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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Northeast Conference

Zack Short and Cole Fabio are why I do this. Players like those guys – guys who have been on the radar here for years, but not fully appreciated until a closer look during their draft year – make it all worth it. These are the kind of players that I’d go to bat for in a draft room. Short should be on any short list (no pun intended) of best college shortstop prospects in this class. He’s really, really good. Offensively he’s a high-contact hitter with an above-average blend of patience and pop. As a defender, he’s capable of making all the plays at short with range that should have him stick at the spot for years to come. There simply aren’t many two-way shortstops as good as him in this class. He’s an easy top ten round player for me with the chance to rise as high as around the fifth round (reminiscent of Blake Allemand last year) and a realistic draft floor of where Dylan Bosheers (round fifteen) eventually fell.

Fabio is right there with Short at the plate with a mature approach, keen eye, and above-average or better speed on the base paths. I know less about his defense than I’d like, but early notes on him point towards him being a more realistic option at second in the long-term than short. That’s one of the reasons why Short is ahead of him here, but, assuming Fabio is as good at second as I’ve been told, it’s far from a death blow to his prospect standing. I’d draft them both and have an all-new under-the-radar NEC middle infield prospect pair to watch grow over the next few years.

Not too far behind those middle infielders is Nick Mascelli. You’ll likely get less bat with him – hair less contact and similar patience, but definitely a step behind in terms of pop and physical projection – but he’s a good glove at short with a fine utility infielder profile. Brian Lamboy is a personal favorite thanks to his exceptional ability to battle with two strikes.

Jason Foley is currently the conference’s best hope for a future professional starter. His size, ability to throw three pitches for strikes (big fan of his 81-85 split-change), and solid peripherals add up to a potential back-end of the rotation arm. The two pitchers from Wagner are a study in contrast: Austin Goeke is the big guy with some projection left and 5-11, 170 pounder Mike Adams is the “what you see is what you get” prospect. Both are draftable talents, though it should be no shock that I opted for projection over polish for the time being.

Hitters

  1. Sacred Heart JR SS Zack Short
  2. Bryant JR 2B Cole Fabio
  3. Wagner JR SS Nick Mascelli
  4. Long Island-Brooklyn SR 2B Brian Lamboy
  5. Wagner SR 3B/OF Ben Ruta
  6. Bryant JR OF Matt Albanese
  7. Bryant JR 2B/RHP Brandon Bingel
  8. Bryant SR 1B Robby Rinn
  9. Long Island-Brooklyn rJR OF Tommy Jakubowski
  10. Bryant SR C/OF Buck McCarthy
  11. Fairleigh Dickinson rSR C Patrick McClure
  12. Fairleigh Dickinson SR 2B/SS Dylan Sprague
  13. Bryant SR OF AJ Zarozny
  14. Fairleigh Dickinson JR SS Matt McCann
  15. Long Island-Brooklyn rJR 1B/RHP Mark Hernandez

Pitchers

  1. Sacred Heart JR RHP Jason Foley
  2. Central Connecticut State rJR LHP Cody Brown
  3. Wagner JR RHP Austin Goeke
  4. Wagner SR RHP Mike Adams
  5. Long Island-Brooklyn JR RHP Bobby Maxwell
  6. Central Connecticut State SR LHP Casey Brown
  7. Fairleigh Dickinson rJR RHP Logan Frati
  8. Long Island-Brooklyn rSO RHP Baylor LaPointe
  9. Long Island-Brooklyn rSR RHP Brian Drapeau
  10. Long Island-Brooklyn SR RHP Vincent Tranchina
  11. Mount Saint Mary’s SR LHP Jordan Lawson
  12. Wagner JR RHP Danny Marsh

Bryant

SR RHP James Davitt (2016)
rSR LHP Garrett Hayward (2016)
JR 2B/RHP Brandon Bingel (2016)
SR C/OF Buck McCarthy (2016)
SR 1B Robby Rinn (2016)
SR OF AJ Zarozny (2016)
SR C Daniel Palazzo (2016)
SR SS Dan Cellucci (2016)
JR OF Matt Albanese (2016)
JR 2B Cole Fabio (2016)
JR 1B/OF Zane Smith (2016)
JR OF Joseph Paparelli (2016)
SO RHP James Karinchack (2017)
SO LHP Justin Snyder (2017)
SO RHP Ross Weiner (2017)
SO LHP Logan Lessard (2017)
SO C Mickey Gasper (2017)
FR RHP Mason Palmieri (2018):
FR RHP Nathan Wrighter (2018):
FR RHP Craig Lacey (2018):
FR RHP Jack Owens (2018):
FR LHP Steve Theetge (2018):
FR 3B Tyler Panno (2018): LHH
FR INF John Nollett (2018):
FR OF Nick Angelini (2018):

High Priority Follows: James Davitt, Brandon Bingel, Buck McCarthy, Robby Rinn, AJ Zarozny, Matt Albanese, Cole Fabio, Joseph Paprelli

Central Connecticut State

rJR LHP Cody Brown (2016)
SR LHP Casey Brown (2016)
JR RHP Brett Susi (2016)
JR 1B/RHP Andrew Hinckley (2016)
SR C Connor Fitzsimmons (2016)
SR OF Matt Martinez (2016)
JR OF Franklin Jennings (2016)
SO 3B Ryan Costello (2017)
SO 2B Dean Lockery (2017)
SO INF/OF Mitch Guilmette (2017)
FR RHP Brandon Fox (2018)

High Priority Follows: Cody Brown, Casey Brown, Connor Fitzsimmons, Franklin Jennings

Fairleigh Dickinson

rJR RHP Logan Frati (2016)
SR 2B/SS Dylan Sprague (2016)
rSR C Patrick McClure (2016)
rJR OF/3B Ryan Brennan (2016)
SR 3B Joel Roman (2016)
SR 1B/C John Giakas (2016)
JR SS Matt McCann (2016)
rSR OF Shane Siebler (2016)
SO 3B Bobby Romano (2017)
FR RHP Kyle Rockin McLaughlin (2018)

High Priority Follows: Logan Frati, Dylan Sprague, Patrick McClure, Ryan Brennan, Joel Roman, Matt McCann

Long Island-Brooklyn

rSO RHP Baylor LaPointe (2016)
JR RHP Nick Freijomil (2016)
JR RHP Bobby Maxwell (2016)
SR RHP Vincent Tranchina (2016)
rSR RHP Brian Drapeau (2016)
rJR 1B/RHP Mark Hernandez (2016)
SR 2B Brian Lamboy (2016)
rJR OF Tommy Jakubowski (2016)
JR C Harrison Preschel (2016)
SO LHP Cory Hart (2017)
FR RHP Mike Kreiger (2018)
FR LHP/OF Tre Jackson (2018)
FR OF Joe Mercadante (2018)
FR C/3B Andy Camilo (2018)
FR SS Luis Arias de los Santos (2018)
FR 3B/SS Kyle Ruth (2018)
FR C Andy Camillo (2018)

High Priority Follows: Baylor LaPointe, Nick Freijomil, Bobby Maxwell, Vincent Tranchina, Brian Drapeau, Mark Hernandez, Brian Lamboy, Tommy Jakubowski

Mount St. Mary’s

SR LHP Jordan Lawson (2016)
SR LHP Chad Diehl (2016)
SR RHP Austin Bonadio (2016)
rSR RHP Connor Graber (2016)
rSR OF Ryan Owens (2016)
rJR OF Zach Hostetter (2016)
SO RHP Nick DeCarlo (2017)

High Priority Follows: Jordan Lawson, Chad Diehl, Zach Hostetter

Sacred Heart

JR RHP Jason Foley (2016)
rSR RHP James Cooksey (2016)
SR OF Jayson Sullivan (2016)
SR 1B Victor Sorrento (2016)
JR 1B Keith Klebart (2016)
JR SS Zack Short (2016)
JR INF Ted Shaw (2016
SR INF/RHP Jesus Medina (2016)
rSO INF PJ DeFilippo (2016)
SO OF Dan Schock (2017)
SO C Cody Doyle (2017)

High Priority Follows: Jason Foley, Jayson Sullivan, Zack Short

Wagner

SR RHP Mike Adams (2016)
SR LHP Paul Mammino (2016)
JR RHP Danny Marsh (2016)
JR LHP Brad Currao (2016)
JR RHP Austin Goeke (2016)
SR 3B/OF Ben Ruta (2016)
rSR OF Trey Nicosia (2016)
JR SS Nick Mascelli (2016)
SO OF Anthony Godino (2017)
FR RHP Doug Molnar (2018)
FR 1B Anthony Harrold (2018)
FR 2B Cole Heavilin (2018)

High Priority Follows: Mike Adams, Danny Marsh, Austin Goeke, Ben Ruta, Nick Mascelli

Northeast Conference 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Bryant JR C Buck McCarthy
Bryant JR 1B Robby Rinn
Mount St. Mary’s SR 2B Kory Britton
Bryant JR SS Dan Cellucci
Long Island-Brooklyn SR 3B Bobby Webb
Bryant JR OF AJ Zarozny
Bryant SR OF Jordan Mountford
Sacred Heart JR OF Jayson Sullivan

Bryant JR RHP Kyle Wilcox
Wagner SO RHP Nolan Long
Brynat SR LHP Trevor Lacosse
Long Island-Brooklyn SR RHP Rafael Guerrero
Wagner JR RHP Mike Adams

My rough count has eight players drafted last year from the Northeast Conference. It’s early yet, but I think the conference will be hard-pressed to match that total in 2015. That’s not because it’s necessarily a down talent year for the NEC; it’s just more top-heavy than usual. The top guys all happen to be pitchers this year led by the fascinating one-two punch of Bryant JR RHP Kyle Wilcox and Wagner SO RHP Nolan Long.

Kyle Wilcox is pretty much what you’d draw up if you wanted to create an under-the-radar college pitching prospect with big league starting potential. He’s been well hidden (HS in Connecticut, college in Rhode Island) with minimal wear-and-tear on his right arm, and he’s been allowed to develop at a smaller school in a smaller conference at his own pace. His athleticism (plus) and arm strength (90-95 FB, 96-97 peak) are both stellar, and his hard breaking ball flashes plus. There’s still enough rawness to his game (control, third pitch) that a high pick (first three rounds or so) won’t be needed to take a shot on him. Geography, a relative lack of experience, plus athleticism, and quotes calling him “still very clearly a work in progress”: that’s the template for a draft sleeper.

A very similar story could be written for Nolan Long. His path to this point (Connecticut HS and New York college), the fact that two sport stardom has reduced his workload (and kept him raw enough to slip past where his physical gifts should see him taken), easy to spot plus athleticism, and longstanding command issues (stemming from inconsistent mechanics) all make him (oxymoron alert) an easy to identify potential draft sleeper. Of course, like Wilcox, the term sleeper is relative: I know about him, you know about him, EVERYBODY in baseball who gets paid for this stuff knows about him, but the possibility of falling in the draft past where his talent should dictate is still very much in play. Also like Wilcox, Long has the goods to go high even if it weren’t for the fresh arm and athleticism. He has more than enough present fastball (88-94, 95 peak) and offspeed stuff (above-average CU, average breaker) to give a glimpse at what could be.

Most impressively, we’ve made it a whole 150 words or so here without mentioning the fact that Long is listed at 6-10, 240 pounds. The fact that he’s a giant is considered an afterthought by many who really, really like the guy. Now if you didn’t know that Long was a big man, you might have surmised as much based on some of the hints dropped above: two-sport star (basketball, obviously), plus athlete, and inconsistent mechanics. The last two points are what currently fascinate me most about Long. He’s 6-10, 240 pounds, but, if you can buy it, he doesn’t move like a human being that big. I mean that in the best way possible, like when the NBA’s most athletic big men (Anthony Davis, for one) are talked about as capable of running the floor like guards. I can’t even begin to imagine how tricky it is for a man of his size to reproduce an act as precise and scripted as a pitching windup, but Long pulls it off.

The ability to reproduce one’s mechanics and maintain a consistent release point (and landing spot) is vital to the development of professional grade command. Big guys often struggle with this for obvious reason. Great athletes, however, are given a huge leg up on figuring things out mechanically*. This is what makes Long a bit of a conundrum for scouts. He’s so tall that you can’t help but worry about him coordinating his body’s movements well enough to throw consistent strikes, but he’s so athletic that you want to believe that with enough hard work he’ll figure out some mechanical middle ground that suits him.

*This is one of the reasons I’m less worried about Dillon Tate’s occasional mechanical weirdness (and subsequent loss of command) than most. He’s a good enough athlete to smooth things out over time. Long’s athleticism is in that same class. I’ve been burned countless times by larger than life pitchers (hitters as well, for that matter) because baseball is a game of such carefully choreographed movements. Logic dictates that the longer one’s limbs are the more difficult it is to coordinate one’s movements at once. This is what you hear about when hitters are talked about as having difficulty getting their long levers through the zone quick enough to make consistent contact or any of the previously discussed challenges with command brought down by sloppy mechanics.

I’m all for giving Long a shot in a round that makes sense for both him and the team, but my own history of overhyping oversized pitchers makes me reluctant to put too high a grade on him. The gap between what he could be and what he currently is, premium now stuff or not, is just too great for me to gamble on him within the draft’s top five rounds or so. For what it’s worth, I got a chance to see Long start earlier this year in Wagner’s first win in ten tries back on March 14th against Northeastern. I can’t go into too much depth about what I saw for reasons I’ll disclose later, but needless to say his release point, command, and control were all major topics of the day. The name Andrew Brackman might have been brought up once or twice. It wasn’t a bad showing by any stretch, but it did little to quell any of the oft-cited concerns that currently stand in the way of him ever reaching his considerable upside.

If optimistic about Long’s future, an easy comparison can be made to another two-sport athlete listed at the same height of Long. From Baseball America’s initial pro scouting report on Chris Young back in 2000…

Young has outstanding mechanics and coordination for such a big man. Scouts are impressed with how he consistently repeats his delivery, a difficult task for tall pitchers. He also is graceful and moves well around the mound. Young’s fastball routinely hits 90 mph and has the potential to max out at 95-96 mph because of his large frame. His breaking and offspeed pitches need work, which is understandable because he lacks experience.

Swap Long for Young and that could read very similarly to what the former’s bigger advocates are saying. Seven years in a big league rotation and over one thousand career innings are lofty goals for Long, but the raw talent is significant enough that it’s not crazy. I tend to think Long falls closer to Brackman than Young on the tall basketball player/righthanded pitcher spectrum. We’ll see.

Long Island-Brooklyn SR RHP Rafael Guerrero has enough in the way of stuff (88-94 FB, usable CU and CB) to contribute in a big league bullpen one day, but the control issues that have hindered him throughout his college career will need to be corrected if he’s to have any semblance of a pro future. Bryant SR LHP Trevor Lacosse doesn’t have the most exciting profile, but the uniqueness of his stuff, most notably an underwhelming fastball in terms of velocity that plays way up thanks to movement, location, and deception, as well as a breaking ball that flashes plus, could make him a pain the neck for opposing hitters in short bursts at the next level.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Bryant JR OF AJ Zarozny
  2. Bryant JR C/OF Buck McCarthy
  3. Mount St. Mary’s SR 2B/3B Kory Britton
  4. Wagner SR C Nick Dini
  5. Bryant SR OF/C Jordan Mountford
  6. Mount St. Mary’s SR C Andrew Clow
  7. Bryant JR 1B Robby Rinn
  8. Sacred Heart JR OF Jayson Sullivan
  9. Long Island-Brooklyn SR 3B Bobby Webb
  10. Wagner JR 3B/OF Ben Ruta
  11. Fairleigh Dickinson JR 2B/SS Dylan Sprague
  12. Bryant JR SS Dan Cellucci

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. Bryant JR RHP Kyle Wilcox
  2. Wagner SO RHP Nolan Long
  3. Bryant SR LHP Trevor Lacosse
  4. Long Island-Brooklyn SR RHP Rafael Guerrero
  5. Central Connecticut State JR LHP Cody Brown
  6. Wagner JR RHP Mike Adams
  7. Central Connecticut State JR LHP Casey Brown
  8. Central Connecticut State SR RHP/1B Dominic Severino
  9. Long Island-Brooklyn SR RHP Dustin Carlson