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2016 MLB Draft Reviews – Washington Nationals

Top 500 Prospects Drafted by Washington in 2016

14 – Carter Kieboom
40 – Sheldon Neuse
58 – Jesus Luzardo
*100 – Dane Dunning
148 – Nick Banks
193 – Jake Noll
388 – AJ Bogucki

Complete List of 2016 Washington Draftees

1.28 – SS Carter Kieboom

The rich get richer as the Nationals do it again with an absolute steal with their first round pick. The birth of this site coincided with Washington’s unprecedented draft run beginning in 2009. I’m not sure a team has had better draft luck in any sport over an extended period* than what the Nationals experienced in the four drafts from ’09 to ’12. Being bad at the right time to land Stephen Strasburg (’09) and Bryce Harper (’10) is one thing, but having the number one prospects like Anthony Rendon (’11) and Lucas Giolito (’12) fall to pick six and sixteen in their respective years is otherworldly lucky. All credit to Washington for actually taking the plunge with Rendon and Giolito as they fell, but just being in that position in the first place is nothing short of a draft day miracle.

Getting Carter Kieboom (14) with the 28th overall pick might not qualify as another draft day miracle, but it’s not all that far off the mark, either. Some quick history on Kieboom, starting in April 2016…

Carter Kieboom is listed at third, but recent impressive defensive showings could allow him to remain at shortstop for the foreseeable future. If that’s the case, he could jump ten or more spots up these rankings because the bat is legit.

…and then again a month later…

Carter Kieboom was with the third base prospects in my notes up until about a month or so ago. The buzz on him being good enough to stick at shortstop for at least a few years grew too loud to ignore. In fact, said buzz reminds me quite a bit about how the slow yet steady drumbeat for Alex Bregman, Shortstop grew throughout the spring last season. Beyond the defensive comparison, I think there’s actually a little something to looking at Kieboom developing as a potential Bregman type impact bat over the next few seasons. He checks every box you’d want to see out of a high school infielder: hit (above-average), power (above-average raw), bat speed (yes), approach (mature beyond his years), athleticism (well above-average), speed (average), glove (average at short, could be better yet at third), and arm (average to above-average, more than enough for the left side). He’d be neck and neck with Drew Mendoza for third place on my third base list, but he gets the bump to second here with the shortstops. At either spot, he’s a definite first round talent for me.

There you go. Carter Kieboom: the next Alex Bregman. It’s not really that simple because it’s never really that simple, but the two young players share a lot of the same positive traits. Bregman’s incredible start to his pro career makes the direct one-to-one comparison extra scary. I love comps, but recognize they aren’t for everybody. The very nature of player comparisons can create unfair expectations based on misunderstanding the purpose of the enterprise; Kieboom not hitting the ground running quite like Bregman wouldn’t make him a failure, but the optics of linking the two together invites an extra layer of scrutiny that perhaps confuses more than clarifies. Still, I stand by the view that Kieboom has a lot of the same positive qualities in his game that make Bregman so good. I’m comfortable projecting Kieboom as a potential impact player on the same tier as Bregman.

*Maybe the Cleveland Cavaliers with an unfair run going back to getting arguably the most important first pick of all-time (LeBron James), the second piece of their Big Three (Kyrie Irving) after only having to suffer one year post-Decision, and the pick that would become the third member (Andrew Wiggins begat Kevin Love) falling into their laps despite just a 1.7% of happening. And that ignores the Anthony Bennett year, which, fine, was a wash, but it still put them in a position where they could have realistically taken somebody useful like Oladipo, Porter, Noel, or McCollum or unrealistically taken a superstar like Antetokounmpo or Gobert instead. The Pittsburgh Penguins could be in the mix with their Marc-Andre Fluery, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby run.

The Colts are a sneaky darkhorse for one of the luckiest draft teams of all-time: going from fourteen seasons of Peyton Manning directly into the Andrew Luck era is pretty damn fortunate any way you look at it. Recent holiday boredom, however, revealed that the Colts are one of only three teams to have only had three quarterbacks (George, Manning, Luck) play all sixteen games in a season in the modern era. The others are the Patriots (Grogan, Bledsoe, Brady) and Jaguars (Brunell, Garrard, Bortles). The Texans have technically had the worst luck at the position (Carr and Schaub), but their history only goes back to 2002 so they get a mulligan for now. Anyway, I feel a little less jealous of the Colts now that I see how ugly things were for the decades that came before Manning/Luck. If you want to go way back, then I’d be willing to hear arguments for the Orlando Magic in the early-90s. If you flip the Strasburg/Harper drafts, then maybe you could flesh out a longform think piece worthy comparison between Orlando getting Shaq (transcendent superstar a la Harper) and Penny (crazy talented but oft-injured) in 1992 and 1993. I’d read that.

1.29 – RHP Dane Dunning

I messed up on Dane Dunning (*100). hence the asterisk next to his “pre-draft ranking.” From draft night…

A copy/paste error this morning kept Dunning off of the top 500 rankings. Now I’m paranoid that he’s not the only name missing since I tend to copy/paste in bunches. Anyway, Dunning has a really good arm. Going off memory, I think he was ranked somewhere just after the 200 mark near the Matt Krook, Matthias Dietz, Greg Veliz, and Tyler Mondile band of pitchers. My inexplicably unpublished notes on him…

JR RHP Dane Dunning: 88-94 FB with plus sink, 96 peak; average or better 81-83 SL; no longer uses good mid-70s CB as much; average 82-87 CU, flashes above-average with plus upside; improved command; good athlete; 6-3, 200 pounds

2014: 11.57 K/9 – 4.71 BB/9 – 21 IP – 5.14 ERA
2015: 8.25 K/9 – 3.45 BB/9 – 60.1 IP – 4.05 ERA
2016: 10.28 K/9 – 1.45 BB/9 – 68.1 IP – 2.50 ERA

For all the completists out there, Dunning finished 2016 at Florida with the following line…

10.08 K/9 – 1.37 BB/9 – 78.2 IP – 2.29 ERA

Anyway, good thing Dunning was just a late first round pick with little fanfare who didn’t make any noise this past offseason or anything. The newest member of the White Sox — or one of the newest members, it’s been a busy offseason on the South Side so far — is really good. I did some digging my own archives and found that the draft day estimate that placed Dunning around 200th overall was off. He was actually closer to the 100 mark in the same group as fellow Gator Shaun Anderson (90th), Ben Bowden (93rd), Mike Shawaryn (98th), and Bailey Clark (102nd). Dunning has a shot to be an impact mid-rotation arm — calling guys “mid-rotation,” as I’m often guilty of doing, is so vague; my attempt to differentiate that a bit with the “impact” adjective isn’t all that I wanted, but hopefully it shows some nuance that separates a damn good potential third starter mid-rotation arm from a innings-eating fourth starter mid-rotation arm — who piles up outs on the ground with an elite sinker/slider mix. He has the changeup, command, athleticism, and delivery to start with the experience in relief as a tantalizing fallback plan.

2.58 – 3B Sheldon Neuse

On Sheldon Neuse (40) from March 2016…

Recently got a Mike Olt draft comparison for Sheldon Neuse. Thought that was a pretty strong comp. Also liked that it was a draft comparison and not necessarily a pro prospect match. Olt’s big league disappointments don’t change the fact that he’s a really talented ballplayer capable of looking really good for long stretches at a time. Players develop in all kinds of different ways, so expecting one guy to follow another’s path is unwise. Maybe Neuse will fulfill his promise professionally in a way that Olt wasn’t able. Maybe he’ll experience similar developmental road blocks and see his game stall in a similar manner. Olt went 49th overall in the 2010 MLB Draft; snagging Neuse at any point after that would be a steal in 2016.

And then again in April 2016 (with a bonus pre-season take from October 2015 embedded within)…

On Sheldon Neuse before the season…

Neuse could still fulfill the promise many (myself included) saw in him during his excellent freshman season back when he looked like a potential Gold Glove defender at third with the kind of bat you’d happily stick in the middle of the order. He could also get more of a look this spring on the mound where he can properly put his mid-90s heat and promising pair of secondary offerings (SL, CU) to use. Or he could have something of a repeat of his 2015 season leaving us unsure how good he really is and thinking of him more of a second to fifth round project (a super talented one, mind you) than a first round prospect.

So far, so good on the whole fulfilling that promise thing: Neuse has hit .383/.483/.692 through 32 games with 23 BB/26 and 8/9 SB. On the mound, he’s been just as good: 16 K in 16.2 IP of 1.62 ERA ball. He’s now firmly back on the first round bubble and one of this draft’s quintessential first round talents that might get squeezed out of the top thirty or so picks because of the impressive depth at the top of this class.

Drafting Neuse any point after pick 49 would be a steal, I said. The Nationals took Neuse with pick 58. If one were to connect the dots, one might see a picture of, I don’t know, Neuse stealing something or the Nationals stealing Neuse or something that makes it clear that Washington did indeed get themselves fine value with their second round pick. Neuse’s plus-plus arm, quality defense at the hot corner, and intriguing power upside remind me a little bit of former Rutgers star Todd Frazier. It’s an imperfect comp — the body types are off — but similar career arcs don’t seem out of the question.

3.94 – LHP Jesus Luzardo

I really, really like the healthy version of Jesus Luzardo (58). The young lefty has about everything you’d want in a pitching prospect. Fastball? Sits anywhere from 87-95 MPH with peaks as high as 97 MPH. Changeup? Such an important pitch for a lefty and Luzardo delivers with an above-average 75-82 MPH version with plus upside. Breaking ball? You get two for the price of one as Luzardo throws a really good 75-82 MPH slider and a decent 73-78 curve. He commands his offspeed stuff well and his fastball exceptionally well. The only knocks on Luzardo are the standard risks that come with any teenage pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery (Luzardo had his in March 2016) and the lack of projection — though it’s arguable how much he needs to grow with his present stuff being so strong — in his 6-1, 200 pound frame. I can’t help but view this pick as less of a 2016 third round selection and more of a bonus 2017 first rounder. Assuming his rehab goes as planned, Luzardo could be in line to start his career almost exactly one year after he would have if healthy from the start. We’re talking a mid- to late-summer rookie ball debut with the goal of having him ready for Low-A by April 2018. Mentioned it before the draft, but Luzardo reminds me a lot of last year’s second round pick by Cleveland — and 59th overall selection, just one spot off of Luzardo’s pre-draft ranking here…hmm — Juan Hillman. I think Luzardo is better, though.

4.124 – OF Nick Banks

On Nick Banks (148) from March 2016…

Hunter Renfroe went thirteenth overall in the 2013 MLB Draft, so his 2016 doppelganger Nick Banks going a few spots later seems appropriate. Banks is one of the many hitters with questionable BB/K marks before the season that scouts insisted had more mature approaches at the plate than the raw numbers suggested. The scouts have been redeemed by most of those hitters — Kyle Lewis most famously — but Banks has continued to struggle (5 BB/10 K) out of the gate so far. He could still have a fine pro career without polishing up his approach — he’s a legit five-tool guy with no singular grade falling below average on most scout cards — but plugging that last remaining hole could mean the difference between good and great.

Those scouts could still be be on to something as maybe Banks is just a late-bloomer as it pertains to his approach, but it probably makes more sense to just accept him for the free-swinger that he is. His BB/K as a junior at Texas A&M: 24 BB/47 K. His BB/K in his pro debut: 11 BB/37 K. Just as concerning for Banks is his defense; he’s more than fine in either corner, but stretched in center. Banks may very well be a classic outfielder tweener. His offense feels a half-step behind what you want for a corner player and his defense makes him a less than ideal fourth outfielder candidate. Working in his favor is a history of hitting righthanded pitching particularly well, so a platoon situation could benefit both him and his club if/when he reaches the big leagues. I’d be happy with that outcome at this point if I were in the Washington front office.

5.154 – OF Daniel Johnson

I’m always a bit apprehensive when a player’s best tools are arguably the two least important, but Daniel Johnson’s plus-plus arm strength and plus to plus-plus speed are almost so much better than the norm that I can accept it. His rawness at the plate still makes me a bit uneasy, but I get the appeal. Fifth round still seems way too early, though. Johnson is a great athlete who covers a lot of ground in center and can clearly throw and run with the best of them. If that’s all he is, then there’s some value there as a speed/defense fifth outfielder. If he hits even a little, then you might be able to squint and see a future regular depending on how highly you value what he does well.

Heard two interesting things about Johnson while doing some digging. First, a contact said that his team had Johnson much higher than Buddy Reed, a similar speed/defense type who may or may not hit. Thought that was pretty interesting. I also got an Aaron Brown comparison for Johnson that makes a little sense, especially if you once thought (as I did) that Brown’s most likely path to the big leagues was on the mound. I’m not necessarily saying the same about Johnson — he runs and defends in center better than Brown ever did — but the thought of seeing what his monster arm could do if unleashed as a pitcher is pretty damn intriguing.

6.184 – C Tres Barrera

I’ve always been high on Tres Barrera. He was ranked in the top 500 back in his high school days (356 in 2013, one spot ahead of Mitch Garver) and I continued to champion his abilities into April 2016…

Tres Barrera’s ordinary start – his approach has taken a big step back – knocks him down from his clear perch in the two spot to closer to the middle of the pack. Despite seeing some time at third base this year for the Longhorns, I still like him behind the plate over the long haul. His above-average raw power keeps him in the top ten round mix despite the aforementioned backslide in approach.

For as much as I liked Barrera over the years the weird shift in approach (33 BB/39 K as a sophomore to 28 BB/54 K as a junior) was enough of a red flag to keep him out of my top 500 in this draft class loaded with college coaching. Do I regret it? A little bit, especially after Barrera went back to a more pleasant to the eye BB/K ratio of 15/22 in his pro debut. That performance has me questioning a whole lot of what I knew — or thought I knew — about Barrera as an offensive player, to say nothing of my own process for evaluating talent from afar. Was reading into the 211 at bats Barrera compiled in his final season at Texas nothing more than a classic case of mistakenly sweating a small sample? Is the smaller pro sample (164 AB) more of an aberration that shouldn’t be read into, either? Or could it be that Barrera was just a 21-year-old (22 this past September) catcher going through the ups and downs of playing in a pressurized college environment, shifting between multiple positions on defense, and attempting to make the adjustment to pro ball on the fly, so, hey, maybe we (fine, I) should ease up on judging him as if he was a finished product? Let’s go with that for now. Barrera is talented — average power, average arm, more than athletic enough to make it behind the plate — and versatile, so he’ll get plenty of chances to sink or swim in pro ball. I’ll go high-level backup catcher good enough to play a few different spots defensively in a pinch. Maybe something like a more well-rounded version of Eli Marrero/Tyler Houston depending on how Washington deploys him, though all the smart money is on the Nationals being fully committed to him behind the plate.

7.214 – Jake Noll

I remember thinking that Jake Noll (193) looked a little bit like Ryan Zimmerman after seeing him play for Florida Gulf Coast this past spring. Now he’s in the same organization. Great analysis, right? For more insight like that, here’s me on Noll from March 2016…

One of the better on-the-radar mid-round (or better) middle infield juniors is Jake Noll. Noll is a good hitter with above-average bat speed, above-average foot speed, and enough defensive versatility (2B, 3B, OF) to be a really interesting pro prospect. He’s hit well so far in 2016 despite some uncommon plate discipline struggles (small sample alert!), so his opportunity to rise up boards in a college class in need of more up-the-middle talent remains present. I like Noll more than I love him right now, but he’s earned his spot atop an average at best all-around class of hitting talent.

An outside-the-box name to keep in mind when thinking about Jake Noll in the pros: Odubel Herrera. Both guys can run a little bit, play a few different positions (if Noll doesn’t stick at second, he could be a prime candidate to move to center like Herrera), and, most critically, know how to flat hit the baseball. Like Herrera, Noll can really hit. That ability should serve him well as the rest of his game catches up in the pros. Bonus comparison that also makes a little bit of sense: former Nationals prospect Max Schrock.

8.244 – RHP AJ Bogucki

I’ve seen a lot of AJ Bogucki (388) over the years, first at Boyertown HS (about 30 miles from me) and later at North Carolina, so I can say that his pre-draft ranking is more about what I’ve heard and read than what I’ve seen firsthand. Bogucki has always looked good when I’ve seen him — his results in three years as a Tar Heel back this up — but I’ve almost always walked away thinking he was one of those prospects who had many great individual components that never quite added up to a great prospect. Bogucki has a fine fastball (87-94, 96 peak) that he commands well at times (but not so well at others), plus an above-average breaking ball that flits between both a curve (upper-70s) and slider (low-80s). Going with the sinking fastball/harder slider (a pitch that flashes plus at times) combination could make him a useful reliever if that’s how he and the Nationals decide to take his development. It’s what I would do, at least.

9.274 – C Joey Harris

Defensively, Joey Harris fits in really well in the big leagues. His hands, arm, and athleticism could be his ticket to advancement in the years to come. Offensively, it takes some projection to get to a similar level. I don’t personally see it — not enough power, patience is just all right, contact skills are inconsistent — but I know for a fact (#SOURCES) that there are those in the Washington organization who see things differently. Harris is a guy seen as a future everyday catcher internally. We shall see.

10.304 – SS Paul Panaccione

Flattery will get you everywhere, they say. That may well be true, but I think the same could be said for positional versatility. Being able to play a variety of spots on the diamond as a non-premium prospect entering pro ball is the best way to get the playing time you need to make a meaningful impression on the powers that will ultimately decide your professional fate. Paul Panaccione has that part of the game well taken care of. In his debut, the shortstop from Grand Canyon played shortstop (duh), second, and third. He also mixed in a few innings in both left and right field for good measure. Defensive flexibility like his helped keep his bat in the lineup even as he scuffled to an ugly .205/.254/.250 start in his first 190 plate appearances. There’s no way to sugarcoat those awful numbers, so Panaccione will have to hope that his relative strengths and draft standing are enough to get him another honest shot in 2017. As a fan of his game, I hope that’s the case. Panaccione is a steady glove wherever you put him who uses his average speed well. He makes a lot of quality contact and has a patient approach at the plate. From March 2016…

It’s fairly well-established by now that this year’s college shortstop class isn’t good. I’m about as positive a guy as you’ll find willing to do this for free and even I’ll admit that. That said…there are way more mid-major and small school types that can a) probably stay at shortstop in the pros, and b) hit frozen ropes even when dragged out of bed to do so. Paul Panaccione is one of the best of those types. In drafting Panaccione, you’d be getting a steadying influence in the middle infield, a hitter with a very clear plan with every trip to the plate, and an all-around solid performer with an increasingly intriguing track record of getting it done at the college level.

Rough start or not, Panaccione still looks like one of the draft’s most interesting super-utility prospects. It’s not a super high ceiling and the odds of reaching it obviously took a little bit of hit since draft day, but for a tenth round pick it’s more than fair value.

11.334 – OF Armond Upshaw

I’ve heard from those in the know that there are those within the Washington organization view Armond Upshaw as a potential switch-hitting Michael Taylor. That would be a more than suitable outcome for an eleventh round pick. Upshaw has serious speed, more than enough range for center, and surprising feel as a hitter. Regular readers of the site know I try to stay away from the name game, but Armond Upshaw just sounds too good to fail. Major League Baseball is ready for an Armond Upshaw.

12.364 – LHP Hayden Howard

It’s easy to see the appeal of Hayden Howard, a big (6-4, 190) lefthander with a nice mix of present stuff (87-92 FB, low-80s CU, low-70s CB) and projection to come. The results, however, are enough to pump the breaks on Howard’s upside being much more than a potential matchup lefty out of the pen. Howard’s junior year at Texas Tech (5.66 K/9 and 2.06 BB/9 in 70.0 IP) looks a lot like what he did in his pro debut (5.41 K/9 and 3.86 BB/9 in 23.1 IP). I won’t write off Howard completely as a potential starting pitching option based on a little under one hundred combined college/pro 2016 innings, but the idea that he is what he is in that role has certainly crossed my mind. This doesn’t mean he’s useless, of course; as mentioned, a successful career in relief could very well be on the horizon for Howard.

13.394 – 1B Conner Simonetti

Monster power, quality first base defense, and one glaring potentially fatal flaw. That’s Conner Simonetti, a legit plus raw power bat from Kent State who struck out 126 times in 379 at bats between college and the pros in 2016. That’s a ton of swing-and-miss. I’m good with betting on power at this point in the draft even if the odds of Simonetti being able to make enough contact to make it worth it are low.

14.424 – RHP Kyle Simonds

Kyle Simonds not landing in my top 500 surprises me a little bit now that I have a few months of reflection behind me. Simonds is the kind of college arm that is unexciting on the surface (5.43 K/9 in 2015, 7.22 K/9 in 2016), but with the exact mix of polish (two average or better offspeed pitches), command (consistently above-average), athleticism (plus), and ground ball stuff (52.38%52.38%) to profile as a quick-mover in pro ball. I like Simonds’s three-pitch mix (86-92 sinking fastball, above-average low-80s slider, average or better 78-84 changeup) enough to keep starting, though his age (24 in May) means he’ll have to get moving fast. It may be a little rich, but there are enough similarities with Tanner Roark here that a career path along those lines wouldn’t be a shock. Value like that in round fourteen is excellent.

15.454 – LHP Ryan Williamson

Ryan Williamson is kind of what you get when you combine Hayden Howard and Kyle Simonds. He has the lefthandedness and history of run prevention of Howard while his stuff (87-93 FB, really good 77-83 SL, intriguing CU) more closely mirrors what Simonds throws. That makes him a closer prospect to Simonds in my mind, a good thing for Williamson’s pro prospects. Less good for Williamson’s pro prospects is the fact he’s likely to miss the entire 2017 season after Tommy John surgery in late-May of 2016. A return to full health would put Williamson right back on the prospect map. Lefties with three pitches and size (6-3, 200) coming off three straight seasons of double-digit strikeouts per nine in the ACC tend to get plenty of opportunities to impress in pro ball. I like this one a lot.

16.484 – RHP Phil Morse

The first two seasons for Phil Morse at Shenandoah…

6.70 K/9
4.34 BB/9
5.62 ERA
91.1 IP

The last two seasons for Phil Morse at Shenandoah…

9.26 K/9
4.81 BB/9
0.74 ERA
48.2 IP

Interesting, right? The jump in strikeouts and the drastic drop in run prevention coincides with two things: a shift to the bullpen and increased velocity. Morse went from 88-92 MPH as a starter to 92-96 MPH in relief. Part of that was the obvious shift in role, but it was also the culmination of a larger journey. Morse put on good weight, improved his conditioning, tweaked his delivery, and won the genetic lottery that allows some guys to suddenly see major upticks in velocity when others don’t. With his big fastball, cut-slider, and occasional change, Morse has a shot to pitch out of a big league bullpen one day if he can get his control under control.

17.514 – SS Tyler Beckwith

I like what Washington did in targeting potential utility options in this draft. They went alliterative early with Paul Panaccionne and late with Branden Boggetto, and settled on Tyler Beckwith in between. All three guys have proven themselves versatile defensively with intriguing offensive upside to match. Beckwith played third base, shortstop, and second base in his pro debut. He’s a really good athlete with standout speed and an above-average arm who has a chance to hit for solid power if he can keep advancing. What’s not to like there? Toss in Beckwith’s college experience in the outfield and you can see the outline of a true seven position super-sub if everything breaks right.

18.544 – LHP Ben Braymer

Size (6-2, 220) and arm strength (88-92, 94 peak) from the left side will always get you a foot in the door. A quality draft season in the SEC (8.81 K/9 and 2.35 BB/9 in 48.0 IP) doesn’t hurt, either. The development of a reliable offspeed pitch, be it the slider or the change, will determine how far Ben Braymer will go as a reliever from here on out. As the first of six consecutive signed college arms, competition figures to be fierce in the years to come.

20.604 – LHP Jake Barnett

Jake Barnett pitched well as a junior (9.84 K/9 and 2.93 BB/9) on a dominant Lewis-Clark pitching staff. Did some digging beyond that and…I’ve got nothing. He relies heavily on a sinker/slider combination, so at least I can share that. Beyond that…nothing.

21.634 – RHP Jacob Howell

Jacob Howell made his one and only season at Delta State worthwhile. His junior year numbers — 11.81 K/9 and 3.94 BB/9 — look good. Like Jake Barnett, his stuff is a bit of a mystery at this point for me. Low-90s fastball is all I’ve got. It’s a start.

22.664 – RHP Sterling Sharp

I lost track of Sterling Sharp, a Drury Panther by way of Eastern Michigan and Darton State who was a pretty big deal as prep prospect once upon a time, so it’s cool to see him reemerge as a legit pro prospect after a good but not great draft season (7.69 K/9 and 3.76 BB/9) in 2016. Sharp managed to follow that success with more of the same in pro ball. He posted a 7.34 K/9 and 1.16 BB/9 in 46.2 debut innings with the Nationals organization this past summer. Getting a really athletic righthander with low-90s heat and limited innings weighing down his arm is a nice move in the twenty-second round.

23.694 – RHP Michael Rishwain

I have nothing against the Nationals per se — Natitude is embarrassing, but can we really hold that against the organization forever? — yet them making things incredibly difficult for a one-man gang to come up with insightful things to say about all of their obscure college pitching prospects has me reconsidering how I feel about the franchise. Michael Rishwain did this at Westmont College in 35.2 innings: 7.84 K/9 , 1.77 BB/9, and 1.51 ERA. That’s all I’ve got.

24.724 – RHP Joseph Baltrip

Joseph Baltrip makes it five consecutive pitchers from non-D1 schools in a row for Washington. I’m not passing judgment, just noting that five in a row starting in a nice round number like twenty feels like more than just a coincidence. Or maybe I’m just a crazy conspiracy theorist. Nice to see Lewis-Clark State, Delta State, Drury University, Westmont College, and Wharton County Junior College get some draft love all the same. Baltrip, the one from Wharton County JC, might have put up the weirdest professional line of any 2016 draft pick. On the surface, things were great: can’t really argue with a 1.38 ERA in 26.0 IP even if it comes with a pedestrian 5.88 K/9, right? What if that 1.38 ERA came with a 7.96 BB/9 and an incomprehensibly high 93.3 LOB%? Of all pitchers with at least twenty innings thrown, only Henry Owens had a higher BB/9 in the big leagues this past season. Only two big league pitchers (Chris Capuano and Andrew Miller) had higher LOB%. Forget what I said earlier: what Baltrip did is the TRUE definition of effectively wild.

For better or worse, said wildness isn’t necessarily a new thing for Baltrip. In his draft year as a Pioneer, he managed a 10.73 K/9 and 5.36 BB/9. Into the mid-round potential middle relief pile he goes. Incidentally, Baltrip’s last name reminds me of the fictional basketball league I created as a kid. I obviously had to make up some killer names to fill the rosters of the 64-team league (because tournaments are awesome, you see), so necessity was the mother of invention as I looked wherever I could to find cool sounding ideas. I distinctly remember being at a baseball game and seeing the out of town scoreboard post the updated totals for the Orioles-Blue Jays game. Something about BAL-TOR sounded good to me, so Josh Baltor was born. He was terrible. Hopefully Joseph Baltrip enjoys more success.

25.754 – SS Branden Boggetto

I like Branden Boggetto as a potential bat-first utility prospect capable of playing any of the four infield spots in a pinch. The college shortstop took to second base in the pros as he continued to hit for solid power with a decent if sometimes overly aggressive approach.

26.784 – OF Jack Sundberg

On Jack Sundberg from March 2015…

Sundberg is held back by a lack of any kind of meaningful pop, but he can run, throw, and defend well enough in center that a team might put up with some growing pains with the stick. He profiles better as a 2016 senior sign to me.

I guess there are worse organizational guys to have around than Sundberg, though it’s hard seeing how a punchless outfielder with no real carrying tool (his glove, speed, and arm are all good, but nothing that bowls you over) who can’t hit lefthanded pitching carves out a role over the long haul.

27.814 – LHP Jeremy McDonald

Jeremy McDonald, all 5-9, 185 pounds of him, did this at California Baptist: 9.43 K/9 and 4.29 BB/9 in 84.0 IP. Then he went out and did this in the pros: 9.23 K/9 and 1.71 BB/9 in 26.1 IP. I’ve heard some quiet hype about McDonald being the next Tim Collins, but I have no idea if there’s real merit to the idea or if it’s just a short lefthander being compared to a short lefthander kind of thing.

28.844 – LHP Jonny Reid

Jonny Reid at Azusa Pacific: 7.33 K/9 and 2.09 BB/9. Jonny Reid in the pros: 6.00 K/9 and 1.75 BB/9. That’s all I’ve got. Sorry.

29.874 – RHP Sam Held

On Sam Held from April 2015…

His teammate JR RHP Sam Held is another good athlete with a strong fastball (94 peak) and plenty of projection left who hasn’t performed as hoped so far this season.

If Held’s 2015 was a disappointment (7.80 K/9, 6.00 BB/9, and 8.40 ERA in 15.1 IP), then I’m not quite sure what to call his 2016. His ERA went down to 5.17 and his innings went up to 38.1, so that’s good. He also significantly trimmed his walk rate (2.11 BB/9), so that’s really good. But somehow a long, lean, mid-90s throwing machine managed to get through his senior season only striking out 3.05 batters per nine. Of course then he went out and did this in 29.0 pro innings: 6.83 K/9, 2.48 BB/9, and 1.86 ERA. In short, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

31.934 – C CJ Picerni

Undergraduate universities attended by the four Ozga siblings: Boston University, American University, Pace University, and New York University. The last time a player was drafted from each respective school: 1969 (Nicholas Stipnovich and Joe Lasorsa), 2011 (Stephen Lumpkins), 2016 (Brett Bittiger), and 2016 (CJ Picerni). Figures I’m the only one without a draft pick from my school in the June draft ever. Anyway, Picerni getting selected by Washington is a pretty big deal for NYU. He’s the first NYU baseball player drafted since the school brought back the baseball program in 2015 after a 41-year hiatus. I honestly had no idea they brought baseball back. Shows what I know.

Is Picerni any good? I have no notes on him nor have I seen him, but his senior season stats (.258/.319/.331 with 7 BB/30 K) as a 23-year-old playing Division III ball don’t inspire much confidence. He was much better as a junior (.331/.365/.510 with 13 BB/21 K), so at least there’s that. If nothing else, he can always say he got drafted and played in pro ball. And my brother now has bragging rights on me once again.

Unsigned Prospects and Where You Can Find Them in 2017

Jarrett Gonzales (Grayson CC), Tristan Clarke (New Orleans), Garrett Gonzales (Incarnate Word), Ryan Wetzel (Pittsburg State), Morgan Cooper (Texas), Tristan Bayless (Texas A&M), Jordan McFarland (Arkansas), Cory Voss (Arizona), Noah Murdock (Virginia), Matt Mervis (Duke), Sean Cook (Maryland)


2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Atlantic Sun

I can’t get enough of Mitchell Jordan. His command, control, pitchability, and willingness to throw any pitch in any count make him a lot of fun to watch at this level. There will be understandable questions about how his slightly below-average fastball velocity (upper-80s, though it can sit low-90s and hit 93 on his best days) will translate to the pro game, but put me down as a believer that his command of the pitch coupled with the unpredictability of his pitch selection (happy to go CB, SL, or CU in plus or minus counts) will make him a viable long-term big league starting pitcher with continued development. He reminds me some of Kyle Hendricks, an eighth round pick out of Dartmouth in 2011. Feedback on Jordan has returned a wide range of potential draft outcomes with some saying as high as the third and others insisting his ceiling as fifth starter/swingman puts him closer to the bottom of the single-digit rounds than the top. Hendricks lasting until the eighth round has turned out to be a great value, so we’ll see if teams learned their lesson and pop Jordan sooner in 2016.

Corbin Olmstead deserves to be on any shortlist of top two-way college players. When it comes to his pro potential, however, it’s his above-average fastball (88-92) and plus slider that make the slugging first baseman a better bet on the mound. Last year’s numbers (12.34 K/9 and 0.26 ERA in 35.1 IP) and his start to this season (9.86 K/9 and 0.00 ERA in 7.1 IP) back up the high praise he’s received from scouts along the way. As a consistently productive, athletic, potentially quick-moving relief arm (with a chance to improve even more once he devotes his focus to pitching full-time), Olmstead is one of my favorite round six to ten money-saving senior-signs.

The lists below are based on information put together before the season began, but that doesn’t stop me from at least taking a cursory glance at how these guys have done so far in 2016. The results of the majority of the hitters at the top are…not great so far. Thankfully, Austin Hays, a pre-season FAVORITE due to his patient approach (easiest way to become a FAVORITE as a hitter), plus arm, strong glove, and above-average speed, has done his part in the early going. Hays may get stuck with the tweener label for some – not quite enough pop for a corner, not quite enough glove for center – but a more open-minded team might view perceived negative as a strength: Hays isn’t a tweener, he’s versatile! I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but I still like Hays a whole lot. Interestingly enough (to me), Hays’s teammate at Jacksonville, JJ Gould, also received the coveted FAVORITE tag in my notes. The Florida State transfer still has some of that old Seminole approach at the plate that I like. He’s one of the better under-the-radar late-round middle infield senior-signs in this class.

One of the better on-the-radar mid-round (or better) middle infield juniors is Jake Noll. Noll is a good hitter with above-average bat speed, above-average foot speed, and enough defensive versatility (2B, 3B, OF) to be a really interesting pro prospect. He’s hit well so far in 2016 despite some uncommon plate discipline struggles (small sample alert!), so his opportunity to rise up boards in a college class in need of more up-the-middle talent remains present. I like Noll more than I love him right now, but he’s earned his spot atop an average at best all-around class of hitting talent.


  1. Florida Gulf Coast rJR 2B/OF Jake Noll
  2. Jacksonville JR OF Austin Hays
  3. Florida Gulf Coast SR 1B Nick Rivera
  4. Stetson rJR OF/1B Vance Vizcaino
  5. Kennesaw State SR OF Alex Liquori
  6. South Carolina Upstate JR SS Daniel Fickas
  7. North Florida SR C Keith Skinner
  8. Jacksonville SR 2B/SS JJ Gould
  9. Lipscomb rSR 1B Adam Lee
  10. New Jersey Tech JR C Cody Kramer
  11. Stetson SR OF/RHP Kevin Fagan
  12. South Carolina Upstate SR OF James Fowlkes
  13. Jacksonville SR OF Parker Perez
  14. Jacksonville rJR OF Nathan Koslowski
  15. Kennesaw State SR C Brennan Morgan
  16. South Carolina Upstate JR 1B Zach Krider
  17. Florida Gulf Coast SR OF Tyler Selesky
  18. Lipscomb rSO OF Allan Hooker
  19. Kennesaw State JR 3B Jeremy Howell
  20. North Florida SR 2B/SS Kyle Brooks
  21. New Jersey Tech SR C Stephan Halibej
  22. North Florida rSR OF/1B Nick Karmeris
  23. Kennesaw State JR OF Jordan Getzelman


  1. Stetson JR RHP Mitchell Jordan
  2. North Florida SR RHP/1B Corbin Olmstead
  3. Lipscomb rJR RHP Dalton Curtis
  4. Kennesaw State JR LHP/OF Chris Erwin
  5. Florida Gulf Coast rSR RHP Brady Anderson
  6. North Florida JR RHP Bryan Baker
  7. Kennesaw State JR LHP Richard Lovelady
  8. Jacksonville JR RHP Nathan Disch
  9. Kennesaw State JR RHP Gabe Friese
  10. Florida Gulf Coast JR RHP Sterling Koerner
  11. North Florida JR LHP Kyle Kalbaugh
  12. New Jersey Tech SR LHP Ian Bentley
  13. Kennesaw State JR RHP Erich Stahl
  14. New Jersey Tech JR RHP/SS Bryan Haberstroh
  15. Stetson JR RHP Walker Sheller
  16. Lipscomb rSR RHP Jaesung Hwang
  17. Stetson rJR RHP Frankie Romano
  18. Stetson SR RHP Josh Thorne
  19. South Carolina Upstate SR RHP Cody Brittain
  20. Stetson JR LHP Tyler Keller
  21. Jacksonville rSO RHP Shane Wise
  22. Lipscomb rSR LHP Cody Glenn

Florida Gulf Coast

JR RHP Sterling Koerner (2016)
JR RHP Garrett Anderson (2016)
rSO RHP Mario Leon (2016)
rSR RHP Brady Anderson (2016)
rJR 2B/OF Jake Noll (2016)
SR 1B Nick Rivera (2016)
SR OF Colton Bottomley (2016)
SR OF Tyler Selesky (2016)
rSO OF Gage Morey (2016)
SO LHP Josh Dye (2017)
SO 2B Matt Reardon (2017)
SO OF Zach Spivey (2017)

High Priority Follows: Sterling Koerner, Garrett Anderson, Brady Anderson, Jake Noll, Nick Rivera, Tyler Selesky


SR RHP Ryan Quintero (2016)
rSR LHP Casey Kulina (2016)
JR RHP Nathan Disch (2016)
rSO RHP Shane Wise (2016)
rSR RHP Jeff Tanner (2016)
rJR LHP/OF Josh Baker (2016)
SR OF Parker Perez (2016)
JR OF Austin Hays (2016)
JR C Franco Guardascione (2016)
SR OF Nate Ricci (2016)
rJR OF Nathan Koslowski (2016)
SR OF Michael Babb (2016)
SR 2B/SS JJ Gould (2016)
JR INF Alex Seifert (2016)
SO RHP Michael Baumann (2017)
SO RHP Spencer Stockton (2017)
SO RHP Greg Shannahan (2017)
SO 3B Sam Armstrong (2017)
FR RHP/C Mike Cassala (2018)
FR RHP/OF Chris Gau (2018)
FR 2B/SS Dakota Julylia (2018)
FR 3B Angel Camacho (2018)
FR OF Connor Stephens (2018)

High Priority Follows: Nathan Disch, Shane Wise, Parker Perez, Austin Hays, Nathan Koslowski, JJ Gould

Kennesaw State

JR LHP Richard Lovelady (2016)
JR RHP Erich Stahl (2016)
JR RHP Gabe Friese (2016)
rSO RHP Jordan Versteeg (2016)
JR LHP Mason Ward (2016)
SR RHP Brock Turner (2016)
JR LHP/OF Chris Erwin (2016)
SR OF Alex Liquori (2016)
SR C Brennan Morgan (2016)
JR 3B Jeremy Howell (2016)
JR OF Jordan Getzelman (2016)
rSO OF Taylor Allum (2016)
JR 1B Corey Greeson (2016)
SO RHP AJ Moore (2017)
SO RHP Tony Dibrell (2017)
SO RHP Logan Hutchinson (2017)
rFR RHP Logan Hicks (2017)
SO C Griffin Helms (2017)
SO 2B Grant Williams (2017)
SO 1B Austin Upshaw (2017)
FR SS Trevor Brown (2018)
FR SS David Chabut (2018)

High Priority Follows: Richard Lovelady, Erich Stahl, Gabe Friese, Chris Erwin, Alex Liquori, Brennan Morgan, Jeremy Howell, Jordan Getzelman, Taylor Allum


rSR RHP Jaesung Hwang (2016)
rJR RHP Dalton Curtis (2016)
SR RHP Denton Norman (2016)
rSR LHP Cody Glenn (2016)
JR LHP John Pryor (2016)
rSR 1B Adam Lee (2016)
rSO OF Allan Hooker (2016)
SR C Chucky Vazquez (2016)
rJR C Tyler Bethune (2016)
JR 2B Hunter Hanks (2016)
rFR RHP Kyle Kemp (2017)
SO RHP Brady Puckett (2017)
SO RHP Jeffrey Passantino (2017)
SO OF Michael Gigliotti (2017)
SO C Jeffrey Crisan (2017)
FR OF Von Watson (2017)
FR RHP Cole White (2018)
FR INF Andrew Knell (2018)
FR INF Zeke Dodson (2018)
FR INF Cade Sorrells (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jaesung Hwang, Dalton Curtis, Cody Glenn, Adam Lee, Allan Hooker, Tyler Bethune

New Jersey Tech

SR LHP Ian Bentley (2016)
JR RHP/SS Bryan Haberstroh (2016)
SR C Stephan Halibej (2016)
JR C Cody Kramer (2016)
rSO OF Jesse Uttendorfer (2016)
SO RHP Sean Lubreski (2017)
SO RHP Tommy Derer (2017)
SO LHP Justin Chin (2017)
SO RHP Brent Jones (2017)
SO RHP/2B Johnny Malatesta (2017)
SO OF Evan Pietronico (2017)
FR SS Justin Etts (2018)

High Priority Follows: Ian Bentley, Bryan Haberstroh, Stephan Halibej, Cody Kramer, Jesse Uttendorfer

North Florida

JR RHP Anthony Delaney (2016)
JR LHP Kyle Kalbaugh (2016)
rJR RHP Alex Smith (2016)
JR RHP Bryan Baker (2016)
rJR RHP Matthew Naylor (2016)
SR RHP/1B Corbin Olmstead (2016)
rSR OF/1B Nick Karmeris (2016)
SR C Keith Skinner (2016)
SR 2B/SS Kyle Brooks (2016)
rJR 2B/SS Patrick Ervin (2016)
JR OF/1B Chris Thibideau (2016)
JR C Alex Merritt (2016)
SO RHP Brad Deppermann (2017)
SO RHP Connor Andrews (2017)
FR RHP Franklin German (2018)
FR LHP Austin Drury (2018)
FR RHP Anthony Delaney (2018)
FR OF Dalton Board (2018)
FR C Jarrett O’Leary (2018)
FR 3B Chris Berry (2018)

High Priority Follows: Kyle Kalbaugh, Bryan Baker, Corbin Olmstead, Nick Karmeris, Keith Skinner, Kyle Brooks, Chris Thibideau

South Carolina Upstate

SR RHP Cody Brittain (2016)
rJR RHP Tyler Jackson (2016)
JR RHP Jordan Miller (2016)
JR RHP Bryan Hathaway (2016)
JR RHP Brian Boocock (2016)
JR RHP Zach Mitchell (2016)
JR RHP Eric Birklund (2016)
JR RHP Richie Lacell (2016)
SR OF James Fowlkes (2016)
SR 3B Jake Beaver (2016)
JR 1B Zach Krider (2016)
JR SS Daniel Fickas (2016)
SO RHP Blake Whitney (2017)
SO RHP Kevin Hickey (2017)
SO OF JJ Shimko (2017)
SO 1B Charlie Carpenter (2017)

High Priority Follows: Cody Brittain, Brian Boocock, James Fowlkes, Jake Beaver, Zach Krider, Daniel Fickas


JR RHP Mitchell Jordan (2016)
JR RHP Walker Sheller (2016)
rJR RHP Frankie Romano (2016)
SR RHP Josh Thorne (2016)
SR LHP Adam Schaly (2016)
JR LHP Tyler Keller (2016)
rJR RHP Evin Lynch (2016)
SR OF/RHP Kevin Fagan (2016)
rJR OF/1B Vance Vizcaino (2016)
rSR OF/3B Cory Reid (2016)
SR 1B Will Mackenzie (2016)
SR OF John Fussell (2016)
SR 2B Jack Machonis (2016)
SO LHP Ben Onyshko (2017)
SO RHP Brooks Wilson (2017)
FR RHP Jack Perkins (2018)
FR RHP Logan Gilbert (2018)
FR RHP Joey Gonzalez (2018)
FR SS Matt Morales (2018)
FR OF Kirk Sidwell (2018)
FR C Benito Varela (2018)
FR OF Jacob Koos (2018)

High Priority Follows: Mitchell Jordan, Walker Sheller, Frankie Romano, Josh Thorne, Adam Schaly, Tyler Keller, Kevin Fagan, Vance Vizcaino, Cory Reid, Will Mackenzie

Atlantic Sun 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Stetson JR C Pat Mazeika
Jacksonville JR 1B Connor Marabell
Florida Gulf Coast rSO 2B Jake Noll
Kennesaw State JR SS Kal Simmons
North Florida SR 3B Trent Higginbothem
North Florida rSO OF Donnie Dewees
Kennesaw State JR OF Alex Liquori
Florida Gulf Coast JR OF Colton Bottomley

Kennesaw State JR RHP Jordan Hillyer
Kennesaw State JR LHP Travis Bergen
Florida Gulf Coast SR RHP Jack English
Florida Gulf Coast JR RHP Michael Murray
North Florida JR RHP Corbin Olmstead

Stetson has a pair of really good catching prospects that should make some serious noise in June. I’ve flip-flopped on each player’s future position multiple times, but people smarter than I seem mostly convinced both JR Pat Mazeika and SR Garrett Russini will stick behind the plate. Mazeika (also a 1B) is one of the college game’s underappreciated bats with an above-average hit tool, above-average raw power, and outstanding plate discipline. Russini (also an OF) is a notch below in every area as a hitter, but no slouch when compared to the rest of this year’s class of college catchers. JR 1B Connor Marabell (Jacksonville) is another strong hitter with a shot to move up boards. If he can convince teams he can play average or better defense in an outfield corner, watch out. Either way, he’s a bat to keep a close eye on. I originally had SR 1B Griffin Moore (Lipscomb) over him, and I think a strong argument could be made for Moore when you factor in his upside on the mound. JR 1B Nick Rivera (Florida Gulf Coast) is a comparable hitter to Marabell even though he doesn’t get quite the acclaim. I guess I’m a bit hypocritical for mentioning that considering I have the latter ranked first and the former ranked third. Whoops. Both guys are good, though!

Sorting through the conference’s unusually deep group of middle infield prospects makes for a fun little rainy day activity. JR SS Kal Simmons (Kennesaw State) appears to be the obvious headliner, but I’m not so sure. In fairness, I haven’t personally seen a lot of Simmons, so I have a harder time taking the word of those who rave about his progress over the summer – of which there are many – at the level I probably ought to. There’s no debate about his fantastic defense – hands, arm, range, everything – and the fact that Baseball America compared his glove (and overall game, but we’ll get back to that) to the recently retired John McDonald definitely says something. He’s going to catch the ball enough to keep getting chances to figure it out at the plate, and it’s pretty clear to anybody who has seen him in the field that as long as he does enough in the box to hit eighth he has a chance to have value as an overall player. That’s pretty big. For as much as I value defense, however, (and I swear I do!) I’d have a hard time taking such a one-dimensional player as high as I think you’d have to take a shot on Simmons. John McDonald had a long, lucrative ($13+ million!) career, so that aforementioned comparison should in no way be taken as a slight on Simmons’ pro prospects in any way. In fact, I think if the gains made over the summer that so many are convinced are real are, you know, really real, then we can start upping the McDonald comps to names like Jack Wilson, Zack Cozart, and Orlando Cabrera. If Simmons can get himself in that offensive range (around 80% of what a league average hitter looks like), then some of the lofty draft talk could be in play.

I’ve used up all my words on Simmons, so we’ll go lighting round with some of the other infield prospects in the conference. Like most players with two full remaining years of eligibility remaining, rSO 2B/3B Jake Noll could be a tough sign unless he hits his way up draft boards this spring. I’m very bullish on that happening, for what it’s worth. Just behind him for me is JR 2B/SS JJ Gould (Jacksonville), a Florida State transfer on the verge of a breakout 2015 season. SR SS Grant Massey (Lipscomb) is the last of the middle infielders I’d consider a draft lock at this point. He’s in position to be a really nice senior sign for a club in need of a steady glove, patient bat (40 BB and 44 K in 2014) and smart base running.

As mentioned, I’m cautiously optimistic that Kal Simmons’ summer breakout will continue into the spring. A better bat combined with his consistently awesome glove would make him the top prospect in the conference in almost any smart person’s eyes. That said, it would take a big spring for him to knock off rSO OF Donnie Dewees from his perch as top A-Sun prospect. I’d like to think that’s because Dewees is just that good because the alternative – I’m just not a smart person – isn’t as fun. Dewees is that good. In a neat twist of fate, the only question I have about Dewees’ game right now is his defense, specifically his future defensive home. He’ll hit enough to be an asset in a corner, but if he can play center then his stock will, in the immortal words of James Brown, get on up. I can buy his speed and arm playing to at least average in center, so it’ll come down to how comfortable he looks in space. Dewees is obviously quite well known in scouting circles, both at the ballparks and right here in internet land, but I still think he’s not getting quite the level of attention a player of his caliber warrants at this stage of the draft process. Too many people know and like him for me to stake any claim on him, but he’s an all-caps FAVORITE on my board whom I’m very excited to see at some point between now and the close of the season.

Kennesaw State’s pair of aces gives them a gigantic head start on the rest of the conference. JR RHP Jordan Hillyer and JR LHP Travis Bergen are very similar pitchers physically, stylistically, and statistically. Both guys are around the same size (6-0, 200 pounds, give or take), work in the same velocity range (86ish to 93ish), throw the same quality softer offspeed stuff (average or better changeups) and harder offspeed stuff (above-average to plus mid-80s cutters/cut-sliders/whatever you want to call its). The only major differences are Hillyer’s ability to spin a curve and more deceptive delivery. You could also tack on Bergen’s lefthandedness and his more advanced command and control, the latter of which is among the best in all of college baseball. It’s hard to say where they’ll eventually wind up, but both seem to fit the back-end starter or surprisingly quick-moving and effective reliever prospect profile pretty well.

The Florida Gulf Coast pair of arms right below are no slouches by comparison. SR RHP Jack English can throw any of his four average or better pitches for strikes in any count and JR RHP Michael Murray has been able to combine good stuff with great pitchability to keep very effectively keep runs off the board (1.85 ERA in 107 IP last year). There’s enough depth in pitching in the conference that an all-caps FAVORITE like JR RHP Corbin Olmstead (North Florida) barely cracks the top five, a 6-6 lefthander who lives in the low-90s falls even lower than that (Lipscomb SR LHP Nick Andros), and striking out a batter an inning with nice stuff barely gets you on the board at all (Stetson rJR RHP Tyler Warmoth). I could also go on about the entirety of the Lipscomb staff (Andros, rSR RHP Will Blalock and his mid-90s heat, rSO RHP Dalton Curtis bringing serious untapped upside to the party) or how it’s a particularly intriguing year for two-way talent in the league (Moore, Olmstead, Florida Gulf Coast rJR RHP/OF Brady Anderson and rSR RHP/SS Alex Diaz, Stetson SR RHP/1B Josh Powers), but the season starts soon and I have what feels like one hundred more conferences to get to.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. North Florida rSO OF Donnie Dewees
  2. Kennesaw State JR SS Kal Simmons
  3. Stetson JR C/1B Pat Mazeika
  4. Jacksonville JR 1B/OF Connor Marabell
  5. Florida Gulf Coast rSO 2B/3B Jake Noll
  6. Kennesaw State JR OF Alex Liquori
  7. Lipscomb SR SS Grant Massey
  8. Stetson SR C/OF Garrett Russini
  9. Lipscomb SR 1B/RHP Griffin Moore
  10. Florida Gulf Coast JR 1B Nick Rivera
  11. North Florida SR 3B Trent Higginbothem
  12. Jacksonville JR 2B/SS JJ Gould
  13. Northern Kentucky JR C Logan Spurlin
  14. Florida Gulf Coast JR OF Colton Bottomley
  15. Lipscomb SR OF Jonathan Allison
  16. Stetson JR OF/RHP Kevin Fagan
  17. Jacksonville JR OF Dylan Dillard
  18. Stetson JR SS/2B Tyler Bocock
  19. South Carolina Upstate JR OF James Fowlkes
  20. North Florida rSO SS Patrick Ervin
  21. Northern Kentucky SR OF Cole Bauml
  22. Florida Gulf Coast SR C Blake Berger
  23. Kennesaw State SR 1B Colin Bennett
  24. Jacksonville SR SS Angelo Amendolare
  25. North Florida JR 2B/SS Kyle Brooks
  26. South Carolina Upstate JR 3B Jake Beaver
  27. Lipscomb rSO C Tyler Bethune
  28. Jacksonville SR OF Cameron Gibson
  29. Lipscomb SR 2B/SS Mike Korte
  30. Florida Gulf Coast JR OF Tyler Selesky

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching 

  1. Kennesaw State JR RHP Jordan Hillyer
  2. Kennesaw State JR LHP Travis Bergen
  3. Florida Gulf Coast SR RHP Jack English
  4. Florida Gulf Coast JR RHP Michael Murray
  5. North Florida JR RHP/1B Corbin Olmstead
  6. Florida Gulf Coast rJR RHP/OF Brady Anderson
  7. Lipscomb SR LHP Nick Andros
  8. Lipscomb rSR RHP Will Blalock
  9. Kennesaw State SR LHP Will Solomon
  10. Florida Gulf Coast SR LHP Nick Deckert
  11. Florida Gulf Coast JR RHP Jordan Desguin
  12. Lipscomb rSO RHP Dalton Curtis
  13. Kennesaw State SR RHP Nathan Harsh
  14. Kennesaw State JR RHP Kendall Hawkins
  15. Lipscomb rJR RHP Jaesung Hwang
  16. Florida Gulf Coast rSR RHP/SS Alex Diaz
  17. Stetson JR RHP Josh Thorne
  18. Stetson rJR RHP Ben Rakus
  19. Stetson rJR RHP Tyler Warmoth
  20. Stetson SR RHP/1B Josh Powers
  21. Lipscomb SR RHP Ian Martinez-McGraw