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2018 MLB Draft Profile – Maine

Everybody seems to love SS Jeremy Pena. We’re talking top three round buzz in some quarters kind of love. I won’t go so far as to say I don’t get it, so let’s just say I’m more in the “like” camp than the “love” side. He’s a good bet to stick at shortstop, so that alone makes him a prospect of some note. He has a plus arm, above-average to plus speed, and average raw power that could result in double-digit home run seasons at his peak. Sounds really good, right? So what is it about him that I can’t quite bring myself to love? Call it a combination between old scouting intuition (note: I know I’m not a scout and try not to pretend to be, but we’re all baseball watchers who get instinctual feelings about certain players and after thousands of games observed it’s only fair to occasionally listen to your gut every now and then) and a personal aversion to overly aggressive college hitters with statistical red flags in the BB/K categories. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t still like Pena. As mentioned, just being a viable pro shortstop gives him value at the jump. That’s good. All of those average or better tools (power, speed, arm, potentially the glove) are good, too. Even with the approach as is, Pena has a shot to be a potential regular up the middle or at third with a floor as an offensive backup infielder. That’s a really nice overall prospect profile.

I should also point out that I’m wrong about guys a lot. While I generally believe that the track record of guys with Pena’s brand of aggressive college hitting in pro ball isn’t great (not exactly a hot take, I think), there are notable exceptions that I’ve missed on in the past. The first two that come to mind are Paul DeJong (who I ranked 37 spots lower than when he was actually picked) and Marcus Semien (“isn’t enough there to project as a big leaguer at this point”). Both conveniently enough work as potential comps for Pena in pro ball. Here’s a quick statistical comparison of what the three did while in school…

.326/.427/.547 with 17.8 K% and 12.1 BB% in 528 AB
.285/.367/.428 with 14.8 K% and 11.3 BB% in 495 AB
.297/.355/.432 with 17.1 K% and 6.9 BB% in 553 AB

Top is DeJong, middle is Semien, and bottom is Pena. DeJong was a fourth round pick and Semien was a sixth round pick. If you really like Pena, then I could see that as a potential draft range for him this June. You could also use last year’s similarly tooled up shortstop prospect, Kevin Smith out of Maryland, as a reference point. Smith, an eventual fourth round pick (ranked 35 spots lower than where he was picked, FWIW), hit .267/.331/.455 with 17.0 K% and 7.6 BB% in 675 AB in his college career. Those numbers are probably the closest match out of the three pros to what Pena has done to date. So maybe the fourth to sixth round range fits. Then again, the numbers above could also potentially indicate that the sixth round is more of a draft ceiling for Pena, who is likely to enter pro ball with the least impressive resume of the group. Call the range from rounds six to ten (with an outside shot at round four or five) and I think you’re on the money with where Pena could go. The upside, like Semien, is a league average hitter who provides defensive value at short, second, and third. The downside is getting buried under an avalanche of strikeouts in AA.

C Christopher Bec is one of those hitters that I don’t know a ton about outside of the stat line, but feel confident enough in based primarily on the numbers to put him on my own “maybe” senior-sign list. That’s what playing a position of need will do for you. Bec hit in high school, at Miami-Dade, and he’s still hitting at Maine. Hard not to like that. 3B/2B Danny Casals is a solid defender at the hot corner with enough arm to stay there in pro ball. A junior year breakout at the plate has him squarely in the draft mix. I like these Maine hitters.

Grows up in Maine, attends high school in Maine, leads the University of Maine pitching staff…now all RHP Justin Courtney has to do is get selected by the Red Sox so he can play minor league ball in Portland and he’s all set. Eventually getting to AA is well within reach for the 6-5, 225 pound righthander with strong secondary stuff (cutter, breaking ball) and enough fastball (86-91). What Courtney lacks in present velocity he makes up for (in part) by extension and deception in his delivery. Unfortunately, all of this is on hold as he recovers from Tommy John surgery with the full intention of returning to Maine as a fifth-year senior in 2019. So, assuming we stave off nuclear annihilation another year, we can revisit this conversation in twelve months.

RHP Nick Silva has never been known as a consistent strike thrower. That’s not exactly ideal for a pitching prospect but certainly forgivable when you can run the fastball up to 95 MPH. His offspeed stuff (low-80s CU, low-70s CB) remains a work in progress, but Silva’s success getting swings and misses with his heat might be enough to jump to pro ball a year ahead of graduation. It also doesn’t hurt that Silva’s uncle is Alex Rodriguez. I’m not quite sure how it helps during the draft process — visibility? maybe? — but I know it doesn’t hurt.

RHP John Arel is a tough guy to figure. Working for him is his size (6-7, 275), out pitch (an above-average slider), enough velocity (up to 92), and a 2016 season that showed what he can do at his best (9.20 K/9 and 2.39 BB/9 in 75.1 IP with a 3.94 ERA). Working against him is his size (too big?), a lack of velocity (sits only 86-90), and back to back underwhelming seasons (2017 was a disaster, 2018 has been good in terms of ERA but bad everywhere else). Weighing the pros and cons gets you a 50/50 at best late round senior-sign type. RHP Chris Murphy has similar size (6-5, 270), strengths (88-92 FB, quality SL), and weaknesses (not nearly enough missed bats to make up for well below-average control). He has an extra year of eligibility before we talk about him as a potential 50/50 (at best) senior-sign in 2019. I’ve got nothing on LHP Eddie Emerson besides his fun high strikeout/high walk totals over the years. Disastrous 2018 ERA aside, as a lefty who has missed some bats over the years he may be worth watching in 2019.

JR RHP Nick Silva (2018)
SR RHP Justin Courtney (2018)
rSR RHP Jonah Normandeau (2018)
rJR RHP Chris Murphy (2018)
SR RHP John Arel (2018)
SR LHP Connor Johnson (2018)
rSR RHP Zach Winn (2018)
JR LHP Eddie Emerson (2018)
JR SS Jeremy Pena (2018)
SR C Christopher Bec (2018)
JR 3B/2B Danny Casals (2018)
SR OF Brandon Vicens (2018)
SR C Jonathan Bennett (2018)
rJR 2B/SS Caleb Kerbs (2018)
JR OF Colin Ridley (2018)
SO RHP Cody Laweryson (2019)
rFR RHP Matt Geoffiron (2019)
RHP/1B Matthew Pushard (2019)
SO 1B/OF Hernen Sardinas (2019)
SO C Cody Pasic (2019)
FR OF/LHP Ben Terwilliger (2020)

America East MLB Draft Follow List

Occasionally I’ll get asked some variation of “Hey, I’m seeing Blank vs Blank this weekend – who should I watch for?” These lists are the long versions of those answers. Basically, any player listed below has either a) done something worthwhile on the field to warrant some further investigation (i.e., he’s hit certain statistical benchmarks I like), or b) shown enough to somebody (BA, D1, PG, Twitter, my contacts, me…anybody, really) to get a few words written on the Internet that could then be turned into a meaningful “scouting note” in my database. Not every guy is a definite draft prospect — since missing on a player drives me nuts, these lists aim to be as inclusive as possible — but each individual player has done enough to deserve some degree of draft consideration from me.

So if you ever find yourself spending a spring afternoon watching Binghamton and Maine square off, you’ll be all set. If this site serves no other purpose than even that, I can rest easy.

Albany

SR LHP Marcus Failing (2017)
SR RHP JT Genovese (2017)
rSR C/1B Evan Harasta (2017)
SR OF Eric Mueller (2017)
rSR 3B Matt Hinchy (2017)
rSR OF Kyle Sacks (2017)
rJR OF Connor Powers (2017)
SO LHP Hunter Torres (2018)
SO RHP Domnic Savino (2018)
SO RHP Angelo Spedafino (2018)
SO LHP Kenny McLean (2018)
SO 2B Pat Lagravinese (2018)
SO SS Kevin Donati (2018)
SO C Matt Codispoti (2018)

Binghamton

rSR RHP Jake Cryts (2017)
rJR RHP Jacob Wloczewski (2017)
JR RHP Joe Orlando (2017)
JR RHP Jake Erhard (2017)
JR RHP Dylan Stock (2017)
JR LHP/1B Nick Wegmann (2017)
rSO 1B/3B Justin Yurchak (2017)
SR 1B/OF Brendan Skidmore (2017)
SR OF Darian Herncane (2017)
SR C/OF Edward Posavec (2017)
JR C/1B Jason Agresti (2017)
JR OF Chris McGee (2017)
JR OF/2B CJ Krowiak (2017)
JR 3B/1B Luke Tevlin (2017)
JR SS Paul Rufo (2017)
JR OF Pat Britt (2017)
SO RHP Nick Gallagher (2018)
SO OF Daniel Franchi (2018)
FR RHP Ben Anderson (2019)

Hartford

SR RHP John LaRossa (2017)
rJR RHP David Drouin (2017)
SR RHP Brian Stepniak (2017)
JR RHP Collin Ferguson (2017)
JR RHP Kevin Tise (2017)
RHP/OF Sebastian DiMauro (2017)
SR 1B/3B David MacKinnon (2017)
SR 2B/3B Dalton Ruch (2017)
JR C Erik Ostberg (2017)
JR 3B/SS TJ Ward (2017)
JR SS/3B Ben Bengtson (2017)
JR OF Nick Campana (2017)
rSO 2B Cam Belliveau (2017)
SO RHP Justin Cashman (2018)
SO RHP Billy Devito (2018)
SO RHP Seth Pinkerton (2018)
SO RHP John Mormile (2018)
SO OF Ashton Bardzell (2018)
SO 3B Chris Sullivan (2018)
FR RHP Nathan Florence (2019)
FR LHP Thomas Feehan (2019)
FR C Bryce Ramsay (2019):
FR C Robert Carmody (2019):

Maine

SR RHP Jeff Gelinas (2017):
JR RHP Chris Murphy (2017)
JR RHP Justin Courtney (2017)
JR RHP John Arel (2017)
JR LHP Connor Johnson (2017)
rJR RHP Zach Winn (2017)
rJR RHP Jonah Normandeau (2017)
SR OF/RHP Tyler Schwanz (2017)
SR OF Lou Della Fera (2017)
JR OF Brandon Vicens (2017)
SO LHP Eddie Emerson (2018)
SO RHP Nick Silva (2018)
SO SS Jeremy Pena (2018)
SO 3B/2B Danny Casals (2018)
SO OF Colin Ridley (2018)
FR 1B Hernen Sardinas (2019)

Stony Brook

JR LHP Teddy Rodliff (2017)
rJR RHP Cameron Stone (2017)
JR RHP Aaron Pinto (2017)
JR LHP Kevin Kernan (2017)
JR LHP/OF Cole Creighton (2017)
SR OF Toby Handley (2017)
SR 1B/OF Casey Baker (2017)
rSR C David Real (2017)
JR 1B/3B Andruw Gazzola (2017)
JR 2B/SS Bobby Honeyman (2017)
SR SS Jeremy Giles (2017)
SO RHP Bret Clarke (2018)
SO LHP/OF Joe Baran (2018)
SO C Sean Buckhout (2018)
SO OF Dylan Resk (2018)
FR RHP Brian Herrmann (2019)
FR RHP Sam Turcotte (2019)
FR 2B/OF Michael Wilson (2019)
FR OF Chris Hamilton (2019)

Massachusetts – Lowell

SR RHP Steve Xirinachs (2017)
JR RHP Andrew Ryan (2017)
JR RHP Nick Kuzia (2017)
JR RHP Tim Fallon (2017)
JR RHP Dan Cunico (2017)
JR RHP Luke Tomczyk (2017)
SO 1B/OF Steve Passatempo (2017)
SO LHP Ricky Constant (2018)
SO RHP Kendall Pomeroy (2018)
SO RHP Nick Rand (2018)
SO RHP Collin Duffley (2018)
SO OF Michael Young (2018)
SO OF Chris Sharpe (2018)
rFR C Austin Young (2018)
FR 1B John Polichetti (2019)

UMBC

rSR LHP Kevin Little (2017)
SR RHP Cory Callahan (2017)
rJR RHP Patrick Phillips (2017)
JR RHP Matt Chanin (2017)
rSR RHP Michael Austin (2017)
rSR OF/RHP Tim Kelly (2017)
SR 1B/LHP Connor Hax (2017)
rJR SS Matt Campbell (2017)
SR C Hunter Dolshun (2017)
SR OF Andrew Casali (2017)
rJR 3B Mitchell Carroll (2017)
JR C Zack Bright (2017)
JR 1B Jamie Switalski (2017)
SO RHP Jacob Christian (2018)
SO 3B AJ Wright (2018)
FR RHP Mitchell Wilson (2019)

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – America East Follow List

Albany

SR 3B Joey Tracy (2015)
SR OF Cory Kingston (2015)
JR C Evan Harasta (2015)
SR C Craig Lepre (2015)
JR 3B Matt Hinchy (2015)
SR RHP Cameron Sorgie (2015)
JR RHP Ryan Stinar (2015)
SR RHP Matt Gallup (2015)
rSR LHP Daniel Castro (2015)
SR LHP Andrew Jaurique (2015)
SO RHP Stephen Woods (2016)

Binghamton

rJR RHP Jake Cryts (2015)
SR RHP Mike Urbanski (2015)
JR RHP/OF Mike Bunal (2015)
rSR 1B/3B Brian Ruby (2015)
SR OF/C Jake Thomas (2015)
SR OF Zach Blanden (2015)
JR 3B David Schanz (2015)
SO C Edward Posavec (2016)

Hartford

SR LHP Austin Barnes (2015)
JR RHP Sam McKay (2015)
JR RHP Brian Murphy (2015)
JR RHP Kyle Gauthier (2015)
JR RHP Jacob Mellin (2015)
JR RHP Jeremy Charles (2015)
rSR OF/LHP Ryan Lukach (2015)
JR 2B/SS Aaron Wilson (2015)
JR OF Chris DelDebbio (2015)
SR 1B/OF Brady Sheetz (2015)
JR C/1B Billy Walker (2015)
SO RHP David Drouin (2016)
SO 1B/3B David MacKinnon (2016)
FR C Erik Ostberg (2017)
FR 3B/SS TJ Ward (2017)
FR RHP Ben Brown (2017)

Maine

JR C Kevin Stypulkowski (2015)
JR SS Brett Chappell (2015)
SR OF Brian Doran (2015)
SR OF Sam Balzano (2015)
SR 3B Luke Morrill (2015)
SR LHP/1B Scott Heath (2015)
JR RHP Logan Fullmer (2015)
JR RHP Jake Marks (2015)
JR RHP Charlie Butler (2015)
SR RHP Jacob Gosselin-Deschesnes (2015)
SO RHP Jeff Gelinas (2016)
FR RHP Chris Murphy (2017)
FR RHP Justin Courtney (2017)
FR RHP John Arel (2017)

Stony Brook

JR LHP Tyler Honahan (2015)
rSO LHP Daniel Zamora (2015)
rJR RHP Nick Brass (2015)
JR RHP Tim Knesnik (2015)
JR RHP Chad Lee (2015)
SR SS Cole Peragine (2015)
JR 3B Johnny Caputo (2015)
JR OF Jack Parenty (2015)
SR 2B Robert Chavarria (2015)
SO 1B/OF Casey Baker (2016)
SO RHP Ryley MacEachern (2016)
SO RHP Cameron Stone (2016)
SO OF Toby Handley (2016)

Massachusetts – Lowell

SR OF Geoff DeGroot (2015)
SR 3B Matthew Sanchez (2015)
SR SS Danny Mendick (2015)
JR 1B Matt Mottola (2015)
SR OF Luke Reynolds (2015)
JR OF Joe Consolmagno (2015)
SR RHP Christian Lavoie (2015)
SO 1B/3B Zack Tower (2016)
SO OF/LHP Ian Strom (2016)

UMBC

SR OF/RHP Anthony Gatto (2015)
rJR 3B Mark Esposito (2015)
JR SS Kevin Lachance (2015)
SR 2B Vince Corbi (2015)
SR OF Jake Barnes (2015)
JR LHP Joe Vanderplas (2015)
rSR RHP Shane Vlasic (2015)
rSR RHP Jonny Dierks (2015)
SO C Hunter Dolshun (2016)
SO OF Andrew Casali (2016)