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2018 MLB Draft Profile – Boston College

It feels that RHP Jacob Stevens has been around forever, but he’s still only a 22-year-old third-year junior. I guess getting drafted by my hometown team (Phillies) out of high school and then being an draft-eligible sophomore (and Yankees draft pick) has kept him in the draft conversation a bit more than your typical New England area college prospect. Or maybe it’s just because the ACC is typically the first conference I write about each year and Boston College is the first team alphabetically in the conference, so…here we are again. Whatever the reason, Stevens has been on the draft map for years now, though it looks as though he’s just a few months away from finally making his pro debut. Stevens’s sophomore season wasn’t as pretty as his freshman campaign, but his peripherals remained more or less the same. More importantly, by all accounts his stuff looked more like what his high school self threw. As a three-pitch righthander with strong fastball command and ideal pro size, Stevens seems ready to make the leap in 2018 both as a college performer and draft prospect. It’s hard to say where a potential backend starting pitcher/quality middle reliever like this fits on a big board without stacking it all up, but I’d have to think he’d get some top ten round consideration for teams that value certainty over ceiling.

RHP Brendan Spagnuolo‘s past as a Vanderbilt transfer gives him a little something extra to get excited about. I’ve long said that drafting from schools with sterling recruiting reputations — both by poaching their on-field talent and the names on their incoming recruiting sheets — would produce a damn interesting draft class. Even better for a lazy man like me, doing this would come with the added bonus of being a heck of a lot easier for your scouting staff. In fact, why have a scouting staff at all when you can outsource all the work to the Tim Corbin’s, Kevin O’Sullivan’s, and Mike Fox’s of the world? Think of the money you’d save! Jokes aside, there is something to the idea that the Vanderbilt (or Florida or North Carolina or whatever program sits atop your personal ranking) seal of approval means something. When a staff that has had so much success identifying quality high school prospects comes after you, then you might just have a little talent after all. Spagnuolo’s pedigree makes him intriguing, especially when tacked on to his existing solid fastball/breaking ball combination. Now he has to show it on the field.

I’m shocked that RHP Brian Rapp, who has decidedly done it on the field already, is back for his senior season and not in Florida or Arizona getting ready for his first full year in pro ball. As mentioned, the 2018 MLB Draft big board is but a twinkle in this author’s eye at this point but it doesn’t feel like a stretch at all to call Rapp one of my favorite senior-signs for 2018. Rapp has power stuff with a fastball that can reach the mid-90s and two breaking balls that flash above-average. The big thing holding him back (I’d assume) is his frame. No matter how smart baseball gets, the bias against short righthanders remains. Rapp’s power stuff doesn’t come in a body (5-11, 200 pounds) we typically associate with power stuff. That’s not a problem for me, but maybe that’s easier to say when you’re not in a position where you need to sell anybody else (besides the readers on a free website, of course) on who you like and dislike as a prospect. I’m happy to advocate for Rapp and players like him as long as I’m around.

RHP Thomas Lane is a big man (6-5, 255 pounds) with a hard sinking low-90s fastball. RHP John Witkowski has the size teams like and a sinker/slider combination with promise, but the results last year weren’t pretty. RHP Sean Hughes can crank it up to 94 MPH. Over/under on how many of these three get popped this June is 1.5. I lean towards the over, but I skew optimistic like that.

C Gian Martellini has his fans, but I think the powerful backstop fits best as a 2019 senior-sign. Catchers are always in demand, however, so it would be no surprise to see him selected way earlier than I’ll likely have him ranked. If he does wind up a senior-sign, then he’d be lucky to be as high priority a follow as present senior-sign extraordinaire 2B/3B Jake Palomaki. When it comes to senior-signs and mid-round value picks (who aren’t technically “senior-signs” because senior-signs, to me, have to be top ten round types who both have the talent to warrant such a draft spot AND save their drafting team money by taking underslot bonuses), it’s important to identify players with skill sets that can work in pro ball. Palomaki’s defensive versatility (he’s steady at all the infield spots) and patient approach at the plate give him a path to playing time at the next level. He’ll not a star and very likely not a starting caliber prospect, but what he does well gives him an honest floor as a useful minor league plug-and-play type with the upside as a utility infielder. Franchises need to fill out low-level minor league teams every summer. Getting a guy like Palomaki who can play multiple spots in the minors (thus helping out the development of others as his versatility could allow other more highly regarded prospects time to play their natural spots, not to mention other meaningful benefits as outlined in this very cool recent piece at Baseball America) while also being skilled enough to potentially develop into something a little more than just your friendly neighborhood org guy could be a very nice win for a team picking late. In any event, Palomaki is my favorite 2018 MLB Draft position player prospect on the Eagles.

JR RHP Jacob Stevens (2018)
JR RHP Thomas Lane (2018)
rJR RHP Brendan Spagnuolo (2018)
JR RHP John Witkowski (2018)
SR RHP Brian Rapp (2018)
SR LHP Carmen Giampetruzzi (2018)
JR LHP Dan Metzdorf (2018)
JR LHP Zach Stromberg (2018)
JR RHP Sean Hughes (2018)
JR RHP Jack Nelson (2018)
SR 1B/LHP Mitch Bigras (2018)
JR C Gian Martellini (2018)
SR 2B/3B Jake Palomaki (2018)
rJR OF Scott Braren (2018)
JR 2B/OF Jake Alu (2018)
SO RHP Matt Gill (2019)
rFR LHP Joey Walsh (2019)
SO OF/RHP Jack Cunningham (2019)
SO OF Dante Baldelli (2019)
SO SS Brian Dempsey (2019)
SO C Aaron Soucy (2019)
SO OF Jacob Yish (2019)
FR RHP Jack Hodgson (2020)
FR OF Chris Galland (2020)

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2017 MLB Draft Report – Boston College

Jacob Stevens has looked more like his senior year of high school self than his BC freshman year self, and that’s a really good thing for his prospect stock going forward. Stevens, damn impressive in his first year as an Eagle (8.48 K/9 and 2.54 ERA in 74.1 IP), saw a slight dip in stuff across the board as he made the otherwise seamless transition from high school star to college ace. His velocity is back up to his teenage highs (89-93) and a pair of average-ish offspeed pitches (75-78 breaking ball, low-80s change) should allow him to remain in the rotation. A sturdy frame, clean mechanics, and pinpoint fastball command all help the cause as well. I’m not in love with the profile — inconsistent control, limited projection, and the lack of a clear knockout pitch give me pause — but I get the appeal.

John Witkowski and Brian Rapp are both solid relief prospects worth watching; the former fits the sinker/slider middle relief archetype while the latter has a little more velocity (up to 95), a little more offspeed depth, and a little more upside. Despite his lack of traditional starter size, I don’t hate the idea of keeping Rapp stretched out in the pros. Vanderbilt transfer Brendan Spagnuolo is interesting – Vanderbilt doesn’t recruit guys who aren’t interesting, after all – but needs innings to showcase his stuff. Carmen Giampetruzzi is a new name for me (and what a name at that), so all I’ve got on him is what anybody else can read from his impressive early season stat page.

Meanwhile Donovan Casey is one of the better two-way prospects in this class. A case can be made for him either as a pitcher (88-92 FB, 94 peak; really good CU; breaking ball that’ll flash) or as a hitter (above-average to plus speed/arm, intriguing power upside), though I now think I’m finally on board with putting the plus athlete on the mound and letting his athleticism and arm strength take over from there. It’s funny because I’ve always been left cold by Casey as a position player — the raw tools are thrilling, but you’ve got to start hitting eventually — yet am now pretty damn excited about Casey as a pitching prospect. ABoA: Always Bet on Athleticism.

In terms of guys who strictly play the field, Boston College doesn’t have a ton to offer in 2017. Your best bet is to look strictly up the middle with players like Casey, Johnny Adams, and Jake Palomaki. Adams, a steady glove at short, has some talent, but it’s probably time to put an end to any real pro prospect chatter with him. His bat has stalled to the point of no return for me. I love Palomaki’s glove at second, base running acumen, and approach, but his lack of pop puts a hard cap on his ceiling. He will probably be somewhere on my 2017 draft list, but he’d look even better as a 2018 senior-sign prospect.

*****

SO RHP Jacob Stevens (2017)
rSO RHP Brendan Spagnuolo (2017)
rSR RHP Luke Fernandes (2017)
SO RHP John Witkowski (2017)
JR LHP Carmen Giampetruzzi (2017)
JR RHP Brian Rapp (2017)
rJR RHP Bobby Skogsbergh (2017)
SR OF/RHP Michael Strem (2017)
JR RHP/OF Donovan Casey (2017)
SR SS/3B Johnny Adams (2017)
JR 2B/3B Jake Palomaki (2017)
JR OF Scott Braren (2017)
JR 1B Mitch Bigras (2017)
SO LHP Dan Metzdorf (2018)
SO LHP Zach Stromberg (2018)
SO RHP Thomas Lane (2018)
SO RHP Sean Hughes (2018)
SO RHP Jack Nelson (2018)
SO C Gian Martellini (2018)
SO OF Dominic Hardaway (2018)
FR RHP Matt Gill (2019)
FR OF Dante Baldelli (2019)
FR SS Brian Dempsey (2019)
FR OF Jack Cunningham (2019)
FR C Aaron Soucy (2019)

2016 MLB Draft – ACC

If you’re one of the small handful of daily readers, you can go ahead and skip this post. You’ve already seen it. Not that you needed my permission or anything, but you’re free to pass all the same. The intent here is to get all of the college content in one place, so below you’ll find everything I’ve written about the 2016 class of MLB Draft prospects currently playing in the ACC. Then I’ll have a college baseball master list post that will centralize everything I’ve written about the 2016 MLB Draft college class all in one place. It’s a rare bit of inspired organizational posting around here, so I’m trying to strike while motivated…

ACC Overview Part 1
ACC Overview Part 2
Boston College

Clemson
Duke
Florida State
Georgia Tech
Miami
North Carolina State
Notre Dame
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – ACC Follow List

Boston College 

JR 1B/OF Chris Shaw (2015)
JR 3B/SS Joe Cronin (2015)
SR 2B/SS Blake Butera (2015)
SR RHP John Gorman (2015)
SR LHP Nick Poore (2015)
JR RHP Jeff Burke (2015)
JR LHP Jesse Adams (2015)
SO RHP Justin Dunn (2016)
SO RHP Mike King (2016)
SO C Nick Sciortino (2016)
SO SS/3B Johnny Adams (2016)
SO RHP Bobby Skogsbergh (2016)

Clemson

JR LHP Matthew Crownover (2015)
JR LHP Zack Erwin (2015)
JR RHP Clate Schmidt (2015)
rSO RHP Wales Toney (2015)
rJR RHP Patrick Andrews (2015)
rSR RHP Kevin Pohle (2015)
rSR RHP Jake Long (2015)
JR RHP Brady Koerner (2015)
rSR RHP Clay Bates (2015)
rSO RHP Garrett Lovorn (2015)
JR RHP/3B Jackson Campana (2015)
JR OF Steven Duggar (2015)
SR OF Tyler Slaton (2015)
rSO 1B/OF Andrew Cox (2015)
rSO OF Maleeke Gibson (2015)
JR SS/2B Tyler Krieger (2015)
SO C Chris Okey (2016)
SO LHP Pat Krall (2016)
SO 3B/SS Weston Wilson (2016)
SO SS/2B Eli White (2016)
SO LHP Alex Bostic (2016)
SO RHP Drew Moyer (2016)
rFR 3B Glenn Batson (2016)
rFR OF Reed Rohlman (2016)
FR OF KJ Bryant (2017)
FR LHP Charlie Barnes (2017)
FR OF Drew Wharton (2017)
FR OF Chase Pinder (2017)

Duke

JR RHP Michael Matuella (2015)
SR RHP Sarkis Ohanian (2015)
SR RHP Andrew Istler (2015)
SR LHP Trent Swart (2015)
rJR LHP Remy Janco (2015)
rJR RHP Conner Stevens (2015)
JR LHP Nick Hendrix (2015)
rSR LHP Dillon Haviland (2015)
rSO RHP James Marvel (2015)
JR RHP/SS Kenny Koplove (2015)
rSR C Mike Rosenfeld (2015)
rSO OF Jalen Phillips (2015)
SR 2B Andy Perez (2015)
SO RHP Bailey Clark (2016)
SO RHP Karl Blum (2016)
SO LHP Kevin Lewallyn (2016)
SO C Cristian Perez (2016)
FR 1B Justin Bellinger (2017)
FR LHP Chris McGrath (2017)
FR SS Ryan Day (2017)
FR 3B Jack Labosky (2017)
FR LHP Mitch Stallings (2017)

Florida State

JR OF DJ Stewart (2015)
rSR 1B Chris Marconcini (2015)
JR 2B/SS John Sansone (2015)
SR C Daniel De La Calle (2015)
SR OF Josh Delph (2015)
rJR RHP Mike Compton (2015)
SR LHP Bryant Holtmann (2015)
JR RHP/OF Jameis Winston (2015)
JR LHP Alex Diese (2015)
JR LHP Dylan Silva (2015)
SR LHP Billy Strode (2015)
SO RHP Taylor Blatch (2016)
SO LHP Alec Byrd (2016)
SO RHP Boomer Biegalski (2016)
rFR RHP Andy Ward (2016)
rFR RHP Ed Voyles (2016)
SO RHP Jim Voyles (2016)
SO OF/SS Ben DeLuzio (2016)
SO 1B/C Quincy Nieporte (2016)
SO C/OF Gage West (2016)
SO INF Hank Truluck (2016)
FR RHP Cobi Johnson (2017)
FR RHP Andrew Karp (2017)
FR RHP Drew Carlton (2017)
FR SS/3B Dylan Busby (2017)
FR SS/2B Taylor Walls (2017)
FR C/1B Darren Miller (2017)
FR OF/RHP Steven Wells (2017)

Georgia Tech

SR 1B/C AJ Murray (2015)
rJR OF Dan Spingola (2015)
JR 3B/SS Matt Gonzalez (2015)
rSO 1B Cole Miller (2015)
SR 2B/SS Thomas Smith (2015)
JR LHP/OF Jonathan King (2015)
SR RHP Cole Pitts (2015)
SO OF Ryan Peurifoy (2016)
SO RHP Zac Ryan (2016)
SO C Arden Pabst (2016)
SO OF Keenan Innis (2016)
SO 3B/RHP Brandon Gold (2016)
SO LHP Ben Parr (2016)
SO SS Connor Justus (2016)
FR OF/1B Kel Johnson (2017)
FR LHP Daniel Gooden (2017)
FR RHP Patrick Wiseman (2017)

Louisville

JR RHP Kyle Funkhouser (2015)
rSO LHP Josh Rogers (2015)
rSO LHP Robert Strader (2015)
JR RHP/1B Anthony Kidston (2015)
SR 2B/SS Zach Lucas (2015)
JR 1B/3B Dan Rosenbaum (2015)
SR OF Michael White (2015)
SR SS/2B Sutton Whiting (2015)
SO RHP Zack Burdi (2016)
SO LHP Drew Harrington (2016)
SO RHP Jake Sparger (2016)
SO OF Corey Ray (2016)
SO 2B Nick Solak (2016)
rFR 3B/SS Blake Tiberi (2016)
rFR OF/C Ryan Summers (2016)
SO OF Colin Lyman (2016)
SO C Will Smith (2016)
rFR OF Mike White (2016)
FR LHP/1B Brendan McKay (2017)
FR SS Devin Hairston (2017)
FR RHP Lincoln Henzman (2017)
FR RHP Kade McClure (2017)
FR C/1B Colby Fritch (2017)

Miami

JR 3B/1B David Thompson (2015)
JR 3B/OF George Iskenderian (2015)
SR C Garrett Kennedy (2015)
rSO 1B/OF Chris Barr (2015)
JR OF Ricky Eusebio (2015)
JR SS/RHP Brandon Lopez (2015)
rJR LHP Andrew Suarez (2015)
JR LHP Thomas Woodrey (2015)
JR RHP Enrique Sosa (2015)
SO 1B/C Zack Collins (2016)
SO OF Willie Abreu (2016)
SO RHP/1B Derik Beauprez (2016)
SO OF Jacob Heyward (2016)
SO LHP Danny Garcia (2016)
SO RHP Bryan Garcia (2016)
SO SS Sebastian Diaz (2016)
SO 2B Johnny Ruiz (2016)
SO RHP Cooper Hammond (2016)
rFR RHP Andy Honiotes (2016)
FR OF Carl Chester (2017)
FR OF Justin Smith (2017)
FR LHP Michael Mediavilla (2017)
FR RHP Jesse Lepore (2017)
FR RHP Keven Pimentel (2017)
FR LHP Luke Spangler (2017)
FR RHP Devin Meyer (2017)

North Carolina

SR RHP Benton Moss (2015)
JR RHP Reilly Hovis (2015)
JR RHP Trent Thornton (2015)
rJR RHP Chris McCue (2015)
SR RHP Trevor Kelley (2015)
JR RHP Taylore Cherry (2015)
JR OF Skye Bolt (2015)
JR OF Josh Merrigan (2015)
JR 3B/2B Landon Lassiter (2015)
JR C Korey Dunbar (2015)
JR SS/OF Alex Raburn (2015)
SO RHP/SS Spencer Trayner (2016)
SO RHP AJ Bogucki (2016)
SO RHP Zac Gallen (2016)
SO LHP Zach Rice (2016)
SO C Adrian Chacon (2016)
SO 1B Joe Dudek (2016)
SO 2B/SS Wood Myers (2016)
SO OF Tyler Ramirez (2016)
SO OF Adam Pate (2016)
FR 3B/RHP Ryder Ryan (2016)
FR 1B/LHP Hunter Williams (2017)
FR SS/3B Zack Gahagan (2017)
FR RHP JB Bukauskas (2017)
FR RHP Hansen Butler (2017)
FR RHP Jason Morgan (2017)
FR OF/2B Logan Warmoth (2017)
FR RHP Brett Daniels (2017)
FR INF Brooks Kennedy (2017)

North Carolina State

JR RHP Jon Olczak (2015)
JR RHP Curt Britt (2015)
rJR LHP Travis Orwig (2015)
JR RHP Karl Keglovits (2015)
JR LHP Brad Stone (2015)
rSO RHP Johnny Piedmonte (2015)
SR OF Jake Fincher (2015)
JR SS Ryne Willard (2015)
SR OF Bubby Riley (2015)
SR 2B/3B Logan Ratledge (2015)
SR 1B/OF Jake Armstrong (2015)
JR C Chance Shepard (2015)
SO RHP Cory Wilder (2016)
SO 3B Andrew Knizner (2016)
SO OF Garrett Suggs (2016)
SO 1B Preston Palmeiro (2016)
SO RHP Joe O’Donnell (2016)
SO LHP Ryan Williamson (2016)
SO LHP Cody Beckman (2016)
FR RHP/INF Tommy DeJuneas (2017)
FR RHP Evan Mendoza (2017)
FR OF Storm Edwards (2017)
FR 3B Joe Dunand (2017)

Notre Dame

rSR RHP Cristian Torres (2015)
JR RHP Nick McCarty (2015)
SR RHP Scott Kerrigan (2015)
JR RHP David Hearne (2015)
JR LHP Michael Hearne (2015)
JR LHP/OF Zac Kutsulis (2015)
SR OF/LHP Robert Youngdahl (2015)
SR 3B Phil Mosey (2015)
SR OF/1B Ryan Bull (2015)
SR OF Mac Hudgins (2015)
SR OF Blaise Lezynski (2015)
SR OF Conor Biggio (2015)
JR SS Lane Richards (2015)
JR C/OF Ricky Sanchez (2015)
SO RHP Ryan Smoyer (2016)
SO 2B/SS Kyle Fiala (2016)
SO 2B/3B Cavan Biggio (2016)
SO C Ryan Lidge (2016)
rFR OF Torii Hunter (2016)
FR RHP Peter Solomon (2017)
FR RHP Brad Bass (2017)
FR RHP Brandon Bielak (2017)
FR LHP Sean Guenther (2017)

Pittsburgh

SR OF Boo Vazquez (2015)
SR 1B Eric Hess (2015)
SR SS/2B Matt Johnson (2015)
JR C Alex Kowalczyk (2015)
JR RHP Marc Berube (2015)
JR RHP Aaron Sandefur (2015)
JR LHP/OF Aaron Schnurbusch (2015)
SR RHP Hobie Harris (2015)
SO RHP Sam Mersing (2016)
SO RHP TJ Zeuch (2016)
FR 3B/SS Charles LeBlanc (2017)

Virginia

JR OF Joe McCarthy (2015)
JR 2B/3B John LaPrise (2015)
SO SS/3B Daniel Pinero (2015)
SR 3B Kenny Towns (2015)
JR C/RHP Robbie Coman (2015)
JR LHP Brandon Waddell (2015)
JR LHP Nathan Kirby (2015)
JR RHP Josh Sborz (2015)
JR LHP David Rosenberger (2015)
SO RHP Connor Jones (2016)
SO C Matt Thaiss (2016)
SO RHP Jack Roberts (2016)
SO RHP Alec Bettinger (2016)
FR 2B Jack Gerstenmaier (2017)
FR 1B/RHP Pavin Smith (2017)
FR RHP Derek Casey (2017)
FR RHP Tommy Doyle (2017)
FR OF/LHP Adam Haseley (2017)
FR LHP Bennett Sousa (2017)
FR 3B Charlie Cody (2017)
FR C/2B Justin Novak (2017)
FR OF Christian Lowry (2017)
FR 2B/OF Ernie Clement (2017)

Virginia Tech

rSO OF Saige Jenco (2015)
SR 2B/SS Alex Perez (2015)
rSR OF Kyle Wernicki (2015)
rJR OF Logan Bible (2015)
SR 1B/RHP Brendon Hayden (2015)
rSO 1B/LHP Phil Sciretta (2015)
SR LHP/1B Sean Keselica (2015)
rSO LHP Kit Scheetz (2015)
rJR LHP Jon Woodcock (2015)
SO RHP Luke Scherzer (2016)
SO SS Ricky Surum (2016)
SO RHP Aaron McGarity (2016)
SO 3B Ryan Tufts (2016)
SO OF/LHP Tom Stoffel (2016)
SO 3B/OF Miguel Ceballos (2016)
SO RHP Ryan Lauria (2016)
FR C Joe Freiday (2017)
FR 3B Max Ponzurik (2017)

Wake Forest

JR RHP/C Garrett Kelly (2015)
SR RHP Matt Pirro (2015)
rSO LHP Max Tishman (2015)
rJR RHP Aaron Fossas (2015)
rSR OF Kevin Jordan (2015)
JR OF/2B Joey Rodriguez (2015)
JR OF Luke Czajkowski (2015)
SO C Ben Breazeale (2016)
rFR RHP Chris Farish (2016)
SO 2B/OF Nate Mondou (2016)
SO 3B/RHP Will Craig (2016)
SO RHP John McCarren (2016)
SO RHP Connor Johnstone (2016)
SO RHP Parker Dunshee (2016)
FR OF Stuart Fairchild (2017)
FR INF Bruce Steel (2017)
FR 1B Gavin Sheets (2017)
FR SS Drew Freedman (2017)

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Boston College

Hey, all. It’s that time of year. We’re doing team-by-team college prospect previews for as long as I have the sanity to keep rolling ‘em out. Feel free to request a team/conference and I’ll put it at the top of the list. Also, as always, don’t hesitate to tell me how wrong I am in the comments or via email (robozga@gmail.com)…

JR 1B/OF Chris Shaw (2015)
JR SS Joe Cronin (2015)
SR 2B/SS Blake Butera (2015)
SR RHP John Gorman (2015)
SR LHP Nick Poore (2015)
JR RHP Jeff Burke (2015)
JR LHP Jesse Adams (2015)
SO RHP Justin Dunn (2016)
SO RHP Mike King (2016)
SO SS/3B Johnny Adams (2016)

JR 1B/OF Chris Shaw is the big draw here. In terms of 2015 draft prospects, you could actually call him the only draw at the present moment. I like both SR 2B/SS Blake Butera and JR SS Joe Cronin a little bit, and the two of them should be good college table-setters for Shaw, but the BC lineup on the whole isn’t exactly stacked, especially by ACC standards. There are some interesting pitchers to monitor including strong senior sign candidate RHP John Gorman and statistical favorite JR LHP Jesse Adams, but the best two arms on the staff from where I’m sitting are both 2016 prospects (SO RHPs Justin Dunn [huge fan of his] and Mike King).

So, back to Shaw. The raw power is up there with any other player in this class. It’s shown up in the numbers (.329/.393/.502 last season at BC and a 30 HR full season pace on the Cape) and in games/BP. He’s big and strong and has a knack for hitting the ball hard. The power alone will get him drafted in the top five rounds without worry. Those who have fully bought in have touted him as a first round caliber prospect. I’m personally conflicted on Shaw as a draft prospect as I really, really like what I’ve seen with my eyes (beautiful swing that somehow manages to be both compact and powerful all at once with really quick hands and unusual looseness for a big man), but the overly aggressive approach at the plate (21 BB/38 K last season followed by a worse 13 BB/37 K ratio on the Cape) is a major red flag going forward. The fake scout in me can see a breakthrough coming in that area thanks to said components for an above-average hit tool, significant plate coverage, and his well-earned reputation as being a student of hitting, but, at the same time, I’ve got a reputation as a “numbers don’t lie” internet writer to uphold. I’d hate to hedge and say I’m waiting on him flipping his BB/K numbers around before pumping him up as a potential top two round pick with big league regular upside, but I think that’s where I’m at right now. I’d love to know what College Splits has on him when it comes to his performance against Friday night starters to date.

Now for the fun part. As a high-profile draft prospect, Shaw has garnered all kinds of interesting player comps over the past few months. Perfect Game has thrown out Garrett Anderson (as a hitter), Casey Gillaspie, and Chris Davis as comparable players for various reasons. I’ve personally heard a pair of “classic” player comps that I found neat: Harold Baines and Steve Garvey. The one modern hitting comp I’ve heard is Torii Hunter, which I kind of like because it speaks to Shaw’s ability as a hitter first and a slugger second. His swing at 2:07 in this clip is what I keep coming back to when I think of that, though I realize cross-handedness hitter comparisons are doomed from the start. That’s the stroke of a hitter who just happens to be strong and hit for power and not necessarily a power hitter’s mighty hack. Finally, two of my own (and therefore, my favorite) comps: first, a comp so logical that I’m stunned it hasn’t been made yet. I lived in Boston for a few years, so I can tell you firsthand how tricky (but not impossible) it is to see quality amateur baseball on a consistent basis in the frigid winter months early in the college season. The stories that I heard from older scouts in the area who talked often about Carlos Pena playing at Northeastern line up quite nicely with what I’ve seen, read, and heard about Shaw. For the record, here is each guy’s sophomore season line…

.309/.398/.600 – 26 BB/34 K – 175 AB
.329/.393/.502 – 21 BB/38 K – 207 AB

Top is Pena, bottom is Shaw. Not perfect, but not crazy different, either. My favorite comp, however, has nothing to do with geography. Check out these sophomore seasons…

.346/.400/.532 – 26 BB/39 K – 231 AB
.329/.393/.502 – 21 BB/38 K – 207 AB

Bottom is Shaw once again. The top is a guy who BA said the following about pre-draft: “struggled with wood in the Cape in 2007″…”excellent raw power”… “above-average at first base”… “plus arm”…”below-average speed.” I’d knock Shaw a grade lower in all non-bat grades across the board (average glove, above-average arm, slow), but for the most part it checks out. The player in question is the newest member of the Oakland Athletics and former first round pick (18th overall) Ike Davis. That seems like Shaw’s draft ceiling and it just might be his most realistic professional outcome.