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2015 MLB Draft Reviews – Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals 2015 MLB Draft Picks

No catchers. Minimal power. Lots of relievers. Extremely college-heavy. SEC bats. If you’re into brevity, there’s the 2015 Washington Nationals draft in about half a tweet. If you’re up for a few more words on the topic, keep on reading.

I appreciate what OF Andrew Stevenson (115) has done as a pro so far (.322/.373/.402 with 13 BB/20 K and 21/26 SB in 195 PA) not only because that’s a really solid line for any player but also because it validates my view on him from early spring. Prospect evaluation is all about the prospect evaluator and not the prospect, right? That’s what people pay the big bucks to read. Anyway, here is what I wrote then…

LSU JR OF Andrew Stevenson could step into a AA lineup tomorrow (just in time for opening day!) because his defense in center (plus-plus), speed (plus), and hit tool (above-average) are all professional quality right now. He’s one of those players that it would be very hard to imagine not someday carving out a big league role for himself on the basis of his defensive prowess and game-changing speed on the base paths alone. When you add in that hit tool, his emerging pop, and an improved approach at the plate, it’s easy to envision him maturing into a table-setting leadoff hitter guaranteed to give you years of positive defensive and base running value in the bigs. I was high on Stevenson before writing this paragraph, but now I’m more pumped about him than ever.

It’s not AA, but he’s at least one of the few — annoyingly few, in my view — 2015 college draft prospects getting a chance to play in a full-season league already. I compared Stevenson to the draft version of Ben Revere (.326/.383/.404 career minor league player) before the draft, and I’ll stick with that today. Revere has been a pretty valuable player to date and that’s without the ability to play an above-average center field; Stevenson could hit like Revere and wind up a top ten overall big league CF with the way he’ll provide substantial defensive and base running value. Think Brett Gardner or Michael Bourn if it works. Or Sam Fuld (.284/.371/.405 minor league hitter), a comp I got from a source who doesn’t love Stevenson like I do (“extra outfielder, but a good one”) if it doesn’t. I’m clearly bullish on his upside and the likelihood of reaching said upside, though I’ll stick with a Revere-like bat more than Gardner. The Nationals got a good one here.

Fellow SEC OF Rhett Wiseman (146) reminded me of a lefthanded Mikie Mahtook while at Vanderbilt. I’m sticking with that platoon corner outfield bat upside for now. Some pre-draft thoughts…

I’ve run into two interesting schools of thought about Wiseman while putting this together. The first, and I’ll admit that this was my initial view from the start, is that he’s still more tools than skills right now. The tools are quite strong, but the fact that they haven’t turned into the skills many expected by now gives some pause. Still, those tools that were clear to almost all going back to his high school days are still real and still worth getting excited about. The breakout could come any day now for him and when it does we’ll be looking at a potential first-division regular in the outfield. The opposing view believes that Wiseman’s development has gone as scripted and what we’re seeing right now is more or less what we’re going to get with him. He’s a great athlete and a far more cerebral hitter than given credit, but the tools were overstated across the board at the onset of his amateur career and now we’re seeing expectations for him correcting themselves based on what he really is. There really are no pluses in his game and no carrying tool that will help him rise above his future fourth outfielder station. I’m a believer that it’s always wise to bet on athletes having the light bulb turn on before too long, so count me in as still leaning closer to the former (and my original) position. I do understand the concerns about Wiseman potentially topping out as a “tweener” outfield prospect — he hasn’t shown the power yet to work in a corner, but that’s where he’s clearly best defensively — so going on the first day might be off the table. He’s still an intriguing blend of production (good, not mind-blowing) and tools (same) who could wind up a relative bargain if he slips much later than that. I could see him both being ranked and drafted in the same area that I had him listed (110th overall) out of Buckingham Browne & Nichols.

In any event, I don’t think Wiseman’s viewed by many as quite the prospect he was back in high school and a good part of that was the way many — me included — viewed his rawness, age, and relative inexperience as a New England high school product as positives. We all are guilty of assuming there are concretely meaningful patterns we can expect from prospect development and that all young players will continue to get better with age and experience. Development is not linear and can be wildly unpredictable. Some guys are as good as they are going to get at 17 while others don’t figure it out (unfortunately) until way after their physical peak. This speaks to the heart of what makes assessing and drafting amateurs so much fun. We’re all just trying to gather as much information on as many players as possible and then making the best possible guesses as to what we’ll wind up with.

OF Blake Perkins (283) is a really intriguing yet really raw second round gamble. It wasn’t a direct comparison by any means, but one informed source told me after the fact that he believed Washington is hoping Perkins can be another version of Michael Taylor. I can dig it. OF Phil Diedrick was a surprise pick for me, though I guess once you get down to round 29 getting a player selected is really a matter of needing just one area scout pounding the table for his guy. I admittedly don’t know much about Diedrick, but the flashes of college power weren’t enough to overcome the questionable plate discipline for me to rank him in the draftable range. Didn’t see him this year, didn’t talk to anybody who had, so…take my opinion on him with measurable skepticism.

1B David Kerian (216) admittedly has never thrilled me as a hitter, but there’s no denying his senior year production at the plate. Still, the key word there is senior as much as any other; I think we know enough about the importance of age/experience relative to competition that it’s fair to be suspicious about any college senior who puts up numbers out of line with their career marks. He’s more than fine value in the ninth round, but I think his realistic ceiling is more up-and-down bench bat than future regular.

2B Max Schrock (57) in round thirteen is flat robbery. Matt Chapman, Tim Wallach, David Freese, and Kyle Seager were all mentioned as possible comps for Schrock at one time or another on this site. I eventually settled on calling him a “Mark Ellis type of hitter capable of giving you more or less league average production at the plate while making up the difference as needed with smart base running and steady defense” before identifying him as a late-second/early-third round value back in March. My mind didn’t change between then and June. I’d be surprised if he didn’t have a long career in the big leagues, though whether it’s as an everyday second baseman or super-utility player is up to him. Saw him in HS and had this to say then: “[I] hate to resort to the cliché, but he’s a ballplayer – no crazy tools, not a premium athlete, not always aesthetically pleasing watching him play, but will do the things that help you win games…and, yeah, he can hit, too.”

2B Dalton Dulin (274) is a tricky player to love, but an easy player to like. He’s a lot of fun to watch — like Schrock, he’s a “gamer” — who does what he does well (make consistent hard contact, pick his spots on the bases, position himself defensively) really well. The tricky part is he’s also a player with limitations. There’s not a ton of power presently or on the way, and, steady as he is at second, there’s a good chance that’s his only viable long-term pro spot defensively. I still like the pick in the 17th round because Dulin is by all accounts a guy you want on your side between the lines with the acknowledgment that it’s a very tough road for a second basemen with little power. 2B Melvin Rodriguez (373) is like a more extreme version of Kerian in that his big senior year must be viewed through the prism of being an older (24 in Rodriguez’s case) college senior. I like the approach, pop, and potential defensive versatility (maybe 2B, 3B, and corner OF?), but starting your first full season as a minor league player at age 25 is less than ideal.

SS Ian Sagdal (474) was well liked by many I talked to as an offensive player, but his long-term defensive home was an open question. I had somebody compare him to Marcus Semien, so take that one any way you’d like. I thought the abbreviated and underwhelming final college season of SS Angelo La Bruna would cost him a shot to get drafted, but Washington gave him a shot in round 33. I had a guy in the Carolinas absolutely raving about La Bruna prior to the then Duke shortstop’s junior season. Injuries kept that from happening, though I think it’s also fair to speculate about how much upside La Bruna ever had in the first place. 2B Jake Jefferies has always intrigued me from an athletic standpoint, but hasn’t had even a good college season as of yet. Sometimes my notes are incomplete, especially for high school prospects. For 3B Dalton DiNatale, all I had back when he was in HS was “good arm strength.” That’s all well and good, but hardly enough information to do anything with on draft day. Such is the life of attempting to cover a country’s worth of amateurs with an unpaid staff of one. DiNatale took his strong arm to Arizona State where he enjoyed three eerily consistent years of decent but hardly thrilling college production. He’s a thirty-second round organizational player at this point, but I’ll always remember him for my lame attempts at passing off my knowledge of his arm strength as something meaningful.

If RHP Mariano Rivera (198) doesn’t wind up an effective part of a big league bullpen within the next three years, I give up. Some things are just meant to be. From the pre-season…

Bloodlines can be overrated, but I’m buying the potential benefits that Iona JR RHP Mariano Rivera has and will continue to reap as the son of baseball’s all-time best closer. Senior was known for many things such as piling up 652 saves, finishing his career with an inconceivable 205 ERA+, and throwing arguably the greatest singular pitch known to man; while awesome, none of those things (well, maybe some of that cutter magic could rub off…) will translate to helping Junior achieve success on the diamond. It is fair to believe that the insane work ethic and preternatural ability to make adjustments on the mound could be traits passed down from father to son. For now, Rivera is a nice looking relief prospect with enough fastball (88-92, 94 peak) and an above-average slider to compensate for his lack of size and middling track record to date. To a man, every person I spoke to remarked that they believed Rivera would be a better professional than college player.

That last sentence is what stands out most to me. Everybody had Rivera pegged as a better potential pro than a college player and that was before he wound up as a pretty damn good college player in 2015. His improved performance — from 3.50 K/9 in 2013 to 6.43 K/9 in 2014 to 11.96 K/9 in 2015 — not so surprisingly coincided with an uptick of stuff.

LHP Matthew Crownover (161) has reminded me of Adam Morgan for quite some time now, so I’ll stick with that as he enters pro ball. Morgan had to overcome shoulder injuries to reach the big leagues while Crownover is a high school Tommy John survivor who took some time to get back to 100%. There’s not much projection left, but the Clemson southpaw has the three average pitches and command to make a run as a potential fifth starter as is. LHP Taylor Hearn is a fun case as a prospect drafted four straight years. He’s relatively young for a senior, has always put up good numbers, and throws hard. That’s all I’ve got. The fastball of LHP Taylor Guilbeau moves almost too much for his own good at times. It’s a plus pitch even in the upper-80s because of the way it dances, but harnessing it within the strike zone has been a problem for him dating back to his freshman season at Alabama. LHP Grant Borne has similar stuff (FB at 88-92, best secondary pitch is changeup) and ultimate upside (middle relief).

RHP Koda Glover is a really nice looking relief prospect. He had a super junior year at Oklahoma State (10.50 K/9 and 1.88 ERA in 23 IP) and has the fastball (92-96) and slider (above-average at 82-84) to keep missing bats as a pro. I’m in. I’m also a big fan of RHP Andrew Lee (233) as the pre-draft ranking in parentheses indicates. Giving the two-way star from Tennessee a chance to concentrate fully on pitching could make him a surprisingly quick riser through the minor leagues. There’s size (6-5, 220), athleticism, arm speed (upper-80s FB, 93 peak), and a pair of intriguing offspeed pitches. Honestly, what’s not to like? Great pick. RHP Tommy Peterson is a Tommy John survivor (2013) that took some time to return to form, but did so with a bang in 2015 (10.23 K/9 and 2.05 ERA in 43 IP). With a fastball that gets up to the mid-90s, he’s a reliever to keep in mind. RHP Calvin Copping is a sinker/slider arm that could see his upper-80s fastball play up some now that he’s made the move to a professional bullpen. RHP Jorge Pantoja has good size (6-6, 220 pounds), athleticism, and enough fastball (90-93) and slider (average or better low-80s) to keep things interesting. I love SWAC prospects, so he’s a guy I’ll be following closely. It wouldn’t shock me if one of these three eventually wind up pitching in the big leagues one day.

RHP Kevin Mooney (459) can miss bats with his one-two punch of his sinking fastball (88-92, 94 peak) and upper-70s curve with plus promise, but is just too wild to be trusted at this point. Betting on arm talent is smart, so it’s easy to see why Washington liked the local product. RHP Matt Pirro has similar strengths and weaknesses. From earlier in the season…

SR RHP Matt Pirro has a good arm (88-93 FB, 95 peak) with a knuckle-curve that flashes plus, but his below-average control hasn’t gotten much better over the years. Feels like a late round flier on a guy with arm strength is his best bet. Wonder if his bad control stems from bad mechanics; if so, can it be fixed?

RHP Ryan Brinley has a legit fastball (92-94, 95 peak), but his results haven’t quite lined up with his stuff as of yet. RHP Mick VanVossen gets such high marks for his pitchability and baseball IQ that he’s got future pitching coach written all over him. Even with his smarts and average stuff, however, missing bats has never really been his thing. Still, as a 28th round organizational player that can at least hold his own on the mound while hopefully imparting some wisdom to teammates along the way, it’s a nice pick. The one signed HS prospect of note outside of Blake Perkins is LHP Tyler Watson, a very intriguing 34th round pick that the Nationals went above and beyond to work out a deal. The reports and the performance have been nothing short of outstanding to date. I’m sufficiently intrigued.

Nationals taken in my pre-draft top 500…

57 – Max Schrock
115 – Andrew Stevenson
146 – Rhett Wiseman
161 – Matthew Crownover
198 – Mariano Rivera
216 – David Kerian
233 – Andrew Lee
274 – Dalton Dulin
283 – Blake Perkins
373 – Melvin Rodriguez
459 – Kevin Mooney
474 – Ian Sagdal

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Site Update…and Random ACC Notes

I’m 41% finished with updating my college database. Without context that sounds neither good nor bad, but it’s something. Putting together the database is a long, tedious process that I start off enjoying (that first 10% flies by!), come to hate as the monotony and pointlessness of the whole endeavor sets in (this is reserved for those last thoughts as I drift to bed each night), begin to enjoy again after getting a weird rush of adrenaline that defies reason (every percentage point closer pumps me up…the human brain is weird), all before getting to the annual slog once I’m through doing all the big-time conferences until that one night when there’s no turning back in the work where I catch myself staying up well past my bedtime as I update players in the SWAC wondering how my life has come to this. What kills me about the whole thing is that every waking minute I’m not updating the database feels like a wasted opportunity. That’s sick. I need help. Any and all of those pesky non-essential yet obviously essential day-to-day tasks like eating, showering, commuting to/from work, and sleeping just get in the way of getting this whole thing over with. It shouldn’t be something to endure because I’m choosing to do it at no financial gain, but I’m human and sometimes combing through old box scores and obsessively checking my phone to hear back from somebody and finding old game recaps that I’ve saved since February but never got around to read feels like a silly way to spend one’s energy. But then, finally, it’s done and I’m happy and I get a million mean comments and emails and I’m still happy but in a different “haters gonna hate” kind of way and then the draft comes and goes and I go to sleep for the rest of June.

I broke my finger at around this time last year and it made updating the site nearly impossible for a few weeks — what would normally take me hours would have taken me days, and this info is time-sensitive after all — so I choose to embrace the craziness of the next few days and be thankful I’m in a position to have enough free time to pursue a hobby that I enjoy this much. I really hope that everybody else can get even a fraction of the enjoyment from reading that I do from putting this information together. Drafts really are the best, once you get past how arbitrary and anti-employee they are. I’m morally bankrupt, so I’m good to go.

The reason for those two paragraphs is to say that I’ll be pretty quiet with daily posts until that update is complete. My current personal deadline is by the end of this week. The dream is to wake up on June 1, one week before draft day, with all of my information and notes as finalized as humanly possible. That’ll give me the full week to roll out my final rankings and player notes. I’ll still respond to comments/emails and update the non-D1 player lists, so don’t take the absence of daily content as me falling off the face of the earth. I’m still here and willing to chat, so drop me a line whenever. I’ll probably also chime back in at some point with the updated list for high school outfielders (still working on that) and a great big thing on high school pitching that is just so massive I can’t even process how to relay the intel. It might just be me throwing down my notes on the page and leaving it up to you to decide from there. That could be fun. We’ll see.

(Seconds after scheduling this post, I remembered this. One of the reasons for writing this was to pose a question that has bugged me for months: who is the draft’s second best high school pitching prospect? I like Kolby Allard a ton, so he’s my number one. Don’t think I’m budging on that in the next two weeks. After that I’ve got nothing. Nikorak is probably the consensus choice, I like Hooper way more than most (saw him on his best days, I guess…though I’m not sure I like him $4 million worth), and Everett/Burrows/Russell all have really good cases. Is it crazy to pump up one of the projection righthanders all the way up to the second spot? I’m thinking somebody like Chandler Day, Jackson Kowar, Triston McKenzie, Tristan Beck, or Brady Singer here. I don’t think I’d look at a ranking with any of those guys in the top three and automatically dismiss it. Not nearly enough has been mentioned about how crazy this year’s HS pitching class is. There is no consensus. It’s going to be chaos. I can’t wait. Except, you know, if I was drafting I’d do just that: wait. Think of the quality of arm that could be had in the second, third, or even fourth rounds.)

Now for some actual (non-parenthetical) baseball talk. I haven’t looked at a single draft ranking other than my own rough drafts, but I think I consume enough college/draft content on the whole to have some feel for where the consensus seems to lean. Keep that in mind when I talk about underrated or overrated players. I don’t literally no where players are rated elsewhere, so I’m kind of arguing against a strawmaw each time. I think I’m a bit more informed than most who rant and rave about imaginary points of view, but that’s up to you to decide.

Anyway, since I loathe going meta with site updates without providing any additional content while I’m bitching and whining about how hard life running a draft website for fun is, here are a few scattered thoughts about a few draft prospects from a few college teams. We’re hitting Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Louisville today. These teams were chosen for the ultra-scientific reason that they are literally the first six teams that I have in my Word document. I’d love to do these for every single college team (and with a little more depth, too), but that’s just not feasible between now and June 8. I mean, the goal for today was to get a paragraph going for every team in the ACC, but I couldn’t even do that before tiring out. This will have to do for now…

Chris Shaw is really good. I keep going back and forth with whether or not he’s better than Casey Gillaspie. My gut feel was yes, but my more measured take was not quite. I’m not sure what that means, if anything. I remain weirdly into Blake Butera as a late-round senior that could hang around pro ball a few years based on his glove, approach, and makeup. There are also a host of interesting late-round relief types like John Gorman, Jeff Burke, Jesse Adams, and John Nicklas that I’d give draftable grades to.

Clemson’s top guys are all not talked about for my liking. Steven Duggar, Tyler Krieger, and the top of their rotation (Matthew Crownover and Zack Erwin) are all fine players. I get the reasons for the relative quiet for each — Duggar is a tools guy who some tired of waiting on, Krieger is swallowed up by the weird and wonderful (and out of nowhere…seriously, it’s been years since we’ve seen an American group of legitimate future big league shortstops all enter pro ball at once) college shortstop class that surrounds him, and the two lefties are both low-velocity arms compared to comparable pro prospect peers — but each player has big league ability. Eli White is another intriguing draft name for Clemson that I’m not sure many realize is a draft-eligible sophomore this season.

Like everybody else, I have no idea what to make of Michael Matuella right now. I’ve heard (and made) a lot of the comparisons to previously injured amateur arms that were still drafted high in the first round, but I don’t think any truly fit. Matuella is a favorite, obviously, but the injury and the lack of a track record make him a very scary (and unique) selection if you’re considering him in the draft’s first dozen picks. After that point, I think the gamble makes a lot more sense. A good 2015 MLB Draft prop bet would be which side accumulates more career WAR: Matuella or the rest of the current Duke roster eligible to be picked this year. Sarkis Ohanian (nasty cutter) and Andrew Istler (will throw any pitch in any count) are two of the better non-closing relievers out there, plus Kenny Koplove has the stuff, athleticism, and funky arm action to miss bats at the highest level. I’d still take Matuella over three relievers and a collection of other parts, but it’s not crazy to go with the latter package considering the boom/bust nature of Matuella’s future.

I’ve mentioned a lot of comps for DJ Stewart in the past, so I’ll just throw out a “Matt Olson level production” comparison I got on him recently and leave it at that. I believe in that bat and the rankings will reflect that. After Stewart there is a pretty steep drop in terms of prospect quality on the Florida State roster. Chris Marconcini is probably my second favorite hitter on the Seminoles. Mike Compton, who I love watching, is more of a great college starter than a viable pro prospect, but he does enough well (movement, deception, command) that a team that prioritizes those things, as well as certain performance indicators, could give him an honest shot. I know he’s not going to get the chance to play pro ball, but I’d be surprised if Jameis Winston isn’t drafted at some point. Though I’m on record of believing in him as a real prospect, I think the novelty factor is why he’ll wind up being taken late.

Matt Gonzalez was never a favorite of mine, but it’s still a bummer to see him struggle in his first draft-eligible season at Georgia Tech. The tools are solid and the glove is legit, but without major changes to his approach I’m not sure he’s worth burning an early pick on.

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

ACC 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Teams

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

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

First Team

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

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

Second Team

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

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

*****

Boston College

Includes comparing Chris Shaw to Ike Davis and Carlos Pena…

Clemson 

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

Duke

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

Florida State

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

Georgia Tech

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

Miami 

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

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

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

North Carolina State

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

Notre Dame

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

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

Pittsburgh

Waiting on next year for RHP TJ Zeuch…

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

Virginia 

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

Virginia Tech

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

Running 2015 MLB Draft Prospect Follow Lists (Week Two)

The original is here. The latest is below. The title says it all.

Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, and North Carolina State have been added to Boston College, Clemson, Duke, and Florida State. Still waiting on North Carolina to post a real roster online, so we’ll keep skipping them and move on to Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Virginia Tech for next week.

C

  1. Maryland JR C Kevin Martir
  2. Duke rSR C Mike Rosenfeld
  3. Miami SR C Garrett Kennedy

1B

  1. Boston College JR 1B/OF Chris Shaw
  2. Florida State rSR 1B Chris Marconcini
  3. Georgia Tech SR 1B/C AJ Murray
  4. Georgia Tech rSO 1B Cole Miller

2B

  1. Maryland rSO 2B Brandon Lowe
  2. Georgia Tech SR 2B/SS Thomas Smith
  3. North Carolina State SR 2B/3B Logan Ratledge

SS

  1. Clemson JR SS/3B Tyler Krieger

3B

  1. Miami JR 3B/1B David Thompson
  2. Maryland JR 3B Jose Cuas
  3. Miami JR 3B/OF George Iskenderian
  4. Georgia Tech JR 3B/SS Matt Gonzalez

OF

  1. Florida State JR OF DJ Stewart
  2. Clemson JR OF Steven Duggar
  3. Georgia Tech rJR OF Dan Spingola
  4. Clemson SR OF Tyler Slaton
  5. North Carolina State SR OF Jake Fincher

P

  1. Duke JR RHP Michael Matuella
  2. Clemson JR LHP Matthew Crownover
  3. Miami rJR LHP Andrew Suarez
  4. Clemson JR RHP Clate Schmidt
  5. Florida State JR LHP Alex Diese
  6. Duke JR RHP Kenny Koplove
  7. Maryland JR LHP Alex Robinson
  8. Maryland JR LHP Jake Dorssner
  9. Clemson JR LHP Zack Erwin
  10. Clemson rSO RHP Wales Toney
  11. Florida State JR RHP/OF Jameis Winston
  12. Duke SR RHP Andrew Istler
  13. Duke rSO RHP James Marvel
  14. Maryland JR RHP Kevin Mooney
  15. Maryland JR RHP Jared Price
  16. Florida State SR LHP Bryant Holtmann
  17. Maryland rJR LHP Zach Morris
  18. Clemson rJR RHP Patrick Andrews
  19. Florida State rJR RHP Mike Compton
  20. North Carolina State JR LHP Brad Stone
  21. Miami JR LHP Thomas Woodrey

Running 2015 MLB Draft Prospect Follow Lists

I thought this would be a fun way of finishing off each week and organizing the walls of text I keep throwing up from Monday to Thursday. This list is not nearly as comprehensive as the follow lists I’ve made in previous years nor is it as long as the list I keep internally, but I’m trying to be a little be more selective about whom we’re calling “prospects” in order to keep things a bit tidier around here. That leaves a few borderline draftable talents out for now, but I’ll be more inclusive on future lists as we get closer to June. You might think it would make more sense to do it the other way. My response to that is…yeah, you’re probably right. I might expand it in the next edition, at least with the position players.

Boston College, Clemson, Duke, and Florida State are the only schools with players listed at this time. Four more teams will be added each Friday for as long as we can keep up this pace. Next four teams are Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, and North Carolina State. It would be North Carolina, but they are the last remaining holdout in the ACC who have yet to post their 2014/2015 roster. Happens every year with them. Not cool.

C

  1. Duke rSR C Mike Rosenfeld: 5-10, 185 pounds (2012: .329/.403/.476 – 16 BB/48 K – 170 AB – 7/8 SB) (2013: .377/.451/.525 – 8 BB/9 K – 2/3 SB – 61 AB) (2014: .268/.396/.335 – 32 BB/42 K – 7 – 11/SB – 194 AB)

1B

  1. Boston College JR 1B/OF Chris Shaw: 6-4, 250 pounds (2013: .183/.286/.323 – 18 BB/32 K – 0/0 SB – 164 AB) (2014: .329/.393/.502 – 21 BB/38 K – 1/3 SB – 207 AB)
  2. Florida State rSR 1B Chris Marconcini: 6-5, 230 pounds (2011: .301/.404/.490 – 24 BB/38 K – 206 AB) (2013: .316/.409/.579 – 28 BB/39 K – 8/10 SB – 190 AB) (2014: .252/.341/.435 – 28 BB/38 K – 7/9 SB – 230 AB)

2B

SS

  1. Clemson JR SS/3B Tyler Krieger: 6-1, 170 pounds (2013: .266/.360/.321 – 29 BB/29 K – 9/15 SB – 218 AB) (2014: .338/.410/.447 – 25 BB/24 K – 19/24 SB – 219 AB)

3B

OF

  1. Florida State JR OF DJ Stewart: 6-0, 230 pounds (2013: .360/.469/.551 – 40 BB/38 K – 8/12 SB – 225 AB) (2014: .351/.472/.557 – 40 BB/30 K – 4/5 SB – 194 AB)
  2. Clemson JR OF Steven Duggar: 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .308/.368/.392 – 24 BB/39 K – 16/23 SB – 250 AB) (2014: .294/.368/.378 – 27 BB/51 K – 25/28 SB – 238 AB)
  3. Clemson SR OF Tyler Slaton: 5-7, 200 pounds (2012: .208/.377/.226 – 13 BB/16 K – 6/6 SB – 53 AB) (2013: .269/.375/.306 – 24 BB/32 K – 6/9 SB – 160 AB) (2014: .274/.391/.373 – 42 BB/34 K – 11/17 SB – 241 AB)

P

  1. Duke JR RHP Michael Matuella: 6-6, 220 pounds (2013: 4.53 K/9 | 2.03 BB/9 | 3.95 FIP | 57.2 IP) (2014: 69 K/15 BB – 58.1 IP – 2.78 ERA)
  2. Clemson JR LHP Matthew Crownover: 6-0, 200 pounds (2013: 6.04 K/9 | 2.06 BB/9 | 4.55 FIP | 70 IP) (2014: 2.90 ERA – 90 K/20 BB – 99.1 IP)
  3. Clemson JR RHP Clate Schmidt: 6-2, 180 pounds (2013: 4.20 K/9 | 4.04 BB/9 | 4.66 FIP | 55.2 IP) (2014: 3.68 ERA – 53 K/28 K – 66 IP)
  4. Florida State JR LHP Alex Diese: 6-3, 200 pounds
  5. Duke JR RHP Kenny Koplove: 6-2, 170 pounds (2013: .314/.341/.379 – 7 BB/24 K – 2/3 SB – 153 AB) (2014: .191/.243/.224 – 14 BB/41 K – 2/2 SB – 183 AB)
  6. Clemson JR LHP Zack Erwin: 6-5, 200 pounds (2013: 5.10 K/9 | 2.85 BB/9 | 4.39 FIP | 60 IP) (2014: 4.21 ERA – 62 K/28 BB – 72.2 IP)
  7. Clemson rSO RHP Wales Toney: 6-2, 210 pounds
  8. Florida State JR RHP/OF Jameis Winston: 6-4, 220 pounds (2013: .227/.374/.336 – 23 BB/32 K – 2/4 SB – 119 AB) (2013: 7.33 K/9 | 3.67 BB/9 | 3.66 FIP | 27 IP) (2014: 31 K/7 BB – 33.1 IP – 1.08 ERA)
  9. Duke SR RHP Andrew Istler: 5-11, 180 pounds (2012: 6.23 K/9 | 1.56 BB/9 | 3.44 FIP | 52 IP) (2013: 8.20 K/9 | 2.89 BB/9 | 3.52 FIP | 37.1 IP) (2014: 59 K/24 BB – 76 IP – 2.84 ERA)
  10. Duke rSO RHP James Marvel: 6-3, 200 pounds (2013: 4.93 K/9 | 3.21 BB/9 | 4.23 FIP | 42 IP) (2014: 16 K/8 BB – 25.1 IP – 1.78 ERA)
  11. Florida State SR LHP Bryant Holtmann: 6-5, 200 pounds (2012: 6.39 K/9 | 2.84 BB/9 | 3.88 FIP | 25.1 IP) (2013: 6.00 K/9 | 4.50 BB/9 | 4.20 FIP | 36 IP) (2014: 29 K/12 BB – 36.2 IP – 3.68 ERA)
  12. Clemson rJR RHP Patrick Andrews: 6-4, 225 pounds (2012: 8.28 K/9 | 4.30 BB/9 | 3.70 FIP | 29.1 IP) (2013: 6.21 K/9 | 2.39 BB/9 | 3.87 FIP | 37.2 IP)
  13. Florida State rJR RHP Mike Compton: 6-2, 200 pounds (2012: 6.73 K/9 | 2.57 BB/9 | 4.36 FIP | 91 IP) (2014: 50 K/19 BB – 83.2 IP – 3.23 ERA)

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Clemson

Hey, all. It’s that time of year. We’re doing team-by-team college prospect previews for as long as I have the sanity to keep rolling ‘em out. Feel free to request a team/conference and I’ll put it at the top of the list. Also, as always, don’t hesitate to tell me how wrong I am in the comments or via email (robozga@gmail.com)…

JR LHP Matthew Crownover (2015)
JR LHP Zack Erwin (2015)
JR RHP Clate Schmidt (2015)
rSO RHP Wales Toney (2015
rJR RHP Patrick Andrews (2015)
rSR RHP Kevin Pohle (2015)
rSR RHP Jake Long (2015)
JR RHP Brady Koerner (2015)
rSR RHP Clay Bates (2015)
rSO RHP Garrett Lovorn (2015)
JR OF Steven Duggar (2015)
SR OF Tyler Slaton (2015)
rSO OF Maleeke Gibson (2015)
JR SS/3B Tyler Krieger (2015)
SO C Chris Okey (2016)
SO LHP Pat Krall (2016)
SO 3B/SS Weston Wilson (2016)
SO SS/2B Eli White (2016)
SO LHP Alex Bostic (2016)
SO RHP Drew Moyer (2016)
rFR 3B Glenn Batson (2016)
rFR OF Reed Rohlman (2016)
FR OF KJ Bryant (2017)
FR LHP Charlie Barnes (2017)
FR OF Drew Wharton (2017)

I like this Clemson team on paper. The pitching looks really promising with up to eight draft-eligible pitchers hitting the low-90s by my last count (I’m sure there are more, but I’m only one man here). Injuries to some of the most talented arms make it tough to truly pick a favorite, but I think it comes down to going with one of the quartet of JR LHP Matthew Crownover, JR LHP Zack Erwin, JR RHP Clate Schmidt, or rSO RHP Wales Toney. The first three names all made significant strides between the 2013 season and last year. Crownover is the most polished (three pitch mix highlighted by my favorite pitch, a good CU) and has the best control, Erwin has the deepest repertoire, good deception, and imposing size (6-5, 200), and Schmidt is the best athlete with the hottest heat (lives in the 90s, peaks at 96). As a draft eligible arm with no real college track record to speak of, the big-armed Toney (95 peak) is the mystery man of the group. All four are definite draft picks in my mind and potentially high ones at that.

The next tier of Clemson pitching is still quite solid. There’s not a lot to go on results-wise (at least of late) when it comes to evaluating rJR RHP Patrick Andrews, rSR RHP Kevin Pohle, and JR RHP Brady Koerner, but all fit the the mid- to late-round middle relief profile at the next level. Andrews and Pohle in particular have that FB/SL combination that pro teams seem to like, but may not miss enough bats to get serious draft consideration barring big 2015 seasons.

JR OF Steven Duggar is as tooled up as just about any college player in the country. His speed, arm, and athleticism all rate with anybody else in the class. Even if the approach (27 BB/51 K last season) never catches up to where you want it, those tools will all play in the big leagues. He’s a ready to roll from day one center field prospect as speed, arm, and defense can take you very far with an up-the-middle profile. He could move from good to great prospect by either showing an improved approach or showing more consistent power. I’m not sure what adjustments it’ll take to help him unlock his considerable raw power in game situations, but if that happens to click, watch out.

Duggar could be flanked in the outfield with a pair of potential 2015 draftees to either side. SR OF Tyler Slaton is a classic undersized senior sign grinder who can run, defend, and battle through at bats enough to get a look. rSO OF Maleeke Gibson has yet to do much on the big stage, but he’s a plus runner with the chance to open some eyes if the stars align. An argument can be made that Duggar, awesome as his tools may be, is not the best 2015 draft prospect in the Clemson lineup. That title could fall to JR SS/3B Tyler Krieger, a big personal favorite. In light of Kyle Seager’s recent massive extension, I think we’re all trying to find “the next Kyle Seager.” I won’t say it’s Krieger, but there are some scouting similarities between the two. I like Krieger for his above-average to plus speed (plays up, too), simple direct swing path, and steady glovework. I’d like to see a little more consistency with his throws this year and a little more pop wouldn’t hurt (that’s the one clear area college Seager has him beat), but Krieger is a rock solid prospect as is. Clemson’s last two recruiting classes have injected even more talent into the program with SO C Chris Okey, SO 3B/SS Weston Wilson, and SO RHP Drew Moyer all showing early signs of promise. I’m also intrigued by SO LHP Alex Bostic, FR OF KJ Bryant, and FR LHP Charlie Barnes. Of both future draft classes, Okey stands out as the biggest potential star but don’t sleep on Wilson or Bostic breaking through this year.