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2016 MLB Draft Reviews – Chicago Cubs

Top 500 Prospects Drafted by Chicago in 2016

102 – Bailey Clark
104 – Thomas Hatch
158 – Michael Rucker
236 – Tyson Miller
326 – Duncan Robinson
332 – Chad Hockin
374 – Dakota Mekkes
415 – Delvin Zinn
435 – Zack Short
448 – Michael Cruz

Complete List of 2016 Chicago Cubs Draftees

3.104 – RHP Thomas Hatch

That check from Chicago should be coming in the mail any day now as the Cubs first overall pick, Thomas Hatch (104), was selected in the exact same spot one clever, handsome internet draft writer ranked him on his final board. Good work, Cubs. Took me a while, but now I get why you’re the National League Champions. Needless to say, I like this pick. Hatch is a live arm (88-94 FB, 96 peak) with an effective 78-82 circle-change that drops like a splitter, and a pair of above-average sliders (a cut-slider in the mid- to upper-80s and a truer slider anywhere from 77-85).

His college coach has compared him to Tim Hudson; I’ve heard another former name with Oakland ties evoked in Bob Welch, a pitcher who came and went before my baseball watching time. Hearing that name caused me to dig out the old Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, a task once as simple as going to a nearby bookshelf but, after moving over the summer, now a twenty minute odyssey deep into the three giant storage bins filled with books now in my basement. Worth it. Welch is listed as having thrown a fastball, cutter, curve, change, and a forkball. Most modern pitching coaches will flat out refuse to teach a young arm a forkball these days, but Hatch’s funky circle-change/splitter hybrid is as close a proxy as we’re likely to find in this draft class. The genesis for that comp is realized. I feel better now.

The Cubs would have to be thrilled with getting a Hudson or a Welch or even just a best-case Thomas Hatch out of their third round pick. If his elbow stays intact, Hatch has a bright future on the mound. Even if he does need surgery sooner rather than later, I like the gamble here. Getting an extreme ground ball pitcher like Hatch* to play on one of the few teams that properly values defense (in practice, not just in theory) seems like as good a marriage as any pick to player in this draft.

* I went and did the math on Hatch’s ground ball ways while a Cowboy. The OK State ace had more ground ball outs than fly ball outs in 17 of his 19 starts this past season. Add it all up and his GB% was a robust 68.3%. Ground ball suspicions confirmed.

4.134 – RHP Tyson Miller

Tyson Miller (236) confuses me. His stuff is wholly impressive — 87-94 FB, 96 peak; above-average 77-84 SL; usable 82-86 CU — but his performance (7.74 K/9) at the Division II level didn’t quite match the arm talent. That may seem unduly harsh for a righthander with supposed ground ball stuff and impressive control (1.93 BB/9) coming off a 2.27 ERA stretch in 107.0 IP, but, hey, the bar is high for prospects taken in the draft’s top handful of rounds. Miller kept up his confusing ways in his brief pro debut by striking out only 5.34 batters per nine in his first 28.2 inning as a Cub. That would be far more forgivable if his batted ball data matched the ground ball praise he seems to get in every scouting report, but MLB Farm only had him 43.96% ground balls in his overall batted ball profile. See what I mean by Miller being a confusing prospect? Thankfully, confusing or not, the big righthander’s stuff remains strong and his future projection as a potential back-end starting pitcher remains in reach. I’m less bullish on him than most, but I can see the appeal if he can ever put it all together and become the power sinker/slider ground ball guy that many allege he already is.

5.164 – RHP Bailey Clark

Bailey Clark (102) is what many think Tyson Miller is. The big righthander who misses bats (9.71 K/9 as a junior at Duke), gets ground balls (60.61% in his debut), and flashes elite stuff (90-94 FB, 96 peak; nasty mid-80s cut-slider; hard upper-80s split-change) was the best prospect drafted by the Cubs in 2016. I’ll go bold on Clark and say that if it doesn’t work out as a starter for him, then he has honest to goodness Andrew Miller upside in relief. A righthanded Andrew Miller as the Chicago’s next relief ace? That’s not even fair. A quick timeline on how we got to this point. We’ll start a fully calendar year ago in October 2015…

Poised for a big potential rise in 2016, Clark has the kind of stuff that blows you away on his best days and leaves you wanting more on his not so best days. I think he puts it all together this year and makes this ranking [47th among college prospects] look foolish by June.

And now let’s jump ahead to December 2015…

…and obviously not much has changed in the two months since. Clark pitched really well last year (2.95 ERA in 58 IP), but fell just short in terms of peripherals (7.60 K/9 and 3.26 BB/9) where many of the recent first day college starting pitchers have finished in recent years. That’s a very simplistic, surface-level analysis of his 2015 performance, but it runs parallel with the scouting reports from many who saw him this past spring. Clark is really good, but still leaves you wanting more. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — being a finished product at 20-years-old is more of a negative than a positive in the eyes of many in the scouting world — but it speaks to the developmental challenges facing Clark if he wants to jump up into the first round mix. The fastball (88-94, 96 peak) is there, the size (6-5, 210) is there, and the athleticism is there, so it’ll come down to gaining more command and consistency on his mid-80s cut-SL (a knockout pitch when on) and trusting his nascent changeup in game action enough to give scouts an honest opportunity to assess it. Even if little changes with Clark between now and June, we’re still talking a top five round lock with the high-floor possibility of future late-inning reliever. If he makes the expected leap in 2016, then the first round will have to make room for one more college arm.

Here was an update from March 2016…

On the other end of the spectrum is a guy like Bailey Clark. Clark has dynamite stuff: 90-96 FB (98 peak), mid-80s cut-SL that flashes plus, and an extra firm 87-90 split-CU with some promise. The fastball alone is a serious weapon capable of getting big league hitters out thanks the combination of velocity and natural movement. What continues to hold Clark back is pedestrian command: having great stuff is key, but falling behind every hitter undercuts that advantage. Questions about his delivery — I personally don’t stress about that so much, but it’s worth noting — and that inconsistent command could force him into the bullpen sooner rather than later. He’d be a knockout reliever if that winds up being the case, but the prospect of pro development keeping him as a starter is too tantalizing to give up on just yet.

The final breakdown from April 2016…

Bailey Clark could keep starting, but most of the smarter folk I talk to seem to think he’ll fit best as a closer in the pros. At his best his stuff rivals the best Jones has to offer, but the Virginia righthander’s command edge and less stressful delivery make him the better bet to remain in the rotation. I personally wouldn’t rule out Clark having a long and fruitful career as a starting pitcher, but I’ll concede that the thought of him unleashing his plus to plus-plus fastball (90-96, 98 peak and impossible to square up consistently) over and over again in shorter outings is mighty appealing.

You can see the pretty clear “maybe he can start, but, damn, he’d be something special in relief” narrative play out as the year went on. In either role, Clark is an exciting talent with some of the best raw stuff of any college pitcher in this class. I’ll close with thinking relief is the most likely option. Any one of his issues — iffy command, questionable mechanics, and the lack of a necessary soft pitch to keep hitters consistently off the hard stuff — could be sorted out independently if that was all he had to worry about as he made his transition to pro ball, but when you combine all three…relief just feels like the safest projection. It bears repeating that Clark in the bullpen would not be seen as a negative outcome here; as a reliever, he has a chance to flat out dominate in a way not too many pitchers in baseball can. I’m all-in on Clark.

6.194 – RHP Chad Hockin

It took four picks to get a dummy like me to see it, but we’ve officially got a Cubs draft trend going here. Chad Hockin (332) makes it four straight college righthanded pitchers lauded for power sinkers and ground ball tendencies. Specifically, Hockin can crank in anywhere from 92-97 in relief with an above-average mid-80s cut-slider (83-87) that flashes plus. Depending on how aggressive the Cubs want to be with him, Hockin could be ready to see some big league action by next September. That’s what you get when you take one of college ball’s nastiest relievers. Of course, Chicago could surprise us all and opt to give Hockin a shot as a starter. I mentioned this possibility back in March…

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.

It wouldn’t be crazy to give it a go — wild postseason aside, starters > relievers — but Hockin has demonstratively shown a major uptick in stuff while in relief already. The starters > relievers math changes a bit when it moves towards fifth starter/swingman vs late-inning, high-leverage reliever. The latter is what you hope Hockin will be when you take him in the sixth round.

7.224 – C Michael Cruz

I thought I liked Michael Cruz (448), but turns out the Cubs really liked him. I obviously get the appeal: Cruz is crazy young for his class (not 21-years-old until January), has flashed some defensive upside (still a long way to go, to be fair), and was once called a “certified hitting machine” by one draft writer (me). What’s not to like here? The Cubs went very light on position player talent in the 2016 MLB Draft — far too light, in my view, even understanding the relative strengths and weaknesses in their organization — but they at least get my stamp of approval with their first 2016 foray into the offensive side of the diamond. The lefthanded hitting Cruz could make a fine backup and complementary player to righthanded hitting Willson Contreras one day.

8.254 – RHP Stephen Ridings

Haverford College is about thirty minutes from my old apartment. Haverford College is also about a fifteen minute walk from Tired Hands Brewery. Coincidentally, I really, really like it when Haverford College has a prospect worth checking out. I was limited with what I could say about Stephen Ridings, the second straight eighth round pick out of baseball hotbed Haverford after Tommy Bergjans was selected by the Dodgers last year, this past spring for, you know, #reasons, but my quick scouting report on him is fair game now. Really, it’s simple: huge arm (low-90s typically, with 96’s, 97’s, and even a 98 at his peak), inconsistent secondary stuff (CB, SL, CU), and a delivery that managed to somehow come across as both rushed and too deliberate that pretty clearly hindered both his command and control. So we’ve got the good (velocity!), the bad (my amateur eye didn’t see an offspeed pitch good enough to get pro hitters out just yet, especially with his two breaking balls running into each other as often as they did), and the uncertain (mechanics). That uncertain is what intrigues me the most about Ridings. My “not a scout” observations saw his wonky mechanics as workable in the pros; in all honesty, his mechanics weren’t particularly “bad” but more the kind of inconsistent slightly awkward kind of mechanics that appeared to be the byproduct of what happens when a young pitcher attempts to figure out his growing body on the fly. That’s something I think time and quality coaching can improve, but we’ll have to wait and see. I didn’t expect Ridings to go off the board when he did, but I probably should have guessed: after all, you can’t teach 98 and 6-8, 220.

Spencer Sohmer and Justin Herring are my Haverford guys to watch next year, BTW.

9.284 – RHP Duncan Robinson

Back to back players I’ve seen multiple times. OK, Cubs. I see you. I really like Duncan Robinson (326). Let’s go back and see how much. We can start in March 2015…

Dartmouth JR RHP Duncan Robinson isn’t just a good pitching prospect for the Ivy League; he’s a good pitching prospect full stop. Guys with his size (6-6, 220 pounds), fastball (consistently low-90s), and breaking ball (have it listed as an in-between pitch in my notes; I’d call it a slider, but think folks at Dartmouth call it a curve) are easy to get excited about. The mechanics and control both check out for me, so his chance at crashing the draft’s top tier of pitching prospects will largely come down to the development of a softer offspeed pitch that will keep hitters off his fastball/breaking ball combo and enable him to start as a pro.

And jump a year into the future to March 2016…

Forget the Ivy League, Duncan Robinson is one of the best senior-sign pitchers in all of college ball. He’s a power righthander with size (6-6, 220) capable of beating you with a low-90s fastball and average or better slider. As his changeup develops he’ll become an even more attractive prospect, what with the standard starter ceiling that typically comes with three usable pitches, size, clean mechanics, and a good track record of amateur success. If the change lags, then he’s still got the solid middle relief starter pack to fall back on.

Finally, the pre-draft one line summary…

I’m 100% all-in on Duncan Robinson. He’s a big-time talent who seems to get better with every start. Definitely one of this class’s top senior-signs.

Love this pick. I think Duncan Robinson can pitch in the big leagues. I think he can even pitch in the big leagues as a starter. I won’t go the super obvious Kyle Hendricks (same school, one round off, both Cubs eventually) comparison here (in part because I used it already on Oakland sixth rounder Mitchell Jordan), but…I mean it’s sitting right there.

10.314 – RHP Dakota Mekkes

Dakota Mekkes (374) is the truth. Striking out 15.16 batters per nine as a redshirt-sophomore was only beginning for the 6-7, 250 pound righthander. His first 20 pro innings: 12.15 K/9 and 1.80 BB/9. How does he do? I have no idea! Or, more honestly, I can only make guesses on what I’ve seen, heard, and read. Mekkes’s stuff is what you’ll see out of literally dozens of mid-round college relievers (88-92 FB, 94 peak; average 82-84 SL), but the results point very strongly to their being more to the story. That’s where we start to see what separates Mekkes from the rest. Before we get to that, some earlier praise beginning with this from March 2016…

If you read this site and/or follow college ball closely, this might be the first pick to surprise in some way, shape, or form. Mekkes wasn’t a pitcher mentioned in many 2016 draft preview pieces before the start of the season, but the 6-7, 250 pound righty has opened plenty of eyes in getting off to a dominant (16.36 K/9) albeit wild (7.16 BB/9) start to 2016. His stuff backs it up (FB up to 94, interesting SL, deceptive delivery), so he’s more than just a large college man mowing down overmatched amateurs. He’s a top ten round possibility now.

Hey, he went in the tenth round! Neat. We got a little bit bolder by April 2016…

Any pre-draft list of “fastest moving” potential draftees that doesn’t include Dakota Mekkes is one I’ll look at with a suspicious eye. Mekkes may not be one of the biggest names in college relief, but he’s one of the best. I’ll go closer upside with him while acknowledging his most likely outcome could be a long career of very effective, very well-compensated middle relief. Either way, I think he’s as close to a lock to be a useful big league pitcher as any reliever in this class.

With Mekkes, it’s really about how how he maximizes his size and delivery to create all kinds of extension and deception. As he continues to figure out how to repeat that delivery, his command will only keep getting better. I think Mekkes can pitch in a big league bullpen in 2017 if that’s how the Cubs decide that’s what’s best for his development. I stand by that “as close to a lock to be a useful big league pitcher as any reliever in this class” comment.

11.344 – RHP Michael Rucker

On Michael Rucker (158) in March 2016…

Michael Rucker checks two of our three boxes pretty easily: he’s 88-94 (96 peak) with his fastball while commanding three offspeed pitches (low-80s SL, low- to mid-80s CU, mid-70s CB) with a veteran’s mindset on the mound. He’s not particularly big (6-1, 185) nor does he have that plus offspeed pitch (slider comes closest), but it’s still a potential big league starter skill set.

That sounds about right to me. Rucker is on that fifth starter/middle reliever line that could still go either way for him. If he can get one of those offspeed pitches to creep to average or slightly above-average, then he might have the all-around package (adding in his fastball, command, and control) to keep starting. His pre-draft ranking feels a little rich in hindsight, though that’s far less about Rucker than it is about the realization that there are A LOT of pitchers like him in this class.

13.404 – LHP Wyatt Short

To the WABAC machine to talk about Wyatt Short from January 2015…

I’m particularly looking forward to talking more about the aptly named Short, as any discussion about a 5-8, 160 pound lefthander capable of hitting the low- to mid-90s is all right in my book.

As it turned out, we never really got around to talking more about Short. Life just got in the way, I guess. We got older, got jobs, met that special someone, and next thing we knew we woke up one morning with a serious lack of Wyatt Short in our lives. It’s a pity, really. Thankfully, the show went on for Short, who followed up his good freshman season with a great sophomore season (10.15 K/9 and 1.38 ERA in 39.0 IP) before coming back to earth some in his junior season. The Cubs still thought enough of the diminutive lefty to pop him in the thirteenth round. Can’t argue with that based on his overall body of work, 88-94 MPH fastball, and low-80s slider he can both consistently get over and use as a chase pitch.

15.464 – RHP Jed Carter

I’ll hide my lack of Jed Carter knowledge by pointing out his crazy debut stats instead. In 9.2 innings of work, Carter struck out 17 batters. That’s great. He also walked 6 guys and threw 3 wild pitches. That’s less great. 60% ground balls, too. That’s so Cubs.

16.494 – RHP Holden Cammack

I like taking a shot on a catcher turned reliever type in Holden Cammack here. What he lacks in refinement he makes up for with arm strength.

17.524 – SS Zack Short

On Zack Short (435) from February 2016…

Short should be on any short list (no pun intended) of best college shortstop prospects in this class. He’s really, really good. Offensively he’s a high-contact hitter with an above-average blend of patience and pop. As a defender, he’s capable of making all the plays at short with range that should have him stick at the spot for years to come. There simply aren’t many two-way shortstops as good as him in this class. He’s an easy top ten round player for me with the chance to rise as high as around the fifth round (reminiscent of Blake Allemand last year) and a realistic draft floor of where Dylan Bosheers (round fifteen) eventually fell.

Short didn’t quite land in that five to fifteen round range, but the seventeenth isn’t that far off. I love this pick. Everything from February stands today, even after Short’s down junior season forced me to swallow hard and drop him lower on my final draft list than I would have liked. I think he’s a future big league player. My one note of caution with Short comes from the name drop of Dylan Bosheers in the pre-season paragraph above. Short and Bosheers aren’t the same guy and the disappointing pro career of the latter shouldn’t be put on the former, but the two players are cut from a similar prospect cloth. Something to consider. If Short busts, it’ll be time for me to reconsider how much I personally value these types of players. Hope it doesn’t come to that.

18.554 – LHP Marc Huberman

Marc Huberman was described to me as the perfect guy to watch if you want to see a “good command, bad control” pitcher in action. Huberman can spot his solid for a lefthander stuff (86-92 FB, 94 peak; good 76-82 CU; usable 75-78 CB) in the zone to keep hitters guessing, but can’t consistently find the strike zone enough to keep from issuing hitters who would struggle squaring him up otherwise off base via the free pass. In other words, many of Huberman’s strikes are quality strikes, but he just doesn’t throw enough of them right now to be considered anything other than effectively wild, for better or worse.

19.584 – RHP Matt Swarmer

You can’t say that Matt Swarmer didn’t get results in his career at Kutztown. His senior year K/9: 13.12. His career K/9: 11.79. Good numbers, good size, and a good enough head on his shoulders to bank a fine education to fall back on just in case — my mom has literally never read this site, but I’ll still shout out her alma mater — make him a worthy pick here.

20.614 – LHP Colton Freeman

If deep cuts are your thing, then hop on the Colton Freeman bandwagon while you can. The 6-1, 200 pound lefthander has a good fastball (up to 93), above-average slider, and impressive athleticism. He also pitched just 9.2 innings at Alabama in 2016. In those 9.2 innings, Freeman struck out 18 batters (16.88 K/9) while walking only 3 (2.81 BB/9) and keeping the opposition entirely off the board (0.00 ERA). Fun guy to follow professionally if you’re into the deepest of draft sleepers. Or if you’re just a generally obsessed baseball fan. Know anybody like that? Me neither.

21.644 – C Sam Tidaback

Sam Tidaback is a lifelong Cubs fan who grew up an hour from Wrigley Field. That’s enough to get you drafted by Chicago these days. And in the twenty-first round, no less.

25.764 – 2B Trent Giambrone

Trent Giambrone was off my radar in June, but looks like a nice value pick at this point in the draft. My only pre-draft notes on him were “good but not earth shattering numbers” and first-hand source who told me flatly that Giambrone “can’t play shortstop except in a pinch, but good anywhere else you stick him.” Those two things more or less disqualified him from any additional research (time and energy are finite, after all), but his intriguing pro debut at the plate has me feeling some regret. Cubs could have something with Giambrone. If it all keeps working, maybe you’ve turned a twenty-fifth round pick into a bat-first utility guy.

23.704 – SS Delvin Zinn

Few players from the entire 2016 MLB Draft class intrigue me quite as much as Delvin Zinn (415). I have no idea what to make of him. He’s as good an athlete as you’ll now find in pro ball with a big arm and enough range to hang at short (he split his time at SS and 2B evenly in his debut) for the foreseeable future. He’s also a smart hitter who makes a ton of contact with enough patience to put himself into favorable counts more often than not. His current issues are about the kind of contact he makes and what he does when he’s up in the count. At present, Zinn has true 20 power. He could grow into some as he puts on some good weight and tweaks his swing, but he’s currently a long way from being an extra base threat in the professional ranks. Thankfully, he has a long way before he’ll have to be a finished product. The 19-year-old infielder has enough positives on his side that he should get plenty of opportunities over the next few years to sink or swim in pro ball. A player with that kind of unpredictable but intriguing future is exactly who you should target when still available in the twenty-third round.

27.824 – OF Connor Myers

Connor Myers is way more talented than your typical twenty-seventh round senior-sign. His approach at the plate needs a good bit of tightening up if he wants to advance past AA, but his physical gifts (speed, arm, athleticism) are enough to keep him employed long enough to potentially figure things out as a hitter.

29.884 – RHP Tyler Peyton

Tyler Peyton has long frustrated me as a pitcher with the kind of stuff (88-94 FB, intriguing SL, average CU that flashes better) to be a true impact college performer who never quite got there. That doesn’t give me a ton of hope he’ll suddenly start missing more bats in the pros (his junior year 7.01 K/9 was a college career high), but you never know with two-way players like him. Maybe complete dedication to pitching will help him unlock the secret to getting more whiffs. It’s worth a twenty-ninth round pick to find out.

32.974 – OF Zach Davis

I don’t know what to make of the Zach Davis pick. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but if you’re stumping me with a power conference D1 prospect then you’re really digging deep for a player. Chicago must have seen more out of his 30 AB in 2014, 98 AB in 2015, and 39 AB in 2016 than most.

33.1004 – RHP Nathan Sweeney

A six-figure bonus ($100,000) for a low-90s (92-93 in my notes) righthander with size (6-4, 185) out of a state with an unusually high success rate (same HS as Brad Lidge!) of producing successful amateur pitchers? I’m in on Nathan Sweeney. Nice pick by Chicago here.

38.1154 – OF Tolly Filotei

The Cubs drafted and signed a player coming off a .268/.373/.338 season (71 AB) at Faulkner State. Could there possibly be more to the story than that? Probably not. In totally unrelated news, Tolly is the son of Cubs regional crosschecker Bobby Filotei. In fairness, Filotei was drafted out of high school by Colorado in 2014. I don’t believe that Bobby was employed by Colorado at that time (or ever), so, at least there’s that.

All in all, the Cubs drafted 38 guys. Only 11 were hitters. Of that 11, only 8 signed. Their college hitters came from these schools: Chipola, Delta State, North Georgia, Bethune-Cookman, Faulkner State, Texas Tech, Old Dominion, Itawamba, and Sacred Heart. Throw out North Georgia and Texas Tech, and I’d put the “guess what state the school is in” over/under for the casual fan at 1.5. Drafting players from all over isn’t a bad thing. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to draft.

Still, something seems off to me about Chicago’s draft. I don’t think they drafted well just because they are the Cubs and can do no wrong. I also don’t think they drafted poorly because I have different opinions about the players they selected. They clearly went all-in on pitching, but did so with a hyper-focused attention to pitchers with ground ball statistics and/or stuff. I don’t hate that one bit, especially when you see how all the ground ball pitching fits with their emphasis on building an outstanding defensive infield. One thing I didn’t like about their draft was the lack of offense. I know the big league team is loaded with young hitting. I know the strength of the system tilts overwhelmingly towards bats. An important draft rule, however, is that you don’t just draft for yourself but rather for each of the twenty-nine other teams in baseball. Mixing in a few quality bats with the bushel of relatively high-floor pitchers would have at least given Chicago a chance to replenish the (admittedly still stacked) lower-levels with potential easier to identify and develop trade assets. Or maybe the Cubs just had more confidence in their ability to identify and develop pitching than I do.

Either way, I went from not understanding this draft at all, to understanding it and not particularly liking it, to understanding it and talking myself into it. I still don’t love it, but if you can get one or two of Hatch, Miller, Robinson, or Rucker to stay in the rotation (either in Chicago or elsewhere if dealt) and then get valuable quick-moving bullpen pieces like Clark, Hockin, and Mekkes up for a team very much in win-now mode, you’re on to something. It was too conservative an approach for a team with as good a present and future as the Cubs seem to have — swing for the fences at least once, Cubbies! What do you have to lose? — but it was an approach and that matters. I mean, say what you want about the conservative approach the Cubs took, Dude, at least it’s an ethos. Or maybe a logos? I don’t know. This wasn’t my best work.

Unsigned Prospects and Where You Can Find Them in 2017

Reynaldo Rivera (Chipola), Montana Parsons (Baylor), Austin Jones (Wisconsin-Whitewater), Rian Bassett (?), Parker Dunshee (Wake Forest), Trey Cobb (Oklahoma State), Ryan Kreidler (UCLA), Jake Slaughter (LSU), DJ Roberts (South Florida), Davis Moore (Fresno State), AJ Block (Washington State), Davis Daniel (Auburn), Brenden Heiss (Arkansas), Dante Biasi (Penn State)

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