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2016 MLB Draft Reviews – Boston Red Sox

Top 500 Prospects Drafted by Boston in 2016

1 – Jay Groome
76 – CJ Chatham
90 – Shaun Anderson
98 – Mike Shawaryn
213 – Bobby Dalbec
324 – Stephen Nogosek
416 – Santiago Espinal

Complete List of 2016 Boston Red Sox Draftees

1.12 – LHP Jay Groome

Jay Groome (1)

That link takes care of a lot of my thoughts on Groome, the draft’s best long-term prospect for my money. For those less inclined to click a link, the most relevant excerpt…

Groome came out firing in the first with a string of low-90s fastballs (93, 94, 92, 93) before dropping a picture perfect 78 MPH curveball that made the Gloucester Catholic’s leadoff man’s knees buckle and the crowd of scouts and execs behind home plate (as well as a few thousand of their closest friends) audibly “oooh.” Incredibly, that was just the first of five different “oooh” curves he’d throw all night: there were two more in the fifth inning and two more after that in his sixth and final frame. I had that pitch ranging from 74-78 on the evening. Everything about the pitch is plus to plus-plus, though I think you could quibble some with a slightly slowed arm speed on the offering that tips it just enough for HS hitters to notice, but not nearly enough for them to react. The pitch is so good that there’s a chance he can get away with the slight pause in pro ball for a while; obvious point is obvious, but that’s really high praise. Groome’s curve is special and that alone makes him a top ten prospect in this class.

After going 93, 94, 92, 93, and 78 on the first batter, Groome went 93, 77, 92, 94, and 93 to the second hitter. That basic pattern — work off the fastball, mix in one curve per plate appearance — was followed by Groome for much of the game. I won’t say my notes were perfect — my focus on the fast-paced, well-pitched (though admittedly not particularly crisply played otherwise) game was a solid 98% throughout, but taking in the atmosphere occasionally led to a missed radar reading or two — but I only had Groome dropping two curves to the same batter on four occasions. This strategy obviously worked (14 strikeouts is 14 strikeouts) with the threat of a bigger fastball than he wound up showing, average fastball command that flashed better in certain at bats, and that devastating curve ranking as the reasons why in ascending order of importance.

Everything you’ve already seen, read, or heard about Groome’s mechanics held up. They are close to picture perfect. I’ve long been on the record of only caring about mechanical extremes, and I’d say with great confidence that Groome’s arm action and delivery are on that happy tail of the bell curve. With his frame, bulked up from a boy late last summer to a rock solid man by now (though I’d argue with some loss of athleticism), his age, and those textbook mechanics, it’s easy to imagine a day in the not so distant future where Groome is a consistent mid-90s arm if he wants to be. Of course, that’s all projection at this point: Groome’s velocity on this day fluctuated from those early game low-90s peaks to a strange middle inning dip to the mid- to upper-80s. I was almost positive while watching live that he wasn’t working in his changeup — some around me thought otherwise, for what it’s worth* — but I had him with an 85, 86, 87, and four 89’s between innings three and five. After thinking about it some more I could buy the mid-80s pitches being his attempt at the change to give the scouts a little taste of his third pitch; if so, I’ve seen it look better, but the arm action sure looked like the fastball, so at least there was that. Still, the 89’s for a well-rested teenage arm on a nice night weren’t exactly typical of what we’ve come to expect out of a potential first overall pick. He rebounded some in his final inning, sitting 90-91 with his fastball while relying more on the curve than in any other part of the game to that point. His final pitch of the night was a 92 MPH fastball that was swung through for eighth strikeout in a row to end the game and fourteenth overall.

(* Groome himself identified the pitch as a change: “As far as my command goes, I think that’s pretty good, but I need to show a little more depth to my changeup. I’m not really getting out in front of it and left a couple up high today. They fouled it off, they didn’t really make me pay. Later on down the road, I have to get that good depth on it.”)

This is the point in the report where I’m supposed to make a grand conclusion about what I saw out of Groome on the night. Well, I’ve got nothing. I selfishly wanted to see Groome at his very best — again, it’s worth pointing out that the man had fourteen strikeouts in six innings and that’s not his best — so that I could walk away ready to declare the race for 1-1 and top spot on my board over. The obvious good news is the confirmation that his curve and mechanics are both 1-1 caliber. His fastball has been in the past, but wasn’t on this night. I’m not terribly concerned about one good but not great velocity night — the fastball was still commanded fairly well (average to above-average), had such obvious late life that even my old eyes could see it, and came out of a deceptive enough slot that it had hitters taking bad swings all evening long — but I think the summer showcase version of Groome’s heater is (unsurprisingly) less the real thing than what we’ve seen out of him this spring. His changeup remains an open question, but that’s not atypical for a big-time high school arm with Groome’s brand of one-two punch locked and loaded for bear most starts. The development of his physique continues to surprise me — it’s as if he finds a way to pack on a pound or three of good weight every time I see him — but I do worry some that he’s getting close to the danger zone of sacrificing some looseness and athleticism, both facets of his game that excited me so much about him last summer, for strength. Add it all up (above-average fastball with plus upside, clear plus curve, changeup with a chance to be average, elegant mechanics, and a pro-ready body) and it’s clear that Jay Groome is a really, really good pitching prospect. What isn’t clear, however, is whether or not he’s the best amateur prospect in the country. For some, not yet knowing is knowing; when the risk of taking a teenage arm gets factored in, Groome not being a slam dunk pick above the rest means the risk is too great to pass on similarly valued peers (Puk, Lewis, Moniak, Rutherford, Perez, Ray, whomever) with more certainty. I think that’s where the Phillies are currently at in their evaluation. Between Groome’s staggering perfect world ceiling and moderate (for a HS arm) floor (less projection in his body than most, plus his mechanics portend good things to come) and the less than thrilling options that surround him at the top of the class, I’d have a hard time removing his name from 1-1 consideration if I was in charge of such a pick.

I’m not saying that’s the definitive Jay Groome take. Everything written above came from a game report from one Groome start. That outing was only one of five different times (once last summer, once in the winter, three times in the spring) that I saw Groome pitch in person. I’m not a scout so take all of the above with the usual grain of salt that comes with a fan’s observations of the game — though I’ll rudely point out for the millionth time here that watching baseball isn’t exactly rocket science no matter what those with a vested interest in creating that precise mythology within the industry would like for us all to believe — but I generally feel confident in my overall evaluation of Groome based on the combination of having seen him at multiple stages of his teenage development, having traded firsthand accounts for games and showcases that I’ve missed with others in the game, and absorbing all possible public published information on him.

In short, Groome is the truth. Sky high expectations caused some draft fans (and evaluators) to turn on him as the spring dragged on, but even at his “worst” he was still flashing easy first round stuff. There was some grumbling in the stands during a game where he struck out fourteen batters in six innings. I know scouting isn’t a performance-based thing, but, come on, that should at least tell you something about the guy.

I can’t get behind the Clayton Kershaw comparisons for Groome because Kershaw is in a different stratosphere altogether from the rest of the big leagues right now, but I’ll still throw out a very lofty comparison for Groome that I don’t think I’ve shared on the site before. Watching the young lefthander from Jersey’s evolution over the past eighteen months reminds me a lot of a young Andy Pettitte. We can’t help but think of Pettitte now and go right to his dominant cutter, but he didn’t start to throw the cutter consistently until the 2004 season (when he was 32-years-old) and he didn’t technically swap it out for his slider until 2008 (when he was 36-years-old). The 18-year-old Groome has plenty of time to reinvent himself a half-dozen times or so before he gets to the late-career portion of his big league run. Groome reminds me more of the early-career version of Pettitte, the one with a consistently above-average heater that could hit the mid-90s, plus curve, and above-average change. That’s the Pettitte that was written up as a soon-to-be 23-year-old back in 1995 courtesy of the always excellent Diamond Minds scouting database…

andy-pettitte-scouting-report

So much about Groome reminded me of Pettitte after his last start against Gloucester Catholic that I was kicking myself (not literally, I’m not that flexible) on the whole ride home for not putting it together sooner. Their mechanics, the use of a knuckle-curve, the body types…watching Groome was like going back in time and seeing a young Pettitte for the first time. The scary part here is that I think Groome has a chance to be a better version of Pettitte. Call him Pettitte 2.0. That’s Hall of Fame upside. That’s what I think Jay Groome can accomplish.

(Self-indulgent post-script to the Groome/Pettitte comparison. I, like many others I’d imagine, have a hard time remembering what young versions of established stars looked like. The days before MLB.TV made watching the over-the-top amount of baseball we all do today a lot harder back then. I do, however, remember what a young Andy Pettitte looked like. Of course, entirely selfish reasons brought me to him in my own early teenage years. Pettitte, having just turned 27-years-old, was very much on the trade block in 1999. The Yankees had a deal in place with my hometown Philadelphia Phillies contingent on a few other dominoes falling that same deadline. The return for Pettitte would have been rather bleak in hindsight: Reggie Taylor, Adam Eaton, and Anthony Shumaker. New York didn’t get the reliever they wanted elsewhere, so they pulled out of the deal at the last minute.

2.51 – SS CJ Chatham

On CJ Chatham (76) from March 2016…

CJ Chatham is an intriguing modern shortstop who has opened eyes throughout the game with his huge start to 2016. In no means is it a direct comparison, but what he’s doing so far is similar to what Kyle Lewis has done at Mercer. Chatham, like Lewis, has done everything possible to turn a perceived weakness (approach) into a strength. Going from a 8 BB/39 K as a freshman and 10 BB/28 K as a sophomore to his draft year 10 BB/7 K ratio is something worth getting excited about. With Chatham’s seemingly improved approach, scouts can now freely focus on the other positives in his game (above-average range, above-average to plus arm, a 6-4, 185 pound frame to dream on) and begin forecasting a big league regular out of the overall package. In a class with a serious talent void at the top of the college shortstop rankings, Chatham has emerged as a legit contender to be the very first off the board and a top hundred pick. He’s that good.

Chatham’s patient start at the plate didn’t quite foreshadow a true shift in approach — he walked 13 times with 27 strikeouts from the time of that original writing forward to bring his totals on the season to 23 BB/34 K — but that didn’t stop the Red Sox (and many other teams) from being hot on his trail on draft day. I’m sure part of that had to do with the scarcity of true shortstops in this class, but plenty also had to do with Chatham’s dreamy 6-4, 185 pound frame, above-average to plus raw power, and outstanding defensive tools that could make him an above-average glove at short or a true plus defender at the hot corner.

It’s probably silly to make too much out of any player’s professional debut, but something about Chatham’s .259/.319/.426 line at Lowell to begin his career stands out to me. Call it an attempt at informed prospect projection or a wild ass hunch, but Chatham’s most realistic upside with the bat falling around .260/.320/.425 just feels right to me. Those marks would put him 13th (BA), 13th (OBP), and 14th (SLG) among qualified shortstops in 2016. Slap some above-average defense on him and that’s a top ten player at the position. For what it’s worth, that .260/.320/.425 ballpark projection gets us pretty close to what Troy Tulowitzki (.254/.318/.443) did this past year on his way to a just ahead of league average (102 wRC+) offensive showing. That line would also put him close to the career averages of guys like Jimmy Rollins (career .264/.324/.418 hitter), Jhonny Peralta, and Rich Aurilia. I highlighted the Rollins career stat line not only because it’s as close as you can find to that hypothetical .260/.320/.425 shortstop we’ve created, but also to reiterate the limits of performance-based expectation comparisons. Chatham and Rollins are too very different players from a scouting perspective; ten seconds of watching them makes that obvious to even the most casual of baseball fan. Thankfully, that’s not the intent of a performance comp. Different types of players can still bring about similar long-term value. A career like what Rollins, Peralta, or Aurilia did (or are in the process of doing) seems within reach for the Red Sox second round selection.

3.88 – RHP Shaun Anderson

I’m really excited to see what direction the career of Shaun Anderson (90) goes in pro ball. It’s really easy to see Anderson remaining in the bullpen and being one of this year’s quickest moving draftees. He’s got the plus to plus-plus fastball that is a good enough pitch for him to use it an entire inning at time. There’s velocity (88-94, 96 peak), movement (tons), and the ability to command it (all the more impressive when you factor in that crazy movement); in short, his heater checks off everything you’d want in the pitch. Anderson also throws an above-average to plus cut-slider that can also turn into a truer slider with a bit more bend when it takes a little off of it. In the bullpen, that fastball/cutter mix could be enough to mow down batters at a similar clip that he did at Florida.

As a starter, all bets are off. One of the easiest and most difficult things to do is to project a college reliever with all the attributes of a starting pitcher to a pro rotation spot. It’s easy because it just makes sense. If a guy has the body, delivery, temperament, and stuff to start, but circumstances as a college athlete forced him in the bullpen then dreaming on him in his “natural” role makes sense. Easy, right? What’s difficult about the whole thing is how challenging the actual transition really is. A plus fastball in short outings may just be above-average (if that) as a starter. A lesser fastball then allows hitters to more easily prepare for the premium offspeed stuff, and even that assumes said offspeed stuff remains as good as it was in fewer innings. There’s also the simple issue that some bodies, no matter how they look, are better equipped for one role over the other. Conventional wisdom be damned, there are big guys who tire more easily as starters and little guys who seem to get better the more innings they throw. I’m not saying there’s no way of telling how a player will react until actually put into the new role, but…actually, I guess that is what I’m saying. Projecting is what we do, but to call it an inexact science is an insult to actual science.

I’d like to think Anderson can maintain all of the stuff he’s shown in his three years (worth noting here he pitched 43.0 innings his junior year after just 39.0 IP his first two seasons) at Florida, but I really have no idea. If he can, then he’s a potential mid-rotation starter with the chance for a little more than that. If he’s destined to the bullpen (my personal hunch), then he could become a major relief weapon for the Red Sox sooner rather than later. With a legit four-pitch mix (emphasizing fastballs and cutters), above-average command, ample deception in his delivery, and plus control, Anderson could potentially be deployed in any number of ways out of the pen. A bullpen with both him and Stephen Nogosek capable of putting out fires and going multiple innings at a time could be a ton of fun.

4.118 – 3B Bobby Dalbec

Where to begin with Bobby Dalbec (213)? Let’s start with a flashback to March 2016…

Dalbec deserves a lot of credit for battling back from a slow start to now have a more than respectable 2016 overall batting line. He also deserves respect for being one of the realest 2016 MLB Draft prospects out there. What you see is what you get with Dalbec: massive power, lots of whiffs, and a fair amount of walks. His arm and athleticism help make up for a lack of easy lateral quickness at the hot corner, so sticking at third should remain an option for the foreseeable future. The older, popular, and common comp for him has been Troy Glaus; on the flip side, I’ve heard Chris Dominguez as a possible outcome. The Glaus ship appears to have sailed, so something in between that and Dominguez would be a fine professional result.

And then again from April 2016…

Bobby Dalbec continues to confound. More and more people I’ve spoken to are becoming open to the idea of sending him out as a pitcher in pro ball. As frustrating as he can be at the plate, I don’t think I could throw his kind of power away that easily, even if only on a temporary basis. I also don’t think I’d touch him in the first five rounds. The comparison shared with me before the season to Chris Dominguez feels more and more prescient by the day.

I had Dominguez ranked 41st on my final board back in 2009 before he was drafted 86th overall by the Giants. I’m not sure what it says (if anything) about my own evolving view on prospecting or how the industry itself has changed or how the game has shifted, but I can say with 100% certainty that Dalbec won’t rank anywhere close to where Dominguez once landed on my personal ranks. I can also say with about 95% certainty that he won’t be drafted as high as Dominguez was in 2009. Of course, a player’s draft ranking ultimately is not about where he falls on the average of all teams’ boards but rather where he eventually falls on the board of the one team that drafts him. That’s where that 5% uncertainty comes in: all it takes is one team to look at Dalbec’s two clear plus tools (raw power, arm strength) and believe they can tweak his swing to make enough contact to allow his natural ability to shine through. His upside is very real, as is the possibility he tops out as an all-or-nothing AA power hitter. I’m out on him for now, but I understand the appeal. Chicks dig the long ball.

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to Dalbec, a prospect who has been in the spotlight since his senior year at Legend HS. Any conversation about Dalbec tends to center around four different things, two positive and two negative. Working for the big slugger from Arizona has always been and will always be his prodigious raw power and cannon for a right arm. If you like Dalbec, you like his power upside and enormous arm enough to override any of the negatives to come. If you’re not as into Dalbec, then the power isn’t enough to distract from the massive amount of swing-and-miss in his game (career 81 BB/179 K as a Wildcat) and the arm strength isn’t enough to look past the defensive questions (many of which have been answered positively, to be fair) that have followed him for years. Best case scenario you’re getting a power-hitting third baseman. Worst case scenario you’re left with a first baseman with a long Swiss cheese swing unable to make enough contact to allow the power to play.

If we go back to my pre-draft comparisons, I’d say his future will probably result in a player not nearly as good as Glaus yet not quite as disappointing as Dominguez. I think that outcome would be fine value for a fourth round pick like Dalbec. Upside to be a lineup fixture and home run champion threat, downside that sees him flaming out in AA (and potentially making a return to the mound…), and most realistic middle ground as a four-corners power bat that will always rack up strikeouts but can be a positive value player for years if deployed properly. The approach scares me off enough that the downside makes this a slight reach, but, as mentioned earlier, it’s not so crazy a reach that it can’t also be considered fine value. All depends on how you weigh the possibilities of his potential outcomes.

(We’re about to get a little weird here based on a curiosity I had about Dalbec’s pro start. Feel free to skip this if you’re not about small sample size outputs and whether or not they can tell us anything.)

To Dalbec’s credit, the big righthanded bat went out after a long college two-way season and hit bomb after bomb in his pro debut. Dalbec’s awesome start to his pro career got me wondering just how many players have slugged .674 (as he did) in short-season rookie ball and failed to reach the big leagues. Small sample noise and misleading levels of competition often point towards early career success not being particularly predictive. I get that. But this isn’t run-of-the-mill early career success. This is leading the league in slugging (if he had qualified) by over 150 points over the top qualifier. That’s destroying the league. Does that mean anything? Let’s find out…

As mentioned, Dalbec signed too late to get a full season in and therefore didn’t qualify for the league leaderboard — Darick Hall and his .518 SLG led the league in his stead — but that slugging percentage would have been out all but one qualified hitter in the past dozen years. Dalbec’s .674 SLG is second only to Roman Wick and his silly .378/.475/.815 line in 141 PA for State College in 2014. If you can tell me anything about Roman Wick beyond the fact I just shared, then you’re probably related to him. For the sake of science, I went back and found every player in the New York-Penn League to slug .550 or better. These guys managed to do it over the past twelve seasons: Stone Garrett (.581), Roman Wick (.815), Travis Taijeron (.557), Cory Vaughn (.557), Marcell Ozuna (.556), Neil Medchill (.551), Miguel Fermin (.628), Ryan Patterson (.595), Michael Hollimon (.557). Cory Patton (.555), and Nolan Reimold (.550). That’s not a particularly encouraging list. If we expand the search for guys over .500 SLG, then we have the following…

Darick Hall, Garrett, Wick, Chris Breen, Conor Bierfeldt, Jesus Solorzano, David Washington, Taijeron, Dean Green, Danny Muno, Vaughn, Ozuna, Rylan Sandoval, Ryan Fisher, David Anderson, Darrell Cecillani, Jonathan Rodriguez, Medchill, JD Martinez, Sebastian Valle, Sean Ochinko, Deangelo Mack, Leandro Castro, Fermin, Luis Sumoa, Phil Disher, Ben Lasater, Todd Martin, Damon Sublett, Casper Wells, Patterson, Hollimon, Patton, Reimold, Neil Sellers, Francisco Plasencia

Some of those guys are too early in their careers to label and others were at least good enough to hang in the big leagues for a bit, but I don’t think it’s all that controversial a take to say that the track record of .500+ SLG players in the NYPL ain’t great. Of the 36 players listed above, there are only two (Ozuna and Martinez) that I would consider to be developmental success stories. Two out of thirty-six. This quick look back doesn’t mean that Bobby Dalbec will join the failed prospect crew or that he’s any more likely to struggle than his lesser-slugging peers (though you could probably float a theory about hitters who show big power early in their career as being free-swinging outliers and that such an approach leads to early power success but no long-term sustainability); it only means that early power success in the NYPL does not guarantee anything beyond that.

5.148 – RHP Mike Shawaryn

On Mike Shawaryn (98) from April 2016…

Shawaryn’s big 2015 (10.71 K/9 and 1.71 ERA in 116.0 IP) set him up as a potential first round pick coming into the year, but a slight dip in production and stuff has many cooler on him now than before. He’s always been in that ten to fifteen range for him as a 2016 college arm, so the recent downtick in stuff isn’t something I’m too worked up about. At his best, he’s got enough fastball (87-94, 95 peak), a changeup with big upside, and a breaking ball that seemingly improves every time out (even as he’s had some rocky starts this year). Breaking down his individual pitches is obviously important, but the main selling point with Shawaryn was always going to be his above-average to plus command, standout control, and deceptive motion. Assuming his decline is more fatigue – he’s approaching almost 250 college innings in his career; for context’s sake, that’s about a hundred more than AJ Puk and over twice as many as Alec Hansen – than injury (though separating the two can be tricky without proper pre-draft medical screening), Shawaryn might be the perfect candidate for a team in round two (or three if they are lucky) willing to draft a potential mid-rotation starting pitcher with the intent not to pitch him competitively the summer after signing. Draft him, sign him, get him working with your top player development staffers, and focus more about 2017 rather than getting onto the field immediately. If it turns out he’s feeling good and looking good sooner rather than later, so be it. But he’s the type of smart young pitcher that could begin his first professional season at High-A without much concern. That’s the path I’d consider taking with him, but maybe I’m making more out of a few good rather than great starts than I really ought to.

I think that holds up really well today. If you want the short version, we could go back to this from October 2015…

A long draft season could change this, but Shawaryn looks all the world to be a rock solid bet to wind up a mid-rotation big league starting pitcher. Never a star, but consistently useful for years going forward.

I think that’s on target as well: “never a star, but consistently useful.” Shawaryn is going to have a long career as a mid-rotation starting pitching in the big leagues. That’s excellent value in round five. Love this pick.

6.178 – RHP Stephen Nogosek

On Stephen Nogosek (324) from March 2016…

Another college reliever! Stephen Nogosek is one of the most interesting of his kind in this year’s class. He’s not the two-pitch fire-balling righthander with the plus breaking ball that teams view as a classic late-inning type. Nogosek commands four pitches for strikes, relying more on the overall depth of his repertoire than any one singular go-to offering. Many speculate that his delivery lends itself to shorter outings, but I’m not convinced that a pro team won’t at least consider using him in the rotation at some point.

And again from April 2016…

If it’s a true college reliever you want, then Stephen Nogosek out of Oregon is your best bet. He’s a little bit like [Ian] Hamilton in that he’s got the raw stuff to start – an honest four-pitch mix seems wasted some in relief – but his command would make longer outings untenable at this time. As a reliever, however, he’s effectively wild. Pitching out of the pen also puts him on the short list of fastest potential movers.

The sixth round feels like a great spot to land a high-probability/reasonable-ceiling potential quick-mover in Nogosek. The funky, undersized righthander can use any one of his three offspeed offerings — upper-70s SL that flashes plus, solid mid-80s CU, average or better upper-70s CB — while also commanding a quality 88-94 MPH (up to 95) fastball. I don’t think there’s closer upside here, but it shouldn’t take much for Nogosek to have a long career as a dependable seventh inning reliever.

7.208 – OF Ryan Scott

Hitting .435/.516/.713 at the D-I level should get you drafted in the top ten rounds, right? Tuns out that’s exactly what it does. I didn’t have anything on Scott besides the easy to Google knowledge of his awesome senior year performance, so let’s just go ahead and repeat that: .435/.516/.713. That’s ridiculous. The stat-inclined portion of my brain is really rooting for Scott to have a long, successful pro career.

8.238 – C Alan Marrero

Alan Marrero walked or struck out in 62.9% of his 70 plate appearances in his debut with the Red Sox. That’s nuts. I have a feeling that number will go just a touch in his first full pro season next year. I’m sure the Red Sox are counting on it even though they likely are more excited about Marrero’s athleticism, arm strength, and standout defense behind the plate than anything he’ll do as a hitter. Like a few other catchers in the 2016 MLB Draft class — both Jake Rogers and Cooper Johnson spring to mind — Marrero’s defense could very well be so good that the baseline offensive standard for his bat will be almost so low he can’t help but reach it. In other words, Marrero’s defense is just about big league quality already. Expecting anything special at the plate is just getting greedy.

9.268 – OF Matt McLean

Here’s a little bit on Matt McLean from March 2016 with a bonus Granger Studdard (twenty-second round pick) reference thrown in for good measure…

On (kind of) the other end of the spectrum is Matt McLean of Texas-Arlington. McLean is a good runner and savvy all-around ballplayer who (to my knowledge) isn’t being talked up by anybody as a serious draft prospect. I’m not sure whether he is or isn’t, but the way he commands the strike zone has my respect. McLean is off to a similar start as Studdard (12 BB/4 K), but differs in that it’s part of a longer track record of doing so (40 BB/19 K last year). When looking to fill out rosters late during the draft, I’d recommend McLean to my scouting director every time. I’m high on the McLean’s on the world not only for what they could become in their own right – solid org guys can occasionally turn into useful pieces over time – but also because of the unseen positives that bringing players like this into an organization can provide. I don’t think McLean possesses any magic plate discipline dust that would rub off on his teammates, but having my young guys exposed to his consistent professional approach to the game, calculated plan of attack as a hitter, aggressive yet smart style of play in all phases, and determination to succeed no matter what couldn’t hurt.

Everything written about McLean there holds up today, I think. He went earlier than I had anticipated back in March, but did so as a $10,000 bonus senior-sign. McLean’s last two seasons at Texas-Arlington produced a cumulative mark of 76 BB/41 K. He’s still only a fifth outfielder if literally everything breaks right for him developmentally, but damn if I don’t think there’s a larger value to bringing players like this into the system. Maybe I’m nuts.

Also, I’m probably just a touch too young to get this in a more meaningful way but I’m up enough on nostalgic pop culture references to think of this every single time I read McLean’s name.

10.298 – SS Santiago Espinal

I’m buying Santiago Espinal (416) as a potential big league utility player even with his glaring lack of pop. He makes a ton of quality contact, works deep counts, defends his spot well at both second and short, and can put up above-average run times. One thing worth noting with Espinal is his age: despite playing only one college season, the former Miami-Dade shortstop is already 22-years-old. It puts his outstanding freshman season (.432/.492/.562 with 20 BB/11 K and 15/20 SB) at the junior college level in a different light. Liking Espinal, however, is liking what you’ve got already with him. His brand of on-base ability and reliable defense up the middle isn’t something that needs much projecting past what he can already do.

12.358 – RHP Matthew Gorst

Matthew Gorst had a good year. He did this at Georgia Tech as a junior: 10.10 K/9 and 2.39 BB/9 and 0.55 ERA in 49.0 IP. He then followed that up with this pro debut: 9.00 K/9 and 2.00 BB/9 and 2.67 ERA in 27.0 IP. I’m still personally wary of a college reliever without premium stuff (88-93 FB, 84-87 cutter, 77-81 SL) with a limited track record of success, but Boston clearly must believe Gorst turned a corner in 2016. Pro results are certainly backing that up for now.

14.418 – LHP Robby Sexton

The Red Sox signed only three lefthanded pitchers in this draft class. You know about Jay Groome. You might not know quite as much about the two college lefties Boston scooped up from the Midwest. We’ll cover Kyle Hart from Indiana shortly, so let’s take a closer look at Robby Sexton from Wright State now. In brief, I like Robby Sexton more than I do most mid-round college pitchers with good but not great track records at non-power conference universities. Lefthanders who can pull off the sinker/slider combo are some of my favorite relief prospects to follow. That’s what you’re getting with the athletic Sexton.

16.478 – C Alberto Schmidt

My public notes on Alberto Schmidt were sparse — “good athlete; strong arm; older for class” — but I heard lots of nice things about him (both as a person and prospect) behind the scenes leading up to the draft. If you heard such nice things then you probably should have ranked him higher then, you might be thinking. Not a bad point, I’d counter. Maybe I should have ranked him higher (or, you know, at all). Yeah, you’d repeat, maybe you should have. Yeah, I’d say. Yeah, you’d say.

17.508 – C Nick Sciortino

The seventeenth round feels just a little too early for me to take a local product org player, but the Red Sox went out and took Boston College catcher Nick Sciortino anyway. His defense is good and his arm is solid, but I’m not sure he’ll ever do enough offensively to be anything but a handy catcher to shuffle around affiliates as needed.

19.568 – LHP Kyle Hart

A buddy of mine was insistent this spring that Kyle Hart could get big league lefthanders out right now. I’m not sure if that’s was said in part because of Hart’s present old man game — mid-80s fastball, advanced change, lots of slow curves, impeccable control — rather than a literal ability to get big league hitters out. Sometimes players with such limited physical projection wind up being a touch overrated because of a general assumption that they are better than they really are since they’re already likely as good as they’ll get. I just read that back and I have no idea if it’ll make sense to anybody but myself. Confusing attempt at a larger point aside, I still like the crafty, athletic Hart. Him getting big league lefties out at some point next year wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

20.598 – SS Nick Lovullo

On Nick Lovullo from February 2016…

Lovullo has the bloodlines, athleticism, and steadying infield presence to be a really solid org guy with the chance for more. His bat has improved each year at Holy Cross, so a big senior season is well within range. Nobody is asking for my seal of approval, but having seen Lovullo play on a few different occasions, I can certainly vouch for him as a player that does all the little things beautifully.

And then again right before the draft…

Nick Lovullo had an odd season. He only hit .225, but bolstered his OBP with a whopping 40 walks. I’ve always liked his approach, athleticism, and reliable defense up the middle, so I’ll overlook that .225 (and the dismal 6/15 SB success rate) and keep him on my draft board. He’ll make a fine future Red Sox minor leaguer.

I’m not going to go too crazy patting on my back for connecting the obvious dots here, but, hey, it is nice to win one every now and then. I think “solid org guy with the chance for more” remains a fair assessment of Lovullo’s upside. Like the Sciortino pick in the seventeenth round, this felt a bit early to me — I predicted Lovullo to Boston in the fortieth round, a spot more commensurate to his prospect value for me — but what do I know. Fair to wonder now if we see a quiet “Lovullo to Arizona for future considerations” type deal in the not too distant future…

22.658 – OF Granger Studdard

On Granger Studdard from March 2016…

Granger Studdard is another personal favorite of mine out of the Sun Belt due to his power upside, athleticism, arm strength, and speed. The last three facets of his game are far stronger than you see out of a typical first base prospect, so it’s not shock that the majority of those I spoke to who like him as well prefer him as a corner outfielder. That defensive versatility only boosts his stock. The most interesting thing about Studdard to me is how scouts have raved about his approach since his first year at Texas State. Much like what has been said about Kyle Lewis at Mercer, the buzz surrounding Studdard has been about how he really knows how to hit and approaches every plate appearance like a seasoned veteran. Like Mercer, however, the results didn’t seem to back it up: Studdard hit well in both of his college seasons, but did so while putting up BB/K ratios of 19/42 and 20/62. The disconnect between the scouting take and the on-field indicators figured to come to a head in his draft season, and, so far, the scouts look like they know a thing or two about the game. SMALL SAMPLE SIZE, but Studdard has walked twelve times in 2016 with only five strikeouts to his name. If that’s real, then you can put his standing as one of the best under-the-radar mid-major bats in the county in ink.

So was it real? Technically, yes. Studdard finished his junior year with 37 walks to 26 strikeouts. The more patient approach seemingly came at a cost of some power, however: his .285/.389/.380 line more closely resembled his freshman season (.270/.364/.385) than his sophomore year (.281/.345/.485). It’s how to deduce why that is without having seen Studdard multiple times throughout his final season at Texas State. Was he being pitched around? Is this just a small sample aberration? Was his sophomore year power spike the real outlier? Is there something in Studdard’s scouting dossier (swing, approach, pitch recognition, etc.) that explains it better? Anything I’d offer would just be a guess at this point. In any event, the reasons for liking Studdard are still reasons that explain why I currently like Studdard. He struggled in his debut at the plate, but 38 of his innings in the field came in either left or right. That’s a good sign for his prospect stock going forward.

23.688 – OF Juan Carlos Abreu

As an older high school talent (he’ll be 20 next May) with a game built on speed and a strong arm — two nice tools, to be sure, but arguably fourth and fifth in terms of importance if you were to rank them — Juan Carlos Abreu was more of a peripheral prospect on the radar for me this spring. Worth a shot as a twenty-third round pick, I guess.

24.718 – RHP Hunter Smith

Maybe some teams were turned off by Hunter Smith’s ugly 6.19 ERA in his draft year at North Carolina Greensboro. That’s about all I’ve got by way of explanation for Smith’s drop to the twenty-fourth round in this year’s draft. He’s got the size (6-3, 200), fastball (87-93, 95 peak), and offspeed stuff (above-average slider that flashes plus and an average or better change) to get stretched back out as a starter next year if that’s something Boston is willing to try. If not, I think he’s got a bright future in relief. Big fan of Hunter Smith.

25.748 – RHP Francisco Soto

Now I’m no Nancy Drew, but I consider my internet sleuthing abilities to be at least above-average. Francisco Soto is the first player drafted this year that I’m not sure actually exists. I mean, fine, he exists: he pitched twelve innings for the GCL Red Sox after signing after all. But my quick research on Soto’s time at Allen CC in Kansas has yielded nothing meaningful to date. He’s listed at 6-5, 220 pounds, so he’s got good size. That’s literally all I’ve got.

26.778 – RHP Jared Oliver

Mid-90s velocity (up to 97) is never a bad thing, so I get where the Red Sox are coming from when taking a chance on Jared Oliver. It’s just that he’s got a lot of work to do (7.12 BB/9 at Truett-McConnell) and not a whole of time to do it (24-years-old to start next season).

33.988 – OF Chad Hardy

Underwhelming junior college numbers? How does .297/.358/.513 with 13 BB/29 K sound? Brutal first 90 PA of pro ball? A hard to look at .163/.191/.233 with 3 BB/32 K. A 60-game suspension for testing positive for Tamoxifen? Why not add it to the pile at this point, right? I’m not here to bust on Chad Hardy’s disastrous first year with the Red Sox; if anything, I can empathize with a young man’s desperation when faced with a pressure-packed situation filled with “do-or-die” feelings of urgency. Hardy making it to AA — let alone the big leagues — would be a success I’m not prepared to see with this pick. Hope it works out all the same.

Unsigned Prospects and Where You Can Find Them in 2017

Carter Henry (Houston), Jake Wilson (Bowling Green), Austin Bergner (North Carolina), Carter Aldrete (Arizona State), Jordan Wren (Georgia Southern), John Rave (Illinois State), Aaron McGarity (Virginia Tech), Jeff Belge (St. John’s), Christian Jones (Washington), Tyler Fitzgerald (Louisville), Cam Shepherd (Georgia), Jordan Scheftz (Central Florida), Vince Arobio (Pacific), Beau Capanna (New Mexico), Trevor Stephan (Arkansas), Michael Wilson (Stony Brook), Nick Quintana (Arizona)

2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Conference USA

Nothing against Conference USA, but putting this together was a lot more fun than it had any right to be. Looking at some of the individual teams had me putting this off for a bit, but it turns out that Conference USA has some really cool prospects this year. Case in point: the top tier hitting prospects – we’ll loosely define that as the first five, but it could be expanded to around nine if so inclined – all have clear top ten round upside. CJ Chatham is an intriguing modern shortstop who has opened eyes throughout the game with his huge start to 2016. In no means is it a direct comparison, but what he’s doing so far is similar to what Kyle Lewis has done at Mercer. Chatham, like Lewis, has done everything possible to turn a perceived weakness (approach) into a strength. Going from a 8 BB/39 K as a freshman and 10 BB/28 K as a sophomore to his draft year 10 BB/7 K ratio is something worth getting excited about. With Chatham’s seemingly improved approach, scouts can now freely focus on the other positives in his game (above-average range, above-average to plus arm, a 6-4, 185 pound frame to dream on) and begin forecasting a big league regular out of the overall package. In a class with a serious talent void at the top of the college shortstop rankings, Chatham has emerged as a legit contender to be the very first off the board and a top hundred pick. He’s that good.

Riley Delgado does it with far less size (and, for many, projection), but there’s no denying his consistent ability to grind out extended at bats that ultimately (more often than not) end with him on base. An approach like his matched with sneaky pop and steady defense makes him an easy draft target for me. Delgado gives me a lot of the same positive vibes that I felt with Dylan Bosheers last season. While I still hold out hope for Bosheers in 2016 and beyond, I think Delgado is both the better draft prospect and long-term professional player.

I believe in the bat of Nick Walker, so his prospect stock will come down more to learning more about his defensive future than anything else. The former shortstop is seen as a future outfielder by many, but if he can take the positive traits that made shortstop work for him in the first place – athleticism, arm strength, high baseball IQ – and turn into an above-average or better outfielder, then he remains plenty interesting as a prospect. A pair of senior-signs round out the top five in the persons of Danny Hudzina and Tim Lynch. I’ve long coveted the raw power of Lynch, one of this class’s most impressive hitters by any measure. His hot start to 2016 just makes me believe he’s even more underrated than I did a month ago; senior or not, all he does is crush baseballs.

Hudzina is a similarly talented hitter – more hit than power if we’re comparing him head-to-head with Lynch – who gets the edge because of his fascinating defensive versatility. I asked a few smart people about his long-term defensive home and each response gave me a new position to consider. Most preferred him at his present position of third base, a spot where he is really good already. Others thought he was athletic enough to handle short in a pinch, thus making his future position “utility infielder” more so than any one permanent spot. I also heard second base more than once, which made sense considering he has prior experience there. He also has experience behind the plate, so speculation that he’ll one day return to the catcher position will always be there. That was the most intriguing response, not only because of the idea itself (hardly a novel thought) but because of the conviction the friend who suggested it presented the thought (i.e., it wasn’t like he said that’s what should happen with him, he was saying that a switch to catcher will happen to him in the pros). Despite the certainty of that one friend, I’m still on the third base bandwagon with the idea of him being athletic enough to handle any infield spot (including third catcher duties) in play. All in all, offensively and defensively (wherever he may wind up), I think Hudzina has a big league skill set.

The run of Florida Atlantic prospects really begins just outside the top five. Chatham is the headliner now, but Stephen Kerr, Esteban Puerta, and Christian Dicks are all serious draft prospects in their own right. Kerr is a burner with plus to plus-plus speed and really intriguing defensive tools. Lack of a big-time arm might keep him at second rather than short as a professional, but the physical ability to be plus there in time helps soften the blow of a permanent position switch. A strong case could be made that Kerr is at least average or better in four of the five classic tools: in order, they’d go speed, glove (above-average to plus at second), hit tool (chance for above-average), and arm (plays up enough to call it average). The one obvious thing he lacks is power. Whether or not he continues to find ways to drive the occasional mistake pitch to keep the opposition honest could determine if his ceiling is honest big league regular or up-and-down utility guy. I’m bullish on his future.

Puerta is a fine young hitter with just the right blend of power and patience to make a mark on pro ball. Dicks doesn’t have a carrying tool, but has a card full of tools flirting in and around the average mark. He’s a well-rounded ballplayer with good athleticism and a track record of quality production. Further down the list is another Florida Atlantic product, Billy Endris. Endris is a good college player who has built a decent case over the last year plus that he’s got enough to warrant a late look in the draft.

Esteban Tresgallo, a Miami transfer, has seen his plate discipline indicators go backwards in the early going, but has enough of a track record, prospect pedigree, and favorable scouting notes (steady glove, nice power, enough athleticism) to deserve a mid- to late-round pick. Logan Sherer is a power bat who might finally be tapping into every bit of his 6-3, 250 pound frame. Taylor Love, Zach Rutherford, and Geonte Jackson all intrigue me as potential bat-first bench contributors capable of playing a multitude of defensive spots.

You’ll notice the cluster of Rice guys near the bottom of the hitter list. I did what I could to separate them, but no matter how often I left the list and came back to it, they always clumped together. Quite honestly, I’m sure what to say about that lineup right now. None of the 2016 draft-eligible guys are hitting. It’s ugly. They are like the anti-Florida Atlantic. No player exemplifies the frustration of what’s gone down with the Rice hitters as well as Hunter Kopycinski, a fine defender who came into the season with just enough of an offensive track record to get some late-round senior-sign org catcher love. He’s currently off to an oh-for-thirty start. Charlie Warren’s lack of pop clouds his pro future. Grayson Lewis and Conor Tekyl have the gloves to succeed, but time is running out on their bats. If you’re looking for a bat out of Rice good enough to contribute professionally, then you’re much better off waiting on Ryan Chandler (2017) and Ford Proctor (2018).

The good news for Rice is that their ace is very clearly the best pitching prospect in the conference. Jon Duplantier is awesome. There are only so many college baseball and draft writers out there and there are a ton of quality players to write about, but it still surprises me that Duplantier has managed to go (kind of) under the radar this spring. I mean, of course Duplantier has been written about plenty and he’s regarded by almost anybody who matters as one of the top college arms in this class – not to mention I’m guilty of not writing about him until now myself – but it still feels like we could all be doing more to spread the word about how good he really is. Here’s what I wrote about him in his draft capsule last year…

175. Rice SO RHP Jon Duplantier: 87-94 FB, 95 peak; good CU; good 73-75 CB; average 82-85 SL, flashes above-average when harder; good command; great athlete; fascinating draft case study as a hugely overlooked injured arm that one scout described to me as “every bit as good as Dillon Tate when on” and another said his injury was a “blessing in disguise” because it saved him from further abuse at the hands of Coach Graham; 6-4, 210 pounds

His fastball has since topped out as high as 97-98 and more consistently sits in the mid- to upper-band of that velocity range (90-94). His command has continued to improve and his breaking balls are both showing more consistency. I’ve heard his change has backed up some – more of a future average pitch at 82-84 than anything – but seeing as that’s just one of three usable offspeed pitches, it’s not the end of the world. Duplantier is big, athletic, and getting better by the day. I don’t know if that all adds up to a first round selection in this class, but it is damn close if not.

After Duplantier, you can pretty much put the next dozen or so names in a hat and hope for the best. I like the big arm of Nick Hartman (FB up to 96, good 76-78 CB), the projection left for Cody Crouse (6-6, 215 pounds with an intriguing split-change), and the potentially quick-moving reliever profiles of Garrett Ring, Adam Atkins, and David McKay. Sean Labsan is a good prospect as both a lefty pitcher and an outfielder with power; if nothing else, he deserves attention as one of the college game’s best true two-way players.

Ben Morrison does a lot of things really well – 90-94 FB, low-80s SL that flashes plus, shows both athleticism and deception in his delivery – but hasn’t had the chance to show it off in 2016. The curious case of Andrew Dunlap continues to leave me with more questions than answers about his pro future. The two-way prospect hasn’t had the chance to get back on the mound yet and is now listed solely as a DH on the Rice team site. I’m not sure whether it’s health-related or just stalled development, but my old notes on him and a fastball that flirted with triple-digits seem less relevant by the day. His teammate, the veteran Blake Fox, has been effective over the years despite not missing a ton of bats. The chance that he’ll begin to do so after making the switch to relief in the pros makes him an enticing mid- to late-round gamble. It wasn’t my intent to close out with so many Rice prospects; I guess it’s just a team filled with interesting – they may not be great, but they are certainly interesting – prospects. Josh Pettite falls into that very category. He’s recovering from a UCL injury that will force him to the bench all year long, but I could see a team doing their homework on his signability all the same. His freshman season was up and down, but the ups were enough when combined with his solid stuff and pro bloodlines to temp a team into taking him late if he’s ready to move on to pro ball.

Hitters

  1. Florida Atlantic JR SS/RHP CJ Chatham
  2. Middle Tennessee State JR SS Riley Delgado
  3. Old Dominion JR OF/SS Nick Walker
  4. Western Kentucky SR 3B Danny Hudzina
  5. Southern Mississippi SR 1B Tim Lynch
  6. Florida Atlantic JR 2B/SS Stephen Kerr
  7. Florida Atlantic rJR 1B/OF Esteban Puerta
  8. Florida Atlantic SR OF Christian Dicks
  9. UAB rSR C Esteban Tresgallo
  10. Charlotte JR 1B/RHP Logan Sherer
  11. Louisiana Tech rSR OF/SS Taylor Love
  12. Old Dominion SO SS Zach Rutherford
  13. Florida International JR C JC Escarra
  14. Middle Tennessee State JR OF Brad Jarreau
  15. Marshall JR OF Corey Bird
  16. Florida Atlantic SR OF Billy Endris
  17. Texas-San Antonio SR 3B/OF Geonte Jackson
  18. Texas-San Antonio SR C/OF Kevin Markham
  19. Texas-San Antonio SR OF Matt Hilston
  20. Florida International rJR C Zack Soria
  21. Southern Mississippi JR C Chuckie Robinson
  22. Old Dominion SR OF Connor Myers
  23. Louisiana Tech SR OF Bryce Stark
  24. Texas-San Antonio SR 3B/SS Tyler Straub
  25. Florida International SR 2B Austin Rodriguez
  26. Marshall SR 2B/3B Aaron Bossi
  27. UAB rSR OF Griffin Gum
  28. Florida Atlantic rSO OF Jose Bonilla Traverso
  29. Charlotte rJR 2B/SS Luke Gibbs
  30. Middle Tennessee State rSO 2B Aaron Aucker
  31. Southern Mississippi SR OF/3B Chase Scott
  32. Old Dominion rSR SS Jason McMurray
  33. Rice JR OF Charlie Warren
  34. Rice JR OF Dayne Wunderlich
  35. Rice SR 2B/3B Grayson Lewis
  36. Rice SR C Hunter Kopycinski
  37. Rice SR 1B Connor Tekyl
  38. Old Dominion rSR 3B/SS Nick Lustrino

Pitchers

  1. Rice rSO RHP Jon Duplantier
  2. Old Dominion JR RHP Nick Hartman
  3. Florida International JR RHP Cody Crouse
  4. Middle Tennessee State SR RHP Garrett Ring
  5. Florida Atlantic JR LHP/OF Sean Labsan
  6. Louisiana Tech SR RHP Adam Atkins
  7. Florida International JR RHP Williams Durruthy
  8. Florida Atlantic rSO RHP David McKay
  9. Florida Atlantic JR RHP Colyn O’Connell
  10. Western Kentucky JR RHP Ben Morrison
  11. Marshall SR RHP Chase Boster
  12. Marshall SR RHP JD Hammer
  13. UAB JR LHP Thomas Lowery
  14. Rice rSO RHP/C Andrew Dunlap
  15. Marshall JR RHP Burris Warner
  16. Southern Mississippi rSR LHP Cody Livingston
  17. Rice SR LHP Blake Fox
  18. Southern Mississippi SR RHP Jake Winston
  19. Marshall JR LHP Parker Danciu
  20. Rice SR LHP Austin Solecitto
  21. Charlotte SR RHP Micah Wells
  22. UAB rJR RHP Cory Eller
  23. Southern Mississippi SR RHP Nick Johnson
  24. Western Kentucky rJR RHP Kevin Elder
  25. Southern Mississippi SR RHP Connor O’Brien
  26. UAB rJR LHP Dylan Munger
  27. Old Dominion JR RHP Sam Sinnen
  28. Charlotte rJR LHP Sean Geoghegan
  29. Southern Mississippi rSR LHP Luke Lowery
  30. Charlotte rJR RHP Brandon Casas
  31. Middle Tennessee State rSO RHP Reid Clements
  32. Middle Tennessee State SR RHP Nate Hoffmann
  33. Middle Tennessee State JR RHP/OF Caleb Smith
  34. Rice SO RHP Josh Pettite
  35. Florida International rSR RHP Robby Kalaf
  36. Southern Mississippi rSR RHP Cord Cockrell
  37. Western Kentucky SR RHP Josh Bartley
  38. Old Dominion JR RHP Adam Bainbridge

Charlotte

rJR RHP Brandon Casas (2016)
rJR LHP Sean Geoghegan (2016)
SR RHP Micah Wells (2016)
rJR LHP JD Prochaska (2016)
SR RHP Nate Traugh (2016)
JR RHP Brandon Vogler (2016)
JR 1B/RHP Logan Sherer (2016)
rJR C Nick Daddio (2016)
rJR 2B/SS Luke Gibbs (2016)
JR OF TJ Nichting (2016)
JR C Derek Fritz (2016)
JR OF/1B Zach Jarrett (2016)
SO LHP Matt Horkey (2017)
SO LHP Jacob Craver (2017)
SO LHP Josh Maciejewski (2017)
SO 2B/OF Brett Netzer (2017)
FR OF Reese Hampton (2018)

High Priority Follows: Brandon Casas, Sean Geoghegan, Micah Wells, Luke Gibbs

Florida Atlantic

JR RHP Colyn O’Connell (2016)
SR RHP Robbie Coursel (2016)
SR LHP Brandon Rhodes (2016)
rSO RHP David McKay (2016)
rSR LHP Devon Carr (2016)
JR LHP/OF Sean Labsan (2016)
JR RHP/C Cameron Ragsdale (2016)
JR SS/RHP CJ Chatham (2016)
SR OF Billy Endris (2016)
SR OF Christian Dicks (2016)
rJR 1B/OF Esteban Puerta (2016)
SR 2B/1B Brett Lashley (2016)
rSO OF Jose Bonilla Traverso (2016)
JR C Kevin Abraham (2016)
JR 2B/SS Stephen Kerr (2016)
SO RHP Alex House (2017)
SO RHP Mark Nowatnick (2017)
SO RHP Marc Stewart (2017)
FR RHP Kyle Marman (2018)

High Priority Follows: Colyn O’Connell, David McKay, Devon Carr, Sean Labsan, Cameron Ragsdale, CJ Chatham, Billy Endris, Christian Dicks, Esteban Puerta, Brett Lashley, Jose Bonilla Traverso, Stephen Kerr

Florida International

JR RHP Cody Crouse (2016)
rSR RHP Robby Kalaf (2016)
JR RHP Williams Durruthy (2016)
JR RHP Chris Mourelle (2016)
JR RHP Michael Agis (2016)
JR LHP Alex Demchak (2016)
rJR C Zack Soria (2016)
SR SS/2B Rey Perez (2016)
JR C JC Escarra (2016)
JR 2B/SS Irving Lopez (2016)
JR OF Christian Khawam (2016)
JR OF Kenny Meimerstorf (2016)
JR INF Zack Files (2016)
JR 1B/3B Nick Day (2016)
SO RHP Garrett Cave (2017)
SO RHP Andres Nunez (2017)
SO OF Jack Schaaf (2017)
FR RHP Nate Pearson (2018)

High Priority Follows: Cody Crouse, Robby Kalaf, Williams Durruthy, Michael Agis, Alex Demchak, Zack Soria, Austin Rodriguez, Rey Perez, JC Escarra, Irving Lopez

Louisiana Tech

rJR LHP Phillip Diehl (2016)
SR RHP Adam Atkins (2016)
SR RHP Adam Derouen (2016)
JR LHP Mark Baughman (2016)
JR LHP Braden Bristo (2016)
SR LHP Tyler Clancy (2016)
JR LHP Jorge Flores (2016)
rSR OF/SS Taylor Love (2016)
SR OF Bryce Stark (2016)
SR OF JD Perry (2016)
SR 3B Mason Paxton (2016)
JR 2B Chandler Hall (2016)
JR 1B Marshall Boggs (2016)
JR C Jonathan Washam (2016)
JR INF Jordan Washam (2016)
rJR OF Sean Ullrich (2016)
SO C Brent Diaz (2017)
FR OF/RHP J’Mar Smith (2018)

High Priority Follows: Adam Atkins, Taylor Love, Bryce Stark, JD Perry

Marshall

SR RHP Chase Boster (2016)
SR RHP JD Hammer (2016)
SR LHP Caleb Ross (2016)
JR RHP Burris Warner (2016)
JR LHP Parker Danciu (2016)
SR RHP Heston Van Fleet (2016)
SR LHP Sam Hunter (2016)
rSO RHP Fernando Guerrero (2016)
JR OF Corey Bird (2016)
SR 1B Ryne Dean (2016)
JR C Sam Finfer (2016)
SR 2B/3B Aaron Bossi (2016)
rSO OF Cory Garrastazu (2016)
rJR OF Billy Sager (2016)
SR OF DJ Gee (2016)
SO 3B Tyler Ratliff (2017)
FR LHP Josh Shapiro (2018)

High Priority Follows: Chase Boster, JD Hammer, Caleb Ross, Burris Warner, Parker Danciu, Heston Van Fleet, Corey Bird, Ryne Dean, Aaron Bossi

Middle Tennessee State

SR RHP Garrett Ring (2016)
SR RHP Nate Hoffmann (2016)
SR RHP Sam Alton (2016)
SR LHP Tyler Troutt (2016)
rSO RHP Reid Clements (2016)
JR RHP/OF Caleb Smith (2016)
rSO 2B Aaron Aucker (2016)
JR SS Riley Delgado (2016)
JR OF Brad Jarreau (2016)
JR 1B Kevin Dupree (2016)
SO RHP Blake Stansbury (2017)
SO LHP Jake Wyrick (2017)
SO 2B Kevin Sullivan (2017)
FR RHP AJ Spencer (2018)
FR OF Austin Dennis (2018)

High Priority Follows: Garrett Ring, Nate Hoffmann, Reid Clements, Caleb Smith, Aaron Aucker, Riley Delgado, Brad Jarreau

Old Dominion

rJR LHP Jake Josephs (2016)
SR RHP Thomas Busbice (2016)
JR RHP Nick Hartman (2016)
JR LHP Turner Bishop (2016)
JR RHP Sam Sinnen (2016)
JR LHP Joey Benitez (2016)
JR RHP Adam Bainbridge (2016)
JR OF/SS Nick Walker (2016)
SR OF Connor Myers (2016)
SO SS Zach Rutherford (2016)
rSR 3B/SS Nick Lustrino (2016)
rSR SS Jason McMurray (2016)
JR C/1B Kurt Sinnen (2016)
JR C Kyle Beam (2016)
SO RHP Culver Lamb (2017)
SO LHP Nate Matheson (2017)
SO OF Justin Hayes (2017)
FR RHP Brett Smith (2017)
FR 3B Seth Woodard (2018)
FR OF Will Morgan (2018)

High Priority Follows: Nick Hartman, Sam Sinnen, Adam Bainbridge, Nick Walker, Connor Myers, Zach Rutherford, Nick Lustrino, Jason McMurray

Rice

rSO RHP Jon Duplantier (2016)
SR LHP Blake Fox (2016)
SR LHP Austin Solecitto (2016)
SO RHP Josh Pettite (2016)
rSO RHP/C Andrew Dunlap (2016)
SR 1B Connor Tekyl (2016)
JR OF Charlie Warren (2016)
SR 2B/3B Grayson Lewis (2016)
JR OF Dayne Wunderlich (2016)
SR C Hunter Kopycinski (2016)
SO RHP/3B Dane Myers (2017)
SO RHP Glenn Otto (2017)
SO RHP Ricky Salinas (2017)
SO RHP Willy Amador (2017)
SO OF Ryan Chandler (2017)
SO SS/OF Tristan Gray (2017)
FR RHP Zach Esquival (2018)
FR RHP Brent Schwarz (2018)
FR SS Ford Proctor (2018)
FR INF Kendal Jefferies (2018)
FR C Dominic DiCaprio (2018)
FR C Gavin Johnson (2018)
FR RHP Jackson Parthasarathy (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jon Duplantier, Blake Fox, Austin Solecitto, Josh Pettite, Andrew Dunlap, Connor Tekyl, Charlie Warren, Grayson Lewis, Dayne Wunderlich, Hunter Kopycinski

Southern Mississippi

rSR RHP Cord Cockrell (2016)
rSR LHP Luke Lowery (2016)
rSR LHP Cody Livingston (2016)
SR RHP Jake Winston (2016)
SR RHP Nick Johnson (2016)
SR RHP Connor O’Brien (2016)
SR 1B Tim Lynch (2016)
JR C Chuckie Robinson (2016)
SR OF/3B Chase Scott (2016)
SR 2B Nick Dawson (2016)
JR OF/1B Dylan Burdeaux (2016)
SO LHP Kirk McCarty (2017)
SO 3B/RHP Taylor Braley (2017)
SO OF Daniel Keating (2017)
rFR 1B Hunter Slater (2017)
FR RHP Walker Powell (2018)

High Priority Follows: Cord Cockrell, Luke Lowery, Cody Livingston, Jake Winston, Nick Johnson, Connor O’Brien, Tim Lynch, Chuckie Robinson, Chase Scott

UAB

rJR LHP Dylan Munger (2016)
rJR RHP Cory Eller (2016)
JR LHP Thomas Lowery (2016)
rJR LHP Adam Lamar (2016)
rSR C Esteban Tresgallo (2016)
rSR OF Griffin Gum (2016)
SR C Mitch Williams (2016)
SR 2B/3B Evan Peterson (2016)
SR 2B/SS Adam Smith (2016)
SO LHP Ryan Ruggles (2017)
FR RHP Tanner Graham (2018)
FR RHP Garrett Whitlock (2018)
FR RHP Kyle Davis (2018)

High Priority Follows: Dylan Munger, Cory Eller, Thomas Lowery, Esteban Tresgallo, Griffin Gum

Texas-San Antonio

SR RHP Patrick Herbelin (2016)
JR RHP Andre Shewcraft (2016)
SR LHP Nolan Trabanino (2016)
SR RHP Aaron Burns (2016)
SR 3B/OF Geonte Jackson (2016)
SR 3B/SS Tyler Straub (2016)
SR C/OF Kevin Markham (2016)
SR OF Matt Hilston (2016)
JR 3B/SS CJ Pickering (2016)
JR OF JT Gilmore (2016)
SO RHP Chance Kirby (2017)
SO INF/RHP Ben Brookover (2017)
SO OF Trent Bowles (2017)

High Priority Follows: Patrick Herbelin, Geonte Jackson, Tyler Straub, Kevin Markham, Matt Hilston, CJ Pickering, JT Gilmore

Western Kentucky

SR LHP John Harman (2016)
SR LHP Austin King (2016)
rJR RHP Kevin Elder (2016)
SR RHP Josh Bartley (2016)
JR RHP Cody Coll (2016)
JR RHP Sam Higgs (2016)
JR RHP Ben Morrison (2016)
JR LHP Ryan Thurston (2016)
SR 3B Danny Hudzina (2016)
rJR 3B/SS Leiff Clarkson (2016)
rJR 1B Thomas Peter (2016)
rJR OF Zach Janes (2016)
JR C Hunter Wood (2016)
JR OF Paul Murray (2016)
rSO OF Harrison Scanlon (2016)
SO OF Kaleb Duckworth (2017)
SO INF Steven Kraft (2017)
FR SS Steven DiPuglia (2018)

High Priority Follows: Kevin Elder, Josh Bartley, Cody Coll, Ben Morrison, Danny Hudzina, Leiff Clarkson