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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Missouri Valley

I had Darick Hall listed with the pitchers based on a tip from a pal who swears he’ll wind up on the mound in the pros, but this piece getting delayed a couple of days saved me from that potential gaffe. I’m not saying he’s wrong with that prediction, but after the last few days Hall’s had at the plate I’m not sure how we could make that projected switch just yet. The first baseman/righthanded pitcher’s excellence on the mound is still worth noting, of course, so we’ll do it right here: 33 K/5 BB in 35.1 IP (6 starts) of 2.55 ERA ball. That’s damn good. On the other hand, eleven homers in just ninety at bats is pretty special, too. Most of the scouting notes I have on him focus on his future as a position player – impressive hit tool for a power guy, solid glove at first, reasonably athletic for his size – so I’m pleased to have him listed as a primary first baseman for now. As a pitcher, all I have are his numbers. Either way, he’s a player I really want to learn more about the next few months.

Hall is just one of the many Dallas Baptist hitters that deserve attention in this draft class. That’s a lineup that rivals any in the Big 12. Daniel Sweet came into the season as the top Dallas Baptist hitting prospect for me and I don’t want to be reactionary by moving him off because of the hot starts of those around him, but some of his teammates have made things mighty crowded at the top. Sweet’s blend of power, speed, and athleticism have made him a favorite for years. I still believe in his bat enough to think he can make it as a future regular in center and potential big league leadoff hitter. In the event that doesn’t work out, his overall skill set lends itself to quality backup. I’ve compared him to a more powerful Andrew Toles in the past; Toles’s pro career hasn’t quite been all it was expected to be so far, so take that comparison with the requisite block of salt.

David Martinelli is another quality Dallas Baptist outfielder who has shown all five tools and plenty of athleticism. His power has always been the main draw, but his improved approach makes him even more appealing. I’m in on Martinelli. Arguably the most interesting player on the Patriots roster – a fascinating roster that includes the two-way sensation Hall and red hot Washington State transfer Luke Stratman — is Austin Listi. I can’t find anything online at the present moment to corroborate what I have in my notes, but I recall Listi leaving the team after the 2014 season with the stated intent to enroll in the military. Whatever happened there happened, but it was a pleasant surprise to this baseball fan to see him back on the Dallas Baptist squad this past fall and off to a solid start for the Patriots this spring. Losing a year of baseball growth at such a pivotal stage in his development is less than ideal, but his power and raw physical strength give him something to offer to interested pro teams. I think all of those guys (plus Camden Duzenack, a steady glove at short with sneaky pop and solid plate discipline) get drafted with Justin Wall and Trooper Reynolds potential late-round senior-signs if their bats get going again. If you’re not counting along at home, that’s six potential draftees with two maybe’s joining the field from one college lineup. Maybe I’m nuts or maybe that call will prove prophetic, but we won’t know either way for a few months so might as well enjoy the ride in the meantime.

I don’t have much on either Trey Hair or the aforementioned Stratman, but their early season successes make them hard to ignore, especially considering their listed positions on the diamond. Ryan Tinkham and Spencer Johnson are both easy power bats to like: both guys have size, production, and some positional flexibility on their side. I have no idea what to make of Tyler Leffler, a shortstop who looked poised for a breakout draft season last year only to see his batting average drop almost in half from his sophomore season. A year ago I would have considered him a promising bat-first prospect with serious questions about his long-term defensive future. Now his glove seems to have passed his bat – and not just because of his 2015 struggles – and his offensive game is what will determine if he can be a mid- to late-round sleeper future regular or more of a utility prospect at best. I give him a lot of credit for the defensive improvements and I’m anxious to see if a big senior season can get him back on the draft radar for most teams.

We’re almost a thousand words into this, so it’s as good a time as any to get to the man ranked number one. I waited a bit to get to him because a) Dallas Baptist being so loaded offensively felt like the easier hook, and b) I’m not really sure what to say about a guy so consistently solid across the board as Spencer Gaa. The Bradley third baseman has been a reliable contributor since the moment he stepped on campus. He showed off his above-average to plus speed as a freshman (15 SB) and his emerging raw power (.500 SLG) as a sophomore. If he can put it all together this year, then he’s a potential top five round prospect. Gaa checks every box.

I always make a point to say that these are conceived as pre-season rankings that attempt to reflect the larger body of work rather than recent performances. There are, however, exceptions to that rule. Sam Tewes is a walking, talking exception as he was dropped a whopping one whole spot after news broke that he’ll be undergoing Tommy John surgery on Wednesday (March 31, 2016). His immediate draft future is obviously in doubt as he’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of rehabbing as a professional versus doing so as a redshirt-junior next season at Wichita State. I wouldn’t consider him signable as of now – guys with multiple years of eligible left are challenges from the start and the injury clouds up his future even more – but I’d sure as heck be on him this spring trying to figure out if there’s a reasonable number he’d agree to. His ability is undeniable. Tewes feels like the kind of guy the Red Sox pick late and convince to sign an overslot deal on while fans of all other teams slap their heads thinking “Why couldn’t we have thought of that?”

It says something both about Tewes and the rest of the Missouri Valley 2016 collection of pitching that I’d still take him second out of the group even with the bum elbow. Tommy John surgery should really drop you more than one spot, right? Maybe I’m overrating Tewes, underrating the rest of the Missouri Valley pitching crop, or making too many assumptions about the simplicity of Tommy John surgery; I’d accept any arguments against his placement, but will hold firm on his ranking just off the top spot for now. In his stead, Matt Dennis takes over as the MVC BMOC. Truthfully, I would have strongly considered Dennis as the top arm in this class even with a healthy Tewes. Tewes is quite good, but Dennis is plenty deserving in his own right. He’s got enough fastball (88-92, 94 peak), a damn fine changeup (plus upside), and a solid low-70s curve. His command is good, he’s kept runs off the board (1.50 ERA last year), and his peripherals have always been where you want them. It’s not the kind of profile that blows you away at first look, but all of the individual components work well together. I’m a fan.

Things get a lot more muddled after the top two, so we’ll try to hit on as many as we can in the lightning round. Eric Scheuermann is a bit of a wild card pick as I don’t know a ton about him, but what I do know (big fastball and good numbers when healthy) are obvious positives. Sam Perez could work as a sinker/slider reliever, but I’m more intrigued at the thought of him as a potential four-pitch starting pitcher capable of piling up outs on the ground. Chase Williams has a big arm (90-95 FB) with a good breaking ball and intriguing size. If he can show some measure of control, he could rise this spring.

I’ve long liked Colin Poche, a Tommy John survivor himself, and his well-rounded arsenal of offspeed pitches seems to have helped assist him in making an effective recovery from injury so far. If he gets rolling as the year moves on (and as he gets further removed from his own surgery), he could shoot up boards around the league. Brent Jurceka has one of the class’s nastiest splitters and an enviable frame. Bryan Young may have enough of the classic deceptive sinker/slider reliever profile to make some headway in the pro game. Willie Schwanke has been a prospect for years thanks to his arm strength (up to 94) and athleticism. The Indiana State duo of Austin Conway and Greg Kuhlman intrigue me, but neither has the 2016 innings yet to make a move up the rankings. The group of Southern Illinois pitchers found near the bottom of the list includes pitchers with reasonably interesting scouting profiles, but, when looked at individually, either a lack of innings or ineffective performances for each young arm gives me pause.

A friend who helped with some of the information here wanted me to point out that Eric McKibban and Brett Synek, both of Evansville, are off to fine starts that have put both firmly in the mix for him as draftable seniors. Happy to oblige.

Hitters

  1. Bradley JR 3B Spencer Gaa
  2. Dallas Baptist SR OF Daniel Sweet
  3. Dallas Baptist JR OF/RHP David Martinelli
  4. Dallas Baptist JR 3B/OF Austin Listi
  5. Evansville JR 2B Trey Hair
  6. Dallas Baptist JR 2B/SS Luke Stratman
  7. Dallas Baptist JR1B/RHP Darick Hall
  8. Dallas Baptist JR SS/2B Camden Duzenack
  9. Wichita State SR 1B/C Ryan Tinkham
  10. Missouri State SR OF/1B Spencer Johnson
  11. Bradley SR SS Tyler Leffler
  12. Missouri State JR 1B Justin Paulsen
  13. Dallas Baptist rSR OF Justin Wall
  14. Evansville SR OF Josh Jyawook
  15. Illinois State rSR 2B Joe Kelch
  16. Evansville SR SS Shain Showers
  17. Dallas Baptist SR 1B/3B Trooper Reynolds
  18. Missouri State JR 2B/OF Aaron Meyer
  19. Indiana State SR 3B/OF Andy Young
  20. Wichita State SR 3B Chase Rader
  21. Evansville SR 3B Jonathan Ramon
  22. Illinois State SR OF Daniel Dwyer
  23. Indiana State rSR OF Andrew Gutierrez
  24. Wichita State rJR C Josh Whisler
  25. Missouri State JR OF Blake Graham
  26. Missouri State SR OF Matt Dezort

Pitchers

  1. Bradley JR RHP Matt Dennis
  2. Wichita State rSO RHP Sam Tewes
  3. Bradley rJR RHP Eric Scheuermann
  4. Missouri State SR RHP Sam Perez
  5. Wichita State rSR RHP Chase Williams
  6. Dallas Baptist rJR LHP Colin Poche
  7. Evansville SR RHP Brent Jurceka
  8. Missouri State rJR RHP Bryan Young
  9. Wichita State rJR RHP/3B Willie Schwanke
  10. Evansville JR RHP Patrick Schneiders
  11. Bradley rJR RHP Nate Stong
  12. Illinois State SR LHP Jacob Hendren
  13. Indiana State JR RHP Austin Conway
  14. Indiana State rSR LHP Greg Kuhlman
  15. Wichita State rSR RHP John Hayes
  16. Dallas Baptist JR RHP Trevor Conn
  17. Indiana State JR LHP Ryan Keaffaber
  18. Evansville SR RHP Connor Strain
  19. Missouri State JR LHP Jordan Knutson
  20. Missouri State SR LHP Andy Cheray
  21. Wichita State JR RHP Tyler Gibson
  22. Southern Illinois rJR RHP Connor McFadden
  23. Southern Illinois SR RHP Colten Selvey
  24. Southern Illinois JR RHP Austin McPheron
  25. Southern Illinois SR RHP Alex Lesiak
  26. Southern Illinois JR LHP Joey Marciano
  27. Wichita State SR RHP/OF Jon Ferendelli
  28. Wichita State JR LHP Reagan Biechler

Bradley

JR RHP Matt Dennis (2016)
SR LHP Brent Stong (2016)
rSR LHP Cameron Roegner (2016)
rJR RHP Nate Stong (2016)
rJR RHP Alex Doty (2016)
rJR RHP Peter Resnick (2016)
rJR RHP Eric Scheuermann (2016)
JR 3B Spencer Gaa (2016)
SR SS Tyler Leffler (2016)
SR OF Brady Wilkin (2016)
rSR 3B Paul Solka (2016)
JR OF Evan Gruener (2016)
JR C Zach Fairchild (2016)
SO RHP Allan Beer (2017)
SO C Ian Kristan (2017)
FR LHP Ben Olson (2018)
FR OF Jean-François Garon (2018)
FR OF Andrew Shadid (2018)

High Priority Follows: Matt Dennis, Brent Stong, Nate Stong, Eric Scheuermann, Spencer Gaa, Tyler Leffler, Paul Solka, Evan Gruener

Dallas Baptist

rJR LHP Colin Poche (2016)
rSR LHP Sean Stutzman (2016)
JR RHP Trevor Conn (2016)
JR OF/RHP David Martinelli (2016)
SR OF Daniel Sweet (2016)
SR 1B/3B Trooper Reynolds (2016)
rSR OF Justin Wall (2016)
JR SS/2B Camden Duzenack (2016)
JR 2B/SS Luke Stratman (2016)
JR 1B/RHP Darick Hall (2016)
JR 3B/OF Austin Listi (2016)
SO RHP Seth Elledge (2017)
SO RHP Dalton Higgins (2017)
SO LHP Landon Wilson (2017)
SO RHP Gavin Fritz (2017)
SO C Matt Duce (2017)
FR RHP Brett Gilchrist (2018)
FR RHP Jimmy Fouse (2018)
FR LHP Jordan Martinson (2018)
FR LHP Cody Weaver (2018)
FR RHP MD Johnson (2018)
FR OF Jameson Hannah (2018)
FR C Garrett Wolforth (2018)

High Priority Follows: Colin Poche, Trevor Conn, David Martinelli, Daniel Sweet, Trooper Reynolds, Justin Wall, Camden Duzenack, Luke Stratman, Darick Hall, Austin Listi

Evansville

SR RHP Brent Jurceka (2016)
SR RHP Alex Gould (2016)
SR RHP Connor Strain (2016)
JR RHP James Ward (2016)
JR RHP Patrick Schneiders (2016)
JR RHP Brian Jestice (2016)
SR 3B Jonathan Ramon (2016)
SR OF Josh Jyawook (2016)
SR SS Shain Showers (2016)
SR 1B/OF Eric McKibban (2016)
JR 2B Trey Hair (2016)
SR INF Brett Synek (2016)
SO RHP Ryan Brady (2017)
SO C Travis Tokarek (2017)
SO SS Stewart Nelson (2017)
SO OF Korbin Williams (2017)
FR RHP Brandon Gomer (2018)
FR OF Nate Reeder (2018)

High Priority Follows: Brent Jurceka, Connor Strain, Patrick Schneiders, Jonathan Ramon, Josh Jyawook, Shain Showers, Trey Hair

Illinois State

rJR RHP Jack Landwehr (2016)
SR LHP Jacob Hendren (2016)
SR RHP Steve Heilenbach (2016)
SR RHP Jake Sale (2016)
SR LHP/OF Jack Czeszewski (2016)
SR OF Daniel Dwyer (2016)
SR OF Sean Beesley (2016)
rSR 2B Joe Kelch (2016)
rSR 1B Brian Rodemoyer (2016)
SR OF Jared Hendren (2016)
rSR C Jean Ramirez (2016)
SO RHP Jeffrey Barton (2017)

High Priority Follows: Jacob Hendren, Jack Czeszewski, Daniel Dwyer, Joe Kelch, Brian Rodemoyer, Jared Hendren, Jean Ramirez

Indiana State

JR RHP Austin Conway (2016)
rSR LHP Greg Kuhlman (2016)
JR LHP Trent Lunsford (2016)
JR LHP Ryan Keaffaber (2016)
JR RHP Jeremy McKinney (2016)
SR RHP Ryan Cheek (2016)
rSR RHP Brad Lombard (2016)
rSR OF Andrew Gutierrez (2016)
SR 3B/OF Andy Young (2016)
SR 2B/SS Andy DeJesus (2016)
rJR 1B Hunter Owen (2016)
SR C Kaden Moore (2016)
SO RHP RHP Ethan Larrison (2017)
SO SS Tyler Friis (2017)
FR 1B/3B CJ Huntley (2018)
FR OF Chris Ayers (2018)
FR RHP/1B Evan Giles (2018)

High Priority Follows: Austin Conway, Greg Kuhlman, Ryan Keaffaber, Andrew Gutierrez, Andy Young, Hunter Owen

Missouri State

SR RHP Sam Perez (2016)
SR LHP Andy Cheray (2016)
rJR RHP Bryan Young (2016)
JR LHP Jordan Knutson (2016)
JR OF/LHP Alex Jefferson (2016)
SR OF/1B Spencer Johnson (2016)
JR 1B Justin Paulsen (2016)
JR OF Blake Graham (2016)
SR OF Matt Dezort (2016)
JR 2B/OF Aaron Meyer (2016)
SO RHP Brad Archer (2017)
rFR RHP Austin Knight (2017)
SO 3B Jake Burger (2017)
FR SS Jeremy Eierman (2018)
FR RHP Ryan Mantle (2018)
FR LHP Jake Lochner (2018)
FR OF Hunter Steinmetz (2018)
FR RHP/OF Dylan Coleman (2018)

High Priority Follows: Sam Perez, Andy Cheray, Bryan Young, Jordan Knutson, Spencer Johnson, Justin Paulsen, Blake Graham, Matt Dezort, Aaron Meyer

Southern Illinois

SR RHP Colten Selvey (2016)
SR RHP Alex Lesiak (2016)
rJR RHP Connor McFadden (2016)
rJR RHP Anthony Shimkus (2016)
rJR RHP Jacob Williams (2016)
JR RHP Austin McPheron (2016)
rSR RHP Bryce Sablotny (2016)
JR RHP Chad Whitmer (2016)
JR LHP Joey Marciano (2016)
JR 3B Will Farmer (2016)
rSO 2B Connor Kopach (2016)
rSO OF Drew Curtis (2016)
JR OF JC DeMuri (2016)
JR OF Dyllin Mucha (2016)
SO RHP Michael Baird (2017)
SO RHP Ryan Netemeyer (2017)
SO SS Chase Slone (2017)
SO 1B/3B Greg Lambert (2017)
SO 1B Logan Blackfan (2017)
FR LHP Mitch Townsend (2018)

High Priority Follows: Colten Selvey, Alex Lesiak, Connor McFadden, Anthony Shimkus, Joey Marciano, Drew Curtis, JC DeMuri

Wichita State

rSO RHP Sam Tewes (2016)
JR RHP Tyler Gibson (2016)
JR RHP Zach Lewis (2016)
rSR RHP Chase Williams (2016)
rSR RHP John Hayes (2016)
JR LHP Reagan Biechler (2016)
SR RHP/OF Jon Ferendelli (2016)
rJR RHP/3B Willie Schwanke (2016)
SR 3B Chase Rader (2016)
SR 1B/C Ryan Tinkham (2016)
rJR C Josh Whisler (2016)
rSR OF Zach Reding (2016)
SR SS Tanner Kirk (2016)
rSR OF Mikel Mucha (2016)
SO RHP Tyler Jones (2017):
SO OF/3B Keenan Eaton (2017)
SO C Taylor Sanagorski (2017)
SO C Gunnar Troutwine (2017)
rFR OF Bret Fehr (2017)
SO SS Trey Vickers (2017)
FR RHP Connor Lungwitz (2018)
FR RHP Cody Heuer (2018)
FR RHP Clayton McGinness (2018)
FR OF Dayton Dugas (2018)
FR 1B/3B Greyson Jenista (2018)
FR 1B/3B Alex Bohm (2018)
FR 2B/SS Luke Ritter (2018)

High Priority Follows: Sam Tewes, Tyler Gibson, Chase Williams, John Hayes, Reagan Biechler, Jon Ferendelli, Willie Schwanke, Chase Rader, Ryan Tinkham, Josh Whisler

Missouri Valley Conference 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Dallas Baptist rJR C Daniel Salters
Missouri State JR 1B Spencer Johnson
Missouri State SR 2B Eric Cheray
Bradley JR SS Tyler Leffler
Wichita State JR 3B Chase Rader
Missouri State JR OF Tate Matheny
Dallas Baptist JR OF Daniel Sweet
Evansville rSR OF Kevin Kaczmarski

Missouri State JR RHP Jon Harris
Dallas Baptist JR RHP Brandon Koch
Dallas Baptist JR RHP Joseph Shaw
Missouri State JR LHP Matt Hall
Dallas Baptist JR RHP Drew Smith

The rise of many of this class’s toolsier players putting it together, especially among the outfield group, has taken some of the shine off of the more solid than spectacular types like Missouri State JR OF Tate Matheny. Matheny still looks like a good bet to fulfill his destiny as a fourth outfielder who won’t kill you in a starting role at times (especially if deployed properly), but teams in the market for upside plays will likely look elsewhere. Such is the life of a guy with no tool worse than average, but no carrying tool either.

I’ve always lumped Matheny together with Cameron Gibson of Michigan State for reasons I’ve never actually stopped and thought about. It probably has something do with their respective big league bloodlines, Midwestern roots (I don’t actually think of Michigan as being particularly Midwestern, but I’m an East Coast jerk so everything that’s not an hour drive from the ocean is Middle America to me), similar birthdays (Matheny is just three days older), similar summer paths (Northwoods in 2013, Cape in 2014), and the fact they both play for a MSU. The comp doesn’t hold up when you actually taken into account the stuff we’re supposed to care about on a baseball draft website (Gibson is a lefthanded hitter with more speed, Matheny is a righty bat who has flashed more pop), but the brain works in mysterious ways.

I’m not sure why Dallas Baptist JR OF Daniel Sweet hasn’t been in the lineup — I’m assuming injury, but two minutes of Google reveal nothing — but I’m hoping whatever it is he’ll be back at it soon. A fairly strong argument can be made for Sweet over Matheny based largely on the difference between Sweet’s consistently above-average tools (raw power, speed, range, arm) and Matheny’s average-ish across the board skill set. Matheny is the safer of the two, having proved he could produce at a high-level over his past three college seasons, but Sweet’s junior college track record is darn impressive in its own right. His two years at Polk State weren’t bad…

.307/.436/.419 – 29 BB/29 K – 30/37 SB – 179 AB
.411/.525/.565 – 42 BB/44 K – 30/33 SB – 209 AB

So between that and his silly athleticism, you see why he’s a highly regarded prospect, right? I have less of a clue than normal about where the industry views Sweet as a prospect, but I’m fairly sure I’ll wind up having him far above anybody else this June. I’m cool with that. Sweet is good.

I like Evansville rSR OF Kevin Kaczmarski a lot. He’s always been one of those guys that smart people have told me had an outstanding approach at the plate. He could hit in AA right now, they said. His ability to track the ball out of the pitcher’s hand is legendary around campus, they said. His plate discipline is what sets him apart, they said. I took all that in, but the cognitive dissonance when hearing that and looking at his BB/K numbers (never bad, but never particularly good, either) was palpable. Keeping in mind that a) it’s early yet, and b) Kaczmarski is a redshirt senior and older than the vast majority of his competition, the smart people who kept talking up his approach (13 BB/6 K in 64 AB) look really good. He’s always been able to hit, so the gains in plate discipline are a welcomed sight. His impressive gap power and above-average speed round out his offensive game nicely. It’ll be most interesting to me to see how pro teams view his range in the outfield. I’ve heard from those who think he’s a lock to play center at the next level. The majority, however, have told me that he’s not the kind of player you’d want out there over a full season and that an outfield corner, where he’d be quite good, is his most likely future home. Since his drafting team would probably select him with a backup future as their most realistic best case scenario for him in mind, I’d think just being able to hang in center without killing you for short stretches will be enough.

I had Dallas Baptist teammates rJR C/OF Daniel Salters and JR OF Daniel Sweet as the 24th and 25th ranked college hitters in the country before the season. We covered Sweet already, so let’s get into Salters. Simply put, things have not gone well for the divisive Patriot in 2015. It’s only been 76 at bats and his BB/K numbers remain encouraging (20/22), but it’s hard to put a happy face on a .171/.364/.250 start. Slow start or not, I still believe in the athletic, powerful (plus raw for me, others have it closer to average) backstop with tremendous arm strength. I’ve heard some smart people suggest it could be time to move him from out behind the plate to an outfield corner in order to jumpstart his bat, but I’m not there yet. I think he can catch as a pro, and I think he can hit enough to be an above-average starter in the big leagues. If vouching for a guy hitting .171 just two months away from the draft like that doesn’t show you I believe in his ability, then nothing will.

Illinois State rJR C/3B Paul DeJong is the gift that keeps giving to college ball. Few players can match his uniqueness as a hitter who flat mashes (.408/.491/.714 in 98 AB this year so far) while being defensively versatile enough to play every infield position but short. Unsurprisingly, I think the smartest play for his future is to keep trying to develop him as a catcher as long as possible. He’s got the athleticism, instincts, and hands for it, so making it work should be the top priority for his drafting team. There might be enough to him as a hitter to play elsewhere in a regular role, but his best fit professionally is as a super-utility player that floats mostly between second, third, and catcher.

The loss of Missouri State SR 2B/SS Eric Cheray to a fractured left ankle is one of this season’s biggest bummers from a draft prospective. He’ll still get his shot in pro ball, but won’t get to do so on the heels of what was starting off as a monster senior season (.474/.577/.737 with 6 BB/2 K in 19 AB). I honestly believe he could have hit his way into the draft’s top five rounds or so. Lost season or not, he’s still one of my favorite straight bats in the country. The fact that he can play a variety of positions – some think he’d take really well if he returns to catching full-time – only makes him a more fascinating prospect to me. There are obvious parallels between Cheray’s game and what Paul DeJong can do; I’ll take Cheray’s plus approach over DeJong’s power upside, but it’s a close call.

Bradley rJR 2B Chris Godinez is a plus runner with the chance to play well enough on the left side of the infield to be a potential utility infielder professionally. His double-play partner, JR SS Tyler Leffler, appeared poised for a big draft season (strong arm, improved glove, intriguing bat) but has stumbled some out of the gate. Evansville SR 2B Brett Synek controls the strike zone about as well as any player in the country.

Pitcher with projection left and a chance to be an above-average big league starter or pitcher who is what he is but what he is happens to be a ready-made high-leverage big league reliever with a mid-90s fastball (98 peak) and a wipeout slider that touches 90? Or, in other words, Missouri State JR RHP Jon Harris or Dallas Baptist JR RHP Brandon Koch? You can’t really go wrong either way, but, as always, I lean towards the future starter all else otherwise being close to equal. Harris throws four pitches for strikes (88-93 FB, 95 peak; above-average upper-70s CB; plus mid-80s SL; sinking CU) with the frame to add a bit more velocity as he fills out. He’s also pulled off the trick of being a reliable starter at Missouri State since day one while also getting slowly but surely more effective along the way. Meanwhile, all Koch is doing is striking out just under 19 batters per nine innings (18.98 as I write this). There are a lot of good, quick-moving relievers in college baseball – there always are – but Koch might be the best of the bunch when it’s all said and done.

Both Harris and Koch come from loaded pitching staffs chock full of potential pro arms. Joining Koch on the Dallas Baptist staff is JR RHP Joseph Shaw, a fastball-reliant (hard to blame him when he sits 90-95, hits 98) potential starting pitcher at the next level with the kind of workhorse frame that some teams prioritize with their pitching targets. There’s also JR RHP Drew Smith, the third Patriot that I have as capable of touching 98 (lives 90-96). Smith also mixes in an average or better mid-70s curve, plus a low-80s changeup and a slider of a similar speed. He’s particularly intriguing to me because he’s been exclusively a reliever this season despite possessing a repertoire capable of going through a lineup more than once. JR RHP Cory Taylor only throws as hard as 94 MPH (slacker), so he’ll have to make up for it with his plus slider. He’s had problems throwing strikes in the past, but seems to have smoothed things out mechanically this year which has in turn improved his control. Like Shaw, Taylor is a big boy (6-2, 250) and a rather intimidating presence on the mound. JR RHP Chance Adams (low-90s FB, great numbers) and SR RHP Jay Calhoun (88-91 FB with plus movement, SL flashes plus) are both also draftable talents. Throw in rSO LHP Colin Poche, a really talented arm to follow next year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and that’s one incredible staff.

Missouri State isn’t quite as stacked in terms of pro prospects, but Harris’s running mate in the rotation, JR LHP Matt Hall, lines up with almost any other second tier arm in the conference. It’s a fairly typical lefty profile (86-90 FB, average or better CB and CU, good command) with enough of the extra stuff (pitchability, smarts, results) to warrant top ten round consideration.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Missouri State JR OF Tate Matheny
  2. Dallas Baptist JR OF Daniel Sweet
  3. Dallas Baptist rJR C/OF Daniel Salters
  4. Missouri State SR 2B/SS Eric Cheray
  5. Illinois State rJR C/3B Paul DeJong
  6. Bradley JR SS Tyler Leffler
  7. Evansville rSR OF Kevin Kaczmarski
  8. Bradley rJR 2B Chris Godinez
  9. Evansville SR 2B Brett Synek
  10. Wichita State JR 3B Chase Rader
  11. Wichita State JR 3B/RHP Willie Schwanke
  12. Evansville JR SS Shain Showers
  13. Illinois State JR OF Daniel Dwyer
  14. Illinois State JR OF Jack Czeszewski
  15. Missouri State JR 1B/OF Spencer Johnson
  16. Dallas Baptist SR 2B/SS Drew Turbin
  17. Dallas Baptist JR 1B/3B Trooper Reynolds
  18. Wichita State JR OF Daniel Kihle
  19. Indiana State SR OF Landon Curry
  20. Evansville JR 1B/OF Eric McKibban

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. Missouri State JR RHP Jon Harris
  2. Dallas Baptist JR RHP Brandon Koch
  3. Dallas Baptist JR RHP Joseph Shaw
  4. Missouri State JR LHP Matt Hall
  5. Dallas Baptist JR RHP Drew Smith
  6. Dallas Baptist JR RHP Cory Taylor
  7. Evansville JR RHP Brent Jurceka
  8. Wichita State rSO RHP Chase Williams
  9. Indiana State rJR LHP Greg Kuhlman
  10. Wichita State JR RHP Isaac Anderson
  11. Wichita State rJR RHP John Hayes
  12. Bradley JR RHP Eric Scheuermann
  13. Southern Illinois JR RHP Colten Selvey
  14. Illinois State JR LHP Will Headean
  15. Bradley rJR RHP Steve Adkins
  16. Dallas Baptist rSO LHP Colin Poche
  17. Bradley JR RHP/1B Elliot Aschbeck
  18. Dallas Baptist JR RHP Chance Adams
  19. Dallas Baptist SR RHP Jay Calhoun
  20. Illinois State JR LHP Jacob Hendren
  21. Southern Illinois JR RHP Alex Lesiak
  22. Southern Illinois SO RHP Kyle Pruemer
  23. Southern Illinois rSR LHP Aaron Hauge
  24. Southern Illinois rSO RHP Connor McFadden
  25. Wichita State JR RHP/OF Jon Ferendelli