should be a quick riser through the system.

Ground ball outs and ugly swings are Jeff Hoffman’s game. I just love everything about his fastball – velocity, command, movement, everything – and his athleticism is second to none. My ideal pitching prospect checks these boxes: ability to work off the fastball, athleticism, changeup as your second best pitch (this one doesn’t fit Hoffman as his best secondary offering is the CB, but his CU is good enough that I won’t hold it against him), extension and deception in a repeatable delivery (no matter how weird it looks), stuff that can still induce ground ball outs even on “off days,” and, finally, bonus points for a degree of physical projection left in the tank. Both Rodon and Hoffman are really, really good. Even though I slightly prefer Hoffman to Rodon, I think we’ll have to continually…yeah, you get the point. Hoffman is my 1A and Rodon is 1B. For now.

*** Over 150 innings into his college career and I still have no idea what to make of Michael Cederoth. Elite stuff, questionable command, and a delivery that remains as inconsistent as ever. I want to love him – like, top ten pick love him – but there are too many college arms with comparable ceilings and much higher floors out there. Cederoth might be the hardest guy to rank out of the college class at this point.

*** Two pitchers have fascinated me enough throughout this process that I’ve spent a lot of time studying up, reading whatever I can, and talking to smarter people than myself about sensible comps I could share. TCU JR LHP Brandon Finnegan gets a popular Scott Kazmir comp (from everybody) that makes sense. LSU JR RHP Aaron Nola has gotten a Jake Peavy comp (forget the source, kicking myself over it). Both good ones, but I think I have better ones. Finnegan, as a draft prospect more so than a pitcher, reminds me a lot of a lefthanded Sonny Gray. Gray was 7th on my pre-draft list, but fell to the 18th overall pick to a very grateful Oakland. I’d say 18 might be his current draft ceiling, but snagging an arm like him any later than that could be a major steal. I had a few idea for Nola (in terms of ceiling) bouncing around my head (Kyle Lohse? Brad Radke), but, after far too much time considering such a thing, I’m happiest with this one: Kris Medlen.

*** One of the fun questions we’ll see answered this June is the age old “how high can we take a reliever?” question that confounds scouting staffs on a yearly basis. First round seems too high to me, no matter the reliever, but the cost-certainty of an elite late-inning reliever for six years is pretty tempting any point after that. Nick Burdi is this year’s guinea pig.

*** What in the world do we do with a pair of fourth-year pitchers, RHP Karsten Whitson and RHP AJ Vanegas? Whitson is ahead at this point, but Vanegas can close the gap quickly if he figures it out. Not exactly a #HotDraftTake, but true. Both are the closest thing we have to honest to goodness draft wild cards at this point, and it would be no surprise at all if they remain enigmas four months from now. Making decisions like what to do with guys like that are where scouting directors earn their cash.

*** A few guys I think I like more than most: Arizona JR RHP Matthew Troupe (love that CU), Oregon State JR LHP Jace Fry (if 100% again, watch out), Louisiana-Lafayette JR RHP Austin Robichaux (three good pitches and a frame to dream on), Fresno State JR RHP Derick Valazquez (in the running for best FB in class), and Portland JR LHP Travis Radke (superb combination of stuff and smarts). There are dozens more, but we’ll leave it at those names for now.

*** Consider this a corollary to the previous item. As always, I try to champion guys from outside the power conferences who stand out. I’m trying to leave out “big” names so if an obvious guy is missing that’s probably why. My guys to watch here: Wichita State JR RHP AJ Ladwig, UNC Greensboro JR RHP Max Povse, and Western Illinois JR RHP Tyler Willman.

*** Finally, because I’m always in search of the next Braden Shipley, I have to point out two of my favorite pitchers ready to take off after spending time as position players. Speaking of Shipley, exactly one year ago today this was me:

Braden Shipley is going to rank very, very high up on my overall ranking of college pitchers (coming soon!). If I was better at searching this site, I’d look up every pitcher that I’ve described as my “ideal” pitching prospect or a pitcher “invented in a lab” to suit my needs or whatever other dumb phrase I’ve used to describe my idea of a “perfect” pitching prospect. Shipley rings every bell: easy velocity (92-95 as starter, has hit upwards of 97 in short bursts), low-80s change with above-average upside, solid upper-70s curve, good athleticism, improved command, good glove, effective pickoff move, sturdy frame with room to build on (6-3, 180 pounds), and experience as a hitter (.265/.351/.346 in 136 AB in 2011). I think he’s likely one of those guys I like a lot more than professional talent evaluators, but that’s alright: he may not be a first round, household name come June, but I still think he’s a future big leaguer.

My misses are all public, so I don’t mind occasionally pointing out the rare guy I was out ahead on before the crowd. Revisionist history makes this seem less bold now than it did then, but that’s the way these things work. Anyway, my two favorite players that fit the archetype: Southern Mississippi JR RHP/3B Brad Roney and Arizona JR RHP/SS Tyler Parmenter. Roney is the more famous of the two, thanks to an accomplished high school career and legit draftable tools as a position player. Parmenter is far more below the draft radar, but the former no-hit, plus-plus arm shortstop has mid-90s heat and the potential for two plus offspeed pitches. Arm strength, athleticism, fresh arm…I like.

2014 MLB Draft (And Beyond) – America 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 AAC…

I pretty much did this one already — and in more detail, too! — but in case you missed that one (or are too lazy to click that link) here’s another shot at it…

Albany

rSR 2B Brian Bullard
rSR C/INF/OF Josh Nethaway
SR C/INF/OF DJ Hoagboon
JR 3B Joey Tracy
JR SS Jeff VonMoser
JR OF Cory Kingston
rJR RHP Stephen Carey
JR RHP Cameron Sorgie
SR LHP Kevin Archbold
SO RHP Ryan Stinar (2015)
FR RHP Stephen Woods (2016)

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
SO RHP/OF Mike Bunal (2015)
SO RHP Jake Cryts (2015)

Hartford

JR LHP Sean Newcomb
JR LHP Austin Barnes
SR RHP Alex Gouin
rJR LHP/DH Ryan Lukach
SR RHP/1B Brian Hunter
SR C James Alfonso
SO 2B/SS Aaron Wilson (2015)
SO OF Chris DelDebbio (2015)
SO C/1B Billy Walker (2015)
SO RHP Sam McKay (2015)
SO RHP Brian Murphy (2015)
SO RHP Kyle Gauthier (2015)
FR RHP David Drouin (2016)
FR David MacKinnon (2016)

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
SO Logan Fullmer (2015)
SO RHP Jake Marks (2015)

Stony Brook

JR SS Cole Peragine
JR C/OF Kevin Krause
SR OF/RHP Josh Mason
SR 1B/LHP Kevin Courtney
SR RHP Brandon McNitt
SO LHP Daniel Zamora
rSO RHP Nick Brass
SO 3B Johnny Caputo (2015)
SO SS Austin Shives (2015)
SO INF Jack Parenty (2015)
SO RHP Tim Knesnik (2015)
SO RHP Chad Lee (2015)
SO LHP Tyler Honahan (2015)
FR RHP Ryley MacEachern (2016)
FR OF Josh Palacios (2016)
FR C/1B Kyle Devin (2016)
FR OF Toby Handley (2016)

Massachusetts – Lowell

JR OF Geoff DeGroot
SR RHP Shane Beauchemin

UMBC

SR OF/C Rob McCabe
JR OF/RHP Anthony Gatto
rSO 3B Mark Esposito
SO INF Kevin Lachance (2015)
SO RHP Mike Gomez (2015)
SO C Manny Colon (2015)

2014 MLB Draft (And Beyond) – AAC 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 AAC…

Central Florida

JR LHP Eric Skoglund
rJR RHP Spencer Davis
rSO RHP Ryan Meyer
JR RHP Tanner Olson
JR 1B/OF James Vasquez
JR OF Derrick Salberg
JR SS/3B Tommy Williams
JR OF/LHP JoMarcos Woods
JR 2B/RHP Dylan Moore
JR OF Erik Barber
SO RHP Zac Favre (2015)
SO RHP Tyler Martin (2015)
FR LHP Vinnie Rosace (2016)
FR OF Eugene Vazquez (2016)
FR OF Dalton Duty (2016)
FR 3B/SS Kam Gellinger (2016)

Cincinnati

rSO OF Will Drake
rSO OF Taylor Schmidt
SR OF/1B Justin Glass
SR OF/3B Matt Williams
rJR OF Ethan McAlpine
SR INF Ryan Quinn
rSR RHP Christian McElroy
rJR RHP Matt Ring
rSO RHP Bryan Chenoweth
JR RHP Grant Walker
rSO RHP Connor Walsh
SO OF/2B Ian Happ (2015)
SO RHP Mitch Patishall (2015)
SO INF Devin Wenzel (2015)
SO INF Forrest Perron (2015)
SO 1B Jeff Murray (2015)
SO C Woody Wallace (2015)
FR RHP Andrew Zellner (2016)

Connecticut

SR SS Tom Verdi
JR OF Eric Yavarone
JR OF Jon Testani
JR C Connor David
SR LHP Anthony Marzi
rJR LHP David Mahoney
rJR RHP Carson Cross
SR LHP Brian Ward
rJR RHP Jordan Tabakman
SO OF Jack Sundberg (2015)
SO LHP Christian Colletti (2015)
SO 3B Vin Siena (2015)
SO INF Brian Daniello (2015)
SO C Max McDowell (2015)
SO 1B Bobby Melley (2015)
FR RHP Andrew Zapata (2016)
FR 3B/1B Ryan Sullivan (2016)
FR LHP Anthony Kay (2016)
FR SS/2B Aaron Hill (2016)
FR Ryan Radue (2016)

Houston

SR 2B Frankie Ratcliff
SR OF/C Landon Appling
rSR 1B Casey Grayson
rSO OF Ashford Fulmer
SR RHP Chase Wellbrock
JR OF Michael Pyeatt
JR RHP Aaron Garza
SO LHP Jared West
JR RHP Ryan Vruggink
SO RHP Jacob Lemoine (2015)
SO 2B Josh Vidales (2015)
SO 3B/1B Justin Montemayor (2015)
SO OF Kyle Survance (2015)
FR RHP Andrew Lantrip (2016)

Louisville

JR RHP Nick Burdi
JR RHP Jared Ruxer
JR LHP Joey Filomeno
rJR LHP Kyle McGrath
SR OF/LHP Cole Sturgeon
JR OF Michael White
JR SS/2B Sutton Whiting
JR SS/2B Zach Lucas
JR 2B Grant Kay
SR C Shane Crain
SR C Kyle Gibson
SR 1B/OF Jeff Gardner
SR SS/3B Alex Chittenden
SO 1B/3B Dan Rosenbaum (2015)
SO 1B/RHP Anthony Kidston (2015)
SO RHP Kyle Funkhouser (2015)
FR RHP Zack Burdi (2016)
FR OF Corey Ray (2016)
FR LHP Drew Harrington (2016)
FR RHP Jake Sparger (2016)
FR LHP Josh Rogers (2016)
FR RHP Ryan Lauria (2016)
FR OF Colin Lyman (2016)
FR RHP Mason Richardson (2016)
FR INF Matt Rowland (2016)
FR INF Nick Solak (2016)
FR Will Smith (2016)

Memphis

SR RHP Conner Porter
JR RHP Dylan Toscano
rSO RHP Craig Caufield
SR RHP Jon Reed
SR LHP Alex Gunn
rSO LHP/OF Jacob Moody
SR OF Ford Wilson
SR INF Zach Willis
rSR INF/RHP Drew Griffin
JR C/1B Carter White
SR SS Ethan Gross
JR OF/3B Tucker Tubbs
JR SS Jake Overbey
JR C Keaton Aldridge
JR 2B/RHP Bryce Beeler
SO 1B/OF Jake Little (2015)
SO LHP Colin Lee (2015)
FR RHP Trevor Sutton (2016)
FR OF Darien Tubbs (2016)

Rutgers

SR SS/2B Nick Favatella
SR OF Brian O’Grady
JR OF Vinny Zarrillo
JR RHP Jon Young
SO LHP Howie Brey (2015)
FR RHP Sean Kelly (2016)

Temple

SR RHP Matt Hockenberry
rSR RHP Ryan Kuehn
JR SS Nick Lustrino
SR Derek Peterson
SR Preston Hill
SO OF Frank D’Agostino (2015)

South Florida

rSO OF Buddy Putnam
JR OF Austin Lueck
JR 2B/SS Kyle Teaf
JR C Blake Sydeski
SO C/3B Levi Borders
JR OF Jordan Strittmatter
rSO SS/2B Nik Alfonso
SR LHP Nick Gonzalez
rJR RHP/OF Casey Mulholland
SR LHP Lawrence Pardo
SR LHP Nolan Thomas
SO RHP Jimmy Herget (2015)
rFR RHP Tommy Peterson (2015)
FR OF Luke Borders (2016)

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)

“The Others” – Non-D1 Position Player 2014 MLB Draft Follow List

Let’s preface this by saying that this is a world I’m not nearly as familiar with as the comfort zone that is D1 baseball. I’m trying to branch out, I’m trying to be fair to all prospects, and I’m trying to learn. If there are any glaring omissions (or minor ones, I’ll take anything), please don’t hesitate to let me know. I tried to include as many non-D1 position players as possible. Players are organized by position. Each position grouped is very tentatively ranked. I normally throw these guys in with all the D1 players, but I’m keeping it separate for now until I get a better feel for the talent level in this year’s class.

As for the week(s) ahead, I’m planning on releasing my complete set of D1 follow lists (by conference) for the first time ever. Just names (for now), but notes and stats are all ready to go in the next few weeks after that. I’ll also be sprinkling in the position follow lists (ranked) for all college hitters. Then I’ll turn the focus to college arms before doing a deeper dive into the HS ranks. Should be fun.

C

Chipola JC SO C Ian Rice
Eastern Oklahoma State JC SO C Daniel Salters
Polk State JC SO C Casey Schroeder
Palomar CC C Francis Christy
Broward JC FR C Ronnie Healy
Grayson County JC rSO C Jean Ramirez
Orange Coast CC SO C Collin Yelich
Canada JC SO C Justin Gubser
Miami-Dade JC rSO C Mario Amaral
Montevallo SR C Jackson Slaid
Cowley County JC SO C Gage Grant
Point Loma JR C Anthony Torres
Miami-Dade JC SO C Kevin Stypulkowski
Valdosta State JR C Bryant Hayman

Rice’s defense is still a little rough around the edges, but he’s both smart and a hard worker so I’m optimistic he’ll figure it out. Offensively he looks like a keeper thanks to a patient approach and legit raw power. Daniel Salters has the plus arm/plus raw power thing down, and his sturdy build (6-3, 225) should make him a favorite this spring. Outside of Chris Okey (Clemson), Francis Christy is my highest ranked 2013 HS catcher to attend college. He’s the first to be eligible for redraft, so keep a close on him on this season; if any catcher on the list can challenge Rice for the top spot, it’s him. Ronnie Healy fell a little further down that same 2013 HS catcher list, but he’s still well worth watching as he attempts to crack into pro ball this summer. Christy and Healy’s scouting blurbs from last summer are below:

9. C/3B Francis Christy (Casa Grande HS, California): above-average arm strength; good agility; decent speed; good athlete; big power upside, above-average to plus raw; still raw behind the plate, but getting better; 6-1, 200 pounds

23. C/RHP Ronnie Healy (Jupiter HS/Elev8 Institute, Florida): interesting bat; big power upside; advanced approach; questionable defense; plus arm strength; 92-94 FB

SEC transfers like Casey Schroeder (Kentucky), Jean Ramirez (Arkansas), Jackson Slaid (LSU), and Stypulkowski (Florida) bear monitoring, as do Collin Yelich (UNLV) and Anthony Torres (Iowa).

1B

Northwest Missouri State SO 1B Steve Garber
Indian River State JC rFR 1B Ryan Ripkin
Azusa Pacific JR 1B Jordan Brower
Tennessee Wesleyan SR 1B Tim Kiene
Central Arizona JC FR 1B Manny Ramirez
North Alabama JR 1B/3B Dylan Boston
Angelo State JR 1B Blake Bass
Gulf Coast State JC SO 1B Ryan Koziol
Grand Valley State SR 1B Giancarlo Brugnani
Cal State Monterey Bat JR 1B/OF Kevin Davidson
Chico State JR 1B/OF Danny Miller
Felician rSO 1B Scott DeJong
Tampa SR 1B/OF Mike Danner
Newberry College SR 1B Ryan Cranmer

Steve Garber takes the top spot because of that magical phrase I’ve heard from multiple people close to him: “approach beyond his years.” If his power takes off as expected – my notes claim “power should come,” so we’ll see – then he’ll fly up first base rankings around the web in no time. Ryan Ripkin and Manny Ramirez are both more than famous names as each young man is a deserving draft prospect on merit. I actually touched on this on Ripkin’s HS report from 2012, as you can read below. I’ve long lumped both Tim Kiene (Maryland transfer) and Giancarlo Brugnani together in my mind. It’s now or never for the duo, time to finally see which player will come out ahead on draft day. Ryan Koziol needs to add some weight to his 6-3 frame to get the most out of his intriguing power upside. That’s actually one thing I noticed when going through this list: there are some big boys duking it out for top billing outside of D-1 ball. My quick math gave me an average of 6-4, 220 for the top ten players on this list. That ain’t small.

52. 1B Ryan Ripkin (Gilman HS, Maryland): outstanding defender; strong arm; holds hands way back in swing setup allowing him to spray line drives all over the field after letting balls get in deep; was able to catch him in action this past year and came away much more impressed than I had expected going in – he’s much more than Cal’s son and anybody claiming he’s only a well-known draft prospect because of his day is doing him a disservice; like I said about Trevor Gretzky last year, I think Ryan Ripkin would be considered a better prospect by many if is name was Ryan Smith; 6-5, 200 pounds

2B

Florida Southern JR 2B/OF Keith Curcio
Georgia Gwinnett SR 2B/3B Zach Alvord
Contra Costa JC rFR 2B JR Davis
Tampa JR 2B/OF Orlando Rivera
Lewis-Clark State JR 2B/SS Joe Mello
Indiana (PA) JR 2B/SS Dylan Tice
Freed-Hardeman SR 2B Robert Prieto
California (PA) SR 2B/SS Matt Peters
Itawaba CC rFR 2B/SS Luke Gibbs
LSU-Eunice JC SO 2B Stefan Trosclair
Palomar FR 2B/SS Chris Stratton
Azusa Pacific JR 2B Blake James

It is far easier to get seduced by a pretty lefthanded swing than we’d all like to admit, but I’m willing to take that chance on Keith Curcio and his pretty as a picture lefty stroke. It also doesn’t hurt that he is coming off a great 2013 season and is already off to a blistering start in 2014. I’ve been accused of pumping up non-D1 prospects in the past, but I really, really like the well-rounded skill set Curcio provides. I feel like this is my Phillies prospect bias – not necessarily in terms of favoritism, but knowledge – coming out, but his game reminds me a little bit of Cesar Hernandez: above-average speed/defense/approach, limited arm, playable in CF, tools play up. I think he has a little more pop than Hernandez, but otherwise it’s not terribly out of line. Zach Alvord, formerly of Auburn and Tampa, is still well-regarded by many, but don’t sleep on JR Davis, a redshirt freshman ready to make his mark.

SS

Thomas rSO SS/OF Tyler Palmer
St. Mary’s (TX) JR SS Drake Roberts
Orange Coast CC SS Cody Nulph
Temple JC rFR SS/2B Cory Raley
Angelo State SR SS Christian Summers
Cowley County JC SO SS Kristopher Molter
Iowa Western CC rSO SS/2B Jason McMurray
Francis Marion SR SS/2B Michael Wilson

There are plenty of interesting stories at the shortstop position this year – transfers Drake Roberts (Oklahoma), Cody Nulph (Pepperdine), Cory Raley (Texas A&M*), Christian Summers (Texas), Kristopher Molter (Jacksonville), and Jackson McMurray (Notre Dame) all try to make their respective move up draft boards – but there’s really one story that stands out above the rest in terms of finding that sweet spot that encompasses both human interest and real deal baseball talent. Let’s talk Tyler Palmer.

After wrapping up his high school career, Palmer found himself three days away from signing a pro contract with the Marlins with a signing bonus in the upper-six figures before a freak accident changed his life. In his own words, courtesy of Amateur Baseball Report:

I was at my buddy’s house trying to get through the window because his keys were locked inside.  This was something we did a lot.  I was trying to pop the bottom piece out, and the glass shattered.  My hand went through the window and came down on a sharp piece of glass.  The glass went all the way through my arm, cutting all the muscle, tendons, and nerves in my whole forearm.  My buddy wrapped a shirt around my arm and he drove me to my house which was right down the road.  We hopped in my mom’s car and went to the hospital.  They looked at it and said I needed to go to Savannah.  The surgery in Savannah last a couple hours.  They didn’t do it right so we went home with my arm still open.  I then woke up the next morning and went to Pensacola to see Dr. Andrews (St. Andrews Institute).

He’s back and currently mashing through the first two weeks of the season at Thomas, a NAIA school in Georgia. He hasn’t been tested in the field as of yet (DH only), but it is believed he’s being held back because of his ongoing recovery from thumb surgery and not because of any long-term concerns. I can’t say with absolute confidence that he’ll be able to remain at SS over the long haul (hopefully he’ll get an opportunity to show off his slowly but surely regained arm strength this spring), but he could always settle in at 2B if needed. No matter the eventual landing spot, Palmer isn’t a player I’d bet against. He’s the kind of talented, determined young man any pro team would be lucky to add on draft day.

* I came really close to doing a short bit about the preponderance of Big 12 transfer talent on the list before I caught myself at the last possible second re: Texas A&M and the SEC. Conference realignment gives me a headache.

3B

Cameron JR 3B Codey McElroy
Tennessee Wesleyan JR 3B/OF KJ Hockaday
Cypress College SO 3B/OF Matt Tietz
College of San Mateo rSO 3B/SS Matt Glomb
Grayson County JC SO 3B/RHP Willie Schwanke
Indian River State JC SO 3B/OF George Iskenderian
Valdosta State JR 3B Michael Gouge
Broward JC SO 3B/SS Carlos Garmendia
Olney Central CC SO 3B Troy Paris
St. Thomas Aquinas JR 3B/SS Stanley Susana
San Jacinto JC SO 3B Geonte Jackson
UC San Diego JR 3B Erik Lewis

A case could be made that 3B is the deepest position on this list. Hey, since this is my site then I guess I’m the right guy to make said case, right? Codey McElroy (Texas transfer) has everything you could ask for from a third base prospect on paper: size, physicality, raw power, flashes of defensive upside, athleticism, arm strength, and better than average speed. KJ Hockaday’s tools aren’t on the same level, but he’s put up two years of decent performances in the ACC at Maryland so his present skill level isn’t as big a question mark. Matt Tietz and Matt Glomb have more in common than cool first names: both men earned the FAVORITE designation from me over the offseason. I like Tietz’s defensive upside, athleticism, and approach to hitting, not to mention the fact he held his own in his freshman year at Rutgers. Glomb (Santa Clara transfer) has a greater gap in what he is and what he could be, but he reminded me a bit of personal favorite Logan Forsythe in my looks at him. Willie Schwanke (Arkansas transfer) could top this list in a few months. He’s another guy who held his own as a freshman (in the SEC no less) and showed big league caliber tools and maturity at the plate. Outside of the top five, I’m curious to see what fellow SEC transfers George Iskenderian (South Carolina) and Geonte Jackson (LSU) can do with consistent playing time.

OF

CC Southern Nevada SO OF/1B Grant Heyman
Polk State JC SO OF Daniel Sweet
CC Western Nevada SO OF/RHP Conor Harber
Central Arizona JC rSO OF Spencer O’Neil
Concordia JR OF Blake Drake
South Carolina-Aiken JR OF/2B TJ Costen
Mt. Olive rJR OF Jay Gonzalez
Winston-Salem State JR OF Leland Clemmons
State College of Florida-Manatee rSO OF Cory Reid
South Carolina-Aiken JR OF Matt Bosse
Bellarmine JR OF Austin Crutcher
Central Missouri JR OF Trevor Jones
Kutztown JR OF Brandon Martinez
Broward JC SO OF Sly Edwards
Azusa Pacific SR OF Joseph Daris
Jefferson CC SO OF Ryan Rippee
Tallahassee CC SO OF Christian Dicks
Amherst JR OF Michael Odenwaelder
Shippensburg SR OF/RHP Patrick Kregeloh
Bluefield SR OF Chris Rosa
Cal State East Bay JR OF Kelly Starnes
Northeast Oklahoma JC SO OF Ramon Laureano
Orange Coast CC SO OF Tommy Bell
Texas Wesleyan JR OF Jake Howeth
Northwestern Iowa JR OF Mitch Peschon
CC Southern Nevada rFR OF James Young
Cal Poly Ponoma rJR OF/RHP David Armendariz
Campbellsville JR OF/1B Jacob Russell
East Los Angeles CC FR OF Kevin Amezquita
West Virginia Tech JR OF Hugo Rodriguez
Temple JC SO OF Blake Kopetsky
Hendrix SR OF Collin Radack
Shippensburg SR OF Michael Douglas
Catawba SR OF Keaton Hawks
Azusa Pacific SR OF Matt Kimmel
Massachusetts-Boston JR OF Jamill Moquette
Northeastern State SR OF/1B Cody Robinson

If 3B isn’t the top position here, it’s definitely OF. I don’t like comparing OF to the infield spots since the talent pool is that much larger, so let’s just call it a tie and move on. Top of this list has some potential impact names to know for June. The top two outfielders above both got easy FAVORITE designations from me early on. I have an unhealthy appreciation for what Grant Heyman does on the diamond. I think the former Hurricane gets unfairly pigeonholed as a raw, former football star still trying to find his way with the bat and ball sport. He’s way more advanced than given credit for, he knows how to hit, and his physical tools are off the charts. Again, I’ve been guilty of overrating this type of profile in years past, but Heyman is one to believe in. Daniel Sweet is an industry favorite for good reason: he runs well, flashes power, covers tons of ground in center, and shows ample promise as a hitter. Easy to dream on Sweet’s upside as a Andrew Toles style prospect with the chance to get himself drafted in a similar range (3-5 round). Fun fact that is almost certainly only fun to me: Daniel Sweet is but one of three “sweet” names in my database. He is joined by SR Zach Sweet (Florida International) and FR Trae Sweeting (Georgia State). The more you know.

If Spencer O’Neil can clean up his approach, he could move up boards quickly. Blake Drake’s name rhymes, so that’s awesome. He’s also got three big league tools (arm, speed, defense), so that’s pretty cool too. The only thing that will keep Conor Harber from being drafted up high as a hitter will be his right arm, an appendage capable of regularly whipping mid-90s heat towards the batter’s box. Seventh year junior (or so it feels) Jay Gonzalez is off to a slow start at Mt. Olive, but should hit enough to get noticed (or re-noticed, if such a word existed) this June.

Last Monday Before First Pitch Friday

First Pitch Friday has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? That should be a thing. BA and PG should get on that.

While they do that I’ll start the week with 111 words of whining. Skip down past the first set of stars if you don’t want to hear me bitching about something only ten or so people (give or take) in the entire world care about. Here we go…

Today is Monday. As of late Sunday night, the following teams still did not have 2014 rosters posted on their official websites:

Mississippi State
Oregon
UC Davis
South Alabama
Samford
Alcorn State
Prairie View A&M
Central Connecticut State
North Carolina Central
Savannah State
Come on, guys! Get with the program here. I only found one recent team’s roster by changing the standard roster page to a headshot view and then manually manipulating the URL to update the year. Not sure if that means the roster wasn’t ready to go live or what, but, man, why make things so difficult for somebody who just wants to know who will be on your team?
*****
Every year I lose track of players that remain draft-eligible yet no longer show up on their respective university’s roster. Players listed below are lined up with their last known school and their 2013 season class designation. I know it’s a long shot, but does anybody out there know where any of these players wound up?

Pittsburgh SO RHP Tanner Wilt
Alabama FR RHP Keaton Haack (Pitt CC)
Mississippi rFR 2B/SS Luke Gibbs (Itawaba CC)
Auburn FR RHP Matt Schultz (Wabash Valley CC)
Iowa SO C Anthony Torres (Point Loma)
Gonzaga SO RHP Kevin Moriarty (no longer active)
Texas-Arlington SO RHP Jordan Pacheco
Albany JR 2B/SS Gordon Madej
Stony Brook FR INF Brett Tenuto
Charlotte SO OF Leland Clemmons (Winston-Salem State)
Jacksonville FR SS Kristopher Molter (Cowley County CC)
North Florida SO LHP/1B Spencer Herrmann
Stetson SO RHP Drew Jackson
High Point FR OF Sly Edwards (Broward CC)
Kentucky rSO 2B/SS Andrew Bryant
Florida rJR 3B/2B Zack Powers (still on Florida, my bad)
UC Santa Barbara FR C/OF Joseph DeRoche-Duffin (Cypress College)
UC Santa Barbara FR LHP Art Vidrio
San Diego SO RHP Ryan Keller (Cal State LA)
Arizona FR RHP Jesse Scholtens (Diablo Valley College)

*****

As I finish up the position players in the coming days I figure it couldn’t hurt to spitball a bit about some of the names that have stood out to me so far. We’ll kick off the week talking college catchers because…why not?

The ACC has three excellent catching prospects in Virginia Tech JR Mark Zagunis, Clemson JR Garrett Boulware, and North Carolina State JR Brett Austin. The mid-tier ain’t too shabby either, thanks to Miami JR Garrett Kennedy and Virginia C Nate Irving. I haven’t gone through every conference yet, but it’s pretty amazing that those five currently rank higher (for me) than any other catcher in the Big 12, Big 10, or the Missouri Valley. Top guys in those conferences for the curious: Jacob Felts, Blaise Salter, and Tyler Baker. It’s also a really strong year behind the plate for the slightly evolved (for the better, I think) Conference USA. Juniors Aramis Garcia (Florida International), John Clay Reeves (Rice), and Bre’shon Kimbell (Louisiana Tech) all currently reside in my admittedly unfinished top eight for the position.

If we’re going off the radar a bit, I’ll throw out the names Alex Real (New Mexico), Garrett Russini (Stetson), and Kyle Pollock (Evansville) as potential risers this spring. The tail end of the list, as it seems happens yearly, is loaded with potential senior signs that haven’t put it all together yet in college ball. These guys frustrate me, but I just can’t quite bring myself to rule out that one big season that finally gets them a shot in pro ball. We’re talking Kai’ana Eldredge (Kansas), Levi Meyer (Florida Atlantic), Kyle Gibson (Louisville), and Austin Jarvis (Bradley).

Update, College Outfielders, Player Comparisons

With the college season rapidly approaching it’s time to finally admit to myself that I won’t be getting all of these conference previews done in time. I think it was the fact I had finished only three so far had something to do with it. Fortunately, I have a backup plan: lots of largely incoherent observations and notes from my reviewing just about every damn college prospect in the country over the past few months.

So far I’ve gotten around to taking a close look at the following conferences: Big 10, Conference USA, AAC, ACC, Big South, Atlantic Sun, Mountain West, Missouri Valley, Big 12, A-10, and America East. Thanks to the fine folks in charge of maintaining rosters at those team sites (with a few exceptions that just posted in the last 72 hours) that helped make my comprehensive coverage a heck of a lot easier. There are some smaller programs that still don’t have the rosters up, but I can’t kill them too much because, you know, smaller staffs and less general attention to that sort of thing and all. I’d love to finish up the Pac-12 and SEC, but we’re still waiting on Oregon and Mississippi State. Season starts in just over a week, let’s get moving. Alright, that’s enough passive-aggressive whining for one day. Much of my current focus is on position players because a) splitting the workload in half makes it feel like a much less daunting task, and b) I just plain fine hitters more interesting to evaluate than pitchers. Let’s talk outfielders! I’m happy to go into more detail on anybody listed below or any unnamed player from one of the conferences listed above. Or any conference, really, since I’m really just waiting on a handful of teams at this point. 

*****

Texas rSR OF Matt Moynihan and Miami OF Dale Carey both frustrate me to no end. Tools are clearly there, especially when you watch them run around in CF, and they both fill out a uniform damn well, but they each have scouts waiting and waiting and waiting for some hint of a breakthrough with the bat. Arm, speed, and defense will always be important, but the bat is king. Time to show something in the batter’s box, boys. 

I also have no idea what to do with Wake Forest rJR OF Kevin Jordan and TCU OF Jerrick Suiter, toolsy yet relatively unproductive boom/bust prospects. You could also put Southern Mississippi JR OF Mason Robbins and Southern Mississippi JR OF Connor Barron in that camp. As teammates roaming the outfield together, they are a little bit like the Virginia duo cited below except, you know, not nearly as productive. Bradley JR OF Max Murphy, Binghamton JR OF Jake Thomas, and Northern Colorado JR OF Jensen Park are less confounding: I like them a ton more than I thought I would at the start of the process. They are definitely three of my favorite smaller school prospects to watch.

It should probably come as no shock to anybody who has been around the site over the last few years, but I’m strongly leaning toward ranking Virginia JR OF Mike Papi over his more heralded teammate JR OF Derek Fisher. It’s a combination of being higher on Papi than most while being lower on Fisher at the same time. Both excellent prospects and potential big league players, but I think the gap between the two as hitters is wide enough to overcome the difference in tools (a much smaller difference in my eyes than what the consensus believes, for what it’s worth). JR OF Brandon Downes is a good one as well. Virginia is going to be really, really good, especially offensively. 

One of the biggest prospect questions awaiting springtime clarity is what position Kyle Schwarber will eventually settle into down the line. I don’t consider him a potential everyday catcher and while the bat is likely to play at first, I think everybody would much rather see him give it an honest go in the outfield before spending an early first round pick on him. I hope Indiana gives him a little bit of time out from behind the plate to showcase him for curious scouts. Brian Hartong can cover for him in those instances. 

Time for a head-to-head statistical throwdown! I toyed with including scouting blurbs for each guy, but I couldn’t find a way to keep it descriptive enough without giving either player away. Scouting consensus is a current heavy lean towards Player B, an opinion that I agree with to a certain point (I’m more of a slight lean at this point). Also, I may or may not have mentioned these two prospects in the preceding two paragraphs…

Player A

2012: .311/.423/.415 – 16 BB/16 K – 5/7 SB – 106 AB
2013: .409/.542/.653 – 47 BB/24 K – 6/8 SB – 176 AB

Player B

2012: .287/.381/.483 – 31 BB/23 K – 9/12 SB – 230 AB
2013: .366/.457/.647 – 43 BB/36 K – 4/7 SB – 235 AB

Really close, right? Both are projected by most to play outfield professionally, though there are some that think Player A will have to play 1B while Player B will hang at a more important position (said position would give it away, I think). I know I made it painfully obvious, but…any guesses? 

One more head-to-head comparison that I think is a little bit more interesting (and a lot less obvious). I’ll include some quick scouting notes this time to spice it up…

Player A: interesting power upside, still largely untapped but swing and actions should led to something; above-average speed, could be more; exceptional athlete; smart hitter; good approach; plus range in CF; really like his arm; leadoff profile at next level; FAVORITE; 6-0, 165 pounds

2012: .312/.385/.403 – 20 BB/40 K – 11/20 SB – 231 AB
2013: .299/.399/.350 – 37 BB/39 K – 26/35 SB – 254 AB

Player B: plus arm, really accurate; personal favorite that I love to watch play, definitely one that grows on you the more you see him up close; good athlete who also has some experience at SS and C; legit CF range; sneaky pop, mostly to gaps at present; plus to plus-plus speed, uses it well; impressive bat speed; FAVORITE; 6-0, 175 pounds

2012: .295/.352/.400 – 19 BB/35 K – 17/24 SB – 210 AB
2013: .317/.406/.358 – 34 BB/40 K – 15/21 SB – 265 AB

Any guesses? Any preferences? A few quick hints because I enjoy these games way too much. First, since you already know the conferences they could potentially be from, we’ll further narrow it down by saying Player A is a west coast player and Player B is on the east coast. I’d also say A has gotten a bit more national attention, but neither guy is a household name outside of the relatively small niche of college ball/draft enthusiasts. In fact, you could say that both guys have been largely overshadowed by more famous teammates: B is on the same team as two of the highest profile college players in recent memory and A has a teammate that can reach triple digits. 

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.

2014 MLB Mock Draft

I’m totally cheating here in calling this a mock draft when it pretty obviously is not a mock draft. This is a mock draft only in that I put team names in front of my first 2014 big board. This is a mock draft in much the same way that Jonathan Givony at Draft Express puts together his early season pre-lottery mock drafts. This is a mock draft only because mock drafts hold much more mainstream appeal than a straight ranking. Calling this a “2014 MLB Draft Mock Draft” (!) gets you 100x the amount of eyeballs. I hate the idea of “selling out” with a mock draft, but I put a lot of time and thought into this list so I’m good with getting it a little extra attention if I can. So, really, it’s a ranking masquerading as a mock draft. Sneaky, right?

I’m also calling it a mock because I want to play around with mocks a lot more in 2014. I’ve toyed with some alternative mock drafts in the past, and I’d like to revisit the idea in the coming year. Subversive mock drafts sound like fun to me, so stay tuned for that. Also, any “real” mock drafts I do in the coming year — maybe I’ll do one, maybe two, maybe three…maybe none, still not sure yet — will be jam packed with what I consider interesting/entertaining/better than sitting in the cubicle pretending to work in the office information. There’s nothing I hate more — well, maybe a few things — than mock drafts written by anybody but Jim Callis (and, to a lesser extent, Keith Law and Kiley McDaniel) that offer up nothing but teams and players. Mocks are only interesting in that they provide either a) well-sourced knowledge about a team’s intentions (something that Callis, Law, and McDaniel can do when indy guys like me can’t..and shouldn’t pretend to), or b) insight about teams and players. Future real mocks will have the latter, but this initial iteration is just a straight ranking. I started with about 100 players — mostly college guys — and winnowed it down to 30. I might do another post about the college players that didn’t make the list, but I’m in big time wait-and-see mode with the prep class. Much will be learned in the next few weeks on that front.

[I should also mention that I’ll be around to get back to some comments and emails in the coming days, but will be a bit of a stranger over the next few weeks. As far as draft writing goes, this is what I consider the yearly dead period. Recapping the most recent draft can wait until after signing day while updating scouting impressions based on summer action — both HS showcases and college summer leagues — is best done behind the scenes, at least as far as I’m concerned. So I’ll be recharging the batteries, watching as much baseball as I can, and updating the offline scouting database, all with the intention of coming back bigger and better than ever in July.]

[I should also also mention that this draft season has been the most fun I’ve had while running this site. The discussions I’ve had in the comment section and via email really make it all worthwhile. So thanks to all that read, participate, and help spread the word. I have some big, exciting changes to announce in the coming weeks, changes I wouldn’t have had the motivation to go through with without the support of all who keep up with the site. Thanks, everybody.]

***

Draft order was made up by me. If you hate it, you’re kind of missing the point. Here are the players…

1.1 Houston Astros | RHP Touki Toussaint (Coral Springs Christian HS, Florida)

1.2 Miami Marlins | San Diego State SO RHP Michael Cederoth

1.3. New York Mets | North Carolina State SO SS/OF Trea Turner

1.4. Seattle Mariners | North Carolina State SO LHP Carlos Rodon

1.5. Chicago Cubs | C Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo HS, California)

1.6. Minnesota Twins | 3B/RHP Jacob Gatewood (Redwood HS, California)

1.7. Milwaukee Brewers | Vanderbilt SO RHP Tyler Beede

1.8. San Diego Padres | Indiana SO OF/C Kyle Schwarber

1.9. Chicago White Sox | Florida State SO RHP Luke Weaver

1.10. Kansas City Royals | Louisiana State SO RHP Aaron Nola

1.11. Colorado Rockies | San Francisco SO OF Brad Zimmer

1.12. Toronto Blue Jays | SS/RHP Nick Gordon (Olympia HS, Florida)

1.13. Cleveland Indians | Cal State Fullerton SO SS/3B Matt Chapman

1.14. Philadelphia Phillies | 3B/RHP Jack Flaherty (Harvard-Westlake HS, California)

1.15. Los Angeles Angels | OF Gareth Morgan (North Toronto Collegiate SS, Ontario)

1.16. Los Angeles Dodgers | Florida JR RHP Karsten Whitson

1.17. Washington Nationals | RHP/SS Dylan Cease (Milton HS, Georgia)

1.18. San Francisco Giants | Oregon State SO OF Michael Conforto

1.19. Pittsburgh Pirates | Louisville SO RHP Nick Burdi

20. Baltimore Orioles | East Carolina SO RHP Jeff Hoffman

21. Tampa Bay Rays | San Diego State SO OF Greg Allen

22. Oakland Athletics | OF Matthew Railey (North Florida Christian HS, Florida)

23. Arizona Diamondbacks | Hartford SO LHP Sean Newcomb

24. Cincinnati Reds | Texas Christian SO LHP Brandon Finnegan

25. Texas Rangers | OF Dalton Ewing (Milton HS, Georgia)

26. Boston Red Sox | OF Stone Garrett (George Ranch HS, Texas)

27. New York Yankees | RHP Grant Holmes (Conway HS, South Carolina)

28. Atlanta Braves | LHP Mac Marshall (Parkview HS, Georgia)

1.29. Detroit Tigers | RHP Ryan Castellani (Brophy Prep, Arizona)

1.30. St. Louis Cardinals | 1B/OF Braxton Davidson (Roberson HS, North Carolina)

Very Early Look: 2014 MLB Draft Names to Know

 

This isn’t the most substantive post I’ll ever write, but that’s what happens when you add real life distractions to a growing impatience towards a personal inability in finding a viable angle that makes 2013 draft prospects sound interesting in a way that doesn’t regurgitate the Twitter work being put in by the guys at BA and PG. I’m slowly beginning to realize that the general public cares only about the draft’s top 30ish or so names. I admit that this bummed me out for a few days, but I’m recommitted to being that one weird niche site that attempts to cover as much as the amateur game as possible.

Somehow all of that led to me thinking about the 2014 draft for the better part of the last week. All draft/college baseball fans know the name Carlos Rodon, the prohibitive favorite to go first overall in next year’s draft. He’s not quite as obvious a future number one pick as Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper once were, but I think Vegas would put him as a 50/50 shot against the entirety of the 2014 field. Knowing Rondon looms in 2014 could actually impact the 2013 draft. If it’s a coin flip between, say, Sean Manaea or Clint Frazier for the first pick this year, I wonder if the presence of Rodon and the near-certainty that Houston will finish with 2013’s worst record will have some within the Astros front office leaning towards a bat this June. Probably not, but stranger thought processes have borne fruit.

Early Front-Runners for Best in Class (2014)

  • North Carolina State LHP Carlos Rodon 
  • Vanderbilt RHP Tyler Beede 
  • San Diego State RHP Michael Cederoth 
  • C Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo HS, California)
  • RHP Touki Toussaint (Coral Springs Christian HS, Florida)
  • SS/RHP Jacob Gatewood (Redwood HS, California)
  • SS/RHP Nick Gordon (Olympia HS, Florida)

The Rest

Unlike this year, college catching looks like a big potential strength in 2014, though it should be noted that the headline talent is a high school prospect. As we’ve come accustomed to in recent years, 1B appears particularly weak. If you want an early round 2B, look to the west. There’s not much to love as of now when it comes to shortstop depth, but, damn, any class with three potential top ten talents (Gatewood, Gordon, Turner) who look like good shots to stick at the position is alright with me. It is also possible that my opinion re: the lack of SS depth can be chalked up to my lack of familiarity with 2014 bats more than anything. 3B is poised to be a letdown after this year’s impressive class — same could be said for 2014’s group of HS catchers, a group that suffers only in comparison to an outstanding 2013 crop — but Chapman and Travis both look like early first round talents. For a variety of reasons, I think we’re seeing more and more tools-first, skills-second college prospects (think Austin Wilson) infiltrate the draft process. 2014 looks no different in that regard.

I should note that this list is far, far, far from comprehensive. There were dozens of names that I left off for a variety of reasons — I mostly tried to select guys who have balanced some degree of positive performance with impressive raw tools, straying only a handful of times — and I’m happy to explain any omissions if asked.

P

  • Clemson RHP Daniel Gossett
  • North Carolina RHP Benton Moss  
  • North Carolina State RHP Logan Jernigan 
  • Louisville RHP Nick Burdi 
  • Notre Dame RHP Patrick Connaughton 
  • LSU RHP Aaron Nola 
  • Kentucky RHP Chandler Shepherd
  • Mississippi RHP Hawtin Buchanan
  • Mississippi RHP Chris Ellis  
  • Auburn RHP Rocky McCord 
  • Mississippi State RHP Brandon Woodruff 
  • Mississippi State LHP Jacob Lindgren 
  • Texas A&M RHP Gandy Stubblefield 
  • Texas A&M RHP Corey Ray 
  • TCU LHP Brandon Finnegan 
  • Texas RHP Parker French 
  • Arizona RHP Matthew Troupe
  • Oregon State RHP Dylan Davis
  • Loyola Marymount RHP Trevor Megill  
  • Hawaii LHP Scott Squier 
  • Portland LHP Travis Radke 
  • Portland RHP Kody Watts 
  • Rice RHP Jordan Stephens 
  • East Carolina RHP Jeff Hoffman 
  • Fresno State RHP Derick Velazquez 
  • RHP Cameron Varga (Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Ohio)
  • LHP Carson Sands (North Florida Christian HS, Florida)
  • LHP Justus Sheffield (Tullahoma HS, Tennessee)
  • LHP Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic HS, California)
  • RHP Michael Kopech (Mount Pleasant HS, Texas)
  • RHP Ryan Castellani (Brophy Prep, Arizona)
  • RHP Derek Casey (Hanover HS, Virginia)
  • RHP Bryce Montes de Oca (Lawrence HS, Kansas)

C

  • Virginia Tech C Mark Zagunis 
  • North Carolina State C Brett Austin
  • South Carolina C Grayson Greiner 
  • Vanderbilt C Chris Harvey 
  • Florida C Taylor Gushue 
  • Arizona C Riley Moore 
  • Indiana C Kyle Schwarber 
  • Florida International C Aramis Garcia
  • Riley Jackson (Lexington Catholic HS, Kentucky)
  • Ryder Ryan (North Mecklenburg HS, North Carolina)
  • Handsome Monica (St. Paul’s HS, Louisiana)  

1B

  • TCU 1B Kevin Cron 
  • Wichita State 1B Casey Gillaspie 
  • Ohio 1B Jake Madsen 
  • Braxton Davidson
  • Justin Bellinger (St. Sebastian’s School, Massachusetts)

2B

  • Arizona 2B Trent Gilbert 
  • UCLA 2B Kevin Kramer 
  • Pepperdine 2B Austin Davidson 
  • Bryson Brigman (Valley Christian HS, California)

3B

  • Maryland 3B KJ Hockaday
  • Indiana 3B Sam Travis 
  • Cal State Fullerton 3B Matt Chapman 
  • UC Irvine 3B Taylor Sparks 
  • Southern Mississippi 3B Brad Roney 
  • Wright State 3B Michael Timm 
  • Drew Ward (Leedy HS, Oklahoma)*
  • Jack Flaherty (Harvard-Westlake HS, California)
  • Charlie Cody (Great Bridge HS, Virginia)

* Ward is a good bet to win his fight to gain eligibility for the 2013 MLB Draft. Until official word comes out, however, he remains a 2014 prospect.

SS

  • North Carolina State SS Trea Turner 
  • Florida SS Casey Turgeon  
  • Stanford SS Alex Blandino 
  • Stony Brook SS Cole Peragine 
  • Valparaiso SS Spencer Mahoney 
  • Gregory Deichmann (Brother Martin HS, Louisiana)

OF

  • Virginia OF Derek Fisher 
  • Kentucky OF Austin Cousino 
  • Georgia OF Hunter Cole 
  • Mississippi OF Senquez Golson 
  • TCU OF Jerrick Suiter 
  • Oregon State OF Michael Conforto 
  • Stanford OF Domonic Jose 
  • San Francisco OF Brad Zimmer 
  • Southern Mississippi OF Mason Robbins 
  • Bradley OF Max Murphy 
  • San Diego State OF Greg Allen 
  • Gareth Morgan (North Toronto Collegiate SS, Ontario)
  • Stone Garrett (George Ranch HS, Texas)
  • Scott Hurst (Bishop Amat HS, California)
  • Matthew Railey (North Florida Christian HS, Florida)
  • Kel Johnson (Home Schooled, Georgia)

2013 MLB Draft Preview: Virginia Tech Hokies

Most Intriguing Pre-Season 2013 MLB Draft Prospect(s)

1. JR 3B Chad Pinder
2. rJR OF Tyler Horan
3. JR RHP Brad Markey
4. JR LHP Eddie Campbell
5. SR RHP Joe Mantiply

For the millionth time, I’m not a college baseball expert. I don’t really know what teams are good and what teams will disappoint, and, to be honest, I don’t particularly care. I like prospects. For that reason, I like Virginia Tech. They have good prospects. Now common sense leads me to believe that, with some exceptions  teams with good prospects, especially veteran prospects, tend to fare fairly well during the college baseball season. So it is my opinion as a newfound college baseball expert that Virginia Tech is going to be pretty good this year: seven legit position player prospects (plus speedy FR OF Saige Jenco) and a pitching staff with a half-dozen upperclassmen worth knowing. Let’s start with the best of those prospects.

It is way too early to start assigning draft grades, so take the following with a jumbo sized chunk of salt: if you’re a fan of a team in need of a third baseman of the future, then Chad Pinder is as good a non-first round name to follow as any.  If my favorite team misses out on and/or goes a different direction on, say, Colin Moran in the mid-first, then I’d be more than happy with Pinder being the next man up within the round two to five range. Pinder’s defense at third is legitimately exciting to watch. He has really quick feet, a strong arm, and great instincts on the left side of the infield. In a pinch, I’d have no problem playing him up the middle at short, a la a young Ryan Zimmerman. As a hitter, his power is right where you want it for a corner infielder (20+ home run upside) and he’s shown an ability to make critical adjustments game to game as well as pitch to pitch. The big quibble would be his plate discipline — 15 BB/40 K last season — but I think that’s more of a byproduct of how he was pitched in 2012. Tyler Horan has more power, but not quite as strong a hit tool. He also is a corner outfielder only, potentially limited to left field, so the margin of error for his stick is more pronounced. The power is enticing enough that he’ll rightfully get drafted with the thought he’ll someday hold down an everyday outfield spot.

You can put the three Virginia Tech pitchers listed above in any order and I couldn’t find much to argue. I liked Markey a lot last year — he was my 446th overall draft prospect, after all — and I see no reason why I should turn on him now. The well-traveled junior throws three pitches for strikes (88-92 FB, 93 peak with a good CB and average CU). Campbell impressed on the Cape thanks to his crafty lefty repertoire that includes an upper-80s to low-90s FB (92 peak) and above-average curve. I’m more bearish on him than most, due to stuff that doesn’t blow me away and too frequent lapses in control. Joe Mantiply should be a solid senior sign thanks to a fastball between 88-92 fastball (notice a trend?), pro size (6-4, 215 pounds), and a pair of usable offspeed pitches.

rSR OF Andrew Rash  and rJR C Chad Morgan are both veterans of the draft process, so the stakes ought to be pretty clear at this point. Rash’s huge righthanded power is enough for me to take a chance on him late in the draft, but I could see why teams may be hesitant to pull the trigger on a guy with contact issues and an inconsistent approach. He deserves credit for working himself into a playable right fielder. Questions about Morgan’s bat are even bigger – I had him pegged as the next great early round ACC catcher a few years back, but his game has badly stagnated. I think he can still defend the position with the best of them — at least on the college level — but that’s fairly self-evident by now. What scouts will be focusing in on this spring will be his swing – I’ve heard it has been modified and shortened since last season. On talent alone, both guys should be drafted. We’ll see if their production matches the hype in a few months.

SR RHP Jake Joyce has consistently performed out of the Virginia Tech bullpen (9.96 K/9 in 2011, 11.16 K/9 last year), so it wouldn’t be a shock to see a club that emphasizes prior production giving him a look this spring. Same could be said about SR RHP Tanner McIntyre, a pitcher who has done the job when called upon (10.16 K/9 last year) but still could be on the outside looking in come June if teams decide they can’t look past lack of size (5-9, 170 pounds) and pedestrian (by pro standards) stuff. You can go ahead and put 5-9, 175 pound SR RHP Clark Labitan in the same category.

2014 MLB Draft Name(s) to Know

1. SO C/OF Mark Zagunis
2. SO 1B/OF Sean Keselica

Mark Zagunis’ upside behind the plate has me all excited. I know, I know…I feel for a young Virginia Tech catcher not that long ago, (see above) and that hasn’t worked out all that well, but this time is different. Zagunis is a great athlete coming off a really impressive freshman season (.344/.432/.513) who can run, hit, and flash some serious power. His defense is what will have to be closely monitored, but I’m a believer. It’s not a comp because I’ve yet to see Zagunis in person (that changes this year, thankfully), but the scouting reports give off a little bit of a Josh Elander vibe. Keselica isn’t quite on the same level for me, but I know some who follow the Hokies more extensively than I disagree with that assessment.  A little bit down the prospect line are SO 1B Brendon Hayden and SO 2B/SS Alex Perez. Hayden has size, strength, and power. Perez has a patient approach and good defensive tools. Both guys should be in the 2014 mix after building on their solid freshman seasons this spring.