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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Colonial Athletic Conference

I’ll update this to provide more commentary when I can, but for now I’m pleased to say how much I like the CAA this year. There’s no doubt in my mind that the conference will blow by last year’s twelve drafted players in this year’s draft.

Bradley Jones has one of the top power/speed blends in all the country, Charley Gould was seemingly put on this planet to hit baseballs, and Gavin Stupienski checks all the boxes one could hope to see in a potential big league backstop. Chad Carroll, Casey Golden, and Morgan Phillips have all had good college careers, but still have enough untapped physical talent that each could be considered an upside play and potential mid-spring surger up draft boards.

The pitching is really impressive at the top. Aaron Civale and Bailey Ober look like strong candidates to pitch in professional rotations for a long time; I can see mid-rotation ceilings for both. Then there’s a slew of hard-throwing relievers who should make their mark on the draft this June: Jared Gesell, Chris Hall, Joe McGillicuddy, and Joseph Gaouette can all reach the mid-90s with an above-average (give or take) offspeed pitch to go with the heat.

Hitters

  1. College of Charleston JR OF/SS Bradley Jones
  2. William & Mary SR 1B/C Charley Gould
  3. UNC Wilmington rJR C Gavin Stupienski
  4. Towson JR C/3B Brady Policelli
  5. James Madison rSR OF/2B Chad Carroll
  6. Elon JR 3B/OF Nick Zammarelli
  7. Towson rJR OF/1B Chris Henze
  8. Hofstra JR SS/2B Brad Witkowski
  9. UNC Wilmington JR OF/RHP Casey Golden
  10. College of Charleston rSR OF Morgan Phillips
  11. UNC Wilmington SR OF/3B Steven Linkous
  12. UNC Wilmington SR 3B/SS Terence Connelly
  13. Delaware rSO 3B Diaz Nardo
  14. Elon rJR OF Will Nance
  15. College of Charleston JR C Ervin Roper
  16. UNC Wilmington rJR SS Kennard McDowell
  17. Elon JR OF Kyle Jackson
  18. Elon JR OF Jamal Clarke
  19. William & Mary rSR OF/C Josh Smith
  20. James Madison rJR 1B/3B Brett Johnson
  21. UNC Wilmington SR OF Joe Bertone
  22. James Madison JR OF Ky Parrott
  23. James Madison SR C Bobby San Martin
  24. Towson rJR OF AJ Gallo
  25. Northeastern JR 3B Cam Hanley
  26. Northeastern JR OF Pat Madigan
  27. College of Charleston SR OF Alex Pastorius
  28. James Madison JR 1B/LHP Logan Corrigan

Pitchers

  1. Northeastern JR RHP Aaron Civale
  2. College of Charleston rSO RHP Bailey Ober
  3. Northeastern JR RHP Dustin Hunt
  4. UNC Wilmington SR RHP Jared Gesell
  5. Elon JR RHP/C Chris Hall
  6. Elon rSR RHP Joe McGillicuddy
  7. William & Mary SR RHP Joseph Gaouette
  8. Hofstra SR RHP Alex Eisenberg
  9. James Madison JR LHP Michael Evans
  10. College of Charleston SR RHP Nathan Helvey
  11. College of Charleston rSO RHP Hayden McCutcheon
  12. Elon JR RHP Matt Harris
  13. Elon JR RHP Nick Beaulac
  14. William & Mary JR RHP Nick Brown
  15. Delaware rSO RHP Ron Marinaccio
  16. College of Charleston rSO RHP Michael Carpin
  17. UNC Wilmington SR RHP Ryan Foster
  18. William & Mary SR RHP Mitchell Aker
  19. Elon rSR RHP/C Michael Elefante
  20. Elon JR LHP Jordan Barrett
  21. Towson rJR RHP Kevin Ross
  22. UNC Wilmington SR LHP Taylor Hyssong
  23. College of Charleston SR LHP Eric Bauer
  24. Elon SR LHP Tyler Manez
  25. Elon rJR LHP Brandon Kacer
  26. Hofstra rSR LHP Brendan Mulligan
  27. Northeastern rJR RHP Mike Fitzgerald
  28. Towson SR RHP Lee Lawler

College of Charleston

rSO RHP Hayden McCutcheon (2016)
rSO RHP Bailey Ober (2016)
SR RHP Nathan Helvey (2016)
SR LHP Eric Bauer (2016)
rSO RHP Michael Carpin (2016)
JR OF/SS Bradley Jones (2016)
rJR C/1B Jake Maziar (2016)
rSR OF Morgan Phillips (2016)
SR OF Alex Pastorius (2016)
JR C Ervin Roper (2016)
SO RHP Justin Baker (2017)
SO RHP Carter Love (2017)
rFR 1B Logan McRae (2017)
SO OF Ryan Brown (2017)
SO INF Tommy Richter (2017)
FR RHP Clay Helvey (2018)
FR LHP Evan Sisk (2018)
FR SS Dupree Hart (2018)
FR SS Luke Manzo (2018)

High Priority Follows: Hayden McCutcheon, Bailey Ober, Nathan Helvey, Michael Carpin, Bradley Jones, Jake Maziar, Morgan Phillips, Ervin Roper

Delaware

JR LHP Kevin Milley (2016)
rSO RHP Ron Marinaccio (2016)
JR 3B/SS James Meeker (2016)
SR 1B Nick Liggett (2016)
JR INF Doug Trimble (2016)
JR 2B Nick Tierno (2016)
rSO 3B Diaz Nardo (2016)
rJR OF Jordan Glover (2016)
SO RHP Scott Zimmer (2017)
SO RHP Nick Spadafino (2017)
SO OF Calvin Scott (2017)
rFR OF/C Kevin Mohollen (2017)
FR LHP Brandon Walter (2018)

High Priority Follows: Ron Marinaccio, Nick Liggett, Diaz Nardo

Elon

JR LHP Jordan Barrett (2016)
rSR RHP Joe McGillicuddy (2016)
SR LHP Tyler Manez (2016)
rJR LHP Brandon Kacer (2016)
JR RHP Matt Harris (2016)
JR RHP Nick Beaulac (2016)
JR RHP/C Chris Hall (2016)
rSR RHP/C Michael Elefante (2016)
rJR OF Will Nance (2016)
SR C Danny Lynch (2016)
JR 3B/OF Nick Zammarelli (2016)
JR OF Kyle Jackson (2016)
JR OF Jamal Clarke (2016)
SR C Austin Leeney (2016)
rJR 2B/SS Kory Shumate (2016)
SO RHP Sean Byrnes (2017)
SO RHP Robbie Welhaf (2017)
SO C/1B James Venuto (2017)
FR RHP Mason Daniels (2018)
FR SS Cam Devanney (2018)
FR 2B Ryne Ogren (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jordan Barrett, Joe McGillicuddy, Matt Harris, Nick Beaulac, Chris Hall, Michael Elefante, Will Nance, Nick Zammarelli, Kyle Jackson, Jamal Clarke

Hofstra

SR RHP Alex Eisenberg (2016)
SR RHP Chris Bonk (2016)
rSR LHP Brendan Mulligan (2016)
SR RHP Bowie Matteson (2016)
rSO RHP Matt Weissheier (2016)
rJR C Chris Hardardt (2016)
rSR 1B/OF Ryan Karl (2016)
JR SS/2B Brad Witkowski (2016)
SO RHP Adam Heidenfelder (2017)
SO RHP Chris Weiss (2017)
SO OF/LHP Teddy Cillis (2017)
SO OF Matt Annunziata (2017)
SO OF Steven Foster (2017)
rFR C/1B Nick Bottari (2017)
FR C Vito Friscia (2018)

High Priority Follows: Alex Eisenberg, Brad Witkowski

James Madison

SR RHP Mark Gunst (2016)
rSR LHP Aaron Hoover (2016)
rJR RHP Brandon Withers (2016)
JR LHP Michael Evans (2016)
JR 1B/LHP Logan Corrigan (2016)
rSR OF/2B Chad Carroll (2016)
SR C Bobby San Martin (2016)
rSR SS Kyle Weston (2016)
rJR 1B/3B Brett Johnson (2016)
SR OF Tyler Carroll (2016)
JR OF Josh Wyatt (2016)
JR OF Ky Parrott (2016)
SO LHP Eric Yankey (2017)
SO OF Michael Sciorra (2017)
SO 2B Kyle McPherson (2017)
SO 3B Bradley McKay (2017)

High Priority Follows: Michael Evans, Chad Carroll, Bobby San Martin, Brett Johnson, Ky Parrott

Northeastern

JR RHP Aaron Civale (2016)
JR RHP Dustin Hunt (2016)
rJR RHP Mike Fitzgerald (2016)
SR LHP James Mulry (2016)
SR RHP Nick Cubarney (2016)
rSO 1B/LHP Zach Perry (2016)
JR 3B Cam Hanley (2016)
JR OF Pat Madigan (2016)
rSR C Josh Trieff (2016)
SO RHP Brian Christian (2017)
SO INF/OF Mason Koppens (2017)
SO 3B Maxwell Burt (2017)
SO INF Nolan Lang (2017)
FR LHP Andrew Misiaszek (2018)
FR OF Jake Farrell (2018)
FR 2B Charlie McConnell (2018)
FR INF Ryan Solomon (2018)

High Priority Follows: Aaron Civale, Dustin Hunt, Mike Fitzgerald, Cam Hanley, Pat Madigan

Towson

SR RHP Lee Lawler (2016)
rJR RHP Kevin Ross (2016)
SR RHP Garrett Walther (2016)
rJR LHP Matt Golczewski (2016)
SR RHP Austin Clark (2016)
rSR RHP Paul Beers (2016)
rSR 1B Spencer Sutton (2016)
rJR OF/1B Chris Henze (2016)
rJR OF AJ Gallo (2016)
rJR 2B/SS Colin Dyer (2016)
JR C/3B Brady Policelli (2016)
rSO 1B Colin Gimblet (2016)
SO LHP David Marriggi (2017)
SO RHP Alex Cuas (2017)
SO OF Mark Grunberg (2017)
SO C Tristan Howerton (2017)
FR SS Richard Palacios (2018)

High Priority Follows: Lee Lawler, Kevin Ross, Chris Henze, AJ Gallo, Brady Policelli

UNC Wilmington

SR RHP Jared Gesell (2016)
SR RHP Ryan Foster (2016)
SR LHP Taylor Hyssong (2016)
rSO LHP Whitman Barnes (2016)
rSO LHP Clay Lockamon (2016)
JR OF/RHP Casey Golden (2016)
SR 3B/SS Terence Connelly (2016)
SR OF/3B Steven Linkous (2016)
SR 1B/OF Andy Austin (2016)
rJR SS Kennard McDowell (2016)
rJR C Gavin Stupienski (2016)
SR OF Joe Bertone (2016)
JR OF/2B Robbie Thorburn (2016)
SO RHP Zack Burke (2017)
SO RHP Justin Crump (2017)
SO RHP Josh Roberson (2017)
SO RHP Austin Magestro (2017)
SO RHP Austin Easter (2017)
SO 2B Brian Mims (2017)
SO INF Zack Canada (2017)
SO C Nick Freight (2017)
FR C Ryan Jeffers (2018)
FR 1B Walker Imwalle (2018)
FR RHP Alex Royalty (2018)
FR INF Blake Deatherage (2018)
FR RHP/OF Clark Cota (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jared Gesell, Ryan Foster, Taylor Hyssong, Whitman Barnes, Clay Lockamon, Casey Golden, Terence Connelly, Steven Linkous, Keenard McDowell, Gavin Stupienski, Joe Bertone

William & Mary

SR RHP Joseph Gaouette (2016)
SR LHP Andrew White (2016)
SR RHP Mitchell Aker (2016)
JR RHP Nick Brown (2016)
JR RHP Daniel Powers (2016)
JR RHP John Yoest (2016)
JR OF/RHP Charles Ameer (2016)
SR 1B/C Charley Gould (2016)
rSR OF/C Josh Smith (2016)
JR 3B/SS Tim Hoehn (2016)
JR INF Ryder Miconi (2016)
JR OF Matthew Tilley (2016)
SO RHP Rob White (2017)
SO RHP Michael Toner (2017)
rFR SS Kyle Wrighte (2017)
SO OF Ryan Hall (2017)
SO 2B Cullen Large (2017)
FR RHP/1B Nick Butts (2018)

High Priority Follows: Joseph Gaouette, Mitchell Aker, Nick Brown, Charles Ameer, Charley Gould, Josh Smith

CAA 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Elon rJR C Michael Elefante
College of Charleston JR 1B Carl Wise
Elon SR 2B Casey Jones
College of Charleston rJR 3B Morgan Phillips
UNC Wilmington JR SS Terrence Connelly
Elon JR OF Will Nance
James Madison rJR OF Chad Carroll
UNC Wilmington JR OF Steven Linkous

UNC Wilmington SR RHP Jordan Ramsey
Elon rJR RHP Joe McGillicuddy
UNC Wilmington JR RHP Jared Gesell
UNC Wilmington JR RHP Nick Monroe
College of Charleston rJR RHP Taylor Clarke

rJR C/RHP Michael Elefante (Elon) has been more pitcher than hitter over the past few years, a seemingly logical step for a player with plus arm strength and an extremely raw bat. I can’t really argue with anybody who thinks his best future involves pitching rather than hitting. Still, I think his upside on the mound falls below what he could be as a cannon-toting power backstop. His plus arm strength/plus raw power combination is the kind of starter kit that many teams prefer in young catching prospects. The fact that the William & Mary squad has three catchers of note (JR C/1B Charley Gould, JR C Ryan Hissey, and SR C Devin White) is a pretty nice feather in the cap for that program.

There’s some nice variety at first base in the CAA this year with options including the more traditional power-hitting, aggressive swinging, plodding runner type (JR 1B/3B Carl Wise of College of Charleston), the increasingly popular athletic, average or better running, multi-purpose type (SR 1B/3B Brendan Butler of Towson), and everybody’s favorite the oversized hulking slugger type (SR 1B Corey Dick of UNC Wilmington). I personally think both Wise and Butler will stack up quite nicely against their 2015 draft peers. Wise is an aggressive hitter, as mentioned, but does so in a really smart, controlled way. Butler is more overtly patient in his approach, which is nice, but hasn’t flashed quite the same bit of power than Wise has shown to date. A big year for Wise could convince teams that he’s a viable first base prospect while Butler seems like he’s playing more to convince scouts that he could have utility as a four-corners bench bat.

I won’t pretend to know who the real SR 2B/3B Casey Jones (Elon) is, but I damn sure appreciate what he’s done at this level. He could very well be the player who scuffled his way through 106 forgettable freshman year at bats (like freshman do), but I’m choosing to believe he’s the guy who showed steady but real progress in 2013 before taking off in an unexpectedly great (.418/.502/.668 with 36 BB and 40 K in 196 AB) junior campaign. I lean that way based on what I’ve heard about his on-field game (average or better tools across the board plus the expected plus makeup and leadership abilities) and his stellar choice of walk-up music. From The Pendulum:

Jones brings an easygoing, bright atmosphere to Latham Park each day, and it’s translating for him at the plate. That shows in his walk-up song as well, which is “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child, a hit from 1999.

“Say My Name” might literally be the greatest song ever recorded. I speak as something of an authority on the subject what with my experience in doing a sixth grade project on the song in music class and all. Due to that report there’s a chance that I’ve listened to that song more times than even Beyonce, Kelly, LeToya, and LaTavia (yeah, this was the original iteration of the group…I’m old). Trust me when I say that going with “Say My Name” as your walk-up music is a sign of great character and limitless professional potential. In terms of just on-field baseball ability, Jones is a really steady talent who wears out the gaps as a hitter and knows how to pick his spots well as a runner. There’s some danger in overrating his upside by simply scouting his box scores, but if he puts up another season even within the same general ballpark of what he did last year then I’m not sure how you can keep him outside of the draft’s top ten rounds.

JR 2B/3B Blake Butler (College of Charleston) actually shares a lot of stylistic similarities with Jones. A breakout junior season not unlike the one just put up by Jones – not that one has ever gotten rich predicting .400/.500/.650 seasons, so don’t be too literal with this comp – is within reach for the talented and largely underrated Butler. Butler is far from alone on what looks to me to be a very competitive College of Charleston lineup. He has a pair of talented teammates that could also make some draft noise this June in rJR 3B/SS Morgan Phillips and rSR 3B/OF Brandon Glazer. Phillips is a raw talent at the plate who has flashed some defensive upside as a left side of the infielder glove, though some believe he’ll ultimately work best as an outfielder. Glazer is similarly raw with a bat in his hands, but the better present defender at the hot corner. Both guys haven’t performed quite as well as their tools would suggest, but the flashing of said tools over the years have area scouts on notice. Rounding out our All-CAA prospect infield is JR SS Terrence Connelly (UNC Wilmington). Connelly has no carrying tool, but does enough of everything well enough that he’s a draftable talent despite showing minimal power through two seasons. He probably profiles best as a 2016 senior sign, but the black hole of talent at shortstop in the conference helps him land this coveted honor more or less by default.

I’m throwing caution to the wind with the pick of JR OF Will Nance (Elon) as the conference’s best 2015 outfield prospect. Part of that is due to being enamored with Nance’s raw power and pedigree (plus and acclaimed NC State transfer, respectively) and part of it is the lack of any obvious alternatives. To give a little perspective on the pool of talent we’re talking about here, rJR OF/2B Chad Carroll (James Madison), the second name on the list, hit .219/.315/.297 in his injury-shortened (just 64 AB) 2014 campaign. His positional versatility – some have him as a primary 2B professionally, others think he could even stick at SS – and flashes of production over the years (his 2013 was really good, iffy BB/K ratio or not) make the speedy prospect worth paying attention to. I happen to like JR OF/3B Steven Linkous (James Madison) for his speed, glove, and athleticism, and SR OF/C Ryan Cooper (Elon) for his easy CF range and impressive developing pop.

When it comes to pitching, UNC Wilmington is the CAA version of Rice. In SAT terms, UNC Wilmington pitching: CAA as Rice pitching: Conference USA. There may be no more consistent pitcher in all of amateur baseball than SR RHP Jordan Ramsey (UNC Wilmington). Look at his career marks…

2012: 7.50 K/9 – 3.00 BB/9
2013: 7.36 K/9 – 2.51 BB/9
2014: 7.56 K/9 – 2.52 BB/9

I kind of get the feeling that this year he’ll finish with a K/9 around 7.5 and a BB/9 around 2.5, but that’s just me. Of course, how he puts up those numbers is what we care most about when trying to project professional success on him. Thankfully for him, he’s getting results through good old fashioned pitching his butt off with the classic fastball (88-94), slider (75-77), and changeup (77-80) mix. All three pitches can be thrown for strikes and all grade out as consistently average or better offerings. None of his teammates on this list have had anywhere near the success he’s had to date, so more wishcasting on their stuff is needed. JR RHP Jared Gesell’s control was his bugaboo in 2014, but the size (6-4, 200), stuff (very similar to Ramsey’s), and deception in his delivery all add up to an intriguing pro prospect. JR RHP Nick Monroe had more trouble missing bats last year than his strong stuff and underrated athleticism would suggest. He’s a tough guy to peg going forward because his size (6-4, 250 pounds) will always be something to monitor. Finally, there’s JR RHP Evan Phillips, the hardest throwing (95 peak) of the quartet. He’d have a shot to rank higher – in fact, I originally had him as high as fifth on my first run through the conference – if only he could show some semblance of understanding where the ball will travel with each pitch. Wildness aside, he’s got the kind of arm strength that teams are always seeking out. Like the rebel with the motorcycle and the leather jacket in way too many bad movies, teams see these guys and think that they can change them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If only I watched more movies and could give a pop culture example for each…

I’ll close this 1500 word opus out by briefly championing an arm that almost everybody I contacted told me to put higher with every revision of this piece. I was happy to oblige because he fits the pitcher archetype that I’ve come to really appreciate over the years. rJR RHP/SS Michael Foster (Northeastern) has a fresh arm capable of hitting the low-90s and all the athleticism you’d expect out of a capable offensive and defensive middle infielder My preference for athletic converted infielders has led to more hits than misses – if I was the boastful type I might mention being the earliest guy all-in on Braden Shipley, but I’m not so pretend I didn’t say anything – and I stand by Foster as one of this year’s most intriguing pitcher/infielder combo guys.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting

  1. Elon SR 2B/3B Casey Jones
  2. College of Charleston JR 1B/3B Carl Wise
  3. Towson SR 1B/3B Brendan Butler
  4. Elon JR OF Will Nance
  5. James Madison rJR OF/2B Chad Carroll
  6. Elon rJR C/RHP Michael Elefante
  7. College of Charleston JR 2B/3B Blake Butler
  8. College of Charleston rJR 3B/SS Morgan Phillips
  9. UNC Wilmington JR OF/3B Steven Linkous
  10. Hofstra rJR 1B Ryan Donovan
  11. Northeastern rJR 1B Rob Fonseca
  12. James Madison SR OF Kevin Husum
  13. Delaware SR OF Norm Donkin
  14. Elon SR OF/C Ryan Cooper
  15. UNC Wilmington JR OF Joe Bertone
  16. Towson SR OF Peter Bowles
  17. Elon SR OF Quinn Bower
  18. William & Mary rJR OF/C Josh Smith
  19. UNC Wilmington SR 1B Corey Dick
  20. William & Mary JR C/1B Charley Gould
  21. William & Mary JR C Ryan Hissey
  22. College of Charleston rSR 3B/OF Brandon Glazer
  23. UNC Wilmington JR SS Terence Connelly
  24. Delaware SR C Ty Warrington
  25. Elon SR C Chris King
  26. William & Mary SR C Devin White

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. UNC Wilmington SR RHP Jordan Ramsey
  2. Elon rJR RHP Joe McGillicuddy
  3. UNC Wilmington JR RHP Jared Gesell
  4. UNC Wilmington JR RHP Nick Monroe
  5. College of Charleston rJR RHP Taylor Clarke
  6. College of Charleston SR RHP Chase Henry
  7. Northeastern rJR RHP/SS Michael Foster
  8. UNC Wilmington JR RHP Evan Phillips
  9. College of Charleston JR RHP Nathan Helvey
  10. William & Mary JR RHP Joseph Gaouette
  11. Hofstra rSR RHP Nick Kozlowski
  12. William & Mary SR LHP Jason Inghram
  13. William & Mary JR RHP Mitch Aker
  14. Hofstra SR RHP David Jesch
  15. Hofstra JR RHP Alex Eisenberg
  16. Northeastern SR RHP Nick Berger

Cincinnati Reds 2011 MLB Draft in Review

Cincinnati 2011 Draft Selections

Alhambra HS (CA) RHP Robert Stephenson (18th ranked draft prospect) is everything you’d want in a late first round high school pitching prospect. I’m not feeling super creative with the whole writing thing today, so let’s just list off the positives: 1) great, but not out of nowhere, spring, 2) amble projection in his frame, 3) repeatable mechanics that appear both natural and expertly “coached-up” all at once, 4) plus fastball, 5) breaking ball (curve) flashes plus, 6) making of good changeup (love his arm action on it), 7) no questions with makeup and/or intelligence. It has been reported that Atlanta had Stephenson atop their attainable late first round draft board. So much has been made of the college pitching class – and rightfully so, I should say – that the high school arms were ignored by know it all self-proclaimed experts like me. With a little time and perspective on my side, I’m not sure there is too much separating Stephenson from any of the hugely hyped 2009 high school arms. If I had to pick one such arm to compare Stephenson to, I’d go with the high school version of Shelby Miller: similar quality fastball and curve, frame, smooth mechanics, and ability to hold velocity late. More plainly, like Miller, Stephenson is a stud prospect with top of the rotation upside.

RHP Robert Stephenson (Alhambra HS, California): 92-93 FB with great movement, 94-95 peak; plus 77-80 CB; 78-80 raw CU; has been seen sitting 94-97 early in games, still holding low-90s velocity late while hitting upwards of 94; 6-3, 185

Colegio Hector Urdaneta (PR) OF Gabriel Rosa (239th ranked draft prospect) does a lot of things well – there’s some power, good speed, athleticism – but lacks that one standout tool that would make him an elite prospect. Guessing what any prospect will be in five years is hard work, but it is made even harder by lanky, raw, toolsy, position switching types like Rosa. Intuitively I’m not a fan of Rosa (not sold on his bat and don’t think his other tools can carry him), but with time and patience the Reds might have something worthwhile on their hands.

Gabriel Rosa: good raw power; good speed; average arm; swing is a mess; may or may not stick in CF as converted SS

Rice LHP Tony Cingrani (198th ranked draft prospect) and Villanova RHP Kyle McMyne (202nd ranked draft prospect) both went a bit earlier than I would have guessed. If you believe in Cingrani’s senior year breakout and McMyne harnessing his quality stuff better as a pro than a college pitcher, that’s fine. Good news, Reds fans: I believe in both. Cingrani has most, though not all, of the ingredients of a legit starting pitching prospect. The fastball, change, and frame all work, but a better third pitch is a must. Bear with me as I extrapolate a bit here, but I’m betting on Cingrani, a willing student who trusted the Rice staff to completely revamp his delivery this past year, finding that third pitch in pro ball. I saw a lot of McMyne this past year and, as much as it pains me to admit it, think he profiles much better in the bullpen than as a starter. He has two average or better breaking balls (hard slider is nasty when on, slower curve works as a de facto change rather than a swing-and-miss pitch) and plenty of fastball, but his breaking stuff flattens out as the game goes on and he becomes a fastball only pitcher into the late innings. If teams still employed relief aces, pitchers capable of going two or three innings at a time during big spots in games (i.e. not just standard long relief), McMyne would be a perfect fit for the job. As it is, he’ll get every chance to start with the fallback floor of above-average big league middle reliever.

Rice SR LHP Tony Cingrani: was 88-90 FB, now sitting low-90s with revamped delivery with 94-96 peak; plus CU; above-average at times CB; 6-4, 190 pounds

Villanova RHP Kyle McMyne: 92-94 FB, peak 96; above-average 82-84 SL that he relies on; sitting 94-96 in early going of 2011; flashes above-average 75-78 CB that works best as show-me pitch; occasional CU; 6-0, 210 pounds

Louisville 2B Ryan Wright (132nd ranked draft prospect) is a player who has gotten a lot of electronic ink on this site. The bolded pre-draft section below should handle much of the analysis. I will share a skill set/career path comp for Wright that I like: Detroit LF/2B/RF Ryan Raburn. No comp is perfect, but that one is pretty good, right?

Wright’s case is a unique one because, even though his numbers dipped slightly from 2010 to 2011, his stock improved. The smarter people I talked to all came away more impressed with his 2011 approach to the new bats than they were with his “sell out for power” approach with the old aluminum. That sounds like a good sign as he makes the transition to wood. I mentioned Joe Panik, Wright’s Big East buddy, as having arguably the most raw power for a college second baseman, but you could probably flip a coin and be happy with either him or Wright at the top of that list. The difference there is that Panik has tapped into his power and shown pretty much all he can do in that area of his game; Wright, on the other hand, still has just enough untapped raw power that I sometimes wonder if the right organization could help him unlock the key (I use that phrase a lot — “unlock the key” — even though it makes no sense and isn’t listed as a real idiom anywhere. Sounds cool to me, though…) to a 20 homer season down the road. Even if his present gap power is all that we see at the next level, Wright’s solid glove, average foot speed, and promising hit tool will keep getting him chances.

I get the positive spin on St. Petersburg JC (FL) 3B Sean Buckley, but, come on, this was at least five rounds too high for the kid. He’s a good prospect  who had a chance to go in the top ten rounds on merit, but there is no way I’ll ever be convinced his connection with the Cincinnati organization (his dad is only the Reds scouting director, no big deal) didn’t earn him an extra couple rounds and subsequent bonus dollars. As a prospect, he reminds me a little bit of a physically mature version of second rounder Rosa (good power and athleticism), minus Rosa’s speed. If he sticks at third, he’s a prospect. If he’s a right fielder, the expectations on his bat might be too much for him to reach.

Kansas State RHP James Allen has a strong track record of success, but is a little short on pro quality stuff for my liking. It may be only rookie ball, but Allen’s fast start as a professional (strikeouts and groundballs, baby) is impressive. St. Petersburg JC (FL) RHP Jon Matthews is an athlete who can run really fast, and is thus a worthy gamble in the eighth round. Texas RHP Cole Green will put up really good minor league numbers (a la recently promoted lefties Eric Surkamp and Tom Milone) and get some fans really worked up, but will settle in as either a solid fifth starter or middle reliever in the end. I’ve heard a Josh Towers comp on him that makes sense; that might not sound like much, but, as bad a big league pitcher Towers was, he still pitched over 700 innings and made north of six million dollars in his career.

Texas SR RHP Cole Green: 87-91 FB; plus command; great sinker; plus control; plus SL; really good 79-81 CU that comes and goes; 75-77 CB

Baylor RHP Brooks Pinckard’s name has shown up on follow lists for both college pitchers and college outfielders over the years. As an outfielder, Pinckard is super fast with a strong arm and legit center field range. As a pitcher he’s more or less fastball only at the moment, but it’s a good enough pitch that he can live off it while his slider and change come around. I’ve said before that I love uniqueness, so I’m 100% on board with Pinckard as a reliever who can be used as a pinch runner/defensive replacement on days he is unavailable. Better yet, Pinckard could pitch to a righty, move to the outfield while a LOOGY comes in for a lefty, and then move back to the mound for another righthanded hitter. That’s exactly what I’ll be rooting for, though I suspect a managerial change for the big league club may be in order for my plan to ever come to fruition.

Baylor JR RHP/OF Brooks Pinckard (2011): 92-93, 95 peak FB with sink; 93-95 out of bullpen; have unconfirmed 97-97 peak; 78-80 SL; CU; plus speed; strong arm; 6-1, 175 pounds; (4.91 K/9 – 4.36 BB/9 – 4.80 FIP – 33 IP)

Killarney SS (BC) RHP Vaughn Covington (Round 11) and Henderson International School (NV) LHP Amir Garrett (Round 22) are a fine pair of high upside, high risk overslot pitching prospects. Both have great size, flash plus fastballs, promising curves, and considerable risk. Covington was wise to sign as he’ll now have the opportunity to work with a professional medical staff as he recovers from last September’s Tommy John surgery. Garrett’s upside is tantalizing and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt due to his obvious natural talent (crazy I know, but not just anybody can throw 90+ lefthanded) and ridiculous athleticism. Many have dismissed him as a prospect due to his limited high school experience, but for the price of a 22nd round pick and a cool million bucks, why not roll the dice? A third overslot prep arm, Southington HS (CT) RHP Sal Romano (Round 23) also offers projection, a pro body (6-4, 220 pounds), and a good starting point in terms of stuff (low-90s FB and flashes of quality offspeed pitches).

RHP Vaughn Covington (Killarney SS, British Columbia): 90-92 FB with good sink, 93-94 peak as starter and 96 peak in short bursts; promising CB; recovering from Tommy John surgery in September; 6-5

LHP Amir Garrett (Leuzinger HS, California): 88-94 FB. 96 peak; very interesting low-80s CB; raw CU; very athletic; 6-5, 175

Texas A&M RHP Nick Fleece (Round 13) throws a really heavy ball and profiles as a potential power sinker/slider bullpen piece. Fellow Lone Star state college arm Texas Christian RHP Erik Miller (Round 31) has a similar sinker/slider pairing, but also throws a good low-80s curve and a useable change. Four pitch pitchers who throw strikes tend to get shots starting in the pros, but Miller could be the exception. Boston College RHP Mike Dennhardt (Round 32) could also wind up an intriguing bullpen candidate (strong fastball/curve combo) if he returns to health from early season Tommy John surgery.

TCU JR RHP Erik Miller: 87-91 at new arm angle, 93-94 peak; good sink; good SL; good 81 CB; average CU; strong three year track record; has relieved, but could be seen as starter; 6-3, 210; Tommy John survivor

Minnesota 1B Nick O’Shea (Round 24) and Cal State Fullerton 3B Joe Terry (Round 30) are both long shots to contribute, but not without some upside. O’Shea would look a lot better if he can hack it behind the plate as some suggest. Terry’s success or failure may come down to how well he recovers from his 2011 hamate injury.

O’Shea does a little bit of everything quite well, but nothing exceptionally well besides perhaps his defense. Still think there is some untapped upside here with the bat and I intuitively just like him as a prospect.

Joe Terry: The much-hyped (by me) hitting machine who last year made hard contact in just about every at bat failed to live up to his Bill Hall (my comp for him last year) billing in 2011. I still like the rest of his skills — good enough speed, loads of arm strength, unconventional fielding motions but underrated at second — and I’m willing to bet that bat wakes up next year. Whether the bat rises and shines in pro ball or back at Fullerton for a senior season remains to be seen.

Plano East HS (TX) 2B Ty Washington (Round 43) joins Covington, Garrett, and Romano as big money later round splurges by Cincinnati. He could be an outstanding defender at second with enough reps, but the viability of his hit tool remains a bit of a mystery to me.

Washington is a very signable prospect best known for his excellent defensive tools and good speed. He had a reputation coming into the year as a guy who too often attempted to do too much at the plate, but patience has been a virtue for him so far this season.

Tampa 2B Taylor Wrenn (Round 27), Arizona OF Steve Selsky (Round 33), and Florida OF Bryson Smith (Round 34) make up the last of Cincinnati’s noteworthy signed prospects. I like Wrenn a lot, an opinion largely founded on his plus defensive tools, good speed, and longstanding status as a prospect (thrice drafted). Selsky uttered one of my favorite 2011 draft prospect quotes: “But I don’t think I’m like any Vladimir Guerrero or Jayson Werth or big-ass guys, I think I’m an average-sized guy who can hit the ball a little bit.” He’s a better hitter than fellow outfielder Smith, but the Florida product and former third baseman gets bonus points for his defensive versatility.

Arizona JR OF Steve Selsky (2011): gap power at present, average or slightly better raw power; good speed; good range in corner; strong arm; similar to FSU guy Ramsey; might be wise to alter approach this year to show more power

Smith has a big league body, intriguing pop, useful positional versatility, but has been held back by injuries in 2010. Injury induced subpar seasons for mid- to late-round underclassman prospects are normally a recipe for a senior season return engagement, but Smith may be a victim of his own college team’s success. Playing time in 2011 looks to be very hard to come by on a young, stacked Florida starting nine, so Smith may try his luck professionally if a team is willing to bet that a return to health will bring him closer to the player he was at junior college than he was as a Gator.

The Reds went above and beyond to sign guys like Covington, Garrett, Romano, Miller, and Washington. They couldn’t reach deals with top 20 round high school picks Joe Serrano, Conor Costello, and Morgan Phillips. They also missed the boat on a bunch of late round fliers, many of whom were presumably insurance in case the players on that first list didn’t sign. Critics could look at the talented group of unsigned Reds and get worked up over the lost opportunity, but no team, not even the Nationals, have infinite draft budgets. The Reds drafted a bunch of good players; many were signed, some got away. For the sake of brevity, we’ll focus on three college and four high school guys.

Coastal Carolina OF Daniel Bowman (Round 38) is often too aggressive at the plate, but his raw power is up there with any college player in America. He’ll return to school as a promising senior sign for 2012. Louisville RHP Justin Amlung (Round 39) is a really strong Friday night starter, but his underwhelming stuff currently fits a lot better at the college game than as a professional. North Carolina C Jacob Stallings (Round 42) will have to split time with Matt Roberts next year in Chapel Hill; he deserved better than his 42nd round selection.

Daniel Bowman: impressive plus raw power, but it may be his only real tool; strong enough arm for RF; decent speed; hacker; too many K’s; underrated athlete; 6-1, 210 pounds

There is no question about Stallings’s plus defense; that alone could be his ticket to the show as a backup catcher. Like Kometani, there’s more raw power here than he has shown so far. Stallings isn’t really talked about as a top college catching prospect, but he’s a really talented prospect with a plus-plus arm that could make him an interesting mound conversion if things don’t work out behind the dish.

The top unsigned pitcher of this class: Parkway HS (LA) RHP Carson Baranik (Round 41). Baranik has an explosive fastball (when healthy), emerging offspeed stuff (when healthy), and a world of potential (if healthy).

RHP Carson Baranik (Parkway HS, Louisiana): 87-89 FB, 90-92 peak; improved conditioning now has him sitting 91-93, 95 peak; 73-74 CB; 77-78 SL that needs tightening; low-70s CU; 6-3, 205

The top unsigned position player of this class: Lake City HS (SC) OF Shon Carson (Round 44). Carson’s sushi grade raw as a prospect and probably a better player on the gridiron at this point. There is no questioning his speed, athleticism, and physical strength, but it’ll be up to the coaching staff of the two-time national champion Gamecocks to transform him into a ballplayer.

Carson is an easy player to write about because his strengths and weaknesses are so clearly delineated at this point. Obvious strengths include his plus-plus speed, absurd athleticism, and football star strong. His biggest weakness is most often cited as his inability to play baseball all that well, also known as a cute way of saying he is a very raw prospect with a long way to go. If those are his easily recognized pros and cons, I’d like to throw in one additional strength to his game that I feel often goes unnoticed: Shon Carson understands what kind of player he is. Sounds almost silly to say that, but Carson plays within himself in a way that is mature beyond his years. He doesn’t try to do too much at the plate, will happily take a walk when the situation calls for it (probably doesn’t hurt to know that a walk is as good as a triple with the way he steals bags), and makes every attempt to utilize his potentially game changing speed.

Oaks Christian HS (CA) LHP Travis Radke (Round 45) and Notre Dame HS (LA) RHP Austin Robichaux (Round 50) round out Cincinnati’s late round unsigned haul. Radke’s fastball won’t wow you, but good command of a pair of solid offspeed pitches (curve and change) make him a fun pitchability guy to track in college. Robichaux has a classic Louisiana name, so it stands to reason he’ll be a great fit pitching for his dad at Louisiana-Lafayette. Mashing up his improved fastball, good curve, projectable frame, and lifetime spent around the game gives you the Ragin’ Cajuns best prospect since Jonathan Lucroy.

LHP Travis Radke (Oaks Christian HS, California): 86-88 FB, 90 peak; good 74-75 CB; emerging 70-72 CU; low-70s SL that needs tons of work

RHP Austin Robichaux (Notre Dame HS, Louisiana): 87-89 FB, 90 peak; now sits 91-93 with lots of movement; good 75 CB; 6-5, 180