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2016 MLB Draft Reviews – Detroit Tigers

Top 500 Prospects Drafted by Detroit in 2016

23 – Matt Manning
105 – Kyle Funkhouser
130 – Daniel Pinero
133 – Zac Houston
169 – Brady Policelli
284 – Mark Ecker
318 – Jacob Robson
363 – Will Savage
387 – Bryan Garcia
486 – Austin Athmann

Complete List of 2016 Detroit Draftees

1.9 – RHP Matt Manning

High school prospects are risky. High school pitching prospects are riskier. Righthanded high school pitching prospects are riskiest. That’s about the only mean thing I can say about Detroit taking Matt Manning (23) with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Manning is really, really good. If you had to draw up the perfect righthanded high school pitching prospect, Manning would be it. I love his athleticism, easily some of the very best of any player at any position in this class. I love the way he pitches off his electric darting fastball, commanding it to all four corners with relative ease. I love the upside his breaking ball has shown even as it runs between a mid-70s curve and an upper-70s to low-80s slider. I love that he’s shown a changeup with promise even when he knows his fastball is all he ever needed against teenage competition. The only thing I don’t love about Manning is the inherent risk that comes with any high school pitching prospect. If you can get over that as I have, then you can fall in love with Manning, too. Love this pick. Detroit only signed three high school prospects, but Manning has a chance to be so good that no other selection in their draft will really matter.

4.115 – RHP Kyle Funkhouser

I’ve been as all over the place trying to figure out Kyle Funkhouser (105) as I have any other prospect in recent memory. I even devoted an entire post to him back in April 2015. Here’s a quick timeline of events from that post to the present day beginning in May 2015…

I’ve written about why Kyle Funkhouser intrigues me the way he does before, though I still will likely remain the low man on him as he enters pro ball. The narrative on him was kind of weird this spring as he was kind of the guy we all thought he was coming into the year, but the spin — and I was guilty of doing some of this myself — was that he was answering some of the pre-season questions about his game. I worried about his command, control, and third pitch coming into the season, and I still have worries about each of those areas today.

You know what, I think that’s a pretty fair summation of Funkhouser. Shut it down, we don’t need to go any further. I mean, we will because that’s just what we do, but this really does sum the big righthander from Louisville well. Command? Not great. Control? Definitely a concern. Unsure about the development of a third pitch? Heck, you could make a case that he needs to develop a more consistent second pitch right now. Let’s see what we saw in Funkhouser a few months later in October 2015…

Much electronic ink was spilled on Funkhouser last season, so I’ll be brief: he’s good. It’s unclear how good — I’d say more mid-rotation than ace, but reasonable minds may disagree — but he’s good. Of the many comps I threw out for him last year my favorite remains Jordan Zimmermann. If he can up his command and control game like Zimmermann, then he could hit that mid-rotation ceiling and keep pushing upwards.

From a stuff standpoint, I don’t think the Zimmermann comp is that bad. The command and control development, however, lag behind what Zimmermann showed at a similar age. This was the specific passage about Zimmermann that I was referring to…

I bring up Zimmermann not as a direct comp per se, but as a potential developmental path that Funkhouser could mirror once he hits the pro ranks. I think Funkhouser’s change should be given room to grow rather than ditched, but Zimmermann’s below average change was once said to have “promising action,” so what do any of us really know?

Predicting improvements in command and control is difficult for even the most seasoned scouts. Lots of time and effort spent breaking down a guy’s mechanics, athletic ability, aptitude for learning, willingness to receive instruction, and where/why he’s currently missing his spots go into it. Good command requires physical and mental strength, and finding an evaluator able to consistently read a young pitcher in both departments is a rare, if not impossible, thing. I’ve read just about everything written on Cliff Lee’s mid-career transformation and I still have no idea why he suddenly found command like he did. It’s a little bit like what I’ve been told about high school hitters: you can scout them as much as humanly possible, but nothing you’ll ever see them do as a teenage amateur can possibly equate to the day-to-day roller coaster ride of pro ball. They’ll either learn to hit in the pros or not. Same thing with a young guy and command: he’ll either learn it or he won’t. That’s what makes scouting more of an art than a science, and that’s what makes the mystic around it so appealing and frustrating all at once.

Anyway, back to Funkhouser. This time we jump to April 2016…

I hold out some hope that he’ll be a better pro than college pitcher because his raw stuff at its best is really that good, but there’s just so much inconsistency to his game that I can’t go all-in on him again. Maybe he’s fulfills the promise he showed last year, maybe he winds up more of a consistently inconsistent fifth starter/swingman type, or maybe he’s destined to a life of relief work. I no longer have any clue where his career is heading. I feel liberated.

I settled on this non-answer, and I think I’m really at peace with it all now. Funkhouser has flashed truly dominant stuff at times: 87-94 MPH (96-97 peak) fastball that moves, above-average 79-84 MPH slider, above-average 75-80 MPH curve, average mid-80s changeup, all commanded well enough in spurts. His biggest problem has been a longstanding inability to get all those pitches going at the same time. Some days he’ll scrap the slider for the curve entirely, other days the reverse will be true. On either day, there’s no guarantee that he can throw whatever breaking ball he’s going with for strikes. His changeup has steadily gotten firmer over the years; when his fastball is closer to the upper edge of his velocity band (90-95, 97 peak) then it can work as a nice timing disruptor, but when he’s more 87-91 (92-93 peak) with his heat then the changeup looks more like a batting practice pitch.

The massive deltas in his stuff on an outing by outing basis makes Funkhouser a really tough pitcher to make any bold predictions about. Instinctually, he feels like the kind of guy who just needs to find the right pitching coach at the right time to have the light bulb go off and become the long-time big league starting pitcher that his peak stuff suggests he could be. Or maybe not. Maybe he remains in the rotation, but has a career built on potential more than production; maybe he turns into an innings-eater who flashes upside but can never put it all together, a career path reminiscent of Brett Tomko’s. Or maybe he winds up in the bullpen and is allowed to focus on his fastball and one breaking ball, and his career takes off as a late-inning star. Or he’s more good than great in relief, but still has a long career pitching the sixth and seventh innings for a half-dozen different teams.

5.145 – RHP Mark Ecker

I love Mark Ecker (284). Every draft I struggle with where to rank college relievers and every year it feels like I get it wrong. Not so much with the individual evaluations, but definitely with where to rank straight relievers within the larger draft prospect landscape. One year I’ll overvalue them, the next year I’ll vow to never do that again and undervalue them, the next year I’ll go right back to overvaluing them, then I’ll overvalue just the top tier guys and ignore the next rung…it’s a mess. I think ranking Ecker as a tenth round prospect (give or take) undersells how good he is right now. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see him in the big leagues this upcoming year if that’s what Detroit needs. To make up for my underrating him in June, let’s write way too much about a fifth round college reliever…

Finding a comparable reliever to Ecker is surprisingly difficult. Did you know there are very few plus fastball/plus control relievers in Major League Baseball? It’s true! I’m using arbitrary standards here — more than 8.00 K/9, less than 2.00 BB/9, average fastball velocity 93+ MPH — and the pool of qualified relievers this decade comes out to just eleven possibilities. Of that eleven, none give me the kind of stuff close enough to Ecker to convince me to throw that comp on him. Liam Hendriks has ditched the change as he’s made the full-time transition to relief, Sean Doolittle is lefthanded and throws almost 90% fastballs, Rafael Betancourt is just short on velocity but not a terrible comp otherwise, and Robert Osuna relies more on his slider than his changeup. Junichi Tazawa might be the closest, but he technically throws a splitter rather than a changeup. The pitch serves a similar purpose, so maybe we should just allow it and call it a day. Mark Melancon would be perfect, but he almost literally never throws his changeup these days. Tony Watson is lefthanded, but fits the mold pretty well otherwise. Kelvin Herrera is a little too small and probably throws too many breaking balls, but he’s a decent facsimile for Ecker’s stuff/control combination otherwise. He might be the closest thing to Ecker that I can think of, though I’d be remiss to not at least mention Ryan Madson, my go-to fastball/changeup/control comp in these situations. Some combination of Herrera, Madson, and Melancon would be one heck of a reliever. That’s the kind of impact I think Ecker can have in the big leagues. In fact, there’s this from May 2016…

With a fastball capable of hitting the upper-90s and a mid-80s changeup with plus upside, he’s an honest big league closer candidate with continued development.

Sounds about right. Getting an arm with closer upside in the fifth round is a win every single time for me. Nice work by Detroit here.

6.175 – RHP Bryan Garcia

The Tigers pretty clearly went into this draft with the idea of adding players who will be ready quickly enough to help prop their present window of contention open a little bit longer. Outside of their first round pick (who happens to be a really good prospect and excellent trade capital if they go that route), every other selection all the way through round twenty-two was a college prospect. No snapshot of their draft better exemplifies their win-now philosophy than the back-to-back selections of Mark Ecker and Bryan Garcia (387). Like Ecker one round earlier, Bryan Garcia has the ability to pitch in the big leagues sooner rather than later. From March 2016…

Garcia has late-game reliever stuff (mid-90s FB, good SL) and pedigree (15.88 K/9 this year) to get himself drafted as one of the first true college relievers in his class.

His K/9 dipped all the way down to 13.03 by the end of the season and his low-80s slider morphed more into a curve, but Garcia finished the year more than holding up his end of the bargain. There’s a chance Garcia could be tried in the rotation — a pro contact who saw him this summer came away far more impressed with his changeup than I would have guessed — but letting him fire away in the bullpen with his mid-90s heat and potential plus breaking ball seems like the way to go. Like Ecker, I think he could pitch in the big leagues in 2017 if that’s how the Tigers want to play it.

7.205 – LHP Austin Sodders

Got a Matt Imhof comp for Austin Sodders late in the spring that I think is pretty fair. I don’t love the pick, but can appreciate the logic behind it. Sodders is a big lefthander with solid velocity (88-92), above-average deception and command, and the chance for two average offspeed pitches (CB, CU). If it all comes together for him, that’s a pretty valuable skill set.

8.235 – OF Jacob Robson

I like this one probably more than I should. Every team I’ve written about the past two weeks or so seems to draft at least two college center fielders known for their speed, defense, and minimal pop. I’ve always liked that profile, but lately am beginning to realize that the power component is even more important than conventional wisdom — which believes it to be very, very important, for the record — suggests. I’m sick of writing it, so I can only assume you’re sick of reading it, but the threat of power is an absolute necessity for any young hitter with the hopes of being an above-average offensive contributor in professional ball. Not everybody has to be a power hitter, but if you can’t hit for at least some power then you’re going to have a bad time in pro ball. The threat of an extra base hit changes the way you’re approached as a hitter.

That in mind, Jacob Robson’s (318) lack of pop is concerning. It limits his ceiling dependent on how you feel about his hit tool playing in the pros; you can talk yourself into him being more than a fifth outfielder if you believe, but he’s close to a “what you see is what you get” otherwise. I happen to like him and this pick a ton. That’s the power of the hit tool, I guess. Some guys just have a knack for consistent hard contact. That’s Robson. I’m not a scout so I lack some (but not all) of the reverence to the 20-80 scale that the pros share for it, but tossing around plus grades on an amateur’s hit tool is something even I don’t take lightly. I think Robson might have it. He might be able to hit enough singles and hustle doubles/triples to overcome his lack of power and become a starting quality player. His athleticism, speed, and center field range will also certainly help in that quest, but it’ll be the hit tool that separates him from so many similar players bouncing around the minor leagues. I’d call many players like Robson low-ceiling/moderate-floor types, but Robson himself gets a moderate-ceiling/moderate-floor tag. That’s not a whole lot better, but it is better.

9.265 – SS Daniel Pinero

There is no version of me in any alternate timeline who doesn’t appreciate a 6-5, 210 pound shortstop prospect. It should be no shock then that I’m an unabashed Daniel Pinero (130) fan. Pinero got better every season at Virginia while flashing big league tools across all areas of the game. I like his defense at shortstop more than anybody I’ve spoken to or read, so take the claim that he can stay at his college position in the pros with that in mind. Even if he has to move off short, he’s got all the skills needed (quick reactions, strong arm, body control) to excel at the hot corner. Offensively, Pinero will always have some swing-and-miss in his game (long levers will do that) and his speed has slowed down to average at best as he’s filled out over the years, but his power is on the rise, his approach is sound, and he goes into every at bat with a plan. I don’t think he’s a future star at the plate, but the chance to be an average offensive player with either average (shortstop) or above-average (third base) defense makes him a really nice prospect.

As far as value goes, it’s worth noting that I ranked Pinero only 54 spots lower than CJ Chatham, Red Sox second round pick who went 214 picks earlier. That may or may not mean something to you, but I look at it as Detroit getting a comparable talent much later in the draft. I think Pinero is a potential regular on the left side of the infield with a very realistic floor as a big league utility guy.

10.295 – OF Sam Machonis

Two years at Polk State (including this sophomore year: .310/.406/.470 with 20 BB/43 K and 14/15 SB in 200 AB) and two years at Florida Southern (combined .365/.443/.607 line with 38 BB/71 K and 26/32 SB in 394 AB) led Sam Machionis to Detroit on draft day 2016. Without being an expert on him from a scouting perspective, I’ll point out that his numbers, while very good on the whole, come with the glaring BB/K red flag that would scare me off using a top ten round pick on him. The scouting notes on him I do have — “strong arm, decent runner, can play all three outfield spots and first base, hits from both sides of the plate, handles velocity” — lean towards a potential bench contributor if he can curb some of his overly aggressive tendencies at the plate.

11.325 – RHP Zac Houston

Zac Houston (133) and his explosive 90-95 FB (97 peak) fastball is a pretty perfect fit in the eleventh round. He’s a live arm with college experience at Mississippi State that has seen ups (11.53 K/9 in 2015, 9.79 K/9 in 2016) and downs (6.47 BB/9 in 2015, 4.43 BB/9 in 2016). He did more of the same in his pro debut (14.90 K/9 and 4.56 BB/9 in 29.2 IP) while dominating on the scoreboard (0.30 ERA). It’s an imperfect comparison, but you can draw a shaky line between Houston and fourth round pick Kyle Funkhouser. Like the former Louisville star, Houston’s future role is as yet undetermined. His fastball will play in any role and his low-80s slider is quickly coming on as a potential second weapon, but the rest of his offspeed spread (cutter, curve, change) remain a work in progress. I think the bullpen is his best bet. If that’s the case, then a long career filled with strikeouts and walks could make him a very fun/frustrating reliever to watch.

With Funkhouser, Ecker, Garcia, Houston, Schreiber, Sittinger, and Schmidt all taken by Detroit in the draft’s top twenty rounds, the Tigers could have just formed the core of a young, electric, and cheap bullpen that will supplement their next contending team. It’s not sexy, but nailing down three or four knockout relievers in one draft class would be a major scouting and development win for a farm system in need of a W or two.

12.355 – OF Daniel Woodrow

Though long a prospect archetype I’ve enjoyed, I’ve grown suspicious of rangy center fielders with plus speed and no power of late. The “no power” thing is just too much of an offensive hurdle to jump; as we often say, it’s not so much the actual lack of power but the lack of power being a credible threat against bigger, smarter, better pitching. Of the many potential backup outfielders that follow the speed/defense/no power pattern in this class, I happen to like Daniel Woodrow of Creighton more than many of the others. There’s such a fine line between no power and very little power, but I think the small difference matters when it comes to how pitchers approach the opposition. Woodrow has just enough pop to continue being an effective table setter in the pros. He makes a ton of contact, has a decent approach, and provides all the aforementioned speed/defense (and arm strength). The upside isn’t huge, but Woodrow has a shot to make it as a fifth outfielder.

13.385 – C Brady Policelli

I’m an absolute sucker for Brady Policelli’s (169) defensive versatility, athleticism, and ability to excel at all of the little things. It’s dangerous territory for me because I’ve fallen in love with prospects like Policelli before with many topping out as fun college players and little more, but I can’t help but appreciate a legitimate defensive catcher with a really strong arm and footwork good enough to play shortstop for his college team in his draft year. I’ll go bold and say that Policelli has a long big league career as a standout defensive catcher with enough thump in his bat to have a few years worthy of being an everyday player.

14.415 – C Austin Athmann

This year’s college class has a chance to be viewed as one of the best of all-time. The talent level at the position . Detroit waited it out and landed a top ten round talent in most years all the way down in round fourteen. Austin Athmann (486) is a lock to stay behind the plate thanks to solid mobility, an average or better arm (more accurate than strong), and pro-level smarts in knowing how to handle a pitching staff. That alone gives him value this late in the draft, but Athmann adds on to it as a more than capable hitter with a chance for topping out as an average hitter with average power. The very optimistic forecast calls for starting catcher upside, but I’m more comfortable calling him a potential quality backup. That’s really nice value this late in the draft.

15.445 – RHP John Schreiber

John Schreiber dominated at Northwestern Ohio as a senior using a nasty fastball (90-95 MPH) and slider one-two punch. Definite middle relief upside here. Is this my shortest prospect breakdown so far? I think it is. Only problem is every word I write now artificially inflates the total. If you just skimmed through this and saw this nice little block of text, you’d have no real idea that the only bit of analysis I had to share on Schreiber this year.

16.475 – 2B Will Savage

As an self-proclaimed Ivy League baseball aficionado, I’ve seen a lot of Will Savage (363) over the years. Without fail, I’ve come away impressed with his game. There’s little flashy about Savage, but he’s got a knack for hard contact, above-average speed, and a chance to be a solid defender at second with more work. The problem with Savage is that he’s likely a second baseman and second baseman only in the pros; his arm and range are both stretched considerably on the left side of the infield. As much as I like him as a college hitter, I’m not sure the bat will be enough to carry him if his only path to the big leagues is as a second baseman. If Detroit can squeeze even a little defensive versatility out of him, then he’ll be in a much better position to climb the ladder.

17.505 – RHP Brandyn Sittinger

Brandyn Sittinger dominated at Ashland as a junior using a low- to mid-90s fastball and little else. He’s a consistent second pitch away from having the same middle relief upside as fellow state of Ohio product John Schreiber.

18.535 – 1B Niko Buentello

Niko Buentello as a lefthanded power bat with a decent approach and a shot to destroy righthanded pitching in the pros is enough for me to buy into him as a viable eighteenth round pick. It’s tough sledding making it as a first base only prospect, but, hey, somebody has to man the position, right?

19.565 – OF Dustin Frailey

I really like Dustin Frailey, a Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunner by way of Mt. San Antonio College who stayed under my radar until fairly late in the draft process. His draft year was outstanding by any measure (.376/.479/.593 with 30 BB/19 K and 23/27 SB) and his offensive game is a well-rounded blend of average power and above-average speed. There’s some sneaky fourth outfielder upside with Frailey.

20.595 – RHP Clate Schmidt

On Clate Schmidt from December 2015…

SR RHP Clate Schmidt has overcome a great deal to get back to position himself to a return to the mound this spring. His athleticism, fastball (90-94, 96 peak), and impressive low-80s slider make him a prospect to watch, and his story of perseverance makes him a player to appreciate. If the return to health in 2016 has him feeling more like himself this spring (i.e., he’s more 2014 than 2015), then his feel-good story should end with a potential top ten round draft selection and honest shot in pro ball.

Schmidt finished his final season at Clemson with the following numbers: 7.15 K/9, 2.21 BB/9, 4.83 ERA, 85.2 IP. I’d say that definitely puts him closer to the 2014 version (7.23 K/9 and 3.82 BB/9) than the 2015 version (5.54 K/9 and 3.98 BB/9), and that’s an encouraging sign for Schmidt’s career going forward. His stuff wasn’t quite back to what he showed at 100% — he was more 86-91 MPH with his fastball in 2016, though his 78-82 MPH changeup remained outstanding and his low-80s slider solidified itself as a solid third offering — but it’s still good enough to make a little noise in the pros. Giving him the ball in shorter outings with the instructions to let it fly (and sink) might prove to be the best move for him and the Tigers. As a reliever, I think Schmidt could pile up ground balls and miss enough bats to be really effective. That upside combined with the hidden value of bringing such a hard worker and positive influence like Schmidt into the organization makes this one of my favorite picks in the whole draft.

21.625 – RHP Joe Navilhon

The first of back-to-back undersized college righthanders taken by Detroit, Joe Navilhon has a decent fastball (88-92) that he dresses up with a highly effective low-80s changeup. Toss in a mid-70s breaking ball and the Tommy John survivor has enough going for him to get his chances as a potential middle relief prospect. I’m bearish on his odds of breaking through compared to some of the other intriguing relief arms stockpiled by Detroit in this class, but you never know.

22.655 – RHP Burris Warner

I’m always happy to see an undersized flame-thrower like Burris Warner get his shot in pro ball. Even if things don’t work out for Warner in the long run, remember that Detroit got an established college reliever capable of hitting the mid-90s (seen him up to 95 personally) with his fastball in the twenty-second round next time one of the national guys refuses to rank more than fifty or so prospects in a given class.

23.685 – C Bryan Torres

The Tigers signed only three high school prospects in this class. Matt Manning is the obvious headliner, but getting deals done with Bryan Torres here and Geraldo Gonzalez later is a nice little bonus. A really rough small sample debut doesn’t change the fact that Torres was a worthwhile gamble here in the twenty-third round.

24.715 – LHP Evan Hill

On any given outing you might see Evan Hill hit just about every single 80-something MPH with his fastball. At his best, Hill is more mid- to upper-80s (up to 92-93 peaks at his bestest best), but the long and lean lefthander could have more in the tank (or at least more consistency in what he’s already flashed) with pro strength training and instruction ahead of him. He could use the extra tick or two on his fastball because of his offspeed stuff is more functional than fabulous. I like what I’ve seen out of a mid- to upper-70s breaking ball that’ll flash above-average at times, but his cutter and changeup are nothing to write home about. A shift to the bullpen could accelerate some of those hopeful velocity gains and potentially sharpen up his breaking ball. That feels like his best shot at an extended pro career.

25.745 – RHP John Hayes

Joe Navilhon and Burris Warner were back-to-back undersized college righthanders taken by Detroit in rounds twenty-one and twenty-two. Now the Tigers go back-to-back with big college righthanders with John Hayes leading off. Hayes missed bats as a redshirt-senior at Wichita State (10.57 K/9), but didn’t quite get the job done when it came to run prevention (7.12 ERA). I’m glad Detroit saw past his struggles to see the good (88-93 FB, quality CU, usable SL) in Hayes.

26.775 – RHP Colyn O’Connell

Colyn O’Connell has the fastball (89-93, 95 peak) and frame (6-5, 215) to excite, but his junior year at Florida Atlantic (6.33 K/9 and 3.33 BB/9) was mostly underwhelming. To his credit, O’Connell did keep runs off the board (2.00 ERA in 27.0 IP). Things took a turn for the better in pro ball (8.40 K/9 and 3.60 BB/9) even as the ERA climbed a bit (3.90 in 30.0 IP). You’ll make that trade-off any day when it comes to projecting a pitcher’s future.

27.805 – SS Chad Sedio

The Tigers gave Chad Sedio an honest shot to play shortstop in pro ball and the early buzz on his defense there — in as much as there can ever be buzz about Chad Sedio’s glove — has been positive. The versatile defender also has experience at second, third (where I listed him pre-draft), and in the outfield, so a future as a bat-first utility player isn’t out of the question.

29.865 – 3B Hunter Swilling

Two big power years in a row at Samford (.324/.415/.622 and .292/.393/.557) were enough to get Hunter Swilling his shot in pro ball. His combined walk to strikeout ratio during that same stretch (60 BB/124 K) probably would have kept me away, but I understand the inclination to buy power when you can. To his credit, Swilling can do more than just swing for the fences. The righthanded power bat is also a pretty solid athlete with a strong arm well-suited for third base. I had him as a first base prospect in my notes (with some upside on the mound), but early returns on his glove at third in the pros have been decent. The overall package is still not really my cup of tea, but in the twenty-ninth round sometimes you have to open your mind to players you might not have considered otherwise.

30.895 – LHP Dalton Lundeen

Dalton Lundeen’s pro debut (6.48 K/9 and 2.52 BB/9) looked a whole heck of a lot like his senior season at Valparaiso (6.65 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9). That should give some indication as to what kind of pitcher he is, but I’ll do my part to paint a fuller picture by noting that Lundeen’s fastball lives mostly in the mid- to upper-80s and his slider is his primary out-pitch.

31.925 – SS Dalton Britt

First time in MLB Draft history a team has drafted back-to-back Dalton’s. Or so I’ll assume, anyway. Dalton Britt joins Dalton Lundeen in the Tigers organization after going off the board in the thirty-first round. Britt has always been one of those guys described to me as a better potential pro hitter than what he ever showed at Liberty. That persistent noise was what had me continuing to push the “strong hit tool” scouting note for Britt even as the college shortstop hovered just below a .300 batting average (.299 in 2014, .294 in 2015, .292 in 2016) during his last three college seasons. Of course there’s more to projecting a hit tool than just looking at past performance, but ignoring what has actually happened on the field isn’t a very sound evaluation strategy, either. Britt hasn’t been so bad that I’d toss out the positive scouting notes, so we’re more in the “wait and see” stage of his larger evaluation as he transitions to pro ball. If the scouting reports prove true, then the Tigers got themselves a really nice potential steal this late. Britt can certainly hold up his end of the bargain defensively (steady work at 2B, 3B, and SS), so even a slightly below-average big league bat would make him an interesting utility option down the line.

34.1015 – SS Gerardo Gonzalez

Finally, we get to the third signed high school prospect. I’ll admit that I was a little bit more excited about this one when I mistyped Gerardo Gonzalez’s first name as Geraldo, the name most of the internet has him listed under. Pro ball could really use a star named Geraldo. Gerardo Gonzalez had a rough debut, but he earned his fair share of walks, played solid defense at second, and finished the season as one of the younger 2016 draftees (not 18 until 12/21/16). There’s no such thing as a bad high school signing past round ten, so no shame in focusing on his modest strengths for now.

Unsigned Prospects and Where You Can Find Them in 2017

Alex Cunningham (Coastal Carolina), Conner O’Neill (Cal State Northridge), Keegan Thompson (Auburn), Jacob White (Weatherford JC), Drew Mendoza (Florida State), David Fleita (Cowley County JC), Josh Smith (LSU), Garrett Milchin (Florida), Dalton Feeney (North Carolina State)

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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – ACC (PART TWO)

For Part One, see there. For Part Two, see…here.

Zack Collins over Corey Ray won’t happen on draft day and that’s fine. I’m taking the man who might have the best all-around offensive profile of any amateur hitter in the country if my neck is on the line. That was not intended to rhyme, but we’ll let it stand. I really do like Corey Ray: he can run, he has pop, his approach has taken a major step forward, and he should be able to stick in center for at least the first few years of club control. I mean, you’d be a fool not to like him at this point. But liking him as a potential top ten pick and loving him as a legit 1-1 candidate are two very different things.

I don’t have much to add about all of the good that Ray brings to the field each game. If you’ve made your way here, you already know. Instead of rehashing Ray’s positives, let’s focus on some of his potential weaknesses. In all honesty, the knocks on Ray are fairly benign. His body is closer to maxed-out than most top amateur prospects. His base running success and long-term utility in center field may not always be there as said body thickens up and loses some athleticism. Earlier in the season Andrew Krause of Perfect Game (who is excellent, by the way) noted an unwillingness or inability to pull the ball with authority as often as some might like to see. Some might disagree that a young hitter can be too open to hitting it to all fields – my take: it’s generally a good thing, but, as we’ve all been taught at a young age, all things in moderation – but easy pull-side power will always be something scouts want to see. At times, it appeared Ray was almost fighting it. Finally, Ray’s improved plate discipline, while part of a larger trend in the right direction, could be a sample size and/or physical advantage thing more than a learned skill that can be expected each year going forward. Is he really the player who has drastically upped his BB% while knocking his K%? Or is just a hot hitter using his experience and intimidating presence – everybody knows and fears Corey Ray at the college level – to help goose the numbers? It should also pointed out that Ray’s gaudy start only ranks him seventh on the Louisville team in batting average, fourth in slugging, and ninth in on-base percentage. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s worth noting.

(I mentioned weaknesses I’ve heard, so I think it’s only fair to share my thoughts on what they mean for him going forward. I think he’s a center fielder at least until he hits thirty, so that’s a non-issue for me. The swing thing is interesting, but it’s not something I’m qualified to comment on at this time. And I think the truth about his plate discipline likely falls in between those two theories: I’d lean more towards the changes being real, though maybe not quite as real as they’ve looked on the stat sheet so far this year.)

So what do we have with Ray as we head into June? He’s the rare prospect to get the same comp from two separate sources this spring. Both D1Baseball and Baseball America have dropped a Ray Lankford comp on him. I’ve tried to top that, but I think it’s tough to beat, especially if you look at Lankford’s 162 game average: .272/.364/.477 with 23 HR, 25 SB, and 79 BB/148 K. Diamond Minds has some really cool old scouting reports on Lankford including a few gems from none other than Mike Rizzo if you are under thirty and don’t have as clear a picture of what type of player we’re talking about when we talk about a young Ray Lankford. One non-Lankford comparison that came to mind – besides the old BA comp of Jackie Bradley and alternatives at D1 that include Carlos Gonzalez and Curtis Granderson – was Charlie Blackmon. It’s not perfect and I admittedly went there in part because I saw Blackmon multiple teams at Georgia Tech, but Ray was a harder player than anticipated to find a good comparison for (must-haves: pop, speed, CF defense; bonus points: lefthanded hitter, similar short maxed-out athletic physique, past production similarities) than I initially thought. I think Blackmon hits a lot of the targets with the most notable difference being body type. Here’s a quick draft year comparison…

.396/.469/.564 – 20 BB/21 K – 25/30 SB – 250 AB
.331/.398/.611 – 18 BB/20 K – 31/36 SB – 157 AB

Top is Blackmon’s last year at Georgia Tech, bottom is Corey Ray (so far) in 2016. Here is Blackmon’s 162 game average to date: .287/.334/.435 with 16 HR, 29 SB, and 32 BB/98 K. Something in between Lankford (great physical comp) and Blackmon (better tools comp) could look like this: .280/.350/.450 with 18 HR, 27 SB, and 50 BB/120 K. That could be AJ Pollock at maturity. From his pre-draft report at Baseball America (I’d link to it but BA’s site is so bad that I have to log in and log out almost a half-dozen times any time I want to see old draft reports like this)…

Pollock stands out most for his athleticism and pure hitting ability from the right side. He has a simple approach, a quick bat and strong hands. Scouts do say he’ll have to stop cheating out on his front side and stay back more on pitches in pro ball…He projects as a 30 doubles/15 homers threat in the majors, and he’s a slightly above-average runner who has plus speed once he gets going. Pollock also has good instincts and a solid arm in center field.

Minus the part about the right side, that could easily fit for Ray. For good measure, here’s the Pollock (top) and Ray (bottom) draft year comparison…

.365/.445/.610 – 30 BB/24 K – 21/25 SB – 241 AB
.331/.398/.611 – 18 BB/20 K – 31/36 SB – 157 AB

Not too far off the mark. I’m coming around on Pollock as a potential big league peak comp for Ray. I think there are a lot of shared traits, assuming you’re as open to looking past the difference in handedness as I am. A friend offered Starling Marte, another righthanded bat, as an additional point of reference. I can dig it. Blackmon, Pollock, and Marte have each had above-average offensive seasons while showing the physical ability to man center field and swipe a bunch of bags. I also keep coming back to Odubel Herrera as a comparable talent, but I’m not sure I’m ready to go there just yet. He fits that overall profile, though. A well-rounded up-the-middle defender with above-average upside at the plate and on the bases who has the raw talent to put up a few star seasons in his peak: that’s the hope with Ray. The few red flags laid out above are enough to make that best case scenario less than a certainty than I’d want in a potential 1-1 pick, but his flaws aren’t so damning that the top ten (possibly top five) should be off the table.

So if Ray is worth a potential top five/ten pick, then what does that mean for the player ranked ahead of him? I’m close to out of superlatives for Zack Collins’s bat. If he can catch, he’s a superstar. If he can’t, then he’s still a potential big league power bat capable of hitting in the middle of the championship lineup for the next decade. I realize first basemen aren’t typically sought after at the top of the draft. There are perfectly valid reasons for that. But any time you have the chance at a potential top five bat at any given position, I think it’s all right to bend the rules a little. Positional value is important, but so is premium offensive production. Collins hitting and hitting a lot as a professional is one of the things I’m most sure about in this draft class.

Nick Solak is an outstanding hitter. He can hit any pitch in any count and has shown himself plenty capable of crushing mistakes. His approach is impeccable, his speed above-average, and his defense dependable. I think he’s the best college second baseman in this class. His teammate Blake Tiberi is just as exciting to me. I think there’s a legit plus hit tool there and his athleticism is fantastic for an infielder. Every other physical tool should be at least average. I think Tiberi could be a future big league regular at third. These Louisville hitters are really, really good.

Chris Okey’s play isn’t the cause for his drop in stock, but rather the stellar work of almost every single catcher at the top of this class previously thought to be either slightly ahead of him or behind him. If he’s still a top five college catcher, then maybe he’s fifth. I’d have a hard time putting him ahead of Collins, Matt Thaiss, Logan Ice, and Jake Rogers, so fifth seems like his new draft ceiling. Again, not an indictment of his season per se but merely the reality that others have held serve or passed him by. Meanwhile Preston Palmeiro hasn’t lit the world on fire so much that his stock should rise, but the shallowness of this year’s first base class helps him stay firmly in the top five mix at the position.

Kel Johnson and Willie Abreu are similar prospects who have gone in different directions this spring. Both have massive raw power with massive holes in their swings. Johnson, the “newer” of the two prospects, is seen as the ascending hitter while Abreu, after three long years at Miami, is a victim of prospect fatigue. They make for a fascinating draft day pair.

Ben DeLuzio and Jacob Heyward are like the anti-Johnson/Abreu pair. This year they’ve shown impressive plate discipline while underwhelming in the power department. They have both flashed average or better raw power in the past, so the hope that they will eventually put it all together remains.

There were a few players I thought could do big things before the season that have not done big things this year. That’s about the least eloquent thing I’ve ever written, but you know what I mean. My anticipated breakout for Kyle Fiala has not come. I don’t know what to make of him right now. Nate Mondou’s approach has stepped forward, but his power has fallen back. That’s confusing. And the two Clemson bats I’ve long liked, Weston Wilson and Eli White, still have lots to work on. A little bit of late season magic would do all of these players some good. I’ll be rooting for them.

Meanwhile, Connor Jones, TJ Zeuch, and Zac Gallen are the only names among the elite pitchers in the conference that I think are sure-fire professional starting pitchers over the long haul. I’m bullish on Justin Dunn being able to remain in the rotation and Kyle Funkhouser still has that upside, but that’s about it beyond the obvious names. That sums up the ACC in 2016 pitching for me: few starting pitching locks, tons of relievers, and no real consensus after the top guy…who I actually am less sure about than most.

I’ve gone back and forth on Jones a few times throughout the draft process. For as much as I like him, there’s something about his game doesn’t quite add up just yet. He checks every box you’d want in a near-ML ready starting pitching prospect, but it’s hard to get too excited about a pitcher who has never truly dominated at the college level. My big question about Jones is whether or not he has that second gear that will allow him to consistently put away big league hitters in times of trouble. His stuff is perfectly suited to killing worms; in fact, his sinker, slider, and splitter combination has resulted in an impressive 65.25 GB% in 2016. But he’ll have to miss more bats to be more than a back of the rotation starter at the highest level. His K/9 year-by-year at Virginia: 6.55, 8.77, and 6.79. Those aren’t the kinds of numbers you’d expect out of a guy being talked up in some circles as a potential top ten pick and first college pitcher selected in the draft. This evaluation of Jones is a little bit like the scattered thoughts on Corey Ray shared above in that it highlights how tough it can be when you’re one of the top prospects in the country. Potential top half of the first round prospects get nitpicked in a way that mid-round players never will. Jones, like Ray, is an excellent prospect, but because a) everybody already knows the top two dozen or so “name” draft prospects are excellent and continuously talking about how great they are is tired, and b) the greater investment in top prospects necessitates a more thorough examination of their total game, getting picked apart more than most comes with the territory.

TJ Zeuch has come back from injury seemingly without missing a beat. I’m a big fan of just about everything he does. He’s got the size (6-7, 225), body control, tempo, and temperament to hold up as a starting pitcher for a long time. He’s also got a legit four-pitch mix that allows him to mix and match in ways that routinely leave even good ACC hitters guessing.

Even though North Carolina posts their rosters so late in the winter that I can’t give them a proper preview, I still managed to touch on Zac Gallen some…

It’ll be really interesting to see how high Gallen will rise in the real draft come June. He’s the kind of relatively safe, high-floor starting pitching prospect who either sticks in the rotation for a decade or tops out as a sixth starter better served moving to the bullpen to see if his stuff plays up there. This aggressive (pretend) pick by Boston should point to what side of that debate I side with. Gallen doesn’t do any one thing particularly well — stellar fastball command and a willingness to keep pounding in cutters stand out — but he throws five (FB, cutter, truer SL, CB, CU) pitches for strikes and competes deep into just about every start. There’s serious value in that.

That holds up today. Gallen’s profile seems like the type who gets overlooked during the draft, overlooked in the minors, and overlooked until he’s run through a few big league lineups before people begin to get wise. That’s all entirely anecdotal, but sometimes you’ve got to run with a hunch.

I came very close to putting Justin Dunn in the top spot. If he continues to show that he can hold up as a starting pitcher, then there’s a chance he winds up as the best pitching prospect in this conference by June. I’d love to see a better change-up between now and then as well. I’m pretty sure I’m out of words when it comes to Kyle Funkhouser. I hold out some hope that he’ll be a better pro than college pitcher because his raw stuff at its best is really that good, but there’s just so much inconsistency to his game that I can’t go all-in on him again. Maybe he’s fulfills the promise he showed last year, maybe he winds up more of a consistently inconsistent fifth starter/swingman type, or maybe he’s destined to a life of relief work. I no longer have any clue where his career is heading. I feel liberated.

If either Funkhouser or Dunn winds up in the bullpen over the long haul, they’ll join a whole bunch of other ACC arms who might fit best as late-inning relievers in the pro ranks. 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. Truer relievers like Zack Burdi (who I think I like better than his brother), AJ Bogucki, Bryan Garcia, Spencer Trayner, and Jim Ziemba will all be valued in different ways come draft day, but all have the present ability to be quick movers and early contributors.

I don’t normally say stuff like this, but here we go: I really like how the ACC hitting list came out. If you listen to me about any one specific list this spring, this should probably be the one.

Hitters

  1. Miami JR C/1B Zack Collins
  2. Louisville JR OF Corey Ray
  3. Virginia JR C Matt Thaiss
  4. Wake Forest JR 1B/RHP Will Craig
  5. Louisville JR 2B/OF Nick Solak
  6. Louisville rSO 3B/SS Blake Tiberi
  7. Notre Dame JR 2B/3B Cavan Biggio
  8. Clemson JR C Chris Okey
  9. North Carolina State JR C/3B Andrew Knizner
  10. North Carolina JR OF Tyler Ramirez
  11. North Carolina State JR 1B/OF Preston Palmeiro
  12. Georgia Tech SO OF/1B Kel Johnson
  13. Miami JR OF Willie Abreu
  14. Virginia JR SS/3B Daniel Pinero
  15. Georgia Tech JR SS Connor Justus
  16. Florida State JR OF/SS Ben DeLuzio
  17. Miami JR OF Jacob Heyward
  18. Notre Dame JR 2B/SS Kyle Fiala
  19. Wake Forest JR 2B/OF Nate Mondou
  20. Clemson JR 3B/SS Weston Wilson
  21. Clemson JR SS/2B Eli White
  22. Wake Forest JR C Ben Breazeale
  23. North Carolina JR OF Tyler Lynn
  24. Virginia Tech rJR OF Saige Jenco
  25. Florida State SR 2B/SS John Sansone
  26. Florida State JR 1B/C Quincy Nieporte
  27. Louisville JR C Will Smith
  28. Louisville JR OF Logan Taylor
  29. Clemson rSO OF/1B Reed Rohlman
  30. Miami SR SS Brandon Lopez
  31. Boston College SR 3B/SS Joe Cronin
  32. North Carolina JR OF Adam Pate
  33. Georgia Tech JR OF Ryan Peurifoy
  34. Georgia Tech JR C Arden Pabst
  35. Florida State JR C/OF Gage West
  36. Miami JR 2B/SS Johnny Ruiz
  37. North Carolina SR SS/2B Eli Sutherland
  38. Florida State JR SS/2B Matt Henderson
  39. Georgia Tech JR OF Keenan Innis
  40. Boston College JR SS/3B Johnny Adams
  41. Boston College JR C Nick Sciortino
  42. Duke JR C Cristian Perez
  43. Notre Dame SR SS Lane Richards
  44. Georgia Tech SR 3B/SS Matt Gonzalez
  45. Virginia SR C Robbie Coman
  46. Wake Forest SR OF/2B Joey Rodriguez
  47. Notre Dame SR OF/LHP Zac Kutsulis
  48. Louisville JR OF Colin Lyman
  49. Duke rJR OF/1B Jalen Phillips
  50. Notre Dame JR C Ryan Lidge
  51. North Carolina State SR C Chance Shepard
  52. Pittsburgh SR OF/LHP Aaron Schnurbusch
  53. Pittsburgh JR OF Nick Yarnall
  54. Pittsburgh JR C Caleb Parry
  55. Notre Dame rSO OF Torii Hunter
  56. North Carolina State SR 3B/SS Ryne Willard
  57. Louisville SR 1B/3B Dan Rosenbaum
  58. Miami rJR 1B/OF Chris Barr
  59. Clemson rSO 3B Glenn Batson
  60. Clemson rJR OF Maleeke Gibson

Pitchers

  1. Virginia JR RHP Connor Jones
  2. Pittsburgh JR RHP TJ Zeuch
  3. Boston College JR RHP Justin Dunn
  4. Duke JR RHP Bailey Clark
  5. Louisville JR RHP Zack Burdi
  6. North Carolina JR RHP Zac Gallen
  7. Louisville SR RHP Kyle Funkhouser
  8. North Carolina JR RHP AJ Bogucki
  9. Miami JR RHP Bryan Garcia
  10. North Carolina JR RHP Spencer Trayner
  11. Clemson SR RHP Clate Schmidt
  12. Louisville JR LHP Drew Harrington
  13. Wake Forest JR RHP Parker Dunshee
  14. Clemson rSO LHP Alex Bostic
  15. Duke rSO LHP Jim Ziemba
  16. Boston College JR RHP Mike King
  17. Wake Forest SR RHP/C Garrett Kelly
  18. Virginia JR RHP Alec Bettinger
  19. North Carolina State JR RHP Joe O’Donnell
  20. North Carolina State JR LHP Ryan Williamson
  21. Georgia Tech JR RHP/3B Brandon Gold
  22. Florida State JR LHP Alec Byrd
  23. Florida State rSO RHP Ed Voyles
  24. Florida State rSR RHP Tyler Warmoth
  25. Clemson rSR RHP Patrick Andrews
  26. Duke rSO RHP Karl Blum
  27. Georgia Tech JR RHP Matthew Gorst
  28. North Carolina SO RHP/1B Ryder Ryan
  29. Miami SR RHP Enrique Sosa
  30. North Carolina State rSR RHP Kyle Smith
  31. Miami JR LHP Danny Garcia
  32. North Carolina rSR RHP Chris McCue
  33. Virginia Tech JR RHP Aaron McGarity
  34. North Carolina State JR RHP Cory Wilder
  35. Virginia rSO RHP Jack Roberts
  36. North Carolina State rJR RHP Johnny Piedmonte
  37. Clemson JR LHP Pat Krall
  38. Boston College SR LHP Jesse Adams
  39. Duke rSR RHP Brian McAfee
  40. North Carolina State SR LHP Will Gilbert
  41. Louisville JR RHP Jake Sparger
  42. Georgia Tech rSR RHP Cole Pitts
  43. Georgia Tech JR RHP Zac Ryan
  44. Boston College SR RHP John Nicklas
  45. Georgia Tech SR LHP/OF Jonathan King
  46. Florida State rJR LHP Alex Diese
  47. Virginia rJR LHP/OF Kevin Doherty
  48. Pittsburgh SR RHP Aaron Sandefur
  49. Florida State rSO RHP Andy Ward
  50. Wake Forest rSO RHP Chris Farish
  51. North Carolina State rJR RHP Karl Keglovits
  52. Virginia Tech JR RHP Luke Scherzer
  53. Virginia Tech rSO RHP Ryan Lauria
  54. North Carolina State rSR LHP Travis Orwig
  55. North Carolina JR LHP Zach Rice
  56. Notre Dame SR RHP David Hearne
  57. Miami rSO RHP Andy Honiotes
  58. Florida State rSO RHP Taylor Blatch
  59. Duke rSR RHP Kellen Urbon
  60. Clemson rSO RHP Drew Moyer
  61. Clemson rJR RHP Wales Toney
  62. Clemson rJR RHP/1B Jackson Campana
  63. North Carolina State rJR LHP Sean Adler
  64. Wake Forest JR RHP Connor Johnstone
  65. Florida State rSR RHP Mike Compton
  66. Duke rSR LHP Trent Swart
  67. Louisville SR RHP Anthony Kidston
  68. Wake Forest JR RHP John McCarren
  69. Virginia JR RHP Tyler Shambora
  70. Miami SR LHP Thomas Woodrey
  71. Virginia Tech rJR LHP Kit Scheetz
  72. Virginia SR LHP David Rosenberger
  73. Notre Dame JR RHP Ryan Smoyer
  74. Virginia JR RHP Holden Grounds
  75. Notre Dame SR LHP Michael Hearne
  76. Pittsburgh JR RHP Matt Pidich
  77. Florida State rSO RHP Will Zirzow
  78. Duke SR LHP Nick Hendrix
  79. Notre Dame SR RHP Nick McCarty
  80. Miami JR RHP Cooper Hammond
  81. Pittsburgh JR RHP Sam Mersing
  82. North Carolina State rSO LHP Cody Beckman
  83. Virginia Tech rSR LHP Jon Woodcock
  84. Georgia Tech JR LHP Ben Parr
  85. Wake Forest rSR RHP Aaron Fossas
  86. North Carolina State rSR RHP Chris Williams

Boston College

SR LHP Jesse Adams (2016)
SR RHP John Nicklas (2016)
JR RHP Justin Dunn (2016)
JR RHP Mike King (2016)
JR RHP Bobby Skogsbergh (2016)
SR 3B/SS Joe Cronin (2016)
SR OF Logan Hoggarth (2016)
SR C Stephen Sauter (2016)
JR SS/3B Johnny Adams (2016)
JR C Nick Sciortino (2016)
JR OF/RHP Michael Strem (2016)
SO RHP Brian Rapp (2017)
SO RHP/OF Donovan Casey (2017)
SO 2B/3B Jake Palomaki (2017)
FR RHP Jacob Stevens (2017)
FR C Gian Martellini (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jesse Adams, John Nicklas, Justin Dunn, Mike King, Joe Cronin, Johnny Adams, Nick Sciortino, Michael Strem

Clemson

SR RHP Clate Schmidt (2016)
rSR RHP Patrick Andrews (2016)
rJR RHP Wales Toney (2016)
rJR RHP Garrett Lovorn (2016)
rSO LHP Alex Bostic (2016)
JR LHP Pat Krall (2016)
JR LHP Andrew Towns (2016)
rSO RHP Drew Moyer (2016)
rJR RHP/1B Jackson Campana (2016)
JR C Chris Okey (2016)
JR SS/2B Eli White (2016)
JR 3B/SS Weston Wilson (2016)
rSO OF/1B Reed Rohlman (2016)
rSO 3B Glenn Batson (2016)
rJR OF Maleeke Gibson (2016)
rJR 1B/OF Andrew Cox (2016)
FR LHP Jake Higginbotham (2017)
SO LHP Charlie Barnes (2017)
rFR RHP Alex Eubanks (2017)
SO RHP Paul Campbell (2017)
SO 3B/2B Adam Renwick (2017)
SO OF Chase Pinder (2017)
rFR OF KJ Bryant (2017)
SO SS Grayson Byrd (2017)
SO OF Drew Wharton (2017)
SO C Robert Jolly (2017)
SO C/1B Chris Williams (2017)
FR RHP Ryley Gilliam (2018)
FR RHP Zach Goodman (2018)
FR RHP Graham Lawson (2018)
FR RHP/1B Brooks Crawford (2018)
FR RHP Tom Walker (2018)
FR RHP Andrew Papp (2018)
FR C Jordan Greene (2018)
FR SS/2B Grant Cox (2018)
FR OF Seth Beer (2018)

High Priority Follows: Clate Schmidt, Patrick Andrews, Wales Toney, Alex Bostic, Pat Krall, Drew Moyer, Jackson Campana, Chris Okey, Eli White, Weston Wilson, Reed Rohlman, Glenn Batson, Maleeke Gibson

Duke

JR RHP Bailey Clark (2016)
rSO RHP Karl Blum (2016)
rSO LHP Jim Ziemba (2016)
rSR RHP Brian McAfee (2016)
SR LHP Nick Hendrix (2016)
rSR RHP Conner Stevens (2016)
JR LHP Kevin Lewallyn (2016)
rSR LHP Trent Swart (2016)
rSR RHP Kellen Urbon (2016)
rJR OF/1B Jalen Phillips (2016)
JR C Cristian Perez (2016)
SO LHP Chris McGrath (2017)
SO LHP Mitch Stallings (2017)
SO RHP/SS Ryan Day (2017)
SO 3B/RHP Jack Labosky (2017)
SO 1B Justin Bellinger (2017)
SO 3B/SS Max Miller (2017)
SO 2B/OF Peter Zyla (2017)
SO OF Michael Smicicklas (2017)
SO OF Evan Dougherty (2017)
FR RHP Al Pesto (2018)
FR OF Keyston Fuller (2018)
FR OF Kennie Taylor (2018)
FR OF Jimmy Herron (2018)
FR SS Zack Kone (2018)
FR SS Zack Kesterson (2018)
FR OF Griffin Conine (2018)

High Priority Follows: Bailey Clark, Karl Blum, Jim Ziemba, Brian McAfee, Nick Hendrix, Conner Stevens, Trent Swart, Kellen Urbon, Jalen Phillips, Cristian Perez

Florida State

rSR RHP Mike Compton (2016)
rJR LHP Alex Diese (2016)
rSO RHP Taylor Blatch (2016)
JR LHP Alec Byrd (2016)
rSO RHP Andy Ward (2016)
rSO RHP Ed Voyles (2016)
JR RHP Jim Voyles (2016)
rSO RHP Will Zirzow (2016)
rSR LHP Matt Kinney (2016)
rSR RHP Tyler Warmoth (2016)
JR OF/SS Ben DeLuzio (2016)
JR 1B/C Quincy Nieporte (2016)
SR 2B/SS John Sansone (2016)
JR C/OF Gage West (2016)
JR 1B/OF Hank Truluck (2016)
JR SS/2B Matt Henderson (2016)
JR C Bryan Bussey (2016)
FR LHP/OF Tyler Holton (2017)
SO RHP Cobi Johnson (2017)
rFR RHP Andrew Karp (2017)
SO RHP Drew Carlton (2017)
SO OF/RHP Steven Wells (2017)
SO C/1B Darren Miller (2017)
SO SS/3B Dylan Busby (2017)
SO SS/2B Taylor Walls (2017)
FR RHP Cole Sands (2018)
FR LHP Jared Middleton (2018)
FR RHP Chase Haney (2018)
FR RHP Ronnie Ramirez (2018)
FR RHP Dillon Brown (2018)
FR C Caleb Raleigh (2018)
FR C/OF Jackson Lueck (2018)
FR OF Donovan Petrey (2018)

High Priority Follows: Mike Compton, Alex Diese, Taylor Blatch, Alec Byrd, Andy Ward, Ed Voyles, Jim Voyles, Will Zirzow, Matt Kinney, Tyler Warmoth, Ben DeLuzio, Quincy Nieporte, John Sansome, Gage West, Hank Truluck, Matt Henderson

Georgia Tech

JR LHP Ben Parr (2016)
JR RHP Matthew Gorst (2016)
SR LHP/OF Jonathan King (2016)
JR RHP/3B Brandon Gold (2016)
JR RHP Zac Ryan (2016)
rSR RHP Cole Pitts (2016)
JR LHP Tanner Shelton (2016)
JR RHP Matt Phillips (2016)
SO OF/1B Kel Johnson (2016)
JR OF Keenan Innis (2016)
JR OF Ryan Peurifoy (2016)
JR C Arden Pabst (2016)
JR SS Connor Justus (2016)
SR 3B/SS Matt Gonzalez (2016)
SO RHP Patrick Wiseman (2017)
SO 2B Wade Bailey (2017)
SO 3B/C Trevor Graport (2017)
FR RHP Jonathan Hughes (2018)
FR RHP Tristin English (2018)
FR RHP Bobby Gavreau (2018)
FR RHP Keyton Gibson (2018)
FR RHP Jake Lee (2018)
FR RHP Micah Carpenter (2018)
FR RHP Burton Dulaney (2018)
FR C Joey Bart (2018)
FR OF/1B Brandt Stallings (2018)
FR 2B/SS Carter Hall (2018)
FR 2B/SS Jackson Webb (2018)

High Priority Follows: Ben Parr, Matthew Gorst, Jonathan King, Brandon Gold, Zac Ryan, Cole Pitts, Kel Johnson, Keenan Innis, Ryan Peurifoy, Arden Pabst, Connor Justus, Matt Gonzalez

Louisville

SR RHP Kyle Funkhouser (2016)
JR RHP Zack Burdi (2016)
JR LHP Drew Harrington (2016)
SR RHP Anthony Kidston (2016)
JR RHP Jake Sparger (2016)
rSR RHP Ryan Smith (2016)
JR RHP Shane Hummel (2016)
JR OF Corey Ray (2016)
rSO 3B/SS Blake Tiberi (2016)
JR 2B/OF Nick Solak (2016)
JR OF Logan Taylor (2016)
JR OF Colin Lyman (2016)
JR C Will Smith (2016)
SR 1B/3B Dan Rosenbaum (2016)
rSO OF/C Ryan Summers (2016)
SO RHP Kade McClure (2017)
SO RHP Lincoln Henzman (2017)
SO RHP Sean Leland (2017)
SO LHP/1B Brendan McKay (2017)
SO C Colby Fitch (2017)
SO SS/2B Devin Hairston (2017)
FR RHP Riley Thompson (2017)
FR RHP Sam Bordner (2018)
FR RHP Bryan Hoeing (2018)
FR RHP Noah Burkholder (2018)
FR LHP Adam Wolf (2018)
FR OF Josh Stowers (2018)
FR INF Devin Mann (2018)
FR OF Chris Botsoe (2018)
FR C Zeke Pinkham (2018)
FR SS Daniel Little (2018)
FR 3B Drew Ellis (2018)

High Priority Follows: Kyle Funkhouser, Zack Burdi, Drew Harrington, Anthony Kidston, Jake Sparger, Corey Ray, Blake Tiberi, Nick Solak, Logan Taylor, Colin Lyman, Will Smith, Dan Rosenbaum, Ryan Summers

Miami

SR LHP Thomas Woodrey (2016)
JR RHP Cooper Hammond (2016)
JR RHP Bryan Garcia (2016)
JR LHP Danny Garcia (2016)
SR RHP Enrique Sosa (2016)
rSO RHP Andy Honiotes (2016)
JR C/1B Zack Collins (2016)
JR OF Willie Abreu (2016)
JR OF Jacob Heyward (2016)
SR SS Brandon Lopez (2016)
rJR 1B/OF Chris Barr (2016)
JR 2B/SS Johnny Ruiz (2016)
JR INF Randy Batista (2016)
JR 1B Edgar Michelangeli (2016)
SO LHP Michael Mediavilla (2017)
SO RHP Jesse Lepore (2017)
rFR RHP Keven Pimentel (2017)
rFR RHP Devin Meyer (2017)
rFR LHP Luke Spangler (2017)
SO OF Carl Chester (2017)
FR RHP Andrew Cabezas (2018)
FR RHP Frankie Bartow (2018)
FR 3B Romy Gonzalez (2018)

High Priority Follows: Thomas Woodrey, Cooper Hammond, Bryan Garcia, Danny Garcia, Enrique Sosa, Sandy Honiotes, Zack Collins, Willie Abreu, Jacob Heyward, Brandon Lopez, Chris Barr, Johnny Ruiz

North Carolina

JR RHP AJ Bogucki (2016)
JR RHP Zac Gallen (2016)
JR LHP Zach Rice (2016)
rSR RHP Chris McCue (2016)
JR RHP Spencer Trayner (2016)
SO RHP/1B Ryder Ryan (2016)
JR OF Tyler Ramirez (2016)
JR OF Tyler Lynn (2016)
JR OF Adam Pate (2016)
SR SS/2B Eli Sutherland (2016)
SO RHP JB Bukauskas (2017)
SO RHP Jason Morgan (2017)
SO RHP Hansen Butler (2017)
SO RHP Brett Daniels (2017)
SO LHP/1B Hunter Williams (2017)
SO OF/1B Brian Miller (2017)
SO 3B/SS Zack Gahagan (2017)
SO SS/2B Logan Warmoth (2017)
FR 3B/RHP Kyle Datres (2017)
FR LHP Brendon Little (2018)
RHP Taylor Sugg (2018)
FR RHP Cole Aker (2018)
FR RHP Rodney Hutchison (2018)
FR C/RHP Cody Roberts (2018)
FR C Wyatt Cross (2018)
FR C Brendan Illies (2018)
FR OF Josh Ladowski (2018)
FR SS Utah Jones (2018)
FR OF Brandon Riley (2018)

High Priority Follows: AJ Bogucki, Zac Gallen, Zach Rice, Chris McCue, Spencer Trayner, Ryder Ryan, Tyler Ramirez, Tyler Lynn, Adam Pate, Eli Sutherland

North Carolina State

JR RHP Joe O’Donnell (2016)
rJR LHP Sean Adler (2016)
rJR RHP Johnny Piedmonte (2016)
JR RHP Cory Wilder (2016)
rSR LHP Travis Orwig (2016)
SR LHP Will Gilbert (2016)
rJR RHP Karl Keglovits (2016)
rSR RHP Kyle Smith (2016)
rSR RHP Chris Williams (2016)
rSO LHP Cody Beckman (2016)
JR LHP Ryan Williamson (2016)
JR C/3B Andrew Knizner (2016)
JR 1B/OF Preston Palmeiro (2016)
SR 3B/SS Ryne Willard (2016)
SR C Chance Shepard (2016)
rSO OF Garrett Suggs (2016)
SO LHP Brian Brown (2017)
SO RHP Evan Brabrand (2017)
SO RHP/3B Evan Mendoza (2017)
SO RHP/INF Tommy DeJuneas (2017)
rFR OF Storm Edwards (2017)
SO OF Josh McLain (2017)
SO 3B/SS Joe Dunand (2017)
SO 2B Stephen Pitarra (2017)
SO OF Brock Deatherage (2017)
SO OF Shane Shepard (2017)
FR SS/OF Xavier LeGrant (2018)

High Priority Follows: Joe O’Donnell, Sean Adler, Johnny Piedmonte, Cory Wilder, Travis Orwig, Will Gilbert, Karl Keglovits, Kyle Smith, Chris Williams, Cody Beckman, Ryan Williamson, Andrew Knizner, Preston Palmeiro, Ryne Willard, Chance Shepard,

Notre Dame

SR RHP Nick McCarty (2016)
SR RHP David Hearne (2016)
SR LHP Michael Hearne (2016)
JR RHP Ryan Smoyer (2016)
JR LHP Jim Orwick (2016)
JR LHP Scott Tully (2016)
SR RHP Connor Hale (2016)
SR OF/LHP Zac Kutsulis (2016)
JR 2B/3B Cavan Biggio (2016)
JR 2B/SS Kyle Fiala (2016)
SR SS Lane Richards (2016)
JR C Ryan Lidge (2016)
rSO OF Torii Hunter (2016)
SR C/OF Ricky Sanchez (2016)
SO RHP Brad Bass (2017)
SO LHP Sean Guenther (2017)
SO RHP Brandon Bielak (2017)
SO RHP Peter Solomon (2017)
SO RHP Evy Ruibal (2017)
SO OF Jake Johnson (2017)
FR RHP Connor Hock (2018)
FR RHP Chris Connolly (2018)
FR OF/RHP Matt Vierling (2018)
FR 3B Jake Singer (2018)
FR OF Connor Stutts (2018)

High Priority Follows: Nick McCarty, David Hearne, Michael Hearne, Ryan Smoyer, Scott Tully, Zac Kutsulis, Cavan Biggio, Kyle Fiala, Lane Richards, Ryan Lidge, Torii Hunter, Ricky Sanchez

Pittsburgh

JR RHP TJ Zeuch (2016)
SR RHP Aaron Sandefur (2016)
JR RHP Sam Mersing (2016)
rSO LHP Josh Mitchell (2016)
JR RHP Matt Pidich (2016)
SR OF/LHP Aaron Schnurbusch (2016)
SR C Alex Kowalczyk (2016)
rJR OF Jacob Wright (2016)
JR INF Ron Sherman (2016)
JR OF Nick Yarnall (2016)
JR C Caleb Parry (2016)
JR C Manny Pazos (2016)
rSO OF Frank Maldonado (2016)
SO RHP Isaac Mattson (2017)
SO 3B/SS Charles LeBlanc (2017)
FR LHP Clayton Morrell (2018)
FR RHP Derek West (2018)
FR OF Yasin Chentouf (2018)

High Priority Follows: TJ Zeuch, Aaron Sandefur, Sam Mersing, Matt Pidich, Aaron Schnurbusch, Alex Kowalczyk, Jacob Wright, Ron Sherman, Nick Yarnall, Caleb Parry, Frank Maldonado

Virginia

JR RHP Connor Jones (2016)
JR RHP Alec Bettinger (2016)
rSO RHP Jack Roberts (2016)
SR LHP David Rosenberger (2016)
JR RHP Tyler Shambora (2016)
JR RHP Holden Grounds (2016)
rJR LHP/OF Kevin Doherty (2016)
JR C Matt Thaiss (2016)
SR C Robbie Coman (2016)
JR SS/3B Daniel Pinero (2016)
SO RHP Tommy Doyle (2017)
SO RHP Derek Casey (2017)
SO LHP Bennett Sousa (2017)
SO OF/LHP Adam Haseley (2017)
SO 3B Charlie Cody (2017)
SO 2B/OF Ernie Clement (2017)
SO 2B Jack Gerstenmaier (2017)
SO C/2B Justin Novak (2017)
SO 1B/RHP Pavin Smith (2017)
FR OF Doak Dozier (2017)
FR RHP Evan Sperling (2018)
FR LHP Daniel Lynch (2018)
FR LHP Connor Eason (2018)
FR RHP Grant Sloan (2018):
FR OF/RHP Cameron Simmons (2018)
FR 3B Ryan Karstetter (2018)
FR 2B/SS Andy Weber (2018)
FR 3B/1B Nate Eikhoff (2018)
FR OF Jake McCarthy (2018)
FR INF Jon Meola (2018)

High Priority Follows: Connor Jones, Alec Bettinger, Jack Roberts, David Rosenberger, Tyler Shambora, Holden Grounds, Kevin Doherty, Matt Thaiss, Robbie Coman, Daniel Pinero

Virginia Tech

rJR LHP Kit Scheetz (2016)
rSR LHP Jon Woodcock (2016)
JR RHP Aaron McGarity (2016)
JR RHP Luke Scherzer (2016)
rSO RHP Ryan Lauria (2016)
rJR 1B/LHP Phil Sciretta (2016)
rJR OF Saige Jenco (2016)
rSR OF Logan Bible (2016)
JR OF Mac Caples (2016)
JR 3B/SS Ryan Tufts (2016)
SR C Andrew Mogg (2016)
rSO OF Nick Anderson (2016)
rSO OF/LHP Tom Stoffel (2016)
SO LHP Packy Naughton (2017)
SO OF/3B Max Ponzurik (2017)
SO C Joe Freiday (2017)
FR RHP Nic Enright (2018)
FR RHP Culver Hughes (2018)
FR RHP Cole Kragel (2018)
FR RHP Payton Holdsworth (2018)
FR LHP/1B Patrick Hall (2018)
FR RHP Tim Salvadore (2018)
FR OF/1B Stevie Mangrum (2018)
FR C/OF Stephen Polansky (2018)

High Priority Follows: Kit Scheetz, Jon Woodcock, Aaron McGarity, Luke Scherzer, Ryan Lauria, Phil Sciretta, Saige Jenco, Mac Caples, Ryan Tufts, Nick Anderson

Wake Forest

SR RHP/C Garrett Kelly (2016)
rSR RHP Aaron Fossas (2016)
JR RHP Parker Dunshee (2016)
rSO RHP Chris Farish (2016)
JR RHP Connor Johnstone (2016)
JR RHP John McCarren (2016)
rSO RHP Parker Johnson (2016)
JR 1B/RHP Will Craig (2016)
JR C Ben Breazeale (2016)
SR OF/2B Joey Rodriguez (2016)
JR 2B/OF Nate Mondou (2016)
rSR OF Kevin Conway (2016)
JR OF Jonathan Pryor (2016)
SO RHP Drew Loepprich (2017)
SO RHP Donnie Sellers (2016)
SO OF Stuart Fairchild (2017)
SO 1B Gavin Sheets (2017)
SO OF Keegan Maronpot (2017)
SO SS/2B Drew Freedman (2017)
SO SS/2B Bruce Steel (2017)
FR LHP Tyler Witt (2018)
FR RHP Griffin Roberts (2018)
FR RHP Rayne Supple (2018)
FR 3B/SS John Aiello (2018)

High Priority Follows: Garrett Kelly, Aaron Fossas, Parker Dunshee, Chris Farish, Connor Johnstone, John McCarren, Parker Johnson, Will Craig, Ben Breazeale, Joey Rodriguez, Nate Mondou, Kevin Conway, Jonathan Pryor

EDIT: Sellers is a 2016 draft-eligible sophomore. Fastball up to 95 with a solid slider. He’ll be included on future lists.

2015 MLB Draft – Top 100 D1 College Shortstop Prospects

1. LSU JR SS/2B Alex Bregman: can really hit, easy above-average to plus hit tool; average to above-average speed, plays up; average arm, maybe a bit more; average raw power, wears out the gaps; shows all the bat speed you’d want; good approach; interesting defensive tools, still like him more at 2B, where he’s easily above-average to plus but has gotten pretty damn solid at shortstop through hard work, great instincts, and far more natural ability than originally given credit; stronger than he looks; BA comps: Mark Ellis and Dustin Pedroia; old Tony Renda comp; have also thrown out an Aaron Hill comparison; for a long time a Todd Walker comparison seemed so obvious, but if he hits like him and defends like he has this spring, that’s a star; 6-0, 190 pounds

2013: .369/.419/.546 – 25 BB/24 K – 17/18 SB – 282 AB
2014: .316/.397/.455 – 27 BB/21 K – 12/18 SB – 244 AB
2015: .330/.418/.573 – 33 BB/20 K – 32/41 SB – 227 AB

2. Vanderbilt JR SS/2B Dansby Swanson: plus athlete; above-average to plus speed, plays up; good defensive tools, should be average or better at either spot (above-average to plus at second, a tick below that at short); above-average or better hit tool, could be plus; good but not great arm; average at best raw power, but I’m starting to think that undersells it; BA comp: slower Trea Turner; had a lot to prove this spring and did everything asked of him and more; keep coming back to his athleticism as a real difference-maker, he’ll instantly become one of the game’s best athletes upon signing; 6-0, 190 pounds

2014: .333/.411/.475 – 37 BB/49 K – 22/27 SB – 282 AB
2015: .350/.438/.654 – 38 BB/41 K – 14/16 SB – 237 AB

3. Florida JR SS/OF Richie Martin: love his approach; great athlete; above-average to plus speed; plus arm, very accurate; average power upside; steady defender, range flashes plus; quick bat; also good in CF; like his defensive tools; blazing first step; young for class; first round talent who will likely slip past that, but has the physical ability to be an above-average regular shortstop for a long time; 6-0, 180 pounds

2013: .312/.380/.353 – 16 BB/23 K – 7/10 SB – 170 AB
2014: .265/.354/.337 – 27 BB/30 K – 18/20 SB – 249 AB
2015: .290/.397/.420 – 32 BB/31 K – 20/26 SB – 224 AB

4. Louisiana JR SS/2B Blake Trahan: steady glove, plus for some (me); interesting bat, hit tool is there and pop sneaks up on you; good athlete; average or better arm; good approach; easy plus speed, can time out as plus-plus; not the best college hitter in this class, but might be my favorite; speaking of, he gets the all-caps treatment and I’ll even bold it for good measure: FAVORITE; 5-10, 185 pounds

2013: .343/.430/.451 – 30 BB/27 K – 13/13 SB – 213 AB
2014: .355/.455/.465 – 44 BB/37 K – 15/27 SB – 256 AB
2015: .332/.442/.429 – 37 BB/29 K – 17/25 SB – 238 AB

5. San Diego JR SS Kyle Holder: plus athlete; good speed; plus to plus-plus (!) glove; plus arm; BA comps: Walt Weiss (I had this one as well), Deven Marrero, Brendan Ryan; in addition to Weiss, also heard Mike Bordick and Orlando Cabrera as comparisons; will be a big league player for a long as he wants based on his glove alone, though I think there’s enough stick to make him a regular in relatively short order; FAVORITE; 6-1, 185 pounds

2014: .298/.346/.403 – 15 BB/16 K – 7/9 SB – 191 AB
2015: .348/.418/.482 – 19 BB/19 K – 5/11 SB – 224 AB

6. UCLA rJR SS/2B Kevin Kramer: missed 2014 season (shoulder); great athlete; average arm; average speed; steady defender, could be excellent at 2B but gets the job done presently at shortstop; really like his approach; above-average hit tool; short to ball; can also play 3B, so utility future gives him a high floor for a second day pick; 6-0, 200 pounds

2012: .273/.343/.314 – 7 BB/18 K – 1/2 SB – 121 AB
2013: .273/.381/.371 – 31 BB/45 K – 9/18 SB – 245 AB
2015: .328/.431/.478 – 34 BB/34 K – 7/15 SB – 232 AB

7. Virginia SO SS/3B Daniel Pinero: plus defensive tools; really impressive range; average or better arm strength; size is more of a concern (could grow past the point of playing up the middle, long levers will make consistent contact tricky at the plate) than a positive attribute to many, which seems silly since he’s a gifted athlete with above-average body control despite being “too tall” for some; more boom/bust than any name ahead of him at the position, but upside makes it worth it; 6-5, 210 pounds

2014: .261/.372/.286 – 36 BB/31 K – 10/13 SB – 241 AB
2015: .311/.415/.440 – 34 BB/33 K – 6/8 SB – 209 AB

8. Texas JR SS/3B CJ Hinojosa: plus bat speed; average or better speed; average to above-average arm; plus instincts in field and on bases; good glove; above-average power upside; could be catcher convert; reminds me of Kevin Newman in a lot of ways, but with none of the hype (and admittedly a ton less production to date); Aaron Fitt comp: Alex Mejia; has lost a lot of fans over the years, but I loved him out of HS so I’m sticking with him as a solid future pro today; 5-9, 180 pounds

2013: .330/.390/.435 – 19 BB/25 K – 3/4 SB – 191 AB
2014: .298/.373/.376 – 29 BB/32 K – 5/7 SB – 242 AB
2015: .244/.322/.410 – 22 BB/24 K – 4/7 SB – 205 AB

9. Kennesaw State JR SS Kal Simmons: strong arm; plus defender in all phases; plus range; average at best speed; average or better power; BA comp: John McDonald; made encouraging strides with the bat this spring; could be nice fallback for teams that like Kyle Holder but miss out on him early; 6-0, 200 pounds

2013: .278/.332/.332 – 14 BB/30 K – 4/7 SB – 187 AB
2014: .272/.332/.313 – 23 BB/33 K – 3/4 SB – 268 AB
2015: .269/.380/.443 – 31 BB/34 K – 15/19 SB – 212 AB

10. Stanford JR SS/RHP Drew Jackson: plus to plus-plus arm; good defensive tools; great athlete; above-average to plus speed; average raw power; has also played OF; 88-92 FB; plus 82 SL; another boom/bust prospect, but with the added fallback plan of giving pitching a shot if the bat doesn’t come around; 6-3, 200 pounds

2013: .207/.337/.232 – 14 BB/21 K – 6/8 SB – 82 AB
2014: .167/.254/.213 – 10 BB/27 K – 1/4 SB – 108 AB
2015: .320/.396/.388 – 15 BB/22 K – 6/8 SB – 147 AB

11. Tennessee Tech SR SS/2B Dylan Bosheers: good glove, plus upside; power upside; smart base runner; above-average speed; have to like a guy who has literally always hit; 6-0, 180 pounds

2012: .246/.376/.356 – 25 BB/32 K – 1/5 SB – 191 AB
2013: .306/.371/.491 – 19 BB/40 K – 6/7 SB – 216 AB
2014: .368/.444/.577 – 27 BB/32 K – 8/12 SB – 234 AB
2015: .337/.424/.576 – 29 BB/20 K – 4/4 SB – 205 AB

12. Loyola Marymount SO SS David Fletcher: really good defensive tools, plus upside; has it all as a defender; smart; average arm; average speed, more quick than fast defensively; little to no power at this point, but could find enough pop to make him a viable regular down the line; fascinating BA comp: Justin Turner; 5-10, 175 pounds

2014: .329/.357/.374 – 13 BB/22 K – 17/21 SB – 222 AB
2015: .308/.385/.416 – 23 BB/18 K – 14/17 SB – 221 AB

13. Oklahoma State JR SS/2B Donnie Walton: steady glove, flashes better; good speed; good approach; not a guy who wows you with tools, but good enough across the board to profile as a big league contributor; 5-10, 175 pounds

2013: .298/.381/.367 – 25 BB/30 K – 7/10 SB – 188 AB
2014: .310/.407/.405 – 38 BB/36 K – 7/10 SB – 252 AB
2015: .346/.422/.512 – 19 BB/22 K – 3/3 SB – 127 AB

14. Pacific JR SS/OF Brett Sullivan: above-average speed; good approach; great athlete; held his own on Cape; FAVORITE; 6-1, 180 pounds

2013: .239/.279/.353 – 12 BB/22 K – 6/10 SB – 201 AB
2014: .357/.391/.536 – 16 BB/10 K – 9/12 SB – 207 AB
2015: .275/.314/.492 – 11 BB/21 K – 6/10 SB – 193 AB

15. Clemson SO SS/2B Eli White: good athlete; above-average to plus speed; really good defensive tools; above-average arm; quick bat; shares some similarities to Daniel Pinero, but doesn’t have quite the same offensive upside or polish; 6-3, 180 pounds

2014: .143/.244/.200 – 4 BB/13 K – 1/1 SB – 35 AB
2015: .291/.375/.399 – 24 BB/56 K – 10/16 SB – 223 AB

16. Louisiana-Monroe JR SS Kodie Tidwell: strong arm; good defensive tools; interesting bat; 6-0, 200 pounds (2013: .217/.274/.291 – 16 BB/42 K – 4/8 SB – 189 AB) (2014: .284/.402/.358 – 37 BB/48 K – 7/11 SB – 204 AB) (2015: .311/.412/.492 – 33 BB/35 K – 3/9 SB – 193 AB)

17. Virginia Commonwealth SR SS Vimael Machin: good speed; good range; playable hitter; 5-10, 175 pounds (2012: .309/.364/.408 – 21 BB/29 K – 1/3 SB – 223 AB) (2013: .287/.389/.419 – 22 BB/31 K – 2/3 SB – 167 AB) (2014: .307/.421/.417 – 30 BB/21 K – 2/2 SB – 199 AB) (2015: .336/.393/.444 – 24 BB/24 K – 6/13 SB – 232 AB)

18. Tennessee JR SS AJ Simcox: good range; steady defender; strong arm; strong hit tool; average raw power, currently to gaps; average or better speed; BA comps: Jordy Mercer and Hunter Dozier; breakout still hasn’t happened, but still has the chance to be better pro than track record would suggest; 6-3, 185 pounds (2013: .267/.327/.300 – 13 BB/32 K – 8/11 SB – 180 AB) (2014: .270/.342/.275 – 21 BB/33 K – 13/18 SB – 200 AB) (2015: .293/.362/.378 – 19 BB/30 K – 15/18 SB – 188 AB)

19. Rice JR SS/OF Leon Byrd: plus-plus speed; gap power; good arm; really good range in CF; can also play 2B; disappointing draft season makes him a potential steal this year since his talent level remains top five round quality; 5-7, 170 pounds (2013: .288/.430/.348 – 44 BB/37 K – 9/15 SB – 233 AB) (2014: .258/.363/.319 – 28 BB/28 K – 5/9 SB – 163 AB) (2015: .244/.318/.337 – 19 BB/45 K – 5/5 SB – 193 AB)

20. Louisiana Tech rJR SS/2B Taylor Love: great approach; good defensive tools; good speed; 6-1, 190 pounds (2014: .320/.365/.423 – 14 BB/17 K – 11/17 SB – 175 AB) (2015: .288/.385/.429 – 22 BB/25 K – 8/13 SB – 191 AB)

21. Florida International SR SS Julius Gaines: good defender; above-average arm; good speed; hasn’t hit enough and may never will, but could work as defensive backup; 5-11, 165 pounds (2012: .228/.282/.259 – 14 BB/31 K – 8/11 SB – 189 AB) (2013: .307/.374/.335 – 22 BB/39 K – 7/15 SB – 212 AB) (2014: .288/.337/.336 – 18 BB/26 K – 8/9 SB – 226 AB) (2015: .287/.331/.342 – 16 BB/36 K – 9/14 SB – 237 AB)

22. Appalachian State JR SS/OF Dillon Dobson: above-average raw power; average hit tool; average speed; really good athlete; strong; steady glove; has also seen time at 1B, 3B, and 2B; bat is appealing enough that future as a super-sub isn’t out of question; 6-1, 220 pounds (2013: .238/.290/.388 – 11 BB/49 K – 10/15 SB – 206 AB) (2014: .299/.364/.545 – 20 BB/46 K – 4/5 SB – 187 AB) (2015: .317/.357/.577 – 11 BB/32 K – 4/5 SB – 208 AB)

23. East Tennessee State JR SS Jordan Sanford: good athlete; 6-1, 200 pounds (2013: .231/.333/.385 – 5 BB/6 K – 0/0 SB – 39 AB) (2014: .367/.462/.489 – 10 BB/11 K – 2/5 SB – 90 AB) (2015: .307/.389/.416 – 17 BB/24 K – 2/5 SB – 166 AB)

24. Cal Poly JR SS Peter Van Gansen: strong arm; really steady glove; 5-8, 170 pounds (2013: .258/.357/.298 – 24 BB/29 K – 0/3 SB – 178 AB) (2014: .286/.427/.320 – 40 BB/25 K – 2/3 SB – 175 AB) (2015: .314/.388/.414 – 26 BB/14 K – 2/4 SB – 220 AB)

25. Illinois rSO SS Adam Walton: above-average to plus speed; above-average range; good approach; could be plus defender; good athlete; 6-1, 185 pounds (2014: .329/.380/.423 – 11 BB/25 K – 13/20 SB – 149 AB) (2015: .293/.354/.409 – 21 BB/30 K – 11/17 SB – 242 AB)

26. Texas Tech rSO SS/2B Cory Raley: average at best arm; average at best range; still should be good enough to stick at SS; could be really good at 2B; plus to plus-plus speed; raw bat; great athlete; Texas A&M transfer; 6-3, 200 pounds (2015: .350/.408/.486 – 17 BB/34 K – 3/6 SB – 183 AB)

27. Cal State Northridge rJR SS Yusuke Akitoshi: good athlete; 6-1, 180 pounds (2015: .286/.367/.410 – 25 BB/51 K – 11/15 SB – 210 AB)

28. Bradley JR SS Tyler Leffler: interesting bat; below-average speed; above-average arm; much improved defender, now really good; good athlete; no idea what to make of a player who had such a nice sophomore year followed up by a down junior year; 6-3, 185 pounds (2013: .298/.372/.377 – 13 BB/28 K – 4/5 SB – 151 AB) (2014: .354/.464/.470 – 16 BB/25 K – 2/6 SB – 181 AB) (2015: .193/.308/.255 – 23 BB/35 K – 4/6 SB – 192 AB)

29. Central Michigan SR SS Sawyer Polen: good defender; good athlete; 6-0, 180 pounds (2012: .278/.374/.419 – 25 BB/58 K – 3/5 SB – 198 AB) (2013: .291/.390/.350 – 32 BB/50 K – 6/8 SB – 234 AB) (2014: .244/.356/.343 – 17 BB/33 K – 12/16 SB – 172 AB) (2015: .298/.410/.403 – 26 BB/30 K – 15/16 SB – 191 AB)

30. TCU rJR SS Keaton Jones: plus defender; average speed; no power; 6-2, 200 pounds (2012: .189/.307/.213 – 24 BB/43 K – 7/11 SB – 169 AB) (2013: .258/.382/.286 – 31 BB/44 K – 2/3 SB – 182 AB) (2014: .266/.341/.290 – 24 BB/35 K – 9/12 SB – 241 AB) (2015: .254/.333/.333 – 20 BB/35 K – 8/11 SB – 189 AB)

31. Miami JR SS/RHP Brandon Lopez: 91 FB; plus arm; good defender; really quick bat; 6-1, 165 pounds (2013: .249/.330/.271 – 20 BB/35 K – 5/7 SB – 181 AB) (2014: .233/.320/.275 – 24 BB/27 K – 6/11 SB – 189 AB) (2015: .308/.438/.392 – 28 BB/21 K – 1/2 SB – 130 AB)

32. Texas A&M SR SS/2B Blake Allemand: plus speed; steady glove; good athlete; interesting pop; 5-10, 175 pounds (2013: .263/.379/.323 – 31 BB/38 K – 17/25 SB – 217 AB) (2014: .290/.397/.319 – 34 BB/30 K – 5/10 SB – 207 AB) (2015: .356/.438/.507 – 28 BB/16 K – 6/7 SB – 205 AB)

33. Toledo JR SS Deion Tansel: steady glove; 5-8, 150 pounds (2013: .302/.393/.343 – 18 BB/14 K – 10/12 SB – 169 AB) (2014: .306/.374/.347 – 18 BB/11 K – 10/16 SB – 219 AB) (2015: .324/.413/.388 – 12 BB/8 K – 12/18 SB – 170 AB)

34. Lamar JR SS Stijn van derMeer: strong glove; 6-3, 170 pounds (2015: .351/.401/.441 – 19 BB/13 K – 6/9 SB – 222 AB)

35. Notre Dame JR SS Lane Richards: good defender; strong arm; good speed; good athlete; 6-0, 185 pounds (2013: .242/.296/.304 – 15 BB/32 K – 2/4 SB – 207 AB) (2014: .254/.294/.339 – 5 BB/13 K – 1/1 SB – 118 AB) (2015: .264/.314/.409 – 16 BB/30 K – 5/7 SB – 208 AB)

36. Central Florida SR SS/3B Tommy Williams: good enough arm and range for SS (average); good athlete; can also play 2B and 3B; questionable bat; above-average speed; some pop; 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .230/.302/.309 – 14 BB/49 K – 2/4 SB – 152 AB) (2014: .263/.350/.469 – 25 BB/52 K – 16/24 SB – 224 AB) (2015: .318/.407/.544 – 33 BB/57 K – 5/8 SB – 217 AB)

37. Gardner-Webb SR SS Ryan Hodge: strong hit tool; limited power upside; strong arm; smart defender, but may not be quick enough for SS; good speed; can also play 2B and 3B; 6-1, 165 pounds (2012: .300/.368/.385 – 18 BB/36 K – 16/20 SB – 213 AB) (2013: .217/.344/.280 – 26 BB/38 K – 19/24 SB – 175 AB) (2014: .298/.354/.331 – 6 BB/24 K – 13/15 SB – 151 AB) (2015: .305/.363/.424 – 12 BB/48 K – 17/20 SB – 203 AB)

38. Mississippi State SR SS Matthew Britton: plus-plus arm; plus range; above-average speed; 6-0, 200 pounds (2012: .177/.293/.185 – 18 BB/27 K – 3/3 SB – 124 AB) (2014: .233/.340/.278 – 17 BB/32 K – 5/7 SB – 133 AB) (2015: .286/.388/.476 – 6 BB/5 K – 2/4 SB – 42 AB)

39. North Carolina JR SS/OF Alex Raburn: great athlete; 5-10, 175 pounds (2013: .208/.309/.250 – 5 BB/8 K – 1/2 SB – 48 AB) (2014: .263/.363/.326 – 13 BB/19 K – 3/3 SB – 95 AB) (2015: .243/.344/.355 – 19 BB/26 K – 2/5 SB – 152 AB)

40. Auburn JR SS Cody Nulph: good athlete; steady glove; strong arm; intriguing upside with bat; average at best power; good approach; Pepperdine transfer; 6-0, 180 pounds (2015: .260/.319/.356 – 13 BB/44 K – 1/3 SB – 208 AB)

41. Arkansas rJR SS Brett McAfee: very good athlete; plus speed; really good defensive tools; above-average arm; gap power; 5-11, 190 pounds (2013: .244/.305/.321 – 12 BB/35 K – 6/8 SB – 156 AB) (2014: .277/.339/.362 – 4 BB/7 K – 0/0 SB – 47 AB) (2015: .273/.331/.367 – 10 BB/29 K – 3/4 SB – 128 AB)

42. USC JR SS Blake Lacey: plus defender; old Adam Everett comp; 6-0, 180 pounds (2013: .328/.368/.407 – 10 BB/31 K – 3/6 SB – 189 AB) (2014: .281/.331/.353 – 11 BB/22 K – 3/5 SB – 139 AB) (2015: .297/.323/.359 – 9 BB/36 K – 9/12 SB – 209 AB)

43. Dallas Baptist SR SS Nash Knight: 6-0, 195 pounds (2013: .222/.352/.292 – 32 BB/44 K – 5/7 SB – 185 AB) (2014: .217/.349/.307 – 36 BB/51 K – 5/6 SB – 212 AB) (2015: .310/.396/.401 – 25 BB/40 K – 2/2 SB – 197 AB)

44. UNC Asheville rSR SS/RHP Tommy Houmard: upper-80s FB; good breaking ball; CU; good glove; strong arm; 6-2, 190 pounds (2011: 6.20 K/9 | 49.1 IP) (2013: .321/.393/.440 – 18 BB/21 K – 1/4 SB – 184 AB) (2013: 6.51 K/9 | 5.20 BB/9 | 5.24 FIP | 27.2 IP) (2014: .273/.382/.352 – 25 BB/25 K – 1/1 SB – 176 AB) (2015: .361/.444/.463 – 28 BB/31 K – 2/5 SB – 216 AB)

45. Northern Illinois JR SS Brian Sisler: good athlete; 6-2, 190 pounds (2014: .304/.406/.369 – 29 BB/19 K – 5/8 SB – 168 AB) (2015: .309/.406/.431 – 30 BB/23 K – 6/8 SB – 188 AB)

46. Penn JR SS Ryan Mincher: 6-1, 185 pounds (2014: .271/.376/.436 – 21 BB/25 K – 2/5 SB – 133 AB) (2015: .328/.414/.484 – 15 BB/8 K – 1/1 SB – 122 AB)

47. Texas Southern SR SS Robert Garza: 5-10, 170 pounds (2015: .358/.457/.549 – 22 BB/27 K – 13/18 SB – 162 AB)

48. Nebraska-Omaha JR SS/2B Clayton Taylor: 6-4, 190 pounds (2013: .328/.440/.418 – 22 BB/18 K – 8/13 SB – 122 AB) (2015: .308/.403/.490 – 25 BB/32 K – 3/4 SB – 198 AB)

49. East Carolina SR SS/2B Hunter Allen: 6-0, 180 pounds (2014: .308/.362/.316 – 8 BB/9 K – 1/2 SB – 117 AB) (2015: .353/.411/.418 – 20 BB/13 K – 4/8 SB – 201 AB)

50. Utah JR SS Cody Scaggari: good defender; good athlete; 5-10, 180 pounds (2014: .288/.370/.356 – 8 BB/14 K – 4/6 SB – 104 AB) (2015: .252/.316/.376 – 15 BB/18 K – 8/16 SB – 202 AB)

51. San Diego SR SS/2B Austin Bailey: good athlete; steady glove; 5-10, 170 pounds (2012: .261/.341/.329 – 18 BB/19 K – 2/4 SB – 161 AB) (2013: .301/.407/.408 – 18 BB/16 K – 2/4 SB – 103 AB) (2014: .328/.391/.402 – 21 BB/29 K – 3/3 SB – 204 AB) (2015: .314/.398/.396 – 29 BB/37 K – 2/6 SB – 207 AB)

52. Jacksonville SR SS Angelo Amendolare: 5-9, 170 pounds (2014: .278/.352/.368 – 20 BB/18 K – 16/22 SB – 209 AB) (2015: .366/.441/.480 – 27 BB/28 K – 20/20 SB – 227 AB)

53. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Branden Boggetto: 5-11, 180 pounds (2015: .318/.396/.583 – 27 BB/40 K – 4/10 SB – 242 AB)

54. Morehead State SR SS Robby Spencer: 5-10 (2014: .323/.408/.475 – 20 BB/27 K – 1/4 SB – 223 AB) (2015: .340/.404/.537 – 25 BB/38 K – 0/1 SB – 244 AB)

55. Texas-Arlington SR SS Travis Sibley: 5-8, 150 pounds (2013: .333/.408/.373 – 13 BB/26 K – 3/5 SB – 177 AB) (2014: .271/.339/.327 – 16 BB/26 K – 3/3 SB – 199 AB) (2015: .345/.398/.474 – 16 BB/21 K – 3/4 SB – 232 AB)

56. Oakland JR SS Mike Brosseau: good glove; 5-10, 190 pounds (2013: .252/.329/.291 – 17 BB/18 K – 1/4 SB – 151 AB) (2014: .321/.383/.432 – 14 BB/9 K – 0/0 SB – 162 AB) (2015: .287/.364/.470 – 17 BB/24 K – 6/9 SB – 202 AB)

57. St. John’s SR SS Jarred Mederos: good glove; 5-11, 185 pounds (2014: .362/.403/.475 – 10 BB/20 K – 2/3 SB – 141 AB) (2015: .244/.322/.381 – 21 BB/34 K – 3/6 SB – 176 AB)

58. San Diego State JR SS/OF Danny Sheehan: 6-0, 180 pounds (2015: .310/.376/.453 – 17 BB/24 K – 9/10 SB – 245 AB)

59. Texas-San Antonio JR SS Tyler Straub: 6-4, 200 pounds (2015: .340/.391/.463 – 12 BB/26 K – 12/15 SB – 162 AB)

60. Mississippi State SR SS Seth Heck: steady glove; average at best speed; 5-10, 170 pounds (2014: .299/.407/.338 – 26 BB/23 K – 5/6 SB – 204 AB) (2015: .287/.389/.309 – 21 BB/24 K – 6/7 SB – 178 AB)

61. Jackson State SR SS Gary Thomas: steady glove; good speed; 6-1, 185 pounds (2013: .271/.367/.329 – 19 BB/20 K – 11/15 SB – 170 AB) (2014: .276/.337/.362 – 9 BB/18 K – 12/16 SB – 152 AB) (2015: .365/.427/.414 – 18 BB/15 K – 20/27 SB – 203 AB)

62. Liberty JR SS Dalton Britt: good glove; strong hit tool; 6-0, 200 pounds (2014: .299/.348/.348 – 16 BB/30 K – 6/9 SB – 221 AB) (2015: .294/.355/.436 – 21 BB/43 K – 10/11 SB – 218 AB)

63. Alabama A&M SR SS/2B Julio Nunez: good glove; 6-0, 215 pounds (2013: .279/.378/.369 – 17 BB/24 K – 7/11 SB – 111 AB) (2014: .332/.411/.543 – 23 BB/25 K – 14/20 SB – 199 AB) (2015: .327/.411/.593 – 26 BB/46 K – 1/1 SB – 199 AB)

64. USC rSO SS Reggie Southall: good athlete; good glove; 5-11, 170 pounds (2014: .250/.325/.309 – 8 BB/19 K – 1/3 SB – 68 AB) (2015: .230/.343/.301 – 18 BB/35 K – 10/11 SB – 113 AB)

65. Grand Canyon JR SS Paul Panaccione: 5-10, 190 pounds (2014: .256/.314/.301 – 13 BB/23 K – 20/23 SB – 176 AB) (2015: .376/.440/.493 – 26 BB/32 K – 7/12 SB – 221 AB)

66. Central Arkansas JR SS Logan Preston: 6-1, 215 pounds (2015: .222/.343/.460 – 24 BB/31 K – 1/4 SB – 176 AB)

67. Lipscomb SR SS Grant Massey: steady glove; 5-10, 180 pounds (2014: .322/.427/.463 – 40 BB/44 K – 14/18 SB – 242 AB) (2015: .345/.402/.441 – 18 BB/33 K – 18/21 SB – 229 AB)

68. Alabama State rSR SS PJ Biocic: 5-9, 185 pounds (2015: .343/.496/.423 – 31 BB/19 K – 7/10 SB – 175 AB)

69. West Virginia SR SS Taylor Munden: 5-11, 190 pounds (2014: .261/.329/.372 – 22 BB/32 K – 13/17 SB – 218 AB) (2015: .266/.321/.468 – 17 BB/36 K – 11/15 SB – 222 AB)

70. North Dakota SR SS Tyler Follis: 6-2, 200 pounds (2012: .338/.419/.410 – 24 BB/40 K – 2/3 SB – 210 AB) (2013: .277/.373/.310 – 18 BB/34 K – 2/2 SB – 155 AB) (2014: .331/.374/.362 – 8 BB/25 K – 4/8 SB – 130 AB) (2015: .404/.462/.505 – 18 BB/30 K – 6/10 SB – 188 AB)

71. Minnesota rSR SS Michael Handel: average speed; quick bat; steady glove; 6-1, 185 pounds (2012: .290/.371/.361 – 18 BB/26 K – 8/12 SB – 155 AB) (2013: .281/.361/.385 – 20 BB/31 K – 9/10 SB – 192 AB) (2014: .261/.345/.405 – 18 BB/20 K – 2/4 SB – 153 AB) (2015: .328/.380/.469 – 13 BB/35 K – 7/7 SB – 177 AB)

72. Samford rSO SS Danny Rodriguez: 5-10, 180 pounds (2014: .236/.317/.255 – 7 BB/9 K – 1/1 SB – 55 AB) (2015: .289/.389/.426 – 29 BB/35 K – 3/5 SB – 190 AB)

73. Princeton JR SS Billy Arendt: 5-11, 170 pounds (2014: .225/.301/.326 – 13 BB/23 K – 2/3 SB – 129 AB) (2015: .299/.356/.431 – 13 BB/16 K – 2/3 SB – 144 AB)

74. Central Arkansas SR SS/1B Nate Ferrell: steady glove; 6-1, 180 pounds (2014: .309/.402/.371 – 25 BB/33 K – 0/1 SB – 178 AB) (2015: .242/.311/.411 – 8 BB/12 K – 0/0 SB – 95 AB)

75. UC Irvine JR SS Mikey Duarte: 5-11, 165 pounds (2015: .345/.416/.429 – 18 BB/20 K – 1/4 SB – 226 AB)

76. Seton Hall SR SS DJ Ruhlman: 6-1, 185 pounds (2014: .351/.421/.481 – 19 BB/35 K – 15/20 SB – 185 AB) (2015: .275/.406/.437 – 22 BB/36 K – 14/16 SB – 142 AB)

77. Sacramento State SR SS Scotty Burcham: 5-11, 185 pounds (2014: .300/.351/.367 – 18 BB/42 K – 8/12 SB – 237 AB) (2015: .329/.382/.465 – 22 BB/34 K – 16/22 SB – 243 AB)

78. New Jersey Tech SR SS/2B Mike Rampone: 5-10, 190 pounds (2012: .286/.373/.390 – 22 BB/23 K – 4/6 SB – 210 AB) (2013: .278/.351/.359 – 19 BB/29 K – 7/11 SB – 198 AB) (2014: .314/.418/.468 – 27 BB/25 K – 7/8 SB – 156 AB) (2015: .317/.375/.413 – 17 BB/23 K – 7/10 SB – 189 AB)

79. Northern Colorado SR SS/2B Ryan Yamane: 5-9, 175 pounds (2012: .258/.408/.342 – 42 BB/28 K – 5/11 SB – 190 AB) (2013: .243/.339/.296 – 29 BB/21 K – 7/11 SB – 206 AB) (2014: .220/.333/.252 – 27 BB/29 K – 5/10 SB – 159 AB) (2015: .400/.476/.527 – 8 BB/8 K – 1/3 SB – 55 AB)

80. Indiana JR SS/2B Nick Ramos: good glove; 6-1, 170 pounds (2013: .228/.265/.446 – 3 BB/17 K – 0/1 SB – 92 AB) (2014: .260/.291/.367 – 7 BB/36 K – 4/6 SB – 169 AB) (2015: .252/.333/.374 – 13 BB/29 K – 2/3 SB – 115 AB)

81. South Carolina JR SS Marcus Mooney: steady glove; strong arm; average speed; 5-8, 160 pounds (2014: .274/.380/.330 – 28 BB/30 K – 2/6 SB – 215 AB) (2015: .213/.275/.296 – 7 BB/13 K – 2/4 SB – 108 AB)

82. Hawaii JR SS Jacob Sheldon-Collins: good defender; 5-10, 170 pounds (2015: .295/.341/.355 – 7 BB/13 K – 2/2 SB – 166 AB)

83. Massachusetts-Lowell SR SS Danny Mendick: can play anywhere; 5-10, 170 pounds (2014: .314/.405/.478 – 18 BB/16 K – 11/11 SB – 159 AB) (2015: .321/.408/.455 – 19 BB/16 K – 14/17 SB – 156 AB)

84. UC Santa Barbara SR SS Peter Maris: can also play 2B and 3B; 5-10, 170 pounds (2014: .271/.350/.340 – 20 BB/30 K – 16/22 SB – 203 AB) (2015: .300/.369/.377 – 23 BB/25 K – 5/9 SB – 207 AB)

85. Central Michigan rJR SS Joey Houlihan: steady defender; 6-1, 185 pounds (2012: .247/.300/.329 – 5 BB/19 K – 0/0 SB – 73 AB) (2013: .164/.325/.179 – 15 BB/19 K – 1/1 SB – 67 AB) (2015: .265/.382/.394 – 26 BB/40 K – 4/5 SB – 170 AB)

86. New Mexico JR SS Jared Holley: plus glove; good speed; 5-8, 175 pounds (2013: .248/.365/.280 – 16 BB/22 K – 3/5 SB – 157 AB) (2014: .314/.379/.358 – 7 BB/16 K – 3/4 SB – 137 AB) (2015: .254/.342/.357 – 12 BB/24 K – 1/1 SB – 126 AB)

87. Delaware State SR SS/RHP David Kimbrough: good athlete; strong arm; 5-11, 190 pounds (2014: .370/.439/.407 – 8 BB/17 K – 11/11 SB – 108 AB) (2015: .304/.392/.348 – 17 BB/17 K – 14/21 SB – 135 AB)

88. Xavier rSO SS/3B Andre Jernigan: strong; good athlete; good defensive tools; approach needs work; 6-0, 200 pounds (2015: .252/.304/.362 – 6 BB/44 K – 16/20 SB – 210 AB)

89. Hofstra rSR SS Dalton Rouleau: good glove; 5-10, 185 pounds (2014: .259/.328/.333 – 7 BB/5 K – 7/7 SB – 54 AB) (2015: .278/.402/.358 – 31 BB/39 K – 13/17 SB – 176 AB)

90. Rhode Island SR SS Tim Caputo: good speed; strong enough arm; steady defender; strong hit tool; 5-8, 150 pounds (2012: .328/.393/.364 – 16 BB/27 K – 13/15 SB – 195 AB) (2013: .317/.395/.396 – 24 BB/29 K – 13/15 SB – 227 AB) (2014: .268/.335/.306 – 9 BB/21 K – 8/9 SB – 183 AB) (2015: .269/.342/.309 – 18 BB/19 K – 10/11 SB – 175 AB)

91. UNC Wilmington rSO SS Kennard McDowell: really good glove; strong arm; 6-2, 200 pounds (2015: .293/.322/.445 – 6 BB/55 K – 4/5 SB – 191 AB)

92. BYU SO SS Tanner Chauncey: 6-1, 175 pounds (2012: .328/.373/.405 – 10 BB/8 K – 5/7 SB – 131 AB) (2015: .335/.408/.364 – 23 BB/14 K – 2/3 SB – 173 AB)

93. Texas Tech SR SS Tim Proudfoot: accurate arm; steady defender; 5-11, 190 pounds (2012: .217/.286/.343 – 16 BB/47 K – 4/5 SB – 207 AB) (2013: .216/.307/.313 – 23 BB/29 K – 1/1 SB – 176 AB) (2014: .309/.369/.356 – 16 BB/14 K – 1/1 SB – 149 AB) (2015: .232/.276/.304 – 7 BB/16 K – 1/2 SB – 112 AB)

94. Nebraska SR SS Steven Reveles: average arm; good base runner; good speed; good glove; 5-9, 175 pounds (2014: .262/.329/.321 – 14 BB/18 K – 4/6 SB – 187 AB) (2015: .255/.293/.327 – 2 BB/9 K – 4/4 SB – 55 AB)

95. Maine JR SS Brett Chappell: good athlete; 5-10, 185 pounds (2015: .316/.369/.421 – 19 BB/38 K – 1/1 SB – 190 AB)

96. Radford JR SS/OF Chris Coia: good defender; 5-11, 180 pounds (2013: .253/.314/.287 – 10 BB/42 K – 9/12 SB – 174 AB) (2014: .275/.359/.328 – 17 BB/17 K – 21/29 SB – 189 AB) (2015: .308/.387/.359 – 16 BB/26 K – 11/17 SB – 195 AB)

97. Kansas State JR SS Tyler Wolfe: 5-11, 185 pounds (2015: .287/.397/.364 – 34 BB/25 K – 3/4 SB – 195 AB)

98. Holy Cross JR SS Nick Lovullo: 5-11, 180 pounds (2013: .203/.312/.286 – 12 BB/25 K – 1/3 SB – 133 AB) (2014: .266/.374/.308 – 21 BB/24 K – 9/12 SB – 169 AB) (2015: .278/.410/.392 – 31 BB/29 K – 7/11 SB – 176 AB)

99. Wofford JR SS Alec Paradowski: 5-9, 165 pounds (2013: .277/.369/.356 – 19 BB/36 K – 10/15 SB – 191 AB) (2014: .280/.402/.370 – 35 BB/20 K – 12/17 SB – 200 AB) (2015: .278/.407/.389 – 42 BB/40 K – 14/17 SB – 234 AB)

100. Nevada SR SS Kyle Hunt: 5-11, 180 pounds (2012: .228/.371/.311 – 21 BB/34 K – 9/14 SB – 167 AB) (2013: .208/.340/.240 – 16 BB/26 K – 5/5 SB – 125 AB) (2014: .244/.382/.383 – 26 BB/34 K – 6/9 SB – 193 AB) (2015: .261/.407/.381 – 33 BB/37 K – 4/6 SB – 176 AB)

*****

101. St. John’s SR SS/2B Bret Dennis: 6-1, 180 pounds (2012: .288/.403/.317 – 12 BB/30 K – 1/1 SB – 104 AB) (2013: .146/.343/.233 – 25 BB/27 K – 1/2 SB – 103 AB) (2014: .346/.420/.433 – 10 BB/18 K – 2/4 SB – 127 AB) (2015: .262/.342/.338 – 6 BB/13 K – 0/1 SB – 65 AB)

102. Michigan State rSR SS Ryan Richardson: 6-0, 190 pounds (2013: .280/.402/.302 – 24 BB/20 K – 5/8 SB – 189 AB) (2014: .278/.344/.324 – 9 BB/25 K – 13/17 SB – 216 AB) (2015: .293/.366/.383 – 13 BB/26 K – 7/12 SB – 222 AB)

103. Albany JR SS Trevor DeMerritt: good speed; power upside; good glove; 5-8, 175 pounds (2015: .256/.307/.310 – 9 BB/18 K – 8/10 SB – 129 AB)

104. Hartford SR SS Trey Stover: steady glove; 5-9, 170 pounds (2015: .301/.372/.405 – 16 BB/32 K – 5/7 SB – 163 AB)

105. Delaware SR SS Brock Niggebrugge: strong arm; 5-10, 180 pounds (2013: .256/.330/.333 – 14 BB/22 K – 1/6 SB – 180 AB) (2014: .191/.240/.191 – 3 BB/6 K – 2/2 SB – 47 AB) (2015: .301/.394/.363 – 15 BB/16 K – 2/4 SB – 113 AB)

106. Western Kentucky SR SS Cody Wofford: good glove; 6-1 (2014: .288/.329/.462 – 9 BB/27 K – 2/8 SB – 156 AB) (2015: .238/.310/.371 – 19 BB/46 K – 6/10 SB – 202 AB)

107. Southern Mississippi rSR SS Michael Sterling: plus speed; good range; strong arm; good glove; 5-11, 180 pounds (2012: .280/.480/.336 – 22 BB/28 K – 11/15 SB – 125 AB) (2013: .123/.210/.137 – 3 BB/21 K – 1/1 SB – 73 AB) (2014: .241/.345/.269 – 18 BB/54 K – 7/10 SB – 216 AB) (2015: .254/.382/.296 – 21 BB/31 K – 16/23 SB – 169 AB)

108. Charlotte SR SS Derek Gallelo: good speed; 5-10, 180 pounds (2012: .270/.324/.270 – 13 BB/12 K – 2/4 SB – 159 AB) (2013: .284/.325/.326 – 5 BB/13 K – 2/3 SB – 141 AB) (2014: .283/.345/.333 – 17 BB/19 K – 4/5 SB – 180 AB) (2015: .254/.309/.302 – 4 BB/9 K – 2/3 SB – 63 AB)

109. Missouri State SR SS Joey Hawkins: good glove; 5-11, 175 pounds (2015: .272/.329/.344 – 18 BB/35 K – 4/6 SB – 224 AB)

110. Bowling Green SR SS Brian Bien: steady glove; 6-0, 170 pounds (2014: .351/.400/.401 – 16 BB/18 K – 17/24 SB – 202 AB) (2015: .283/.324/.341 – 9 BB/15 K – 6/8 SB – 173 AB)

111. Stetson JR SS/2B Tyler Bocock: steady glove; average arm; 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .254/.346/.286 – 19 BB/27 K – 0/5 SB – 185 AB) (2014: .273/.347/.361 – 16 BB/28 K – 5/7 SB – 238 AB) (2015: .229/.299/.298 – 15 BB/26 K – 0/2 SB – 188 AB)

112. Marshall SR SS Sergio Leon: good glove; 5-10, 175 pounds (2014: .221/.289/.238 – 17 BB/35 K – 6/9 SB – 181 AB) (2015: .261/.295/.351 – 8 BB/43 K – 9/12 SB – 188 AB)

113. Buffalo JR SS Bobby Sheppard: good speed; good glove; power upside; 6-0, 180 pounds (2015: .270/.341/.287 – 16 BB/23 K – 11/12 SB – 178 AB)

114. Southern Mississippi rJR SS/OF Breck Kline: good athlete; plus-plus arm; 5-11, 185 pounds (2013: .154/.196/.173 – 3 BB/16 K – 2/2 SB – 52 AB) (2014: .256/.344/.316 – 14 BB/24 K – 1/1 SB – 133 AB) (2015: .157/.250/.216 – 4 BB/16 K – 0/0 SB – 51 AB)

115. Northwestern State SR SS Joel Atkinson: good defender; strong arm; gap power; 5-8, 160 pounds (2014: .202/.363/.229 – 25 BB/25 K – 8/11 SB – 188 AB) (2015: .245/.336/.333 – 19 BB/28 K – 5/5 SB – 204 AB)

116. Akron SR SS Matt Rembielak: plus glove; 5-10, 180 pounds (2012: .222/.310/.244 – 21 BB/33 K – 1/1 SB – 180 AB) (2013: .250/.308/.284 – 16 BB/41 K – 4/5 SB – 208 AB) (2014: .240/.314/.286 – 16 BB/25 K – 1/1 SB – 154 AB) (2015: .233/.287/.264 – 11 BB/33 K – 2/2 SB – 159 AB)

117. Houston Baptist JR SS Louie Payetta: 5-11, 175 pounds (2015: .307/.352/.395 – 11 BB/21 K – 5/8 SB – 215 AB)

118. Prairie View A&M SR SS Walter Wells: 5-9, 180 pounds (2014: .265/.349/.353 – 20 BB/24 K – 7/10 SB – 170 AB) (2015: .290/.419/.392 – 34 BB/24 K – 8/11 SB – 176 AB)

119. Quinnipiac SR SS Scott Donaghue: 5-10, 165 pounds (2013: .267/.314/.390 – 12 BB/20 K – 2/3 SB – 187 AB) (2015: .294/.374/.393 – 24 BB/22 K – 5/5 SB – 201 AB)

120. Villanova JR SS Eric Lowe: 5-9, 175 pounds (2014: .207/.331/.220 – 24 BB/27 K – 5/5 SB – 150 AB) (2015: .328/.411/.339 – 23 BB/23 K – 10/13 SB – 177 AB)

121. Samford JR SS Frankie Navarette: 5-10, 175 pounds (2013: .231/.325/.327 – 10 BB/27 K – 6/7 SB – 104 AB) (2014: .340/.412/.388 – 10 BB/13 K – 5/9 SB – 103 AB) (2015: .291/.381/.381 – 17 BB/27 K – 4/4 SB – 134 AB)

122. South Dakota State JR SS Jesse Munsterman: 6-2, 200 pounds (2015: .333/.433/.373 – 7 BB/6 K – 1/2 SB – 51 AB)

123. BYU JR SS Hayden Nielsen: 5-11, 175 pounds (2015: .342/.381/.404 – 13 BB/28 K – 6/9 SB – 225 AB)

124. Old Dominion rJR SS Jason McMurray: 6-1, 200 pounds (2014*: .390/.457/.594 – 11 BB/19 K – 18/20 SB – 187 AB) (2015: .251/.340/.351 – 14 BB/37 K – 4/7 SB – 171 AB)

125. Tennessee-Martin JR SS Matt Hirsch: 6-0, 185 pounds (2015: .286/.417/.349 – 32 BB/39 K – 2/2 SB – 175 AB)

126. College of Charleston SR SS Champ Rowland: plus arm strength; well above-average defensive tools; 5-11, 170 pounds (2015: .284/.341/.353 – 17 BB/27 K – 2/4 SB – 204 AB)

127. Evansville JR SS Shain Showers: 5-11, 190 pounds (2014: .294/.380/.450 – 17 BB/29 K – 7/11 SB – 160 AB) (2015: .239/.313/.350 – 19 BB/37 K – 3/5 SB – 180 AB)

128. Elon SR SS Andy Moore: 5-11, 175 pounds (2014: .260/.372/.308 – 22 BB/22 K – 1/4 SB – 146 AB) (2015: .285/.425/.329 – 36 BB/31 K – 4/5 SB – 158 AB)

129. Oral Roberts SR SS Dean Wilson: 6-0, 175 pounds (2015: .298/.375/.348 – 17 BB/23 K – 3/6 SB – 161 AB)

130. James Madison rJR SS Kyle Weston: 6-0, 190 pounds (2014: .300/.358/.420 – 15 BB/41 K – 5/10 SB – 200 AB) (2015: .263/.345/.356 – 22 BB/32 K – 3/3 SB – 194 AB)

131. Miami (Ohio) SR SS Ryan Eble: 6-0, 170 pounds (2014: .317/.395/.489 – 16 BB/28 K – 4/9 SB – 139 AB) (2015: .235/.329/.374 – 18 BB/43 K – 3/6 SB – 179 AB)

132. Texas-Pan American SR SS Jesus Garcia: 5-9, 180 pounds (2015: .307/.410/.360 – 25 BB/40 K – 5/10 SB – 189 AB)

133. Bucknell SR SS Greg Wasikowski: 5-11, 180 pounds (2015: .264/.358/.357 – 20 BB/39 K – 5/7 SB – 140 AB)

134. St. Peter’s JR SS Jon Kristoffersen: 6-1, 175 pounds (2014: .305/.349/.395 – 12 BB/52 K – 6/7 SB – 220 AB) (2015: .266/.333/.391 – 18 BB/49 K – 8/9 SB – 192 AB)

135. Middle Tennessee State SR SS Austin Bryant: 6-1, 175 pounds (2014: .293/.363/.371 – 16 BB/18 K – 2/5 SB – 140 AB) (2015: .249/.327/.382 – 14 BB/38 K – 2/4 SB – 217 AB)

136. Indiana State rSR SS/2B Derek Hannahs: 6-1, 185 pounds (2013: .298/.373/.309 – 11 BB/5 K – 4/6 SB – 94 AB) (2014: .301/.345/.333 – 13 BB/22 K – 3/3 SB – 183 AB) (2015: .273/.368/.337 – 24 BB/32 K – 2/3 SB – 172 AB)

137. Florida International JR SS/2B Rey Perez: 5-8, 175 pounds (2015: .267/.373/.302 – 15 BB/10 K – 2/5 SB – 86 AB)

138. South Alabama JR SS Ryan Raspino: 5-9, 180 pounds (2015: .266/.363/.310 – 22 BB/23 K – 6/7 SB – 184 AB)

139. North Dakota JR SS Daniel Lockhert: 5-11, 180 pounds (2013: .253/.301/.356 – 4 BB/19 K – 0/0 SB – 87 AB) (2014: .242/.324/.308 – 9 BB/26 K – 1/2 SB – 120 AB) (2015: .265/.306/.359 – 5 BB/35 K – 1/2 SB – 117 AB)

2015 MLB Draft – Abbreviated College Shortstop Ranking Sneak Peek

Here’s an unusually short post that would probably be best served via a tweet or three if I had the time management skills to maintain an active Twitter account and actually write worthwhile-ish longer stuff, an arguably not so difficult task that so many actual writers are able to do with seemingly relative ease. I’m not as good a multi-tasker as those guys apparently, which probably explains (in part) why they are where they are and why I’m quietly cranking out material in my teeny tiny little corner of the internet.

(I wrote that “introduction” before I started writing the body of the post found below. I should have known that this thing would go longer than a “tweet or three,” but I’m just that dense. This is why I’m not cut out for Twitter…)

College Shortstop Rankings for the 2015 MLB Draft (April 28, 2015) 

  1. LSU SS/2B Alex Bregman
  2. Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson
  3. Louisiana SS Blake Trahan
  4. Florida SS/CF Richie Martin
  5. San Diego SS Kyle Holder
  6. Arizona SS Kevin Newman
  7. Virginia SS Daniel Pinero
  8. Kennesaw State SS Kal Simmons

I don’t know what it would take to knock Bregman off the top spot, but something pretty drastic would have to go down to get me to consider anybody but him. I’ll take it a step further and throw out there that I’m not unconvinced he’s the top overall prospect in this year’s draft. In fact, the entire impetus of this piece was to get that Bregman take out there for public consumption. Also, finally, I’m now one of the Bregman converts who believes he can make it work, at least long enough to make it worth his drafting team’s while, at shortstop in pro ball. Feels good to escape the dark side for a change.

Of course, this being the year of the college shortstop, it should be no shock that I can both love Bregman and realize that Swanson isn’t too far off his trail. What might surprise is that I think Trahan isn’t too far behind after that. There’s a bit of a gap after those three, so I reserve the right to shuffle those names hourly between now and June. Martin’s athleticism, defensive tools, and offensive approach have been buried a bit due to playing in the SEC shadow of both Bregman and Swanson, but he’s really, really good. Either Martin or Holder could make an honest claim to the third best college shortstop in this class right now, so big finishes to the season could easily put them in the mid- to late-first round mix.

I’ve talked at length about Newman in the comments section, but he’s worth discussing briefly here once again. In short, as many members of the national media have begun talking him up as a potential top ten (or two) player in this class, I’ve actually cooled on him, due largely to concerns about his long-term defensive future. In much the same way that I feel as though pre-injury Nate Kirby got a bum rap due to a below-average start (iffy velo, too many sliders, below-average command) with a lot of national prospect writing heat in the house (what a silly thing to actually type out), Newman seems to have gotten a sizable bump because of a good couple of games in front of some influential media members. I could be entirely wrong here (maybe these ranking changes were made with more behind the scenes intel than publicly divulged to this point) and I acknowledge that moving players up and down the board based on new information is an essential part of the process at this stage of the game. We’ll see. For now, I’ll say that I’d be pretty stunned if Newman is actually a top ten (or two) pick in this draft, barring some underslot pre-draft agreement shenanigans. More to the point, since draft position is secondary to actual on-field future professional performance, I’d be even more surprised if Newman had a career that would place him in the top ten (or two) of the signed members of the 2015 MLB Draft. Again, we’ll see.

I love that this draft class is so loaded with college shortstops that a draft-eligible sophomore listed at 6-5, 210 pounds with startlingly good defensive tools putting up impressive numbers for one of the nation’s best programs has gotten little to no national draft love. I have no clue how those in the game view Pinero as a prospect just yet, but I love the guy. I also now like Simmons a lot (he’s done all you could ask for him so far this year) and not just because mentioning him gives me the opportunity to crow about being the only person on the planet (probably) to publicly rank him as the A-Sun’s second best draft prospect pre-season. Any time I can slip in a Donnie Dewees mention is cool by me.

My next tier down includes about a dozen names, but I’ll limit it to these four for now: Drew Jackson, CJ Hinojosa (big pre-season miss on my end, really though he was set for a monster draft year), Kevin Kramer, and Dylan Bosheers. I also have to give a mention to Scott Kingery, who very well could have wait it takes to transition about two dozen big steps over to his right and play some professional shortstop when it’s all said and done. I tried to stay away from potential shortstop conversion projects for now — mostly because I’m a chicken and not willing to quite stick my neck out there just yet — but Kingery has as strong a case as any 2015 college prospect not currently playing shortstop to successfully make the move in the pros.

ACC 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Teams

We’ve finally made it to the ACC, the last remaining division one baseball conference to get the draft “preview” treatment. Below you’ll find my “preseason” all-prospect teams for the conference as well as links (with brief commentary where applicable) to team previews for eleven of the fourteen teams in the ACC. I’d like to do quick write-ups for the three remaining teams (Louisville, North Carolina, Wake Forest) in the coming days (perhaps all at once in a post for tomorrow) because I’m a completist by nature.

Keep in mind that the preseason teams you see below were more or less decided on coming into the season. I made a few minor tweaks, especially on the pitching side (mostly the second team). The one glaring oddity on this list is John LaPrise hanging on to a first team spot despite missing almost the entire season so far, but there weren’t any alternatives that jumped off the page (senior sign Logan Ratledge makes the strongest case) so I let it stand. The outfield was an unexpected mess to figure out outside of the top four names. Talk about a top heavy position. I didn’t rank the pitchers yet within each team, so don’t take the Matuella, Kirby, and Funkhouser 1-2-3 as where I currently see them falling. I need to think on that a bit more.

First Team

North Carolina JR C Korey Dunbar
Boston College JR 1B Chris Shaw
Virginia JR 2B John LaPrise
Clemson JR SS Tyler Krieger
Miami JR 3B David Thompson
Florida State JR OF DJ Stewart
North Carolina JR OF Skye Bolt
Virginia JR OF Joe McCarthy

Duke JR RHP Michael Matuella
Virginia JR LHP Nathan Kirby
Louisville JR RHP Kyle Funkhouser
Miami rJR LHP Andrew Suarez
Clemson JR LHP Matthew Crownover

Second Team

Miami SR C Garrett Kennedy
Florida State rSR 1B Chris Marconcini
North Carolina State SR 2B Logan Ratledge
Virginia SO SS Daniel Pinero
Miami JR 3B George Iskenderian
Clemson JR OF Steven Duggar
Georgia Tech rJR OF Dan Spingola
North Carolina State SR OF Jake Fincher

Clemson JR LHP Zack Erwin
Virginia JR RHP Josh Sborz
North Carolina SR RHP Benton Moss
Duke JR RHP/SS Kenny Koplove
North Carolina State rSO RHP Johnny Piedmonte

*****

Boston College

Includes comparing Chris Shaw to Ike Davis and Carlos Pena…

Clemson 

Does not include me comparing Matthew Crownover to Adam Morgan, so let me do that right here, right now. As somebody still holding out hope that Morgan can be a league average-ish big league starter, that’s a compliment.

Duke

Includes me comparing Michael Matuella tp Zack Wheeler and Kyle Gibson (and definitely NOT Roy Halladay…)

Florida State

Includes comparing DJ Stewart to Matt Stairs, Billy Butler, Jeremy Giambi, and Carlos Santana…

Georgia Tech

Really nice college team, but nobody that moves the needle much for me as a pro prospect at the moment…

Miami 

Includes some thoughts on their top bat (with apologies to SR C Garrett Kennedy, a guy I considered a sleeper last year who disappointed but has come back with a vengeance as an unstoppable force in the Hurricanes lineup and is now one of this class’s finest potential senior signs) and their top arm, both of which I’ve excerpted below to save you the trouble of clicking through…

Through all the ups and downs physically, his [David Thompson] upside on the diamond remains fully intact from his HS days — I had him ranked as the 56th best overall prospect back then — and a big draft season is very much in play if he can stay healthy throughout the year. The bat will play at the next level (above-average raw power, plenty of bat speed, physically strong, plus athleticism, knows how to use the whole field), so the biggest unknown going into this season is where he’ll eventually call home on the defensive side. I’ve liked his chances to stick at third since his prep days; failing that, I’d prioritize a home in the outfield (he’s not known for his speed, but the athleticism and arm strength should make him at least average in a corner) over going to first, where, overall loss of defensive value aside, at least he’s shown significant upside. His strong showing at the end of the summer on the Cape is an encouraging way to get back into the grind of college ball, though he did appear to sacrifice some patience at the plate for power down the stretch. If he can find a way to marry his two existences — college (approach: 35 BB/45 K in his career) and Cape (power) — in this upcoming season (like in his healthy freshman season), Thompson should find himself off the board early this June.

JR LHP Andrew Suarez has the raw stuff to find himself selected once again in the top two rounds this June, but the peripherals leave something to be desired after two seasons (6.33 K/9 in 2013, 7.16 K/9 in 2014). Still, he’s a rapidly improving arm (especially his changeup) who throws a pair of quality breaking balls and can hit 94/95 from the left side. His control has also been really good and he’s been a workhorse for the Hurricanes after labrum surgery (believed to be as minor as a shoulder surgery can get, for what it’s worth) two years ago. He’s a reasonable ceiling (mid-rotation starting pitcher) prospect with a high floor (if healthy, he’s at least a quick-moving reliever). It’s a profile that’s really easy to like, but fairly difficult to love.

North Carolina State

Includes an homage to Rick Pitino, which I stand by but admit could be a little harsh looking back on things. SR 2B/3B Logan Ratledge and rSO RHP Johnny Piedmonte aren’t Trea Turner and Carlos Rodon, but they aren’t half-bad, either.

Notre Dame

Waiting on next year for 2B/3B Cavan Biggio…

(Also, a good college team like Georgia Tech. Not loaded with 2015 talent, but getting the job done all the same. That’s worth mentioning even as a cold-hearted fan of the pro game only…)

Pittsburgh

Waiting on next year for RHP TJ Zeuch…

(Not a very good college team like GT and ND, but not every team can be a winning team, right?)

Virginia 

I’m a little bit back and forth with LHP Nathan Kirby yet, though I think the recent overreaction to his below-average (for him) velocity and all-around stuff that can (maybe) be explained away (to a point) due to his recently diagnosed strained lat was a bit much. I still view him as a high-floor, TBD ceiling prospect worthy of the top half of the first round conversation.

Virginia Tech

rSO OF Saige Jenco’s year hasn’t gone quite the way I was hoping, but SR 2B/SS Alex Perez, SR 1B/RHP Brendon Hayden, and SR LHP/1B Sean Keselica have all done their part to pick up the slack.

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Virginia

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

Virginia has spoiled us all when we look at the talent above and think “yeah, it’s good but I’m just not feeling blown away.” That was my initial reaction to seeing the team laid out like this, but then you start doing the math. We’ve got a super athletic corner outfielder with a plus approach and strong hit tool (JR OF Joe McCarthy), a 6-5, 210 pound defensively gifted middle infielder (SO SS/3B Daniel Pinero), a crafty lefty with a plus curve who struck out almost a batter an inning his last healthy season (JR LHP Brandon Waddell), and a power-armed potential professional closer who lives in the mid-90s with three average or better secondaries including a hard cut-SL that could be a major weapon in time (JR RHP Josh Sborz). Then there’s JR LHP Nathan Kirby. All he’s done since getting to Virginia is a) strike out a batter an inning while consistently shutting down some of the stronger lineups in the country each week, b) see his stuff tick up to where he’s now hitting 94/95 with a knuckle curve at 76-84 that is unhittable when on, and c) retain his always above-average or better athleticism and command. He also had that no-hitter with 18 strikeouts against Pittsburgh last season, a performance so dominating he now has his own Wikipedia page. I am far too lazy to do a comprehensive list of all 2015 college draft prospects with Wikipedia pages, so you’ll just have to buy that the only ones I found in my two minutes of research are Kirby, Alex Bregman, Carson Fulmer, and Phil Bickford, though I suppose once Brady Aiken is officially enrolled at a junior college he can be added to the mix. Add those players to a potential first round pick in Kirby (who could be joined in the first by McCarthy, it should be noted) and you’ve got yet another talented Virginia squad. What else is new?

Kirby fascinates me not only because he’s achieved my dream of someday being important enough to warrant a Wikipedia entry but also because I really don’t have a firm grasp on what he is nor what he will be. I mean, I think he’s a high-floor future big league starting pitcher, but I’m not quite sure how high I’m willing to go with his ceiling. Perhaps I’m waiting to see more out of the changeup, a pitch that, as mentioned, seems to get a little better looking every time out. I got a comp from an area guy who has seen Kirby pitch more than 99.99% of human beings on the planet who actually compared him to a lefthanded Ian Kennedy, but with the caveat that his changeup still had some improvement left to truly “earn” such a comp. In terms of repertoire only (future performance as well, I suppose), I see some Alex Wood in Kirby. That comes with the big difference of Kirby’s Danny Hultzen style delivery replacing Wood’s painful looking arm action. Hultzen, the most logical comparison, doesn’t really work because of their flip-flopped stuff (Hultzen had the plus change and emerging breaking ball, Kirby is the other way around) but it’s not the craziest thing in the world. It’s yet another imperfect comp — a familiar refrain if you’ve been paying attention — but of all the recent first round lefties you’ll read about below, I think the closest comp at the same developmental stage is Andrew Heaney.

That leads into the other reason why Kirby fascinates me so. College lefties are weird. College lefthanded pitchers have had a surprisingly (to me) spotty track record since I’ve started this site up in 2009. If we take a look back through the years, you’ll see what I mean. Off the top, let’s be clear that Carlos Rodon is a separate animal altogether. I haven’t written a ton about him because this was a quiet last year for me on the site, but he’s not a guy I’m willing to compare to any other young arm at this point. He’s a man on the mound, and trying to shoehorn him into this discussion would be fruitless. Last year we also saw Kyle Freeland, Sean Newcomb, and Brandon Finnegan off the board in the first fifteen picks. Marco Gonzales went 19th in 2013 while Sean Manaea fell to 34th overall albeit for unique (injury, bonus demands) circumstances. Heaney (9th overall) and Brian Johnson (31st) were first round picks in 2012. Hultzen, Jed Bradley, Chris Reed, Tyler Anderson, Sean Gilmartin, Andrew Chafin, and Grayson Garvin all went in what we now know as a highly disappointing first round (for lefthanded college pitchers, at least) in 2011. Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale were both popped early in 2010. Mike Minor was the only real first round college lefty in 2009, but a run of ill-advised southpaws saw Rex Brothers (fine, he’s good), Aaron Miller, James Paxton (good, but unsigned), Mike Belfiore, Matt Bashore, and Tyler Kehrer all taken within the top fifty overall picks in the sandwich round.

We’ll leave the two most recent drafts alone because we need at least a little bit of time before rushing to crazy conclusions. So far, however, Rodon, Finnegan, and Gonzales all look good, as each guy is expected to play an important role in the big leagues at some point in 2015. Heaney, Johnson, and Paxton are all still probably too young to say, but each guy has done enough that I think we can call them successes at this point. Pomeranz appears to finally have something cooking with Oakland. Minor is an easy win. Brothers is a maybe, but I’ll be generous and say he’s shown enough at his best to be a positive. I guess that Chris Sale guy is pretty good, too. Not counting 2014 and 2013, that’s seven happy endings from the past four first and supplemental first rounds. On the downside, I count eight pitchers (Bradley, Reed, Anderson, Gilmartin, Miller, Belfiore, Bashore, Kehrer) that have disappointed, and that’s at least partly generous in some respects (still giving time to Hultzen, Chafin, Garvin). For the record, it’s really painful for me to call anybody a disappointment, but I’m trying to be as objective as I can here. I still have plenty of hope for Bradley, Anderson, and maybe even Reed to be average or better big leaguers. Anyway, by draft standards, even when taking into account we’re talking first round picks, that’s not necessarily a devastatingly low number of successes, but college pitching really should be a spot where you have a higher hit rate.

Anyway, diversion aside, I think a Kennedy, Wood, or Heaney type career path is well within reach for Kirby at this point. On the highest of high ends is a ceiling reminiscent of none other than Cliff Lee. We’re talking young Cliff Lee (i.e. before the plus command), so don’t think I’m 100% crazy (just 75% or so). Maybe you can bump that figure up a little higher, as I’ve previously compared two draft prospects (both righties, go figure) to Lee in the past: Chris Stratton (still love him, but whoops) and Trevor Bauer. That last comp remains one worth watching, I think. Bauer hit the big leagues before Lee, so we can’t do a straight age comparison but here’s a rough comparison by innings…

Lee: 7.9 K/9 – 4.1 BB/9 – 90 ERA+ – 241.2 IP
Bauer: 8.3 K/9 – 4.3 BB/9 – 85 ERA+ – 186.1 IP

We can’t finish up writing about Virginia by referencing two players with no connections to the program. That’s my stilted attempt at a transition to a quick discussion of the “other” UVA 2015 draft-eligible players and the many interesting Cavalier underclassmen. SR 3B Kenny Towns (steady glove, has flashed at times with the bat), JR C Robbie Coman (strong arm, good approach), and JR LHP David Rosenberger are all solid college role players that could sneak into the late round mix with bigger than anticipated seasons. The battery of SO RHP Connor Jones and SO C Matt Thaiss could both find themselves as first round picks in a year. SO RHP Alex Bettinger really impressed as a freshman (32 K in 36.2 IP) despite a less than stellar fastball. There are plenty of potential impact players in the freshman class, most notably 3B Charlie Cody, LHP Bennett Sousa, 1B/RHP Pavin Smith, and 2B Jack Gerstenmaier.