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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Big West

It’s lame to mention the same comp in back-to-back days, but…I don’t know how to finish this sentence. I’m lame, I guess. Yesterday we evoked the name Kevin Newman as part of a hybrid Newman/Scott Kingery comp for Bryson Brigman. Today Newman’s name gets thrown around again when discussing Garrett Hampson. The shortstop from Long Beach has a fascinating set of tools that engenders wildly variable opinions from those who have seen him. We’ll get into that a bit more later, but first let’s get back to that Newman comp.

Comparing almost any amateur prospect to Newman is tough (and possibly useless) because the crazy high hit tool bar set by the former Arizona star after a pair of otherworldly summers on the Cape should not be ignored. That should be reason enough not to use him as a comp two days in a row, but…we’ve now hit sentence number two where I don’t know how to finish. I’m stubborn, I guess. I liked but didn’t love Newman last year – ranked him 31st, drafted 19th – but his track record with wood makes him a bit of a prospect unicorn and, no matter your opinion about his long-term future, a comparison that really ought not to be thrown around lightly. I wouldn’t put Hampson’s straight hit tool up against Newman’s, but even at a notch below there are enough other general similarities that make the comparison work. Contextual comps for life. The closest match between the respective games of Hampson and Newman comes down to instincts in all phases. “Special” is the word most often used to describe the way Hampson’s instincts allow him to do things that his raw physical abilities might otherwise not. Like Newman, his arm might be a little light for the left side of the infield; also like Newman, his arm plays up thanks to his skill in turning a quick transfer from glove to throwing motion (hot baseball fan take: a quick release can make up for a lesser arm easier than the other way around) and general aptitude for being in the right place at the right time to get off any number of throws from funky angles that don’t always look pretty but find a way to first base.

Attempts at getting a consensus view on Hampson’s foot speed has me completely turned around. I’ve gotten plus-plus, plus, and average, and the split between plus and average is just about even. My hunch here is that we’re seeing the difference between when and where he’s being timed. On his own batted balls, I could see his times playing closer to average because that’s more representative of his raw ability. However on first to thirds, the combination of his reads, jumps, and hustle helps bump his times up just enough to hit closer to the plus range. This is all just a theory, mind you, and it still likely doesn’t explain the disparity between an average time and plus-plus (easiest explanation for that: scouts are human) spread of times, but the fact we see another example of one his tools playing up thanks to his feel for the game is noteworthy. Stuff like this is representative of the kind of player you’ll get with Hampson. He’s got a good looking swing geared for a lot of contact (my not a scout observation is that he’s one of those guys who can manipulate the bat so that the fat part stays in the zone a long time), playable speed and arm strength that you can round up due to his instincts, and impressive overall athleticism. I’d call him a high-floor/low-ceiling prospect, but I think that mischaracterizes the value of a starting big league shortstop; perhaps it goes without saying, but a utility player floor (best case) and average or so regular (again, best case) ceiling means something different at different positions on the diamond. Hampson won’t be a star, but the simple fact his ceiling could be a regular at short (or even second) gives him more value than his tools suggest.

As for the downside, we’ll refer back to old friend Kevin Newman. This is where I finished with him last year offensively…

Newman’s feel for hitting is special, but, as a guy who will always believe the hit tool is king, it pains me to admit a hit tool alone is not enough to equate to future impact regular. Pro pitchers attack hitters with minimal power differently than amateurs. In no way should all hitters be expected to come into pro ball with 20+ HR/season ability, but the threat of extra base power is needed to get the pitches and favorable hitting counts that lead to good things. It’s considerably more difficult to hit .300 with minimal power at the highest level than it is in college and in the lower-minors. I’m not bold enough to unequivocally say that Newman can’t do it, but the odds are stacked against him.

and this was the final amateur defensive verdict…

Though his superior instincts, first step quickness, and quick release all give him a shot to stick at the six-spot, his lackluster arm strength and limited range make him a better long-term fit at second base. Part of my thought process changing had to do with seeing more of him on the field (with two caveats: I’m a fan, not a scout, and it was video, not live), part of it had to do with hearing from trusted contacts who did see him up close a lot more than I could have hoped to, and part of it was my own evolving view of how important arm strength is for a shortstop. We’ve become so accustomed to thinking that third base is the infield position where the biggest arm is needed, but after focusing more closely on some of the throws that big league shortstops are asked to make deep into the hole as their momentum carries them away from their target, I’d argue that shortstop is where ideally your strongest arm would go. That’s not Newman, and I think that the rest of the industry will realize that sooner rather than later.

The question then becomes whether or not I think Hampson can succeed in the same way I think Newman will (solid regular at second) even with a lesser hit tool. I think I do, but no so strongly that I’d use a top hundred pick to see it through. Of course, there are also the additional questions about how closely remaining abilities – namely range, arm, and speed – compare to Newman’s. It’s my belief that he’s at least as strong in each of those areas as Newman, but reasonable minds can differ. Those tools added up give him a slightly better chance to succeed at shortstop in the pros, but the safest outcome is still average or so regular at second. Kind of like Kevin Newman.

Dempsey Grover is – stop me if you’ve heard this before – another college catcher in this class with top ten round ability. I’d personally go even higher than that, but I’m hedging some because of the lack of national buzz currently surrounding his name. He’s good enough defensively to stay behind the plate, his arm is plenty strong, and both his power and approach have taken big steps ahead so far in 2016. I still need to know more about his overall game, but the temptation to rank him atop the entire Big West prospect list was very real. If he’s as good as I think he is, then he stands to become the first Dempsey to reach the big leagues, assuming we don’t count guys like Rick Dempsey and Gerald Dempsey Posey. You might know that last guy by the name Buster.

Also in the running for top prospect here is Grover’s teammate Andrew Calica. Of all the non-obvious (say, those unlikely to be first day selections) prospects in this class, Calica might be the guy closest to the Platonic ideal of what it means to be a FAVORITE on this site. Calica’s impressive hit tool, easy center field range, above-average to plus speed, and solid arm strength all give him the look of at least a potential quality backup at the pro level. I’d go a step further: Calica has consistently shown every tool save power throughout his career, and even his weakest area isn’t all that weak. He’s able to put himself into enough advantageous hitting counts to allow his sneaky pop (“burgeoning” is how it was recently described to me) to make him some degree of a threat to opposing pitchers who think they can sneak good fastballs by him. Center field tools, an advanced approach, and just enough pop all add up to a pretty intriguing talent.

Yusuke Akitoshi and Timmy Richards have taken different paths to arrive at the similar position as potential utility players of note at the next level. Both are athletic, reliable defenders with enough speed and pop to contribute a little something out of the eight-hole in the lineup as pros. On the other end of the defensive spectrum is Branden Berry, the transfer from Washington. Berry’s early season offensive explosion may just be the case of an older guy picking on younger competition – his first three seasons were remarkably consistent in a good college player kind of way – but in a class thin on big bats, he could have scouts doing a double-take.

While Berry has exceeded any and all expectations so far this season, the same can’t be said for other hitters in the Big West. I’ve touched on the general early season ineffectiveness of the highly hyped Hawaii hitters in other places so far. Because none of us know anything – how I’ve been allowed to do this for eight years now defies all logic – it makes perfect sense that one of the least discussed Hawaii position player prospects coming into the year has gotten off the best start in 2016. Jacob Sheldon-Collins has clearly outperformed his universally acclaimed teammate Marcus Doi as well as his less-heralded but still overhyped by me (whoops) double-play partner Josh Rojas. Amateur production isn’t everything, but it is something. Sheldon-Collins has managed to parlay his high-contact approach with steady defense at short to put himself on the prospect map. Doi and Rojas can still be found on said map, but the days of thinking they were top ten round certainties have passed. Doi, the old scouting favorite of many thanks to a hit tool I’ve heard some go as high as plus on, has the better shot to rise back into that range than Rojas, a junior college transfer who has taken longer than ideal adjusting to life as a D1 ballplayer.

From one slow starting FAVORITE (Rojas) to another we go. Rojas came into the year with a mature approach at the plate as his supposed calling card. So far, it hasn’t quite worked out. On the other hand, Vince Fernandez has long been a FAVORITE despite a questionable at best approach. That’s begun to catch up with him some on these rankings – no shame in being ranked tenth, but if we were talking sheer physical ability he’d be top three – and it’s officially fair to wonder if he’s ever going to be the kind of hitter I once thought he could be. That alone obviously wouldn’t disqualify him from a long, prosperous professional career, though his stalled development has to be a cause for concern even for those who are more willing than myself to believe he’ll figure things out as a hitter. For what it’s worth, Fernandez has gotten a steady stream of compliments about his approach over the years; it’s exactly that type of positive feedback (combined with average to above-average raw power, above-average speed, and considerable bat speed, all of which are no small things) that made him a FAVORITE in the first place. We’ve seen the scouts – we’ll pretend that my presentation here of THE SCOUTS somehow equates to a monolithic being with one set opinion on each player across the country with no room for dissenting opinions – hit big on many of the position players in this class with notes that read “good approach” and BB/K ratios coming into the year that would have you believe scouting is a big old waste of time. The most famous example of this is Kyle Lewis. Fernandez hasn’t been able to join the “hey these scouts might know what they are talking about after all and sometimes a player can improve in incremental ways that aren’t really reflected in the numbers until BOOM one day it clicks and they are” group just yet, but the overarching success of players like him gives me some hope it could still happen. Kyle Lewis being able to do this really ought to have no impact on whether or not Vince Fernandez can do something similar, but the fact that it can and does happen is enough to keep hope alive for him. There’s still a lot of season left…and potentially a senior season if it comes to it.

There’s a large group of prospects bunched up at the tail end of this ranking that probably no longer merit draft consideration. I’ll be curious to cross-reference this collection of “not quite there” prospects with those in other major conferences to see if it’s simply something that happens to the big boys (more overall talent at the start begets more “disappointing” prospects at the end) or if there just happens to be an unusually high number of developmental misses in the Big West this year. Of course, neither option could be the answer as it could just mean I misjudged the lot of these players in my initial evaluation. It’s not them, it’s me. Whatever the reason, there are a lot of talented players here that haven’t produced enough to warrant much draft attention this spring.

The two names that best exemplify what I’m trying to discuss are Cameron Olson and Spencer O’Neil. Just look at what I wrote about Olson last year…

UC Davis JR C Cameron Olson hasn’t been able to put it all together quite yet, but if he does then it’ll be worth the wait. His plus raw power and plus arm strength combination is what evaluators dream about.

I still can’t quite quit Olson, but it might be time to finally admit it’s not going to happen for him as a hitter. Approach matters. Last year’s take on O’Neil, a player once comped to Paul O’Neill for what I have to assume were reasons that went beyond their similar last names, began to hint at the cracks in his game…

I still have the quote saved from when rJR OF Spencer O’Neil left Oregon after the 2013 season: he “decided to pursue other opportunities” and that was that. Well he’s back playing D1 ball this year and I’m damn pleased to see it. There’s the big question as to whether his approach will remain a hindrance to his overall game, especially after a year at junior college that showed little to no gains from his freshman season at Oregon (from 6 BB and 32 K at Oregon to 8 BB and 30 K at Central Arizona). I liken him to a power pitcher capable of hitting the mid-90s with a darting fastball that he has no idea how to harness effectively. The raw talent is obvious, but bridging the gap from prospect to player is going to take a lot more work than your typical draftable college bat.

The former Duck still looks good in a uniform with exactly the kind of tantalizing power upside one would expect from a guy his size with his brand of sweet stroke. Unfortunately, approach matters. Unfortunately again, I’m a weak, stubborn man who would still take a shot on either guy with my literal last pick in the draft.

Taylor Bryant and Eric Hutting don’t quite fit that same former big offensive prospect archetype, but both guys were seen at one point as being good enough defensively to get a shot at pro ball. Bryant, a standout at second who can also play short and third, simply hasn’t hit enough yet to give any indication he’s ready for the next level. Hutting’s offensive production at the plate has been very underwhelming since his solid freshman year debut in 2013. Of course, after running this list by a west coast friend, the ranking of Bryant was deemed “criminally low,” so take my bat-first bias with the requisite block of salt. I’ll admit that the admonishment briefly gave me reason to reconsider the ranking before ultimately deciding to hold on Bryant until he shows something – anything at all – offensively. I see a senior-sign in 2017 when I look at his all-around profile.

Chad Hockin has gotten a lot of deserved electronic ink as one of the finest 2016 MLB Draft bullpen arms, but he’s far from the only potential impact reliever set to come out of the Big West this June. There’s more to life than just fastball velocity, but Justin Caolomeni and Dylan Prohoroff have both matched or exceeded Hockin’s peak in the past. Calomeni complements his heater with an impressive sinking changeup and a low- to mid-80s slider with plus upside. His track record through two and a half college seasons is unimpeachable. I like him a lot as one of those mid-round relievers who winds up “coming out of nowhere” developmentally to pitch in the big leagues for ten years. Prohoroff’s game is a little more reliant on his fastball, a pitch that sits in the low-90s with the occasional forays to 95-96-97. His breaking ball isn’t as far along as you’d like, but the arm strength, size, and production all point toward a potential middle reliever future with continued growth.

Then there’s Hockin, the Fullerton arm who really is deserving of all the attention he’s gotten so far this spring. The sturdy righthander was seen by some I talked to back in day as having an impressive enough overall repertoire to get consideration as a starting pitching conversion project in the pros. While that talk has died down – maybe he could pull it off, but Hockin’s stuff plays way up in short bursts – the fact that it was mentioned to me in the first place speaks to his well-rounded offspeed arsenal and craftiness on the mound. Hockin leans on his mid-90s fastball (87-93 in longer outings turned into 94-96 with every pitch as a reliever) and a power 83-87 cut-slider that frequently comes in above-average. Those two pitchers alone make him a legitimate late-inning prospect, but the promise he once displayed with both a low-80s change and an upper-70s curve could give him that softer little something extra. I’ve heard he’s ditched both during games, but still toys with them in practice. It bears repeating that he’s a fine prospect pumping fastballs and sliders all day, but knowing he could mix in a third pitch in time is a nice perk.

These “pre-season” lists have taken me so long to complete that I can’t help but peak at what each guy has been up to in 2016. Since I don’t want to get bogged down in performance-based analysis and smaller sample size madness, I typically just jot down a quick word or phrase to give me an idea how the player is doing. Examples include the very creative “good,” “so-so,” and “not great.” Sometimes I’ll get wild and up a “good” to “very good.” For Kenny Rosenberg, however, the simple phrase “VIDEO GAME” felt appropriate. He’s whiffed 57 guys with only 10 walks in 41.1 innings of 1.96 ERA ball. It’s the best strikeout rate of any pitcher on the team and his ERA is third among qualifiers (first among starters). He’s not doing it with junk, either: Rosenberg lives 87-92 and has shown above-average command of three offspeed pitches. I don’t know how high his upside is, but I’m willing to keep watching him sit hitters down until we figure it out. His teammate Conner O’Neil has similar stuff highlighted by an above-average breaking ball. His track record of success is even lengthier than Rosenberg’s. Whatever the staff at Cal State Northridge is doing with these arms, they need to keep it up.

(Incidentally, the Matadors have a player named Fred Smith who I don’t know anything about yet, but is hitting .363/.385/.407 (4 BB/5 K) in 113 AB. A name like that playing middle infield with his type of crazy contact rates is oddly appealing to me. I’m mostly putting this here for me as a note to find out more about him. Carry on.)

Austin McGeorge, Austin Sodders, Brendan Hornung, Miles Chambers, Scott Serigstad, Keaton Leach, and Trevor Bettencourt are all draft-worthy arms with fastballs that creep past 90 MPH. McGeorge’s low-80s slider makes him stand out among the pack, though Sodders doing it from the left side intrigues me as well. Additionally, Bettencourt, the Tennessee transfer, has gotten a lot of positive buzz this spring.

Matthew Ellis, a converted catcher, has a big arm (up to 94) and athleticism. James Carter brings pinpoint fastball command of a pitch that also hits 94 (88-92 otherwise); he’s still on the mend from 2015 Tommy John surgery, but I could see a team that’s done a deep dive on him prior to the elbow explosion keeping interest in him through the ups and downs of recovery. Henry Omaña is a mystery man with limited information and even less of a D1 track record. What I know (90-94 FB, solid spike-curve), I like.

This post would have been lengthier, but a way too long love letter to Justin Bieber’s latest album has been deleted. After a few drinks I might share my working theory on how Bieber is the evolutionary Justin Timberlake, but we’ll table that for now. We’ll actually go a step further and declare this site a NO BIEBER joke zone henceforth. That’s the first last time I’ll connect Justin to Shane Bieber all spring. Shane is a fascinating enough prospect to talk about even without the musical interludes.

He was a pre-season FAVORITE who hasn’t yet missed a ton of bats at the college level, but I’ll continue to tout his 85-90 (92 peak) sinking fastball, above-average yet still frustratingly inconsistent 79-85 changeup, and true hybrid 78-81 breaking ball as the right type of mix of a big league starting pitcher. We’ve seen college righthanders with below-average fastball velocity, intriguing offspeed stuff, plus command, and above-average athleticism and deception go high on draft day before, and Bieber could follow suit. I’d feel a lot more comfortable if he was missing more bats, but the overall package is still enticing. It’s the Thomas Eshelman starter kit.

Hitters

  1. Long Beach State JR SS/2B Garrett Hampson
  2. UC Santa Barbara rSO C Dempsey Grover
  3. UC Santa Barbara rJR OF Andrew Calica
  4. Cal State Northridge rSR SS Yusuke Akitoshi
  5. Cal State Fullerton JR SS Timmy Richards
  6. Cal State Northridge rSR 1B/OF Branden Berry
  7. Hawaii JR 2B Josh Rojas
  8. Hawaii JR OF/2B Marcus Doi
  9. Hawaii SR SS Jacob Sheldon-Collins
  10. UC Riverside JR OF Vince Fernandez
  11. UC Santa Barbara rSO OF/LHP Josh Adams
  12. Cal State Fullerton SR OF Josh Vargas
  13. UC Irvine JR 2B John Brontsema
  14. Cal State Northridge JR C Dylan Alexander
  15. Cal Poly JR C/1B Brett Barbier
  16. Cal State Fullerton rSR OF Tyler Stieb
  17. Cal State Fullerton SR 1B Tanner Pinkston
  18. Long Beach State rSR 3B/2B Zach Domingues
  19. UC Irvine SR SS Mikey Duarte
  20. UC Riverside JR OF Mark Contreras
  21. UC Davis SR C Cameron Olson
  22. Cal State Fullerton JR 2B/SS Taylor Bryant
  23. Cal State Northridge rSR OF Spencer O’Neil
  24. Cal State Fullerton SR C/3B Jerrod Bravo
  25. Long Beach State SR C Eric Hutting
  26. UC Riverside rSR C/2B Drake Zarate
  27. Hawaii SR 1B Alex Sawelson

Pitchers

  1. Cal Poly JR RHP Justin Calomeni
  2. Cal State Northridge rSO LHP Kenny Rosenberg
  3. Cal State Fullerton JR RHP Chad Hockin
  4. Cal State Fullerton JR RHP Dylan Prohoroff
  5. Cal State Northridge JR RHP Conner O’Neil
  6. UC Santa Barbara JR RHP Shane Bieber
  7. Cal State Fullerton rJR RHP Blake Quinn
  8. Long Beach State JR RHP Austin McGeorge
  9. UC Riverside JR LHP Austin Sodders
  10. Hawaii JR RHP Brendan Hornung
  11. Cal State Fullerton rJR RHP Miles Chambers
  12. Cal State Fullerton JR RHP Scott Serigstad
  13. UC Riverside SR RHP Keaton Leach
  14. Cal Poly JR RHP Slater Lee
  15. UC Santa Barbara rJR RHP Trevor Bettencourt
  16. Cal State Northridge SR RHP Angel Rodriguez
  17. Cal State Northridge SR RHP Rayne Raven
  18. UC Riverside SR RHP/C Matthew Ellis
  19. UC Santa Barbara rJR RHP James Carter
  20. Cal State Fullerton rJR RHP Henry Omaña
  21. Cal State Fullerton JR LHP Maxwell Gibbs
  22. Cal State Northridge rSR RHP Matthew Troupe
  23. Long Beach State rSR RHP Ty Provencher
  24. Hawaii SR RHP Josh Pigg
  25. Long Beach State rJR RHP Josh Advocate
  26. UC Santa Barbara rJR RHP Kenny Chapman
  27. UC Davis JR RHP Zach Stone
  28. Long Beach State JR LHP Kyle Brown
  29. UC Irvine SR LHP Elliot Surrey
  30. UC Riverside JR RHP Angel Landazuri
  31. Cal State Fullerton rJR RHP Shane Stillwagon
  32. Long Beach State SR RHP Tanner Brown
  33. UC Davis rSO LHP Orlando Razo

Cal Poly

JR RHP Justin Calomeni (2016)
JR RHP Slater Lee (2016)
SR 2B/OF John Schuknecht (2016)
JR C/1B Brett Barbier (2016)
SO RHP Erich Uelmen (2017)
SO LHP Kyle Smith (2017)
SO RHP Michael Gomez (2017)
SO RHP Jarred Zill (2017)
SO RHP Andrew Bernstein (2017)
FR RHP Bobby Ay (2018)
FR RHP Cameron Schneider (2018)
FR OF Alex McKenna (2018)
FR 1B Cooper Moore (2018)
FR 2B Kyle Marinconz (2018)
FR SS Dylan Doherty (2018)
FR C Nick Meyer (2018)

High Priority Follows: Justin Calomeni, Slater Lee, Brett Barbier

Cal State Fullerton

JR RHP Chad Hockin (2016)
rJR RHP Miles Chambers (2016)
rJR RHP Blake Quinn (2016)
rJR RHP Shane Stillwagon (2016)
rJR RHP Henry Omaña (2016)
JR RHP Dylan Prohoroff (2016)
JR LHP Maxwell Gibbs (2016)
JR RHP Scott Serigstad (2016)
SR OF Josh Vargas (2016)
rSR OF Tyler Stieb (2016)
JR SS Timmy Richards (2016)
SR C/3B Jerrod Bravo (2016)
JR 2B/SS Taylor Bryant (2016)
SR 1B Tanner Pinkston (2016)
SR OF Dalton Blaser (2016)
rSO C/1B Niko Pacheco (2016)
JR OF Hunter Cullen (2016)
SO LHP John Gavin (2017)
SO RHP Connor Seabold (2017)
SO OF/2B Scott Hurst (2017)
SO C Chris Hudgins (2017)
SO SS Tristan Hildebrandt (2017)
FR RHP Colton Eastman (2018)
FR RHP Brett Conine (2018)
FR OF Ruben Cardenas (2018)
FR INF Hank LoForte (2018)
FR SS Coby Kauhaahaa (2018)

High Priority Follows: Chad Hockin, Miles Chambers, Blake Quinn, Shane Stillwagon, Henry Omaña, Dylan Prohoroff, Maxwell Gibbs, Scott Serigstad, Josh Vargas, Tyler Stieb, Timmy Richards, Jerrod Bravo, Taylor Bryant, Tanner Pinkston

Cal State Northridge

SR RHP Angel Rodriguez (2016)
SR RHP Rayne Raven (2016)
JR RHP Conner O’Neil (2016)
rSR RHP Matthew Troupe (2016)
rSO LHP Kenny Rosenberg (2016)
SR RHP Nick Viola (2016)
rSR OF Spencer O’Neil (2016)
rSR SS Yusuke Akitoshi (2016)
rJR OF Bobby Schuman (2016)
SR 1B/3B William Colantono (2016)
rSR 1B/OF Branden Berry (2016)
JR C Dylan Alexander (2016)
SO RHP Joe Ryan (2017)
SO RHP Andrew Weston (2017)
SO LHP Joey Deceglie (2017)
SO OF/LHP Justin Toerner (2017)
SO C/1B Albee Weiss (2017)
rFR OF Michael Russo (2017)

High Priority Follows: Angel Rodriguez, Rayne Raven, Conner O’Neil, Matthew Troupe, Kenny Rosenberg, Spencer O’Neil, Yusuke Akitoshi, Branden Berry, Dylan Alexander

Hawaii

SR RHP Josh Pigg (2016)
JR RHP Brendan Hornung (2016)
SR RHP Kyle Von Ruden (2016)
SR RHP Cody Culp (2016)
SR LHP Matt Valencia (2016)
JR 2B Josh Rojas (2016)
JR OF/2B Marcus Doi (2016)
JR OF Alex Fitchett (2016)
SR 1B Alex Sawelson (2016)
SR SS Jacob Sheldon-Collins (2016)
rSO C Chayce Ka’aua (2016)
rSR OF Alan Baldwin (2016)
SO 1B Eric Ramirez (2017)
FR C Kekai Rios (2018)

High Priority Follows: Josh Pigg, Brendon Hornung, Matt Valencia, Josh Rojas, Marcus Doi, Alex Fitchett, Alex Sawelson, Jacob Sheldon-Collins, Chayce Ka’aua

Long Beach State

rSR RHP Ty Provencher (2016)
SR RHP Tanner Brown (2016)
JR RHP Dave Smith (2016)
SR RHP Ryan Cruz (2016)
JR LHP Kyle Brown (2016)
JR RHP Austin McGeorge (2016)
rJR RHP Josh Advocate (2016)
JR SS/2B Garrett Hampson (2016)
SR C Eric Hutting (2016)
rSR 3B/2B Zach Domingues (2016)
SR 3B/OF Zack Rivera (2016)
rSO OF Tristan Mercadel (2016)
JR C Daniel Jackson (2016)
SO RHP Chris Mathewson (2017)
SO RHP Darren McCaughan (2017)
SO RHP Tyler Radcliffe (2017)
SO 1B/OF Brock Lundquist (2017)
SO OF Joey Sanchez (2017)
SO 1B/OF Luke Rasmussen (2017)
FR 2B/SS Jarren Duran (2018)
FR OF Brooks Stotler (2018)
FR 3B/OF Domenic Colacchio (2018)
FR INF Chris Fife (2018)

High Priority Follows: Ty Provencher, Tanner Brown, Ryan Cruz, Kyle Brown, Austin McGeorge, Josh Advocate, Garrett Hampson, Eric Hutting, Zach Domingues, Daniel Jackson

UC Davis

SR RHP Nat Hamby (2016)
JR RHP Zach Stone (2016)
rSO LHP Orlando Razo (2016)
JR RHP Justin Mullins (2016)
rSO RHP Blake Peters (2016)
SR 1B/LHP Spencer Henderson (2016)
SR OF Tanner Bily (2016)
SR C Cameron Olson (2016)
rJR 1B Mason Novak (2016)
rFR LHP Robert Garcia (2017)
rFR 3B/OF Ryan Anderson (2017)

High Priority Follows: Nat Hemby, Zach Stone, Orlando Razo, Spencer Henderson, Tanner Bily, Cameron Olson

UC Irvine

SR LHP Elliot Surrey (2016)
JR RHP Sean Sparling (2016)
rSR 2B/OF Grant Palmer (2016)
SR 3B Mitchell Holland (2016)
rSR 1B Jonathan Munoz (2016)
rJR OF Evan Cassolato (2016)
SR SS Mikey Duarte (2016)
rJR 1B Andrew Martinez (2016)
JR OF Adam Alcantra (2016)
JR 2B John Brontsema (2016)
SO LHP/1B Cameron Bishop (2017)
SO RHP Shaun Vetrovec (2017)
SO RHP Alonzo Garcia (2017)
SO OF/2B Keston Hiura (2017)
FR LHP Miles Glazier (2018)
FR C Matt Reitano (2018)

High Priority Follows: Elliot Surrey, Mitchell Holland, Mikey Duarte, Andrew Martinez, John Brontsema

UC Riverside

JR LHP Austin Sodders (2016)
SR RHP Keaton Leach (2016)
JR RHP Angel Landazuri (2016)
rSO RHP Max Compton (2016)
SR RHP/C Matthew Ellis (2016)
rSR C/2B Drake Zarate (2016)
JR 1B Aaron Cisneros (2016)
rJR 3B Michael Farris (2016)
JR OF Vince Fernandez (2016)
JR OF Mark Contreras (2016)
SO RHP/C Ryan Lillie (2017)
SO OF Austin Colvin (2017)

High Priority Follows: Austin Sodders, Keaton Leach, Angel Landazuri, Max Compton, Matthew Ellis, Drake Zarate, Vince Fernandez, Mark Contreras

UC Santa Barbara

JR RHP Shane Bieber (2016)
rJR RHP James Carter (2016)
rJR RHP Trevor Bettencourt (2016)
rJR RHP Kenny Chapman (2016)
rJR OF Andrew Calica (2016)
rJR OF/SS Devon Gradford (2016)
rSO C Dempsey Grover (2016)
JR 2B/3B Billy Fredrick (2016)
rSO 2B JJ Muno (2016)
rSO OF/LHP Josh Adams (2016)
SO RHP Alex Garcia (2017)
SO LHP Kyle Nelson (2017)
SO RHP Chris Clements (2017)
rFR RHP Joe Record (2017)
SO SS Clay Fisher (2017)
SO 1B Kyle Plantier (2017)
SO 1B Austin Bush (2017)
FR RHP Noah Davis (2018)
FR RHP Willie Traynor (2018)
FR OF Michael McAdoo (2018)
FR 2B/SS Tevin Mitchell (2018)

High Priority Follows: Shane Bieber, James Carter, Trevor Bettencourt, Kenny Chapman, Andrew Calica, Dempsey Grover, Billy Fredrick, Josh Adams

Big West 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Cal Poly JR C Brian Mundell
UC Davis rSR 1B Nick Lynch
Cal Poly JR 2B Mark Mathias
Cal Poly JR SS Peter Van Gansen
Long Beach State JR 3B Zack Rivera
Cal State Northridge rJR OF Spencer O’Neil
UC Santa Barbara JR OF Dalton Kelly
Hawaii SR OF Keao Aliviado

UC Santa Barbara JR RHP Dillon Tate
Cal State Fullerton JR RHP Thomas Eshelman
Cal State Fullerton JR RHP Justin Garza
UC Santa Barbara JR LHP Justin Jacome
UC Santa Barbara JR RHP Dylan Hecht

I’ve written about Santa Barbara JR RHP Dillon Tate a bit before. One particularly pertinent excerpt…

Speaking of parallels, and I really hate to make this comparison because of how lazy it’ll appear, hear me out with this one. Long-time readers of the site know I do my best to look past player characteristics that don’t matter when it comes to developing comps, so hopefully I get the benefit of the doubt on this one. In all honesty, it makes a lot of baseball sense so whatever let’s just do it: Tate’s scouting profile looks a lot like Marcus Stroman’s coming out of Duke. The differences (mechanics aren’t similar at all [man, I loved Stroman’s] and Tate has a few inches on Stroman) are real, but the ties that bind the two are far more interesting. Both Tate and Stroman were primarily relievers through two years of college (Stroman made 13 starts out of his 34 games), both are/were great athletes with repeatable deliveries (even if you don’t love Tate’s, as I don’t, he is athletic enough to keep it up), and both clearly had the stuff to start once you looked past some of the superficial “he’s a reliever!” concerns (big fastballs, plus hard sliders/cutters, and underdeveloped changeups with big upside). I think it’s pretty cool that we’ve come far enough in just a few short years to better appreciate what a slightly non-conventional pitcher can do, and Tate should have no problem blowing past Stroman’s draft ceiling (22nd overall pick) this June. It helps that Tate has a little more size — Stroman being 5’9″ took the short righthander thing to a wonderful extreme — and a few additional contemporary examples of young big leaguers (Yordano Ventura) and minor league stars (Luis Severino) that helped crack the shorty righty glass ceiling. Speaking of Severino, I don’t know if that’s a terrible comparison for Tate, either. I prefer Stroman, but Severino, who dazzled me the two different times I got to see him this summer (93-96 FB, 98 peak; cartoonish mid-80s breaking ball, and a more advanced CU than most pitchers his age), isn’t a terrible name to be associated with.

I’d rather not use up all my words on Tate again because there are a ton of other quality arms in the Big West to get to, but suffice it to say that the fireballing righty from Santa Barbara is really, really good and all but a lock for the top ten of this year’s draft barring injury.

What a pleasant surprise it was to find Cal State Fullerton JR RHP Thomas Eshelman has a lot more fans among pro guys than I would have originally guessed. I’ve written about the different perception of college writers versus draft writers a few times over the years, and Eshelman seemed like a perfect case study as a dominant college starter unlikely to keep up his awesome results as a pro because of a lack of overpowering stuff. Thankfully, the majority of the smart people I asked about Eshelman couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about his professional future. Obviously expectations contextualize their enthusiasm – he’s not a first round prospect and not a future big league ace, two simple realities that ought to go without saying but might come as a surprise to the staunchest college only baseball fans – so we’re talking more about the better than expected chance that he’ll continue to stay in a rotation in the pros with the possibility of him reaching a mid- to back-end rotation starter status before long. Some draft guys dismiss Eshelman altogether as a future pro, but I don’t get why his strengths (plus-plus command, plus-plus control, and a variety of offspeed pitches designed to keep batters as off-balanced as a weeble who not only wobbles but has in fact fallen down) won’t translate to the pro game. Even his fastball velocity, his biggest perceived weakness coming into the season, has firmed up from the mid-80s (touching 90) to closer to the upper-80s (93 peak). That’s fast enough for me, especially when you consider his pinpoint command of the pitch and significant deception in his delivery. The deception in his motion in addition to the overall package and future pro outlook all bring to mind Ben Lively, a fourth round pick in 2013. That seems like a reasonable expectation for Eshelman at this point. Other big league names that I’ve heard Eshelman’s ceiling compared to include Aaron Harang, Brandon McCarthy, Tanner Roark, and Phil Hughes.

Eshelman’s teammate JR RHP Justin Garza is another unconventional pitching prospect with big league rotation stalwart upside. Unlike Eshelman, Garza’s got the classic stuff of a power pitcher: 90-94 FB (96 peak), above-average to plus 79-86 cut-SL, and an average 76-82 changeup that flashes better. It’s Garza’s slight 5-11, 165 pound frame that make him a bit of an anomaly. It’s imperfect as a comp, but I view Garza almost as a harder throwing version of former Fullerton ace Tyler Pill*, a fourth round pick in 2011. In terms of ceiling, I’d stay in California and use former USC star and current Padres pitcher, Ian Kennedy.

*There are 36 pitchers ahead of Pill on Baseball America’s Mets depth chart and 54 total prospects ahead of him at Fangraphs. I’m not sitting here projecting stardom for the guy, but too often floor is not valued nearly enough by the experts. I understand that prospect guys garner more acclaim for hitting on top names and being the first to identify a high-upside low-minors player that make good, but let’s give a little love for the cheap, useful, and competent role players and maybe/maybe not fifth starters. Going for the home run is more fun – heck, I do it all the time and would go to bat for upside over certainty if forced to choose – but ML-ready talent that can be used to patch holes on rosters right now are grossly undervalued on expert lists. Maybe this is just the native Philadelphian in me, but I’d kill for a guy with a solid draft pedigree, decent stuff, and consistently stellar minor league success like Tyler Pill right now on the Phillies roster.

JR LHP Justin Jacome, currently better known as Tate’s rotation-mate with UC Santa Barbara, deserves more draft love than he’s currently getting. Like Eshelman, he won’t overwhelm you with his velocity (85-90 FB, 92 peak) but the confidence he has in all five pitches (cutter, CB, CU, SL) makes it work. His size, athleticism, command, and changeup (my favorite of his secondaries) are all points in his favor. Next time anybody takes me too seriously, just remember that I had UC Santa Barbara JR RHP Dylan Hecht on my 2015 prospect to know list last year instead of Tate. I was buying him as the better bet to make the conversion to the rotation for reasons I don’t even remember. Now I can’t even find the guy on a roster. Anybody have any insight there? Ten minutes of Googling has me with more questions than answers.

Cal State Northridge JR RHP Calvin Copping is intriguing because of a fastball with more coming (86-92 now), occasional plus slider, and a changeup with promise. Cal State Fullerton SR LHP Tyler Peitzmeier is one of the country’s best relievers with the stuff (87-90 FB, plus CU) and deception to keep missing bats as a pro. UC Davis rJR RHP Max Cordy is a power arm with a plus fastball and not so plus control. As a high-profile transfer from Tennessee, UC Irvine JR RHP Matt Esparza was a name to watch coming into the season. He’s delivered so far as he’s ably mixed a solid fastball (88-93), plus hard splitter/slider thing, and flashed a truer breaking ball (upper-70s curve) with above-average upside.

The pitching in the Big West is deep and impressive, but what about the prospects tasked with hitting off these guys? The second base Big West prospect group for 2015 is a lot of fun. I could see up to a half-dozen future professional second basemen coming out of here. The obvious headliner is Cal Poly JR 2B/OF Mark Mathias. Mathias is a famous enough prospect by now that I probably don’t have to even mention this, but, man, can he hit. Mathias and hitter are basically synonymous at this point. He’s one of only two players in this year’s college class that I can put down plus for his hit tool and walk away feeling totally confident. A search of “plus hit” in my 130,000+ Word document produces only nine matches. Among them are UCLA JR OF Ty Moore, Mathias’s plus hit tool peer, and Notre Dame SO 2B/3B Cavan Biggio (a reasonable comp as a hitter for Mathias), as well as a few 2015 draft-eligible players I noted as having a chance for a plus hit tool in Cincinnati JR 2B/OF Ian Happ and Mississippi State rSO OF Jacob Robson. Other players in the mix for best hit tool in this class include obvious candidates like Arizona JR SS Kevin Newman, Vanderbilt JR SS Dansby Swanson, LSU JR 2B/SS Alex Bregman, and Florida State JR OF DJ Stewart. Dark horses I like more than others – and, again, we’re talking straight hit tool here only – are Auburn JR OF/2B Jordan Ebert and Ohio SR 1B Jake Madsen.

Some players engender more comps than others and for whatever reason Mathias is one of those guys. Baseball America has thrown out David Bell and Sam Travis as comparisons in the past. I’ve heard Placido Polanco, Howie Kendrick, and, my personal favorite (and, though he’s never told me why, one of my dad’s all-time favorite players) Mark Loretta.

UC Davis rSR 2B/OF Tino Lipson is a versatile defender (who happens to be really good at second) with plus speed and a patient approach. The buzz on Long Beach State rJR 2B Zach Domingues coming into the season shocked me in a good way. His bat has been slow to warm up so far this year, though he’s found a way to control the strike zone, one of the main selling parts of his game, despite his struggles. Cal State Fullerton JR 2B/SS Jake Jefferies is a quality all-around player who could see his stock rise if teams feel confident about his glove being able to hang at shortstop in small doses. Hawaii SR 2B Stephen Ventimilia isn’t big, but he’s a fantastic runner and athlete with a serious knack for getting on base.

As if this class needed another shortstop with the upside to one day start in the big leagues, here comes wildly underrated Cal Poly SS Peter Van Gansen and his steady glove, strong arm, and patient approach. He’s on the thin line between future utility player and potential regular right now, though his increased pop in 2015 could convince some teams he’ll hit enough to hold his own at the bottom of a lineup. I’m admittedly higher on him than most, but he checks enough of the boxes that teams like in potential backup infielders that I think he’ll wind up a valuable draft asset.

Cal Poly JR C Brian Mundell just keeps chugging along as one of the west coast’s most underrated catching prospects. All he’s done is produce since his first day on campus. I have him as a potential high-level backup catcher with the upside of starting in the big leagues with continued development. That’s aggressive, but, much like Van Gansen, I just like the way he plays the game.

UC Davis JR C Cameron Olson hasn’t been able to put it all together quite yet, but if he does then it’ll be worth the wait. His plus raw power and plus arm strength combination is what evaluators dream about. On the other end of the spectrum is the reliable yet unexciting profile of UC Irvine rSR C Jerry McClanahan. The veteran Anteater’s patient approach at the plate is my kind of prospect, but his lack of power and advanced age make him more organizational depth than future big league backup. Of course, the former can become the latter in certain cases, and there are all kinds of unseen advantages in bringing in quality workers like McClanahan to work with your minor league pitchers. I’d still have to take the upside play in Olson over the steady yet limited McClanahan, but I could understand why a team would want to use a late pick on a catcher that would put his pitchers first.

I’ve always been fond of Cal State Northridge rJR OF Spencer O’Neil’s physical ability, but his approach at the plate needs to change in a hurry if he’s to have the kind of pro future his raw talent suggests. UC Santa Barbara JR OF/1B Dalton Kelly has similar issues as a hitter, though he’s a really interesting athlete with serious speed and defensive tools varied enough to play both 1B and CF at a high level.

BONUS CONTENT

Back when I guess I thought I would physically be able to cover every team in college baseball I began working on previews for a few Big West schools. Since they’d never see the light of day otherwise, why not rescue these unfinished drafts from my Gmail archives with the adoring public? Keep in mind that these were all written back in December, so blame any stupidity you read on that fact and that fact alone.

Long Beach State

SO SS Garrett Hampson’s time under the draft microscope is still a year away, but that won’t stop scouts from honing in on him this spring. Part of that is because he’s a huge draw on his own (crazy speed, great athlete, all the defensive upside you could ask for) and part of that is because he’s one of the very few draws on the roster. That’s not to say that players won’t emerge or that I’m missing quality prospects hiding in plain sight, but I’m not sure there’s a sure-fire 2015 draft prospect on this roster. JR 3B Zack Rivera showed promise in 2013, but his production took a dive in a small sample last year. JR C Eric Hutting has professional backup catcher traits (arm, glove, athleticism), but, like Rivera, took too big a step back with the bat last year for me to be comfortable calling him a 2015 draft lock. rSR RHP Kyle Friedrichs, a Tommy John surgery survivor back in 2013, has always had nice peripherals and solid stuff. He’s probably my favorite of the upperclass pitching crop, but it’s an admittedly thin group at the moment.

Hawaii

There’s some nice talent scattered across the Hawaii lineup. You can point to just about any regular position player and identify a skill or tool that stands out enough to get on a follow list. There’s not much power on the roster, so scouts will key on players that could keep advancing levels by way of their speed, defense, and athleticism. The two players that best embody those physical attributes are SR OF Keao Aliviado and SR 2B Stephen Ventimilia. Both seniors are undersized (5-7ish, 160ish pounds) grinders with athleticism to spare. Ventimilia is the better runner and Aliviado has flashed a tiny bit more functional power, but those are two of the few separating characteristics here. Each guy has hit well in a wood bat league, each guy has walked as much as he’s struck out (more or less in Aliviado’s case), and each guy should have no problem hanging at an up-the-middle defensive position. Neither player profiles as anything close to a starter, but both should be late-round senior signs and strong organizational players with the kind of makeup that would give an organizational a net gain just by being around other young players.

Hawaii’s pitching looks decent enough that it’s not crazy to think a pitcher or two could get selected off the roster in June. I’m curious to see what JR RHP Tyler Brashears can do, hopeful that SR RHP Eric Gleese can put it all together in his last year, and fascinating to see what rSR LHP Jarrett Arakawa has left in the tank. Arakawa, a fifth-year senior who’s strong freshman season (7.43 K/9) got him early attention, has survived a missed season (2013) after having a procedure done on his labrum. What he lacks in stuff post-injury he makes up for in guile on the mound. His case may unfortunately wind up as a “what if” rather than a happy draft day ending, but just having the opportunity to convince scouts he’s got what it takes to pitch professionally one last time is a success for Arakawa at this point.

Cal State Northridge

I still have the quote saved from when rJR OF Spencer O’Neil left Oregon after the 2013 season: he “decided to pursue other opportunities” and that was that. Well he’s back playing D1 ball this year and I’m damn pleased to see it. There’s the big question as to whether his approach will remain a hindrance to his overall game, especially after a year at junior college that showed little to no gains from his freshman season at Oregon (from 6 BB and 32 K at Oregon to 8 BB and 30 K at Central Arizona). I liken him to a power pitcher capable of hitting the mid-90s with a darting fastball that he has no idea how to harness effectively. The raw talent is obvious, but bridging the gap from prospect to player is going to take a lot more work than your typical draftable college bat.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting

  1. Cal Poly JR 2B/OF Mark Mathias
  2. Cal Poly JR SS Peter Van Gansen
  3. UC Davis rSR 2B/OF Tino Lipson
  4. Long Beach State rJR 2B Zach Domingues
  5. Cal Poly JR C Brian Mundell
  6. Cal State Northridge rJR OF Spencer O’Neil
  7. UC Santa Barbara JR OF/1B Dalton Kelly
  8. Cal State Fullerton JR 2B/SS Jake Jefferies
  9. UC Davis JR C Cameron Olson
  10. Hawaii SR OF Keao Aliviado
  11. Cal State Fullerton JR 1B Tanner Pinkston
  12. Cal Poly SR OF Zack Zehner
  13. UC Davis rSR 1B/3B Nick Lynch
  14. Hawaii SR 2B Stephen Ventimilia
  15. UC Irvine rSR C Jerry McClanahan
  16. UC Riverside SR 2B/OF Joe Chavez
  17. UC Santa Barbara SR OF Cameron Newell
  18. Cal State Northridge SR C Nick Murphy

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. UC Santa Barbara JR RHP Dillon Tate
  2. Cal State Fullerton JR RHP Thomas Eshelman
  3. Cal State Fullerton JR RHP Justin Garza
  4. UC Santa Barbara JR LHP Justin Jacome
  5. Cal State Northridge JR RHP Calvin Copping
  6. UC Santa Barbara JR RHP Dylan Hecht
  7. Cal State Northridge rSR RHP Kyle Ferramola
  8. Hawaii JR RHP Tyler Brashears
  9. Cal State Fullerton SR LHP Tyler Peitzmeier
  10. UC Davis rJR RHP Max Cordy
  11. UC Santa Barbara JR RHP Connor Baits
  12. Cal State Fullerton SR RHP Willie Kuhl
  13. Cal State Northridge SR LHP Jerry Keel
  14. UC Irvine JR RHP Matt Esparza
  15. UC Santa Barbara JR RHP Trevor Bettencourt
  16. UC Santa Barbara JR RHP James Carter
  17. UC Riverside JR RHP Keaton Leach
  18. Cal Poly SR LHP Taylor Chris
  19. Hawaii JR RHP LJ Brewster
  20. Cal Poly JR RHP Casey Bloomquist
  21. UC Santa Barbara JR RHP Kenny Chapman
  22. Hawaii SR RHP Eric Gleese
  23. UC Riverside SR LHP Kevin Sprague
  24. UC Santa Barbara JR RHP/3B Robby Nesovic
  25. Hawaii rSR LHP Jarrett Arakawa
  26. Hawaii JR RHP Josh Pigg
  27. Cal State Northridge JR RHP Rayne Raven

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Big West Follow List

Cal Poly

SR OF Zack Zehner (2015)
JR 2B/OF Mark Mathias (2015)
SR OF Jordan Ellis (2015)
JR C Brian Mundell (2015)
JR SS Peter Van Gansen (2015)
JR 2B/OF John Schuknecht (2015)
SR LHP Taylor Chris (2015)
JR RHP Casey Bloomquist (2015)
SR RHP Danny Zandona (2015)
SO RHP Justin Calomeni (2016)
SO LHP Slater Lee (2016)
SO OF Brett Barbier (2016)
FR RHP Kyle Smith (2017)

Cal State Fullerton

JR RHP Justin Garza (2015)
JR RHP Thomas Eshelman (2015)
SR LHP Tyler Peitzmeier (2015)
SR RHP Willie Kuhl (2015)
rSO RHP Shane Stillwagon (2015)
JR 1B Tanner Pinkston (2015)
JR 2B/SS Jake Jefferies (2015)
JR OF Tyler Stieb (2015)
JR C AJ Kennedy (2015)
JR OF/INF David Olmedo-Barrera (2015)
JR OF Josh Vargas (2015)
SO SS Timmy Richards (2016)
SO 3B/SS Taylor Bryant (2016)
SO OF Marcus Vidales (2016)
SO C/1B Niko Pacheco (2016)
SO OF Hunter Cullen (2016):
SO RHP Chad Hockin (2016)
SO RHP Ryan Kayoda (2016)
FR OF/2B Scott Hurst (2017)
FR SS Tristan Hildebrandt (2017)
FR C Chris Hudgens (2017)
FR C/OF Jordan Hand (2017)
FR LHP John Gavin (2017)
FR RHP Connor Seabold (2017)

Cal State Northridge

rSR RHP Kyle Ferramola (2015)
SR LHP Jerry Keel (2015)
rSR RHP Louis Cohen (2015)
SR RHP Brandon Warner (2015)
JR RHP Calvin Copping (2015)
JR RHP Anthony Cortez (2015)
rSR OF Chester Pak (2015)
rJR OF Daniel Timmerman (2015)
SR C Nick Murphy (2015)
rJR OF Spencer O’Neil (2015)
JR 1B William Colantono (2015)
SR OF/2B Nick Blaser (2015)
SR 2B Ryan Raslowsky (2015)
rJR SS Yusuke Akitoshi (2015)
SO RHP Conner O’Neil (2016)
SO LHP Kenny Rosenberg (2016)
FR C/1B Albee Weiss (2017)
FR RHP Joe Ryan (2017)
FR OF/LHP Justin Toerner (2017)
FR RHP Andrew Weston (2017)

Hawaii

JR RHP Tyler Brashears (2015)
rSR LHP Jarrett Arakawa (2015)
JR RHP LJ Brewster (2015)
JR RHP Josh Pigg (2015)
rSO LHP Quintin Torres-Costa (2015)
rSR LHP Andrew Jones (2015)
SR LHP Lawrence Chew (2015)
SR RHP Eric Gleese (2015)
JR SS Jacob Sheldon-Collins (2015)
SR OF Keao Aliviado (2015)
SR OF Jordan Richartz (2015)
SR 2B Stephen Ventimilia (2015)
SO OF/2B Marcus Doi (2016)
SO RHP Gordon Cardenas (2016)
FR 1B Eric Ramirez (2017)

Long Beach State

SR C Alex Bishop (2015)
JR 3B Zack Rivera (2015)
rJR 2B Zach Domingues (2015)
JR C Eric Hutting (2015)
rSR RHP Kyle Friedrichs (2015)
rJR RHP Ty Provencher (2015)
rJR RHP Jason Alexander (2015)
JR RHP Logan Lombana (2015)
JR RHP Trey Ferketic (2015)
JR RHP Tanner Brown (2015)
SO SS Garrett Hampson (2016)
FR RHP Chris Mathewson (2017)
FR OF Joey Sanchez (2017)

UC Davis

SR RHP Spencer Koopmans (2015)
rJR RHP Max Cordy (2015)
rSR RHP Raul Jacobson (2015)
JR LHP/1B Spencer Henderson (2015)
SR OF Kevin Barker (2015)
JR OF Tanner Bily (2015)
rSR 2B/OF Tino Lipson (2015)
rSR 1B/3B Nick Lynch (2015)
JR C Cameron Olson (2015)
SO RHP Zach Stone (2016)
SO LHP Orlando Razo (2016)
SO RHP Justin Mullins (2016)
FR 1B/OF Ryan Anderson (2017)

UC Irvine

rJR 2B/OF Grant Palmer (2015)
SR C Raul Silva-Martinez (2015)
JR 3B Mitchell Holland (2015)
rJR 1B Jonathan Munoz (2015)
SR OF Kris Paulino (2015)
rSR C Jerry McClanahan (2015)
rSO OF Evan Cassolato (2015)
JR LHP Elliot Surrey (2015)
JR RHP Matt Esparza (2015)
SR RHP Sam Moore (2015)
SR LHP Evan Manarino (2015)
SO OF Adam Alcantra (2016)
FR LHP/1B Cameron Bishop (2017)
FR 2B/OF Keston Hiura (2017)
FR RHP Shaun Vetrovec (2017)

UC Riverside

SR LHP Kevin Sprague (2015)
SR LHP Antonio Gonzales (2015)
rJR LHP Cody Rogina (2015)
SR RHP Joie Dunyon (2015)
JR RHP Keaton Leach (2015)
SR 2B/SS Alex Rubanowitz (2015)
SR 2B/OF Joe Chavez (2015)
SR OF Thomas Walker (2015)
rJR C Drake Zarate (2015)
JR C Matthew Ellis (2015)
SO OF Vince Fernandez (2016)
SO INF Mark Contreras (2016)
SO RHP Angel Landazuri (2016)
SO RHP Jordan Kron (2016)

UC Santa Barbara

JR LHP Justin Jacome (2015)
JR RHP Dillon Tate (2015)
JR RHP Dylan Hecht (2015)
JR RHP Trevor Bettencourt (2015)
JR RHP James Carter (2015)
JR RHP Connor Baits (2015)
JR RHP Kenny Chapman (2015)
JR LHP Domenic Mazza (2015)
JR RHP/3B Robby Nesovic (2015)
JR OF/1B Dalton Kelly (2015)
rSR 2B/OF Woody Woodward (2015)
rSO OF Andrew Calica (2015)
rSR OF Scott Quinlan (2015)
JR SS Devon Gradford (2015)
SR OF Cameron Newell (2015)
SR SS Peter Maris (2015)
rFR OF/LHP Josh Adams (2016)
rFR C Dempsey Grover (2016)
SO RHP Shane Bieber (2016)
SO 2B/3B Billy Fredrick (2016)
FR INF Kyle Plantier (2017)
FR SS Clay Fisher (2017)

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

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

Cal Poly

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

Cal State Fullerton

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

Cal State Northridge

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

Hawaii

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

Long Beach State

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

UC Davis

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

UC Irvine

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

UC Riverside

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

UC Santa Barbara

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

2012 MLB Draft: Big West Position Players to Know

Five straight days of posting in a row. I’m as shocked as you are. Let’s wrap the week up with a look at some of the best Big West position players who are eligible for the 2012 MLB Draft. In all honesty, it’s Haniger and then a whole lot of iffy prospects, but, hey, pretend I didn’t write that and read the 727 words below anyway!

Catcher

  • UC Irvine SR C Ronnie Shaeffer

Shaeffer’s slow start knocks him down some in national circles, but he’s still the best of a sorry lot here in the Big West. His defense behind the plate is more than adequate and there’s some upside in his bat, but it is getting close to “put up or shut up” territory for him now.

First Base

  • Cal State Fullerton JR 1B Carlos Lopez
  • UC Irvine SR 1B Jordan Fox

Has anybody ever seen this Carlos Lopez and Wake Forest’s Carlos Lopez in the same place? Both young guys are really, really good college hitters. This Lopez has hit .375/.458/.462 in 104 AB. The other Lopez is hitting for a little bit more power at .359/.480/.689 in 103 AB. Both players have solid track records of success: the two put up similar numbers (Fullerton version: .329/.389/.468 – 16 BB/11 K – 158 AB…Wake Forest version: .287/.373/.567 – 23 BB/51 K – 178 AB) last season, so there is precedent for their strong 2012 performances. The biggest problem with both players, as least in term of their professional prospects, is defense. Neither profiles as a regular in any one defensive spot (this version is likely a 1B/corner OF guy, the other can add a competent 3B to those spots), but have consistently hit enough to get drafted this June.

Second Base

  • UC Irvine SR 2B Tommy Reyes
  • Cal State Fullerton JR 2B Matt Orloff
  • Cal State Fullerton JR 2B Derek Legg

All longshots to be drafted, but I’m feeling generous today, so why not? Reyes is a patient hitter, Orloff is a good defender who can run but has never hit enough to turn himself into a viable draft, and Legg has a cool last name (two G’s!).

Shortstop

  • UC Irvine SR SS DJ Crumlich
  • Cal State Fullerton JR SS Richy Pedroza
  • Cal Poly SR SS Mike Miller
  • Long Beach State JR SS Matt Duffy
  • Cal State Fullerton SR SS Anthony Trajano

There’s not enough power to project any name here as a regular, but both Crumlich and Pedroza are defensive stalwarts who could wind up as utility guys if everything breaks right. If any player listed breaks through in the low minors it’ll be Miller, a really smart hitter with sneaky pop.

Third Base

  • Cal State Northridge rJR 3B Adam Barry

Barry is a great athlete and a former football star who doesn’t quite have the tools one would expect from a two-sport performer. He doesn’t have a ton of power upside nor is he a burner on the base paths, but the possibility that he can hang behind the plate makes him a potential 2013 senior sign.

Outfield

  • Cal Poly JR OF Mitch Haniger
  • Cal State Fullerton JR OF Ivory Thomas
  • UC Irvine rSR OF Chris Ramirez
  • UC Santa Barbara JR OF Brett Vertigan
  • Cal State Fullerton JR OF Anthony Hutting
  • Cal State Fullerton JR OF Austin Kingsolver
  • UC Riverside JR OF David Andriese
  • Cal State Fullerton JR OF Casey Watkins
  • UC Santa Barbara SR OF Lance Roenicke
  • Long Beach State SR OF Jonathan Kim
  • Long Beach State SR OF Brennan Metzger
  • Cal State Northridge OF Miles Williams
  • UC Davis SR OF David Popkins

With above-average power, a strong arm, average speed, good athleticism, and well above-average range, Haniger has the look of a future everyday player in right field. I worry some about his bat – his power is nice, but will he make enough contact? – but in a weak college group of hitters, he’s a standout. After Haniger there is a steep drop off in pro talent. Thomas faces similar questions about his hit tool, but has impressive defensive tools in center field to fall back on if all else fails. He is a good bit behind Haniger as a prospect because of his lack of power upside. There’s yet another decline in talent after Thomas, if you can believe it. Ramirez offers many of the same skills as Thomas (speed, CF defense), just like Vertigan below him. Long story short, the Big West has all the speed and defense you could want, but none of the power (outside of Haniger).