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2018 MLB Draft Profile – Central Florida

1B/RHP Rylan Thomas can flat mash. He swings and misses too much, he comes with the dreaded R/R first base only profile, and his size (5-11, 235) isn’t what some evaluators have come to expect out of a potential thumper in the middle of the lineup, but, boy, can he mash. Thomas is a plus power hitter with a much better feel for hitting than most sluggers typecast for the role. He’s not for everybody, but it’s worth noting that he’s made serious improvements in his approach in his two years at Central Florida. Last year, Thomas did this: 33.2 K% and 5.8 BB%. This year, his K% is down to a high but manageable 21.3 and his BB% is up to a much more comforting 14.7. If those gains are real — or, better yet, part of a larger trend to come — then Thomas could be of those sleeper R/R first basemen that everybody has been hunting for since the big Paul Goldschmidt breakout. I could see him being viewed as a shorter, righthanded draft prospect equivalent to Darick Hall, fourteenth round pick of the Phillies in 2016. With a little more perceived upside than Hall — Thomas was a pretty big deal as a high school star at Windermere Prep — he could go even higher than that. Signability could play in, however, as Thomas has two years of college remaining if he decides to opt in. He’s a really tough yet fun evaluation this year.

OF/SS Ray Alejo, a transfer from Mississippi, would have been one of my breakout picks coming into the year if I was the type to actually have things done on time. It might be for the best that I didn’t because Alejo’s 2018 has been a mixed bat so far. His speed, athleticism, and defense up the middle have all been as promised. His limited pop (for now) paired with a power hitter’s whiff rate (29.3%) hurt. I’d say the good outweighs the bad because where Alejo wins (speed, athleticism, defense…if you have already forgotten) tends to translate well to pro ball. Like Thomas, he’ll be another challenging evaluation for scouts this spring/summer.

2B Matthew Mika is a plus runner who goes into at bats with a solid plan in place. I like guys like that. Limited power and the unknowns about his defensive versatility hold him back. If those unknowns are known by those who know more than me, then Mika could work himself into a late-round potential utility player place in this draft. For now, I have him as a primary second baseman and that’s a tough path to the pros.

Much was expected of OF/1B Brody Wofford as a prospect going back to his high school days. Minus one good but not great year at junior college, there’s not a ton to show for all his promise. C Logan Heiser could get a look for his defense by a team badly in need of a late round catcher. I don’t see the bat as pro-quality, but reasonable minds may differ. I don’t have a ton on OF/3B Tyler Osik, but he’s hit enough this season to at least enter the draft conversation. SS Brandon Hernandez had the chance to do the same with a solid junior season, but will now probably have to wait until 2019 to rebuild his draft stock. He’s a good enough defender to be a late pick, so if the bat comes around that’s where he’ll likely go.

The five year mystery of RHP Cre Finfrock‘s name continues to beguile me. As far as I can tell, Cre isn’t short for anything. It’s just Cre. Just this morning I realized that all this time I’ve been thinking about his first name when his last name is unlike any I have ever heard either. Finfrock is a great last name. Cre Finfrock altogether is just perfect. Making this even better is the fact that Finfrock is really good when healthy. So far so good on that front this year after missing his 2017 season due to injury. At his best (and healthiest), Finfrock can run it up to the mid-90s (97 peak) while sitting anywhere from 88-94 with serious sink. He’s also shown flashes of a quality breaking ball (77-84) and change (79-81), both potential average or better pitches in time. If you can get past his shorter build (6-1, 200) and give him a break on his 2018 wildness (expected, I’d think, after a year away), then I think a strong case could be made for Finfrock to get a shot as a starting pitcher in pro ball. The stuff and pitchability are there. If not, he could move really quickly as a reliever. That would hardly be a bad thing, especially considering the way modern relievers are being used by certain teams. Finfrock could make his make in the pros as a starter, a one-inning reliever who goes all out, or a multi-inning relief ace. None of the above would surprise me. I’m a fan.

LHP Bryce Tucker had an eye-popping junior sophomore season. Look at his 2017: 13.03 K/9 and 2.84 BB/9 in 38.0 IP of 1.66 ERA ball. That’s about as good as it gets on the college level. He hasn’t bee as good in any area so far in 2018, but that’s hardly a concern considering his numbers (outside of an inflated walk rate) have all only dropped from great to very good. Tucker’s most logical fit in the pro game will be to continue as a lefthanded weapon out of the bullpen. His raw stuff may not blow you away, but his overall repertoire is one that works for him. Tucker can command an average or better fastball (86-92, 94 peak), a quality low-80s changeup, and an emerging 79-83 slider that will flash above-average. On top of that, his deceptiveness and fearlessness of throwing any of his three pitches in any count help everything play up. Tucker would be an easy player to miss in a class filled with fun college pitching, but he’s a good one.

RHP Jordan Spicer was really high on my preseason intrigue list. Billed as an athletic righty with a chance for a plus sinker (87-92, 94 peak) and slider (80-82) mix, Spicer was expected to hit the ground running at Central Florida from day one. That hasn’t exactly been the case from a run prevention point of view (his 5.04 ERA is second highest on the team), but he’s managed to miss bats and limit free passes at more than acceptable rates. That’s all a long way of saying that I’m still buying what Spicer’s selling.

RHP JJ Montgomery‘s fastball is enough to get him selected pretty high. That’s what you get when you can run it up to 97 MPH while also managing to live between 90-94 with plus sink. That’s a really nice start for any relief prospect. RHP Thad Ward has a touch less velocity (sits 88-92, hits 94-95), but similar movement and command of the pitch. Ward’s offspeed stuff (82-85 SL, 81 CU) is a little further along, but, like Montgomery, it’ll be his ability to pitch off that fastball that gets a team excited on draft day.

RHP Eric Hepple may not be a household draft name, but any pitcher with pro stuff (90-92 fastball, 76-80 breaking ball, 88-89 cutter) and a double-digit strikeout rate (11.67 K/9 as of this writing) is worth knowing. The senior’s ERA has spiked a bit from his crazy junior year success (0.87 ERA in 20.2 IP), but the peripherals remain strong.

RHP Garrett Westberg and LHP Luis Ferrer both have good numbers and names that sound like those you’d find in a pro bullpen near you. RHP Nick McCoy has bounced around a bit and seen some tough times from an injury standpoint (most notably Tommy John surgery), but the soon-to-be 25-year-old (in July) has worked his way back to the mound for five really good senior year innings this year. Future pro or not, that’s cool.

I get a lot of questions about projection versus production. Specifically, I’m asked to what degree should a college player’s production be weighed with a professional ball projection in mind. I tend to factor it in more heavily than most real BASEBALL KNOWERS probably like, but there natural limits to scouting the box score. RHP Chris Williams has done nothing but produce since stepping foot on Central Florida’s campus. His ERA’s by year: 2.30, 2.65, 2.14. As of this writing, he’s closing in on a career high in innings with 71.1 (also a team high). Williams is a great college pitcher. Unfortunately, this does not necessarily make him a great pro prospect. Depending on who you talk to, he may not be a pro prospect at all. The good news here is that we’ll all likely have another season to figure this out — Williams is a redshirt-junior — so hopefully the undersized righthander will keep dominating the competition and wind up making us look bad for doubting him.

JR LHP Bryce Tucker (2018)
JR RHP Jordan Spicer (2018)
rJR RHP Cre Finfrock (2018):
rJR RHP Chris Williams (2018)
SR RHP Eric Hepple (2018)
SO RHP Thad Ward (2018)
JR RHP JJ Montgomery (2018)
rSR RHP Nick McCoy (2018)
JR RHP Garrett Westberg (2018)
rJR LHP Luis Ferrer (2018)
SO 1B/RHP Rylan Thomas (2018)
rSO OF/SS Ray Alejo (2018)
JR 2B Matthew Mika (2018)
SR OF Max Wood (2018)
JR OF/1B Brody Wofford (2018)
SR C Logan Heiser (2018)
rJR OF/3B Tyler Osik (2018)
JR SS Brandon Hernandez (2018)
JR C/1B Anthony George (2018)
rJR C Michael Higgins (2018)
rSO 3B Jackson Webb (2018)
SO LHP Joe Sheridan (2019)
SO RHP Daniel Litchfield (2019)
SO C/1B Dallas Beaver (2019)
FR RHP Jack Sinclair (2020)
FR 3B Griffin Bernardo (2020)
FR OF Dalton Wingo (2020)

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2016 MLB Draft – American Athletic Conference

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 AAC. 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… 

American Athletic Conference Overview
Central Florida
Cincinnati
East Carolina
Houston
Memphis
South Florida
Tulane

2016 MLB Draft Prospects – Central Florida

JR LHP Andrew Faintich (2016)
JR RHP Campbell Scholl (2016)
JR RHP Juan Pimentel (2016)
rSR LHP Harrison Hukari (2016)
JR RHP Robby Howell (2016)
JR RHP Trent Thompson (2016)
JR OF/LHP Luke Hamblin (2016)
JR C/1B Matt Diorio (2016)
JR OF Eli Putnam (2016)
JR OF Eugene Vazquez (2016)
JR 3B/SS Kam Gellinger (2016)
JR SS Brennan Bozeman (2016)
SO RHP Brad Rowley (2017)
SO RHP Cre Finfrock (2017)
SO RHP/2B Kyle Marsh (2017)
SO C Logan Heiser (2017)
FR INF Matthew Mika (2018)

“We don’t know what we don’t know” is a quote I heard a smart person say one time. Sounded good. Could even seeing it make some sense in some respects. But I can assure you that I do know what I don’t know when it comes to the Central Florida team in 2016. This roster is loaded with players with little to no division one baseball experience, so my usual move of supplementing scouting reports, firsthand observations, and public commentary with a long look at the player’s track record on the field is out the window here.

Nice things have been said about JR OF Eli Putnam, JR OF/LHP Luke Hamblin, JR RHP Juan Pimentel, and JR RHP Campbell Scholl, but assessing any of those players fairly as prospects is a bigger task than an outsider like me can complete. I’m looking forward to seeing all four play this year.

I’m also looking forward to getting a closer look at returning talent like JR C/1B Matt Diorio, JR RHP Robby Howell, and JR LHP Andrew Faintich. Diorio is a pretty straight forward prospect for me right now: he can really hit, but his defensive future is highly uncertain. As a catcher he could rise up as one of the handful of top names in this class, but the “as a catcher” qualifier is something easier said than done. The good news is that many who know Diorio better than I do have insisted to me that he’s athletic enough to play some corner outfield in the event the idea of catching goes belly up. Framed as a potential corner outfielder/first baseman who occasionally can catch, Diorio’s path to the big leagues suddenly gets a little clearer. In a perfect world he’s a backstop all the way, but a super-utility player who can hit is hardly without value.

Howell and Faintich both have upper-80s fastballs (93 MPH peak for the former, 91 for the latter) and average-ish breaking balls. Howell was a workhorse last year (80.2 IP) who seems poised to do more of the same in 2016 while Faintich put up some crazy numbers (17.42 K/9 and 11.61 BB/9 in 9.1 scoreless innings) in his brief first extended taste of college ball. rSR LHP Harrison Hukari falls somewhere between the two as an arm who pitched more than Faintich (50.0 IP) but with better peripherals (9.18 K/9) than Howell. His is more of a mid- to upper-80s fastball, but his size (6-6, 250) from the left side could get him a second look this spring.

JR 3B/SS Kam Gellinger got the “interesting bat” comment in my notes. That’s meant to be a compliment or (at worst) an indicator to me to follow up to learn more about a guy as a hitter, but I suppose hitting .198/.234/.287 last year like Gellinger could be deemed “interesting” in the truest sense of the word. A line like that certainly catches your attention. Lackluster sophomore season or not, the toolsy infielder (arm, speed, range) is still interesting to me and could be in for a nice draft year breakout with the bat.

Much as I like the uncertainty of this year’s class at UCF, I’m digging the major upside — won’t call it a certainty that said upside will be reached, obviously, but that’s the slick writing transition I would have liked to pull off here — of the 2017 class. SO RHP Cre Finfrock is a household name to those as into college ball as I’m assuming anybody reading this is. Right behind him as a prospect is big personal favorite SO RHP/2B Kyle Marsh, a legitimate two-way talent who, in spite of an excellent fastball (88-94) and slider (flashes plus) mix, I might actually prefer as a position player.

American Athletic Conference 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Houston JR C Ian Rice
Central Florida SR 1B James Vasquez
Cincinnati JR 2B Ian Happ
Central Florida SR SS Tommy Williams
Connecticut JR 3B Brian Daniello
Houston JR OF Kyle Survance
Houston rJR OF Ashford Fulmer
Memphis JR OF Jake Little

Houston JR RHP Jacob Lemoine
Houston JR RHP Patrick Weigel
South Florida JR RHP Jimmy Herget
Connecticut rJR RHP Devin Over
Tulane JR RHP Ian Gibaut

I can’t speak for everybody in the college game, but I for one am very pleasantly surprised about the continued strength of the AAC. The conference is like a mutated version of a few different conferences, and the end results were better than anybody – well, at least I – could have hoped. Happ and Lemoine give the AAC two potential first round picks, Rice and Max McDowell stack up against any conference’s 1-2 catching punch, solid senior signs like Vasquez, Williams, Dylan Moore, Kyle Teaf, and Carson Cross lend surprising depth to an increasingly deep talent pool, and talented high upside wild cards like Ashford Fulmer, Weigel, and Over keep things interesting.

That’s the short version for the AAC this year. The much, much longer version (once you add everything up) can be found just a few clicks away. I wrote team profiles for all of the linked schools below. The two missing schools get their belated time in the sun below. Connecticut was one of the very last teams to post rosters online. Tulane had their roster up with time to spare, but I missed it in my first pass through the conference because I’m dumb. I might turn their team profiles into separate posts at some point, but until then I just copy/pasted what I had for you to read at your leisure.

Central Florida
Cincinnati 
Connecticut
East Carolina
Houston
Memphis
South Florida
Tulane

*****

Connecticut

I should really stop being surprised when I look up Connecticut’s talent. Every year I mentally subtract the players that they lost and every year I expect to see the cupboard too bare to care from a draft standpoint. Yet every darn year I find myself being in the same mental place, somehow unready to process the half-dozen or so honest to goodness prospects scattered across the team’s roster. This year’s club features a low-mileage pitcher with plus arm strength (rJR RHP Devin Over), a college ace returning from Tommy John surgery capable of throwing three average or better pitches for strikes (rSR RHP Carson Cross), and a changeup specialist with enough size and fastball (88-92ish) to get some late round consideration this June (rSR RHP Jordan Tabakman). Over in particular is a fascinating prospect due to his mid-90s fastball (97 peak) and impressive athleticism. The results have never matched his stuff (in terms of K/9), so scouts will have to really hone on him this spring to see why a guy with an arm like his has been unable to consistently miss bats. That might not be a particularly fair criticism considering his limited track record to date (30ish lifetime innings), but prospect evaluation ain’t always fair.

Offensively, two hitters stand out as particularly promising. SR 1B/OF Blake Davey and JR 1B Bobby Melley both have shown they possess the type of above-average raw power and measured approach to hitting that pro teams prioritize on draft day. Working against them, of course, is the likelihood that both players wind up as first basemen professionally. It’s a steep climb from nice college hitting prospect to legitimate potential big league first baseman. Two guys with lesser bats but greater positional value that could get drafted are JR OF Jack Sundberg and JR C Max McDowell. Sundberg is held back by a lack of any kind of meaningful pop, but he can run, throw, and defend well enough in center that a team might put up with some growing pains with the stick. He profiles better as a 2016 senior sign to me. McDowell, on the other hand, appears to be one of the nation’s most underappreciated catching prospects. He does the things you’d expect out of any real catching prospect (solid glove, interesting power upside) while also doing the extras (really nice runner for the position, more athletic than most backstops) that make him a legitimate top ten round sleeper. Houston’s Ian Rice is unabashedly one of my favorites in all of college baseball, so, naturally, taking his throne as top catching prospect in the AAC was never really going to happen for McDowell. Still, I like him so much that there really wasn’t much internal debate as to who would fill in the second spot, where McDowell sits ahead of the more famous and preferred option by many, Luke Lowery of East Carolina. JR 3B Brian Daniello might just be the top third base prospect in the conference, though that says at least as much about the dearth of talented third basemen in the AAC than anything about Daniello’s maybe/maybe not pro future. In any event, he’s a really solid college player who I’m happy to give a little recognition.

*****

Tulane

The practical logistics of moving a pitcher from the college bullpen (or an expected pro bullpen role) to a professional rotation is a hot topic every year at draft time. Everybody has a different opinion about what makes a starter a starter and a reliever a reliever. Some focus on one specific aspect of a pitcher’s game and use that as the determining factor when deciding on a future role. Too often this is a simple question of size — Is he 6’0″ or less? Stick him in the pen then! — which is obviously an unfortunate bout of reducing a complex (by baseball standards) decision into a binary yes/no that lacks the necessary nuance and ratiocination required. Thankfully there are others, more sensibly in my view, who take a holistic approach as they debate the merits of a pitcher’s depth of repertoire, ease of mechanical repeatability, physical stature (size is a factor, but not the factor) and conditioning, and ability to maintain high-quality stuff deep into outings as the pitch count climbs and fatigue sets in. Creating a dichotomy using short and tall as determining factors is bad process that occasionally will lead to positive results

Forgive me if I copy/paste that paragraph whenever Dillon Tate, Carson Fulmer, and Tyler Jay are brought up this spring. For now, the logic presented above applies to JR RHP Ian Gibaut, who has excelled as a college reliever since first stepping foot on campus at Tulane in 2013. There’s no reason to believe that Gibaut’s success as an amateur reliever would slow down in any way as he transitions to pro ball this summer. Still, I’d be tempted to stretch him out and see how his stuff holds up as a starter. My desire to see him work in a starter’s role isn’t so great that I’d kill a team for thinking he’ll be best in the bullpen as a professional; if anything, it’s more of a selfish curiosity to see what a college reliever with the build, arm action (in my amateur view), and diverse enough set of pitches (above-average 75-78 CB, upper-70s CU that flashes plus [others like it less and I’ll at least acknowledge it’s an inconsistent pitch at present], and hard mid-80s SL) could do in a more taxing role. I’ve heard but not seen firsthand that Gibaut’s velocity is the type that plays up in short bursts, so keeping him in the bullpen would seem to be a perfectly reasonable course of action. If that winds up being how it plays out, then don’t be surprised when Gibaut winds up as one of this year’s draft fastest moving college relief prospects.

I’ve always preferred JR RHP/OF Tim Yandel as a hitter to a pitcher, but the evidence is now stacked up too high against my original position to ignore. The light has never really gone on for Yandel as a hitter, but he’s emerged as a solid college arm with a chance to find work as a middle reliever type in the pros thanks to his plus 78-83 slider. rJR RHP Alex Massey has shown he can miss bats in his swingman role over his two plus years at Tulane. Given time in the bullpen exclusively should help his already solid fastball (88-92, 94-95 peak) play up a tick, all the better to complement his existing above-average slider. If you’re scoring at home, that’s three potential relievers that could come out of this year’s Tulane staff.

There’s less to love offensively, but it isn’t as though Tulane has no hitters worth keeping an eye on. SR 2B Garret Deschamp has flashed some power to the gaps and can field his position. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about SR 1B/3B Tyler Wilson’s bat, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to see what he can do with more than the 26 AB he received last season. JR OF Richard Carthon can run, but it remains to be seen if he’ll hit.

Tulane’s sophomore class is where it’s at. SO SS Stephen Alemais is a legit defensive shortstop with a big arm and serious wheels. He didn’t light the world on fire as a freshman, but he held his own. Same could be said for SO RHP JP France (but with standout peripherals), an undersized athletic fireballing righthander in the mold of Lance McCullers. C Jake Rogers, 3B Hunter Hope, OF Grant Brown, and RHP Corey Merrill are all also sophomores talented enough to finish as high picks.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Cincinnati JR 2B/OF Ian Happ
  2. Houston JR C Ian Rice
  3. Central Florida SR 1B/OF James Vasquez
  4. Central Florida SR 2B/SS Dylan Moore
  5. Houston JR OF Kyle Survance
  6. South Florida SR 2B/SS Kyle Teaf
  7. Houston rJR OF Ashford Fulmer
  8. Central Florida SR SS/3B Tommy Williams
  9. Connecticut JR 1B Bobby Melley
  10. Connecticut SR 1B/OF Blake Davey
  11. Houston JR 2B Josh Vidales
  12. Houston JR 1B Chris Iriart
  13. Memphis SR 1B/3B Tucker Tubbs
  14. South Florida SR OF Austin Lueck
  15. Memphis JR OF/1B Jake Little
  16. Connecticut JR C Max McDowell
  17. Memphis SR C/1B Carter White
  18. East Carolina JR C/1B Luke Lowery
  19. Memphis rJR SS Jake Overbey
  20. Central Florida SR OF Erik Barber
  21. South Florida rJR OF Buddy Putnam
  22. Tulane JR OF Richard Carthon
  23. Tulane SR 1B/3B Tyler Wilson
  24. Tulane SR 2B Garret Deschamp

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. Houston JR RHP Jacob Lemoine
  2. Houston JR RHP Patrick Weigel
  3. South Florida JR RHP Jimmy Herget
  4. Connecticut rJR RHP Devin Over
  5. Tulane JR RHP Ian Gibaut
  6. Central Florida rJR RHP Mitchell Tripp
  7. Connecticut rSR RHP Carson Cross
  8. Tulane JR RHP/OF Tim Yandel
  9. Tulane rJR RHP Alex Massey
  10. Central Florida SR RHP Zach Rodgers
  11. South Florida rSR RHP/OF Casey Mulholland
  12. Central Florida rSR RHP Spencer Davis
  13. Connecticut rSR RHP Jordan Tabakman
  14. Cincinnati JR RHP Mitch Patishall
  15. East Carolina rJR RHP David Lucroy
  16. Houston SR RHP Jared Robinson
  17. Memphis rJR RHP Craig Caufield
  18. Houston SR RHP Aaron Garza
  19. East Carolina SR LHP/OF Reid Love
  20. Central Florida rJR RHP Ryan Meyer
  21. Houston JR RHP Bubba Maxwell
  22. Memphis SR RHP Dylan Toscano
  23. Central Florida SR RHP Tanner Olson
  24. Memphis JR LHP Colin Lee
  25. Memphis SR LHP Caleb Wallingford

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – American Athletic Follow List

Central Florida

SR 1B/OF James Vasquez (2015)
SR 2B/SS Dylan Moore (2015)
SR OF Derrick Salberg (2015)
SR SS/3B Tommy Williams (2015)
SR OF Erik Barber (2015)
SR OF Sam Tolleson (2015)
SR OF/LHP JoMarcos Woods (2015)
rSR RHP Spencer Davis (2015)
SR RHP Zach Rodgers (2015)
rJR RHP Ryan Meyer (2015)
rJR RHP Mitchell Tripp (2015)
SR RHP Tanner Olson (2015)
SO RHP Trent Thompson (2016)
SO RHP Robby Howell (2016)
SO C Matt Diorio (2016)
SO OF Eugene Vazquez (2016)
SO OF Dalton Duty (2016)
SO 3B/SS Kam Gellinger (2016)
FR RHP Cre Finfrock (2017)
FR RHP Kyle Marsh (2017)
FR RHP Pat Stephens (2017)
FR RHP Brad Rowley (2017)

Cincinnati

JR 2B/OF Ian Happ (2015)
JR C Woody Wallace (2015)
JR 1B Devin Wenzel (2015)
JR 2B Forrest Perron (2015)
JR RHP Mitch Patishall (2015)
rJR RHP Bryan Chenoweth (2015)
SR RHP Ryan Atkinson (2015)
rSO LHP Colton Cleary (2015)
SO RHP Andrew Zellner (2016)
SO INF Connor McVey (2016)
FR LHP Dalton Lehnen (2017)
FR 1B/OF Ryan Noda (2017)
FR 2B Kyle Mottice (2017)

Connecticut

rJR RHP Devin Over (2015):
rSR RHP Carson Cross (2015)
rSR RHP Jordan Tabakman (2015)
rSO RHP Ryan Radue (2015)
rJR RHP Max Slade (2015)
rSO RHP Callahan Brown (2015)
SR 1B/OF Blake Davey (2015)
JR 1B Bobby Melley (2015)
SR OF Eric Yavarone (2015)
SR OF Jon Testani (2015)
SR C Connor David (2015)
JR OF Jack Sundberg (2015)
JR 3B Vinny Siena (2015)
JR 3B Brian Daniello (2015)
JR C Max McDowell (2015)
JR 1B/OF Nico Darras (2015)
SO SS/2B Aaron Hill (2016)
SO LHP Anthony Kay (2016)
SO RHP Andrew Zapata (2016)
SO RHP Pat Ruotolo (2016)

East Carolina

JR C/1B Luke Lowery (2015)
JR OF Garrett Brooks (2015)
JR OF Jeff Nelson (2015)
SR SS/2B Hunter Allen (2015)
rJR RHP David Lucroy (2015)
SR LHP/OF Reid Love (2015)
JR RHP/OF Jimmy Boyd (2015)
SO 1B/LHP Bryce Harman (2016)
SO RHP/INF Davis Kirkpatrick (2016)
SO LHP Jacob Wolfe (2016)
SO SS Kirk Morgan (2016)
SO 2B/SS Charlie Yorgen (2016)
SO C Eric Tyler (2016)
SO LHP Luke Bolka (2016)
SO LHP Evan Kruczynski (2016)

Houston

JR OF Kyle Survance (2015)
rJR OF Ashford Fulmer (2015)
SR OF Michael Pyeatt (2015)
JR 3B/1B Justin Montemayor (2015)
JR 2B Josh Vidales (2015)
JR C Ian Rice (2015)
JR 1B Chris Iriart (2015)
JR RHP Patrick Weigel (2015)
SR RHP Aaron Garza (2015)
JR RHP Jacob Lemoine (2015)
SR RHP David Longville (2015)
SR RHP Jared Robinson (2015)
SR LHP Matt Locus (2015)
JR RHP Bubba Maxwell (2015)
SO 3B Connor Hollis (2016)
SO RHP Andrew Lantrip (2016)
SO RHP Marshall Kasowski (2016)
SO 3B Jordan Strading (2016)
FR SS Connor Wong (2017)
FR LHP Seth Romero (2017)

Memphis

JR OF/1B Jake Little (2015)
SR C/1B Carter White (2015)
SR 1B/3B Tucker Tubbs (2015)
rSR OF Kane Barrow (2015)
SR C Nate Rupiper (2015)
rJR SS Jake Overbey (2015)
SR RHP Dylan Toscano (2015)
rJR RHP Craig Caufield (2015)
JR LHP Colin Lee (2015)
SR LHP Caleb Wallingford (2015)
SO RHP Trevor Sutton (2016)
SO RHP Nolan Blackwood (2016)
SO OF Darien Tubbs (2016)
FR RHP Colton Hathcock (2017)

South Florida

JR RHP Jimmy Herget (2015)
SR RHP Jordan Strittmatter (2015)
rSO RHP Tommy Peterson (2015)
rSR RHP/OF Casey Mulholland (2015)
rJR OF Buddy Putnam (2015)
SR OF Austin Lueck (2015)
SR 2B/SS Kyle Teaf (2015)
JR C/3B Levi Borders (2015)
rJR SS/2B Nik Alfonso (2015)
JR OF Luke Maglich (2015)
SO OF Luke Borders (2016)
SO 2B Andres Leal (2016)
SO OF/RHP Daniel Portales (2016)
SO RHP Brandon Lawson (2016)
SO RHP Michael Farley (2016)
SO SS Clay Simmons (2016)

Tulane

JR RHP Ian Gibaut (2015)
rJR RHP Alex Massey (2015)
rSO RHP Daniel Rankin (2015)
JR RHP Emerson Gibbs (2015)
JR RHP/OF Tim Yandel (2015)
SR 2B Garret Deschamp (2015)
SR 1B/3B Tyler Wilson (2015)
JR OF Richard Carthon (2015)
SO SS Stephen Alemais (2016)
SO C Jake Rogers (2016)
SO RHP JP France (2016)
SO RHP Tyler Zamjahn (2016)
SO RHP Zach Flowers (2016)
SO 3B Hunter Hope (2016)
SO 1B/OF Lex Kaplan (2016)
SO OF Grant Brown (2016)
SO RHP Corey Merrill (2016)
SO RHP Patrick Duester (2016)
FR LHP Jackson Johnson (2017)

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Central Florida

SR 1B/OF James Vasquez (2015)
SR 2B/SS Dylan Moore (2015)
SR OF Derrick Salberg (2015)
SR SS/3B Tommy Williams (2015)
SR OF Erik Barber (2015)
SR OF Sam Tolleson (2015)
SR OF/LHP JoMarcos Woods (2015)
rSR RHP Spencer Davis (2015)
SR RHP Zach Rodgers (2015)
rJR RHP Ryan Meyer (2015)
SR RHP Tanner Olson (2015)
SO RHP Trent Thompson (2016)
SO RHP Robby Howell (2016)
SO C Matt Diorio (2016)
SO OF Eugene Vazquez (2016)
SO OF Dalton Duty (2016)
SO 3B/SS Kam Gellinger (2016)
FR RHP Cre Finfrock (2017)
FR RHP Kyle Marsh (2017)
FR RHP Pat Stephens (2017):
FR RHP Brad Rowley (2017)

Seniors as far as they eye can see. If you’re a fan of a team that targets senior signs in the top ten rounds to help pay for overslot prospects that slip later in the draft, then get familiar with the Central Florida roster. SR 1B/OF James Vasquez’s mere presence on this roster surprised me after the junior season (.340/.445/.519 in 206 AB) he had. The pro game is increasingly desperate for bats, and Vasquez has average or better power, a good approach, and a knack for hard contact. He’s also no slouch with the leather, so that’s nice. SR 2B/SS Dylan Moore is right there with Vasquez as a prospect; the two are comfortably ahead of the rest of this senior class as prospects, ranking up there with some of the very best potential senior signs in the country. Moore doesn’t have that one carrying tool that knocks you out at first sight, but he’s arguably average or better across the board with a patient approach and good athleticism. For a guy that can hang in the middle infield, what’s not to like about that? I like him so much that I can’t help but wonder what I’m seeing here that nobody else seems to notice. SR SS/3B Tommy Williams has some fun tools (speed, mostly), but the approach remains not nearly where you want it to be for a future pro. I’d be stunned if two out of those three aren’t selected this June and I fully expect all three to get a shot at pro ball before summer is over. They might be alone, as every one of the seniors listed above (OFs Derrick Salberg and Erik Barber most notably) has a least an outside shot at playing past graduation.

Central Florida appears to have a type when it comes to what kind of bodies they like on the mound. rSR RHP Spencer Davis (6-5, 225), rJR RHP Ryan Meyer (6-6, 200), and SR RHP Tanner Olson (6-4, 225) are all big, strong athletes. Davis, a Texas A&M transfer, has the most well-rounded arsenal. He throws a good breaking ball (curve, I think), average change, and a new-ish upper-80s cutter, all in addition to his 88-93 fastball. His junior season was a major step backward (31 K/31 BB in 49.1 IP), but there’s upside there. Meyer and Olson are also coming off rough 2014 seasons; I like the former to bounce back now that he’s another year removed from Tommy John surgery. The fact that Meyer has flashed a plus slider at times doesn’t hurt, either. SR RHP Zach Rodgers doesn’t appear to fit the UCF mold at just 5-10, 180 pounds, but his pinpoint command of a slightly above-average fastball has my attention. One of my favorite things about baseball is that it is a sport where both Davis and Rodgers can be considered potential draft picks. They couldn’t be much more different outside of their shared goal of getting hitters out, but both could and should be pros with strong senior seasons. Baseball is awesome.

Three Quick Thoughts on College Baseball’s Third Weekend

1. In what will almost certainly not become a regular weekly feature, here’s this past weekend’s weirdest inning:

UAB 2nd – M. Busby grounded out to 2b. R. Ussery grounded out to ss. K. DePew tripled to right center. J. German hit by pitch. J. German advanced to second on the error; K. DePew scored on an error by c, failed pickoff attempt. C. Arrowood singled to center field, RBI; J. German scored. C. Arrowood stole second. J. Austin walked. N. Crawford singled to shortstop; J. Austin advanced to second; C. Arrowood advanced to third. J. Frost singled to shortstop, RBI; N. Crawford advanced to second; J. Austin advanced to third; C. Arrowood scored. P. Palmeiro doubled to right center, 3 RBI; J. Frost scored; N. Crawford scored; J. Austin scored. M. Busby struck out looking. 6 runs, 5 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.

All I wanted to do was check in and see how Ryan Woolley and Jamal Austin performed, but, damn, this mess of an inning captivated my attention. Cleveland State managed to get the first two outs on routine ground balls (ED NOTE: no clue if the grounders were in fact routine, but allow me to flex a little creative license here) until all heck broke loose. In order, Cleveland State allowed the following before ending the inning with a strikeout: 3B – HBP – E – 1B – SB – BB – 1B – 1B – 2B. It wasn’t all fun and games for UAB, at least not for JR DH Michael Busby. As astute readers may have already noticed, one M. Busby bookended the 6 run, 5 hit inning by making outs.

2. Hard to believe, but Indiana State RHP Jason Van Skike’s no-hitter was not the most dominant pitching performance of the weekend. In fact, Van Skike’s no-hitter wasn’t even the headlining athletic event of the Indiana State weekend. Great as Van Skike’s performance was, it’s awful hard to top the basketball team winning a conference title and sewing up the school’s first NCAA tournament birth in ten years. Also really hard to top what UCLA JR RHP Trevor Bauer did on Saturday. Lines like Bauer’s (10 IP 4 H 1 ER 5 BB 17 K) just don’t come around every weekend. According to the numbers whizzes at College Splits, Bauer’s Game Score of 92 topped Van Skike’s of 84. According to me, 10 innings and 17 strikeouts are both eye-popping numbers.

3. Maybe it is because I’m almost ready to wrap up my three week odyssey of ranking the best 2011 college outfield prospects (coming later this week!), but, when looking at box scores this weekend, something about the hitting lines of outfielders kept jumping out at me. Arguably the best weekend for any college outfield prospect belonged to Central Florida’s 2011 draft-eligible true sophomore Ronnie Richardson. His weekend (7-13, 3B, 2B, BB, 3 RBI, 4 R, K, 2 SB) bumped his season numbers up to .409/.518/.591 with twice as many walks as strikeouts (10 BB/5 K) and 4 stolen bases in 6 tries. I’m extremely bullish on Richardson, a prospect I consider a rich man’s LeVon Washington. To use that comparison as a means of comparing the relative strengths of the 2010 and 2011 drafts (stay with me here), Washington (a prospect I was and am down on) ranked 11th among college outfielders in 2010. Richardson, a prospect I think I like more than most, will probably wind up somewhere between 15th and 25th on my 2011 outfield list. Crazy.