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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Ohio Valley

It may just be me, but I’m starting to detect a trend towards hitters over pitchers in these conference prospect lists so far. This comes as a surprise as I would have told anybody who would listen – like my dog, if I had one – that this year’s college pitching group, on the whole, represented one of the strengths of the draft class. I don’t think that was a “wrong” first impression per se — going back through the archives over the past two weeks sees positive things written about Matt Crohan, Parker Bean, Andre Scrubb, Eric Lauer, Nick Deeg, Zach Plesac, Keegan Akin, Aaron Civale, Bailey Ober, and Dustin Hunt, among others – but more of a testament to the kind of high-end potential hitters that could be found in the draft’s mid- to late-rounds for teams willing to look a bit deeper into what college ball has to offer. In an effort to reverse this trend, here’s a lot of words about the Ohio Valley’s best pitchers…followed by slightly less words about the conference’s top hitters. Seems only right.

If you like senior-sign pitchers, then you’ll love what the Ohio Valley has in store in 2016. The presence of eight consecutive seniors at the top of these pitching rankings is fascinating to me for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t realize I had done it until just this very moment; if anything, I make a conscious effort to settle most of my prospect ties by siding with the younger guy (admittedly less important with pitchers than hitters, at least in my estimation), so seeing the run of seniors really threw me off. If you’ll indulge me in a little self-scouting, I think what happened here was a lack of informational depth on my end about some of the younger arms in the conference. When faced with less data to work with, I went with the guys with longer track records who I knew better as prospects. I don’t think this is a great way to do business, but it’s one of the compromises I have to make when ranking players: giving preferential treatment to players with more data is far from ideal yet any realistic attempt to cover an entire country’s worth of amateur prospects (and Canada/Puerto Rico) with an unpaid staff of one necessitates some cutting of corners.

More information about Alex Robles’s fastball could have bumped him up the rankings considering how much I like his ability to change speeds and overall athleticism. If I had a better feel for whether Patrick McGuff’s control issues were correctable, he could be higher. Updated reports about the trio of Southeast Missouri State juniors (Justin Murphy, Clay Chandler, Robert Beltran) might have given me more confidence to shoot them up the board a couple spots. I did the best I could with the information that I could compile, but that nagging thought that I could have done more to fairly represent the true pro prospects of some of these hard-working players is what keeps me up some nights.

Anyway, the eight seniors at the top all have flashed pro ability at one time or another during their college careers. Matt Anderson has had some ugly ERAs to date, but he consistently misses bats with his impressive three-pitch mix (88-92 FB, CU that flashes plus, average or better breaking ball). Tyler Keele can run it up to 94 with a good yet inconsistent curve, Aaron Quillen is a steady (88-92 FB, solid command) righthanded arm out of central casting, and PJ Schuster leans on an above-average change to stay one step ahead of hitters. Then you’ve got Joey Lucchesi with a good fastball (88-92) coming in with deception from the left side, the wild Andrew Bramley who can throw two effective breaking balls, Jared Carkuff and his ready for the bullpen fastball/slider combo, and Matt Wivinis, the transfer from Kansas State who will sink and cut his fastball all while flashing an above-average slider of his own.

The hitters are led by Logan Gray, a tooled up infielder with a good chance at sticking at short professionally. I’m excited by his raw power (average or better), defensive upside, serious wheels, and a rapidly improving approach. Right behind Gray is Tyler Lawrence, the catcher out of Murray State. He’s improved enough defensively over the years to be a near-certainty to stick behind the plate and his approach as a hitter separates him from many (but not all) of his mid-major catching peers. I’m a big fan. If Lawrence does it do it for you (he should), then perhaps a different Tyler will get your attention. Tyler Walsh and Tyler Fullerton, both of Belmont, go about things differently, but both wind up as interesting pro prospects. Walsh, the 6-5, 200 pound plus runner, is a rangy shortstop with significant upside if he can put it all together his junior season. Fullerton, the steady glove with deceptive pop in his 5-9, 175 pound frame, is already coming off a monster junior year, so a layman like me can only wonder what more he needs to do to get noticed by pro teams this spring. Maybe I’m overrating his glove as I’ve heard at least average at second with a fallback as a quality outfielder, but maybe that’s too rich. Even still, I can’t in good conscience deny a hitter who has produced like he has so far.

I’m not sure Ridge Smith is a catcher over the long haul, but he’s got the athleticism to give it a go as a pro. Failing that, he could still put that athleticism (and above-average speed) to good use at either third or an outfield spot. In a draft lacking in big-time power, Keaton Wright stands out as one of the more intriguing sluggers. Feedback I’ve gotten say he’s more 2017 senior-sign to track than a real 2016 draft threat, but I’m throwing caution to the wind with the aggressive ranking. Power has that kind of effect on me, I guess. The placement of Demetre Taylor, Mandy Alvarez, and Kyle Nowlin in the top ten reflects that position as well. When a guy like Nowlin (coming off a .326/.438/.690 junior season) ranks ninth on a list of hitters, then you can assume good things about a conference’s overall depth.

Hitters

  1. Austin Peay State JR SS/3B Logan Gray
  2. Murray State JR C Tyler Lawrence
  3. Belmont JR SS Tyler Walsh
  4. Belmont SR 2B/OF Tyler Fullerton
  5. Austin Peay State JR C/3B Ridge Smith
  6. Southern Illinois Edwardsville JR 1B Keaton Wright
  7. Eastern Illinois rSR OF/1B Demetre Taylor
  8. Eastern Kentucky SR 3B/1B Mandy Alvarez
  9. Eastern Kentucky SR OF Kyle Nowlin
  10. Austin Peay State JR 2B Garrett Copeland
  11. Jacksonville State SO C Hayden White
  12. Morehead State rJR 3B Alex Stephens
  13. Tennessee Tech rJR OF Jake Rowland
  14. Eastern Kentucky SR SS/2B Doug Teegarden
  15. Southeast Missouri State JR OF Dan Holst
  16. Southern Illinois Edwardsville JR 1B/OF Jared McCunn
  17. Tennessee-Martin rSO OF Collin Edwards
  18. Southeast Missouri State SR 1B/OF Ryan Rippee
  19. Jacksonville State SR 1B Paschal Petrongolo
  20. Southeast Missouri State SR SS Branden Boggetto
  21. Belmont JR C Nick Egli
  22. Tennessee-Martin JR C/OF Tanner Wessling
  23. Eastern Kentucky SR OF TJ Alas
  24. Austin Peay State JR 1B Dre Gleason
  25. Morehead State JR OF Ryan Kent
  26. Austin Peay State JR OF Cayce Bredlau
  27. Austin Peay State JR OF Chase Hamilton
  28. Southeast Missouri State SR 3B/OF Hunter Leeper
  29. Southeast Missouri State SR C/1B Garrett Gandolfo
  30. Tennessee Tech JR OF Tyler Brazelton
  31. Eastern Kentucky JR 1B Ben Fisher
  32. Southeast Missouri State JR C Kylar Robertson
  33. Jacksonville State SR OF Elliot McCummings
  34. Jacksonville State SR 1B Tyler Gamble
  35. Southeast Missouri State SR C Scott Mitchell
  36. Eastern Illinois SR C Jason Scholl
  37. Austin Peay State SR OF Josh Wilson
  38. Jacksonville State SR OF Paul Angel
  39. Austin Peay State SR OF Patrick Massoni
  40. Southeast Missouri State SR OF Clayton Evans
  41. Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR 2B/SS Skyler Geissinger
  42. Tennessee-Martin SR SS Matt Hirsch
  43. Jacksonville State SR OF/2B Gavin Golsan
  44. Eastern Kentucky JR OF Shea Sullivan
  45. Eastern Kentucky JR C Logan Starnes
  46. Tennessee Tech SR 2B/SS Jake Farr

Pitchers

  1. Morehead State SR RHP Matt Anderson
  2. Morehead State SR RHP Tyler Keele
  3. Belmont SR RHP Aaron Quillen
  4. Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR RHP PJ Schuster
  5. Southeast Missouri State SR LHP Joey Lucchesi
  6. Murray State SR RHP Andrew Bramley
  7. Austin Peay State SR RHP Jared Carkuff
  8. Eastern Illinois rSR RHP Matt Wivinis
  9. Eastern Kentucky JR LHP Alex Hamilton
  10. Austin Peay State JR RHP/3B Alex Robles
  11. Morehead State JR RHP Patrick McGuff
  12. Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR RHP Jarrett Bednar
  13. Morehead State rSR RHP Craig Pearcy
  14. Tennessee Tech SR RHP Trevor Maloney
  15. Tennessee Tech JR RHP Jake Usher
  16. Southern Illinois Edwardsville JR RHP Connor Buenger
  17. Southeast Missouri State JR RHP Justin Murphy
  18. Southeast Missouri State JR RHP Clay Chandler
  19. Southeast Missouri State JR LHP Robert Beltran
  20. Murray State rSO RHP Tyler Anderson
  21. Jacksonville State JR RHP Graham Officer
  22. Jacksonville State rSO LHP Justin Hoyt
  23. Jacksonville State JR RHP/INF Joe McGuire
  24. Murray State SR RHP Cody Maerz
  25. Southeast Missouri State SR RHP Alex Siddle
  26. Jacksonville State SO RHP Jake Walsh
  27. Southeast Missouri State SR RHP Brady Wright
  28. Austin Peay State JR LHP Levi Primasing
  29. Murray State SR RHP Brad Boegel
  30. Tennessee-Martin SR RHP Patrick Bernard
  31. Belmont SR RHP Josh Tubbs
  32. Austin Peay State JR RHP Caleb Powell
  33. Belmont JR RHP Christopher Carroll
  34. Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR LHP Zach Malach

Austin Peay State

SR RHP Jared Carkuff (2016)
JR RHP Caleb Powell (2016)
SR RHP Keirce Kimbel (2016)
JR LHP Levi Primasing (2016)
JR RHP/3B Alex Robles (2016)
JR SS/3B Logan Gray (2016)
SR OF Josh Wilson (2016)
SR OF Patrick Massoni (2016)
SR OF Kyle Blackburn (2016)
JR C/3B Ridge Smith (2016)
JR 1B Dre Gleason (2016)
JR 2B Garrett Copeland (2016)
JR OF Cayce Bredlau (2016)
JR OF Chase Hamilton (2016)
SR OF Wesley Purcell (2016)
SR SS Clayton Smithson (2016)
SO LHP Mike Costanzo (2017)
SO LHP John Sparks (2017)
SO LHP Zach Neff (2017)
SO SS Imani Willis (2017)
SO C TJ Marik (2017)
FR INF Parker Phillips (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jared Carkuff, Caleb Powell, Levi Primasing, Alex Robles, Logan Gray, Josh Wilson, Patrick Massoni, Ridge Smith, Dre Gleason, Garrett Copeland, Cayce Bredlau, Chase Hamilton

Belmont

SR RHP Aaron Quillen (2016)
SR RHP Josh Tubbs (2016)
JR RHP Christopher Carroll (2016)
rJR RHP/OF Dom Veltri (2016)
SR 2B/OF Tyler Fullerton (2016)
JR C/OF Clay Payne (2016)
JR C Nick Egli (2016)
JR SS Tyler Walsh (2016)
SR C Desi Ammonds (2016)
JR OF Brennan Washington (2016)
JR 1B Drake Byrd (2016)
SO RHP Tyler Vaughn (2017)
SO RHP Alex Ward (2017)
SO RHP Connor Etheridge (2017)
FR RHP Dylan King (2018)
FR RHP Casey Queener (2018)
FR LHP Brandon Liskey (2018)
FR RHP/OF Austin Kzreminski (2018)

High Priority Follows: Aaron Quillen, Josh Tubbs, Dom Veltri, Tyler Fullerton, Clay Payne, Nick Egli, Tyler Walsh, Desi Ammonds, Drake Byrd

Eastern Illinois

rSR RHP Matt Wivinis (2016)
SR RHP Jake Johansmeier (2016)
SR RHP Brendon Allen (2016)
JR RHP Chase Thurston (2016)
rSR OF/1B Demetre Taylor (2016)
SR 2B Mitch Gasbarro (2016)
SR C Jason Scholl (2016)
rSO OF Frankie Perrone (2016)
SO RHP Ben Hughes (2017)
SO RHP Luke Dietz (2017)
SO OF Joe Duncan (2017)
SO 1B/OF Bobby Wenthe (2017)
FR SS Nick Maton (2018)
FR 2B Dane Toppel (2018)
FR 3B Jimmy Govern (2018)

High Priority Follows: Matt Wivinis, Chase Thurston, Demetre Taylor, Mitch Gasbarro, Jason Scholl

Eastern Kentucky

JR LHP Alex Hamilton (2016)
SR LHP Luke McGee (2016)
JR OF/RHP Taylor Blair (2016)
SR OF Kyle Nowlin (2016)
SR 3B/1B Mandy Alvarez (2016)
SR SS/2B Doug Teegarden (2016)
SR OF TJ Alas (2016)
SR 2B/3B Luke Wurzelbacher (2016)
JR 1B Ben Fisher (2016)
JR OF Shea Sullivan (2016)
JR C Logan Starnes (2016)
JR 2B Cole Warrenfeltz (2016)
SO RHP Aaron Ochsenbein (2017)

High Priority Follows: Alex Hamilton, Taylor Blair, Kyle Nowlin, Mandy Alvarez, Doug Teegarden, TJ Alas, Luke Wurzelbacher, Ben Fisher, Shea Sullivan, Logan Starnes

Jacksonville State

JR RHP Graham Officer (2016)
rSO LHP Justin Hoyt (2016)
SO RHP Jake Walsh (2016)
JR RHP Michael McCreless (2016)
JR LHP Jesse Fry (2016)
JR RHP/INF Joe McGuire (2016)
SR 1B Paschal Petrongolo (2016)
SR OF Elliot McCummings (2016)
SR 1B Tyler Gamble (2016)
SR OF Paul Angel (2016)
SR OF/2B Gavin Golsan (2016)
JR OF Peyton Williams (2016)
JR INF Josh Bobo (2016)
SO C Hayden White (2016)
SO INF Clayton Daniel (2016)
SO INF Tyler Hawthorne (2016)
SO RHP Grant Chandler (2017)
SO LHP Jack Pierce (2017)
FR LHP Derrick Adams (2018)

High Priority Follows: Graham Officer, Justin Hoyt, Jake Walsh, Michael McCreless, Jesse Fry, Joe McGuire, Paschal Petrongolo, Elliot McCummings, Tyler Gamble, Paul Angel, Gavin Golsan, Peyton Williams, Hayden White, Clayton Daniel, Tyler Hawthorne

Morehead State

SR RHP Matt Anderson (2016)
SR RHP Tyler Keele (2016)
JR RHP Patrick McGuff (2016)
rSR RHP Craig Pearcy (2016)
JR RHP Luke Humphreys (2016)
JR LHP Cable Wright (2016)
rJR 3B Alex Stephens (2016)
JR C Jimmy Wright (2016)
rJR OF Michael Patrick (2016)
JR 1B Jesus Carrera (2016)
JR OF Ryan Kent (2016)
SO RHP David Calderon (2017)
SO RHP Brent Stoneking (2017)
SO LHP Aaron Leasher (2017)
SO C Tyler Niemann (2017)
SO 2B Braxton Morris (2017)
FR SS Reid Leonard (2018)
FR C Hunter Fain (2018)
FR INF Trevor Snyder (2018)

High Priority Follows: Matt Anderson, Tyler Keele, Patrick McGuff, Craig Pearcy, Luke Humphreys, Cable Wright, Alex Stephens, Ryan Kent

Murray State

SR RHP Andrew Bramley (2016)
SR RHP Brad Boegel (2016)
SR LHP Sheldon Baxter (2016)
SR RHP Cody Maerz (2016)
SR RHP John Lollar (2016)
rSO RHP Tyler Anderson (2016)
JR C Tyler Lawrence (2016)
JR OF Brandon Gutzler (2016)
JR SS Caleb Hicks (2016)
SR 2B Nick Moore (2016)
rJR INF Matthew Johnson (2016)
SO 3B/C Kipp Moore (2017)

High Priority Follows: Andrew Bramley, Brad Boegel, Cody Maerz, Tyler Anderson, Tyler Lawrence, Nick Moore

Southern Illinois Edwardsville

JR RHP Connor Buenger (2016)
SR RHP Jarrett Bednar (2016)
SR LHP Zach Malach (2016)
SR RHP Ryan Agnitsch (2016)
SR RHP PJ Schuster (2016)
JR 1B/OF Jared McCunn (2016)
JR C Kailer Smith (2016)
SR 2B/SS Skyler Geissinger (2016)
SR C Zach Little (2016)
JR 3B Jacob Stewart (2016)
JR 2B Alec Skender (2016)
JR 1B Keaton Wright (2016)
JR OF Austin Verschoore (2016)
SO OF Dustin Woodcock (2017)
SO INF Mario Tursi (2017)
FR RHP Danny Ehrsam (2018)
FR OF Eric Giltz (2018)

High Priority Follows: Connor Buenger, Jarrett Bednar, Zach Malach, PJ Schuster, Jared McCunn, Kailer Smith, Skyler Geissinger, Jacob Stewart, Keaton Wright

Southeast Missouri State

JR RHP Clay Chandler (2016)
JR LHP Robert Beltran (2016)
JR RHP Justin Murphy (2016)
SR RHP Alex Siddle (2016)
SR RHP Brady Wright (2016)
SR LHP Joey Lucchesi (2016)
SR RHP Jacob Lawrence (2016)
rSR RHP/OF Cody Spanberger (2016)
JR OF Dan Holst (2016)
SR 1B/OF Ryan Rippee (2016)
SR C/1B Garrett Gandolfo (2016)
SR SS Branden Boggetto (2016)
SR C Scott Mitchell (2016)
SR SS Andy Lack (2016)
SR OF Clayton Evans (2016)
SR 3B/OF Hunter Leeper (2016)
JR C Kylar Robertson (2016)
SO RHP Matthew Wade (2017)
SO RHP Zach Moore (2017)
SO 2B/SS Trevor Ezell (2017)
FR LHP Daniel Bergtholdt (2018)

High Priority Follows: Clay Chandler, Robert Beltran, Justin Murphy, Alex Siddle, Brady Wright, Joey Lucchesi, Jacob Lawrence, Dan Holst, Ryan Rippee, Garrett Gandolfo, Branden Boggetto, Scott Mitchell, Andy Lack, Clayton Evans, Hunter Leeper, Kylar Robertson

Tennessee Tech

SR RHP Trevor Maloney (2016)
SR RHP Kyle Godwin (2016)
rJR RHP Kit Fowler (2016)
JR RHP Jake Usher (2016)
JR RHP Evan Fraliex (2016)
rJR OF Jake Rowland (2016)
SR 2B/SS Jake Farr (2016)
JR OF Anthony El Chibani (2016)
JR OF Tyler Brazelton (2016)
rSO SS David Garza (2016)
SR 3B Josh Pankratz (2016)
SO RHP Travis Moths (2017)
SO RHP Will Gardner (2017)
SO 1B Chase Chambers (2017)
SO 1B Ryan Flick (2017)
SO INF Trevor Putzig (2017)
FR RHP Nick Osborne (2018)

High Priority Follows: Trevor Maloney, Kyle Godwin, Jake Usher, Jake Rowland, Jake Farr, Anthony El Chibani, Tyler Brazelton

Tennessee-Martin

SR RHP Patrick Bernard (2016)
JR RHP Alex Evans (2016)
SR OF Andrew Castillo (2016)
JR C/OF Tanner Wessling (2016)
SR 1B/OF Austin Taylor (2016)
SR SS Matt Hirsch (2016)
JR 1B Ryan Helgren (2016)
JR SS Josh Hauser (2016)
rSO OF Collin Edwards (2016)
SO RHP Dillon Symon (2017)
rFR LHP Dom Bazzani (2017)

High Priority Follows: Patrick Bernard, Andrew Castillo, Tanner Wessling, Austin Taylor, Matt Hirsch, Collin Edwards

Ohio Valley 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Morehead State rSR C Chris Robinson
Jacksonville State JR 1B Paschal Petrongolo
Belmont JR 2B Tyler Fullerton
Tennessee Tech SR SS Dylan Bosheers
Belmont SR 3B Matt Beaty
Eastern Kentucky JR OF Kyle Nowlin
Tennessee Tech JR OF Jake Rowland
Morehead State SR OF Brandon Rawe

Austin Peay State JR RHP Jared Carkuff
Morehead State rJR RHP Aaron Goe
Morehead State JR RHP Tyler Keele
Morehead State rJR RHP Craig Pearcy
Southeast Missouri State JR LHP Alex Winkelman

If Belmont SR 3B/C Matt Beaty doesn’t end up as one of this draft class’ favorites for teams that rely heavily on analytics, then I give up. Beaty has walked more than he has struck out in all three full seasons so far with last year’s line of .352/.478/.536 with 28 BB and 14 K the cherry on top of a wholly impressive statistical run. That’s what I would have written if I didn’t happen to look at what he’s done so far this season. If last year was a cherry this year is another mound of whipped cream on top of that: .415/.495/.805 with 12 BB and 1 K in 82 AB. The sample size is obviously small and the level of competition isn’t exactly the kind to scare a good hitter straight – in fact, (small) he (sample) went (size) just 1-7 combined with a 2B and 2 BB against Notre Dame and Tennessee, though he fared better against solid teams like Bradley and Evansville so who knows – but production like Beaty’s really should get him a tiny bit of fanfare by now. The fact that he’s done this before – not to this extent, but still – makes me think there’s some validity behind his (small sample size) video game numbers. Even without seeing him and knowing next to nothing about his defensive outlook, his is a bat I would stick my neck out for if my team was searching for a senior sign hitter in the eighth, ninth, or tenth rounds that they could give a significant underslot deal.

One of the interesting things I’ve learned over the last decade of drifting in and out of baseball is how varied draft preparation is from team to team. Obviously you’d expect to see a wide variety of attention to detail among individual area and associate scouts – even with team-issued standardized report templates there’s always wiggle room to go off script if you have strong feelings about a player – but it surprised me to hear about how different rooms actually go about discussing players while the draft is going on. I know plenty of teams go in as prepared as you’d hope with everything lined up and ready to go; picking players for them is almost a formality, as they’ve already “picked” who they want and it just becomes a matter of checking for availability and moving on to the next name once one of their guys is taken. Almost all the debating and discussion in those instances have taken place well before the actual draft, so picking players is relatively stress-free outside of hoping certain favorites fall. I’ve also heard a few stories of teams, and obviously we’re talking quite late in the draft, picking players off of one look from an area guy, or, in some cases, sight unseen. In the latter example, the players were selected due to hitting certain statistical benchmarks, or, believe it or don’t, a quick check of the rankings or scouting blurbs at some of the industry leading prospect publications (though I think it’s fair to say the quality has dipped of late, Baseball America remains the go-to for draft coverage within the game – I think Perfect Game’s draft work has lapped them and is the true industry standard right now, but old habits die hard). All this is to say that I think Beaty could wind up as one of those players who gets picked on the strength of his ridiculous college production rather than years of up close and personal scouting trips. That’s not to say that he’s a mystery to pro teams right now – there are too many scouts on the road at any given time for anybody to remain a mystery for long – but rather that he could position himself to get drafted even if an area guy submits a lukewarm (or worse) scouting report on him.

Finally, since I should wrap this Matt Beaty opus up some time before June, a quick word on his defense. It has taken a few years, but I’m just now willing to move off my stubborn insistence of sticking with Beaty as a pro catching prospect. He’s been the starter at third for Belmont for a long time now, so it’s time to acknowledge, despite having a few pro guys tell me they’d only consider drafting him to give him a shot as a catcher, that it’s at least as likely that he’s a pro third baseman than he’s a catcher in the future. I don’t know. I wish I knew more, but I don’t. I haven’t seen him and I haven’t heard from anybody in the last eighteen months or so who had a strong enough take on his defense to move me in either direction. His bat as a catcher is really intriguing. His bat as a third baseman – depending on how well he can pick it there – is still really intriguing, albeit slightly less so. His bat as a first baseman is still worth taking a shot on in the round range for the dollar value that I described earlier. In other words, any good news I hear about his defense between now and June will be considered a pleasant surprise. The bat is what will make or break him, and I’m willing to ride it out to see how he adjusts as a hitter to pro ball no matter what the glove does.

Both Jacksonville State JR 1B Paschal Petrongolo and Morehead State SR 1B Kane Sweeney have power, work deep counts, walk a bunch, and strike out. All that also applies to Southeast Missouri State JR 1B/OF Ryan Rippee, a high upside transfer off to a good start with plus raw power and size (6-6, 230) to dream on. Jacksonville State JR 1B Tyler Gamble, Eastern Kentucky JR 1B/3B Mandy Alvarez, and Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR Alec Saikal (listed at 6-7, 240) have a little less present power than the rest of the first base class, but provide more patience as hitters. I’m about as bullish on this collective group as I can be, so take the following prediction with a grain of salt: at least three first basemen from the OVC get drafted this June. The prediction is a tad less bold when you realize the Ohio Valley has seen a highly impressive dozen players selected in each of the past three MLB Drafts, but still.

I made the choice to headline this piece with Matt Beaty, but I could just have easily opted to kick it off with a couple hundred words on the bizarrely underrated Tennessee Tech SR SS/2B Dylan Bosheers, who is ranked one spot ahead of the big bat of Beaty due to his almost equal bat but clearly more impressive defensive upside. Quite simply, Bosheers was a baffling omission from last year’s draft. He’s done everything asked from him as a college player and then some (.368/.444/.577 with 27 BB/32 K in 234 AB last year), and he has at least two clear average or better professional tools (defense, speed). He’s not just a slap and dash bat, either; he’s got an approach geared towards driving the ball and he’s capable of using the whole field as well as almost any middle infielder in the country. A future pro shortstop with average speed (plays up thanks to his smarts on the bases) and meaningful pop that walks as much as he strikes out has a place in the draft’s top fifteen rounds. I could see him deservedly getting picked in the same range I predicted for Beaty (8th/9th/10th) as a money-saving option senior sign for a smart club that emphasizes college production. Depending on how things shake out the rest of the way, he might wind up even higher than that on my personal board. I like players with the upside of being quality big league infielders, what can I say? I’m not great at analogies, but I think something like [Alex Bregman : Blake Trahan as Blake Trahan : Dylan Bosheers] works.

Morehead State rSR C/OF Chris Robinson is far more athletic than your ordinary catcher with above-average or better speed and defensive tools interesting enough that you can envision him becoming pretty good behind the plate if his drafting team is patient with him. I’m a fan.

Morehead State rJR RHP Aaron Goe is an imposing 6-5, 220 pound strike-throwing machine with enough fastball (88-92) and an above-average breaking ball. When sifting through late round draft candidates from smaller conferences extremes tend to jump out, so Goe’s easy plus control could give him a shot to go higher than expected on draft day. Small samples both years, but his current 0.70 BB/9 is actually up from his 0.69 BB/9 mark from last year. He falls just behind Austin Peay State JR RHP Jared Carkuff in the conference for me based largely on Carkuff’s promising blend of present stuff (90-94 FB, above-average low- to mid-80s SL) and projection (long, lean 6-4, 170 pound frame).

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Tennessee Tech SR SS/2B Dylan Bosheers
  2. Belmont SR 3B/C Matt Beaty
  3. Eastern Illinois SR 3B Brant Valach
  4. Jacksonville State JR 1B Paschal Petrongolo
  5. Morehead State SR 1B Kane Sweeney
  6. Southeast Missouri State JR 1B/OF Ryan Rippee
  7. Morehead State rSR C/OF Chris Robinson
  8. Eastern Kentucky JR OF Kyle Nowlin
  9. Tennessee Tech JR OF Jake Rowland
  10. Morehead State SR OF Brandon Rawe
  11. Eastern Illinois rJR OF/1B Demetre Taylor
  12. Eastern Illinois SR OF Caleb Howell
  13. Belmont SR OF Drew Ferguson
  14. Jacksonville State JR 1B Tyler Gamble
  15. Eastern Kentucky JR 1B/3B Mandy Alvarez
  16. Belmont JR 2B/OF Tyler Fullerton
  17. Murray State SR 2B/OF Anthony Bayus
  18. Southeast Missouri State SR C Cole Ferguson
  19. Tennessee-Martin SR OF/RHP Taylor Douglas
  20. Eastern Illinois JR 2B Mitch Gasbarro
  21. Morehead State SR SS Robby Spencer
  22. Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR OF Denton Reed
  23. Southeast Missouri State JR C Scott Mitchell
  24. Southeast Missouri State JR SS Andy Lack
  25. Eastern Kentucky JR 2B/3B Doug Teegarden
  26. Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR OF Nick Lombardo
  27. Morehead State SR OF Nick Newell
  28. Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR 1B Alec Saikal
  29. Belmont SR C/1B Alec Diamond
  30. Southeast Missouri State rSR OF Jason Blum
  31. Tennessee Tech SR C Jordan Hopkins

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. Austin Peay State JR RHP Jared Carkuff
  2. Morehead State rJR RHP Aaron Goe
  3. Morehead State JR RHP Tyler Keele
  4. Morehead State rJR RHP Craig Pearcy
  5. Southeast Missouri State JR LHP Alex Winkelman
  6. Murray State JR RHP Andrew Bramley
  7. Jacksonville State SR RHP Zachary Fowler
  8. Southeast Missouri State SR RHP Ryan Lenaburg
  9. Southern Illinois Edwardsville JR RHP Jarrett Bednar
  10. Tennessee Tech JR RHP Trevor Maloney
  11. Belmont JR RHP Aaron Quillen
  12. Southeast Missouri State SR RHP Travis Hayes
  13. Belmont SR LHP Dan Ludwig
  14. Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR RHP Ryan Daniels
  15. Murray State SR LHP/OF Brock Downey
  16. Tennessee-Martin SR LHP Carter Smith
  17. Eastern Kentucky SR RHP Ben Gullo
  18. Morehead State JR RHP Matt Anderson
  19. Eastern Kentucky SR RHP Cody Creamer