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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Pac-12

The original plan was to go team-by-team for the biggest and baddest conferences around, but the narratives that developed organically when compiling the overall Pac-12 prospect list were too good to ignore. Look at some of the decisions that teams will have to make on just the position player prospects in this conference this year…

Logan Ice OR Colby Woodmansee
Brett Cumberland OR Jeremy Martinez OR Brian Serven
Trever Morrison OR Tommy Edman
David Greer OR Eric Filia
Cody Ramer OR Mitchell Kranson OR Timmy Robinson

And then on the pitching side we start with what has to rank among the most fascinating trios of arms in any conference in college ball: Daulton Jefferies and Cal Quantrill and Matt Krook. All three guys have legitimate arguments for the top spot. It’s not a bad year for amateur baseball fans who have smartly opted to settle in the western part of the country. We’ll get back to those three co-headliners shortly (those more interested in the pitchers can skip to the bolded parenthetical below), but first let’s get into the hitters.

.365/.460/.533 – 22 BB/5 K
.360/.483/.697 – 20 BB/5 K

Top is Matt Thaiss this year, bottom is Logan Ice so far. It’s no wonder that a friend of mine regularly refers to Ice as “Pacific NW Thaiss.” That sounds so made up, but it’s not. Anyway, Ice is a really good prospect. He’s received some national acclaim this season, yet still strikes me as one of the draft’s most underrated college bats. There are no questions about his defense behind the plate – coming into the year many considered him to be a catch-and-throw prospect with a bat that might relegate him to backup work – and his power, while maybe not .700 SLG real, is real. I don’t think a late-first round selection is unrealistic, but I’ll hedge and call him a potential huge value pick at any point after the draft’s first day. I can’t wait to start stacking the college catching board; my hunch is that prospect who comes in tenth or so would be a top three player in most classes. My only concern for Ice – a stretch, admittedly – is that teams will put off drafting college catchers early because of the belief that they can wait and still get a good one later.

Those who prefer Colby Woodmansee to Ice as the Pac-12’s best position player prospect have an equally strong case. Like Ice, Woodmansee is a near-lock to remain at a premium defensive position in the pros with enough offensive upside to profile as a potential impact player at maturation. Early on the process there were some who questioned Woodmansee’s long-term defensive outlook – shortstops who are 6-3, 200 pounds tend to unfairly get mentally moved off the position to third, a weird bit of biased thinking that I’ve been guilty of in the past – but his arm strength, hands, and first-step quickness all should allow him to remain at his college spot for the foreseeable future. Offensively there may not be one particular thing he does great, but what he does well is more than enough. Woodmansee has average to above-average raw power and speed, lots of bat speed and athleticism, and solid plate discipline. For the exact opposite reason why I think Ice and others like him might slip some on draft day, the all-around average to above-average skill set of Woodmansee at shortstop, a position as shallow as any in this draft, should help him go off the board earlier than most might think.

The trio of catchers after Ice all offer something a little bit different; for that reason, I could see them ending up in any order on any random team’s draft board. Brett Cumberland primary claim to fame is and will be his bat. His hit tool is legit and his power is really appealing. He’s also been described to me as a guy who can be pitched to while also being the kind of smart, naturally gifted hitter who can then make adjustments on the fly. His glove is more “good enough” than good, but there’s enough there that you can work with him to make it work. Jeremy Martinez is another catcher who has been described to me as “good enough” defensively, but that’s an opinion my admittedly non-scout eyes don’t see. I wrote about him briefly last month…

I’ve long thought that Jeremy Martinez has been underrated as a college player, so I’m happy to get a few sentences off about how much I like him here. Martinez was born to catch with a reliable glove and accurate arm. His offensive game is equally well-rounded with the chance for an average hit tool and average raw power to go along with his standout approach. His ceiling may not be high enough for all teams to fall in love, but he’s as good a bet as any of the college catchers in this class to have a long big league career in some capacity or another.

Martinez might not be the most exciting catcher in this class, but he’s at or near the top in terms of well-roundedness for me. It’s an imperfect comp to be sure, but he reminds me some of a less athletic version of James McCann coming out of Arkansas. While some scouts disagree about the defensive utility of Cumberland and Martinez, there are no such rumblings about the glove and arm of Brian Serven. Blessed with an arm both strong and accurate, Serven’s strong hands and plus mobility behind the plate make him a defensive weapon. Whether or not he’ll keep hitting enough to play regularly remains an open question for me – all I have on him offensively are his numbers and that he’s got average or better raw power – but the present defensive value is enough to last a long time in pro ball.

Choosing between Trever Morrison or Tommy Edman might seem easy at first, but the two Pac-12 middle infield standouts are closer in value for me than one might expect. I like Morrison’s glove at short a lot and his physical gifts (above-average arm and speed) are impressive. I’m less sure about him hitting enough to profile as a regular than most. Edman’s bat is more my speed thanks to his strong hit tool, good understanding of the strike zone, and ability to make consistent contact even when down in the count. I’ve given in to those who have long tried to convince me he’s more second baseman than shortstop, but there’s still a part of me who thinks he’s good enough to play short. For a guy with realistic ceiling of big league utility man, I can more than live with that kind of defensive future. If I really stuck to my guns here then you’d see Edman over Morrison, but for now I’ll defer to the overwhelming consensus of smarter people out there who let me know (nicely, mostly) that I was nuts for considering it. I guess the big takeaway here for me is that either player would be great value at any point after the first five rounds.

I’ve lumped David Greer and Eric Filia together because both guys can really, really hit. I think both guys can work themselves up the minor league ladder based on the strength of their hit tool (plate discipline included) alone. Defensive questions for each hitter put a cap on their respective ceilings (Greer intrigues me defensively with his plus arm and experience at 1B, 2B, 3B, and in the OF; Filia seems like left field or first base all the way), but, man, can they both hit.

The last group is probably the weirdest: we have a utility guy finally hitting after three lackluster offensive seasons, a college baseball folk hero with a fascinating defensive profile, and a powerful, tooled-up outfielder who has made slow yet steady improvements over the years. Cody Ramer is an athletic second baseman/shortstop/third baseman/outfielder with average speed and some pop having a major offensive breakout in his final season in the desert. Mitchell Kranson impressed me as the rare college catcher capable of calling his own game; now that he’s been moved to third base, I don’t know what to make of his long-term defensive prospects. His high-contact approach still intrigues me, however. Timmy Robinson‘s tools are really impressive: above-average to plus raw power, average to above-average speed, above-average to plus arm, above-average to plus range, and all kinds of physical strength. That player sounds incredible, so it should be noted that getting all of his raw ability going at the same time and translating it to usable on-field skills has been a challenge. He’s gotten a little bit better every season and now looks to be one of the draft’s most intriguing senior-signs.

There are a ton of players uncovered above that deserve more space than they’ll wind up getting here between now and June. Aaron Knapp fascinates me as an athlete with easy center field range and impact speed, but with such little power that the profile might wind up shorting before he even gets a real chance in pro ball. Mark Karaviotis would have been much higher on this list coming into the year, but a lost junior season puts his stock in limbo. Corey Dempster is one of the many Pac-12 hitters with limited track records prior to 2016 that have come alive this season. His power/speed combination and ability to man center make him intriguing. Then there’s Darrell Miller, the UCLA catcher who would have added to the already stacked group of catchers in the conference if he would have stayed healthy. Even after missing this season with a labrum injury, it still might be worth it for area guys to gauge his interest in leaving college behind for the pros. Those four are just a small taste of the depth of the conference in 2016: there are dozens of other names outside of the top ten or so that deserve draft consideration. Fun year.

(Here is the stuff on Jefferies, Quantrill, and Krook mentioned in the introduction)

Jefferies, Quantrill, and Krook in some order. That’s the limit of what I know for sure about the top of the Pac-12 pitching prospect pile. I’m not sure you could come up with an order that I’d disagree with.

Jefferies is a rock-solid future big league starting pitcher. I love Daulton Jefferies. An overly enthusiastic but well-meaning friend comped Jefferies to Chris Archer after seeing him this past summer. That’s…rich. It’s not entirely crazy, though. Velocity-wise, at his best, Jefferies can sit 90-94 and touch 97. He’s been more frequently in the 88-92 band this spring (94 peak). He’s also focused far more on his low- to mid-80s slider than his mid- to upper-70s curve. I thought both had the potential to be above-average breaking balls at the big league level, but I can’t blame him for going all-in on his potentially devastating slider. Then there’s the compact, athletic delivery and plus fastball command and above-average mid-80s change-up that flashes plus and…well, you can see why he’d get such a lofty comp. Lack of size or not, Jefferies has the kind of stuff that could make him a number two starter if everything goes his way developmentally. That’s big time. High ceiling + high floor = premium pitching prospect. I think Jefferies draft floor is where Walker Buehler, a player that D1 Baseball comped to him earlier this year, landed last year. That would be pick 24 in the first round for those of you who haven’t committed Walker Buehler’s draft position to memory yet. A case could be made (and it kind of has above, right?) that slipping any further than that would be ridiculous value for his new pro team. I think he’s worth considering in the top ten depending on how the rest of the board shakes out.

On talent alone, Cal Quantrill deserves to be right there with Jefferies as a potential top ten overall pick contender. Last year’s Tommy John surgery and the subsequent lost time in 2016, however, complicate the matter, though it’s hard to say how much. Quantrill’s 77-81 MPH change-up is one of my favorite pitches in this entire class. Easy velocity (89-95, 96 peak), a pair of interesting breaking balls, all kinds of pitchability, and that change-up…what more could you want? Good health, I suppose. A few late season starts would go a very long way in easing the minds of big league scouting directors charged with making the decision whether or not to cut a multi-million dollar check (or cheque in the case of the Canadian born Quantrill) to the Stanford righthander. I recently wondered aloud about how teams will perceive Quantrill in this his draft year…

The attrition at the top of the college pitching pile has left Cal Quantrill, yet to pitch in 2016 as he recovers from last year’s Tommy John surgery, one of the college game’s most intriguing mound prospects. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? I wonder if the star student out of Stanford knew this and staged the whole elbow injury to allow time for his competition to implode all over the place. That’s a joke. Not a good one, but a joke all the same.

I also have said on the record that I’d consider taking him sight unseen (in 2016) with a pick just outside the draft’s top ten. You might say I’m bullish on Quantrill’s pro prospects.

And then there’s Matt Krook! I had him second only to Alec Hansen (whoops) in my overall college pitching rankings before the season and now he’s third in his own conference. You could look at that as me being wishy-washy (not really, but maybe), me not knowing what I was doing in the first place (always a possibility), or this year’s draft class being more talented than some would like you to believe (yes). Whatever the case may be, Krook remains a legitimate first round arm with as much upside as any college pitcher throwing. Here was the pre-season take that accompanied the aforementioned ranking…

This may be a touch more speculative that some of the other names on the list since Krook missed the 2015 season after Tommy John surgery, but I’m buying all the Krook shares I can right now. He came back and impressed on the Cape enough to warrant consideration as a potential 1-1 riser. There’s no squaring up his fastball and there’s more than enough offspeed (CB and CU) to miss bats (12 K/9 in 45 freshman innings). He’s not as physical as AJ Puk, but the more advanced secondaries give him the edge for now.

I stand by that today. His fastball velocity isn’t all the way back yet (more of a steady 88-92 than 90-94), but he still gets incredible movement on the pitch. His curve has morphed into something more like a slider (or something in-between), but remains a true plus offering. Both his command and his control remain works in progress as he pitches himself back into competitive shape. Picking Krook as early as I’d recommend would take a bit of a leap of faith in his command/control woes being remedied largely by the increased passage of time separating him from his surgery. Going Krook would not be for the faint of heart, but, hey, nothing venture nothing gained, right?

There’s a steep decline after those top three names, but worry not as there are still quality arms to be had scattered across the rest of the conference. Krook’s teammate with the Ducks, Cole Irvin, has seen his stuff rebound this year close to his own pre-TJ surgery levels. I was off Irvin early last season when he was more upper-80s with a loopy curve, but he is now capable of getting it back up to 92 (still sits 85-90) with a sharper upper-70s slider that complements his firmer than before curve and consistently excellent 78-81 change. It’s back of the rotation type starter stuff if it continues to come back. Ian Hamilton could have similar upside (or better) if you’re the type who believes in him as a starter at the next level. He’s got the offspeed stuff (above-average 80-86 SL that flashes plus and an average 80-84 CU) to go through a lineup multiple times. He’s also highly athletic. Those are the points in his favor if you like him as a starter. I’m willing to be talked into it, but the way his fastball plays up in short bursts (consistently 92-96, up to 99) as opposed to the 90-93 he sits as a starter has me still liking him more as a fireman out of the pen.

If it’s a true college reliever you want, then Stephen Nogosek out of Oregon is your best bet. He’s a little bit like Hamilton in that he’s got the raw stuff to start – an honest four-pitch mix seems wasted some in relief – but his command would make longer outings untenable at this time. As a reliever, however, he’s effectively wild. Pitching out of the pen also puts him on the short list of fastest potential movers. Chris Viall seems like another reliever all the way. With lots of heat (up to 96-97) and intimidating size (6-9, 230 pounds), he could be a good one.

A pair of seniors that have intrigued me for years have put it all together in their last year of eligibility. Kyle Davis, a prospect I once thought would wind up better as a catcher than as a pitcher, has compiled strong numbers since almost his first day on campus. As I’ve said a lot in the preceding paragraphs, a big point in his favor is that he has the requisite three to four pitches needed to start. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll continue to hold down a rotation spot in the pros, but it gives him a shot. Fellow senior Ryan Mason’s scouting dossier has always looked better than his peripherals: upper-80s heat (92 peak) with plus sink, a deceptive delivery, and lots of extension thanks to a 6-6, 215 pound frame should have resulted in better than a 3.69 K/9 last season. Of course, the ugliness of his peripherals was overshadowed by his consistently strong run prevention skills (2.97 ERA last season). It’s a really weird profile, but everything seems to have caught up this year: stuff, peripherals, and run prevention all are where you’d want them to be. I remain intrigued.

I forgot I had started going team-by-team before I went to my usual overarching view of the conference. Here’s what I had on Bobby Dalbec of Arizona…

Bobby Dalbec continues to confound. More and more people I’ve spoken to are becoming open to the idea of sending him out as a pitcher in pro ball. As frustrating as he can be at the plate, I don’t think I could throw his kind of power away that easily, even if only on a temporary basis. I also don’t think I’d touch him in the first five rounds. The comparison shared with me before the season to Chris Dominguez feels more and more prescient by the day.

I had Dominguez ranked 41st on my final board back in 2009 before he was drafted 86th overall by the Giants. I’m not sure what it says (if anything) about my own evolving view on prospecting or how the industry itself has changed or how the game has shifted, but I can say with 100% certainty that Dalbec won’t rank anywhere close to where Dominguez once landed on my personal ranks. I can also say with about 95% certainty that he won’t be drafted as high as Dominguez was in 2009. Of course, a player’s draft ranking ultimately is not about where he falls on the average of all teams’ boards but rather where he eventually falls on the board of the one team that drafts him. That’s where that 5% uncertainty comes in: all it takes is one team to look at Dalbec’s two clear plus tools (raw power, arm strength) and believe they can tweak his swing to make enough contact to allow his natural ability to shine through. His upside is very real, as is the possibility he tops out as an all-or-nothing AA power hitter. I’m out on him for now, but I understand the appeal. Chicks dig the long ball.

Then I started very briefly in on Arizona State…

David Greer is one of college baseball’s best, most underrated hitters. I’d put his hit tool on the short list of best in this college class. With that much confidence in him offensively, the only real question that needs to be answered is what position he’ll play as a pro. Right now it appears that a corner outfield spot is the most likely destination, but his prior experience at both second and third will no doubt intrigue teams willing to trade a little defense for some offense at those spots.

RJ Ybarra has had a good year, a bad year, a good year, and is now in the midst of another bad year. By that logic, teams should be hot to draft him so that he has a big full season debut in 2017, right?

And then I gave up on the team-by-team approach and went back to the usual way and here we are.

Hitters

  1. Oregon State JR C Logan Ice
  2. Arizona State JR SS/2B Colby Woodmansee
  3. California SO C Brett Cumberland
  4. USC JR C/1B Jeremy Martinez
  5. Oregon State JR SS Trever Morrison
  6. Stanford JR 2B/SS Tommy Edman
  7. Arizona JR 3B/RHP Bobby Dalbec
  8. Arizona State JR C Brian Serven
  9. Arizona State JR OF/1B David Greer
  10. UCLA rSR OF Eric Filia
  11. Arizona SR 2B/SS Cody Ramer
  12. California SR 3B/C Mitchell Kranson
  13. UCLA JR OF/2B Luke Persico
  14. USC SR OF Timmy Robinson
  15. Oregon JR OF Austin Grebeck
  16. California JR OF Aaron Knapp
  17. Oregon JR SS/2B Mark Karaviotis
  18. Utah SR SS/2B Cody Scaggari
  19. Arizona SR OF Zach Gibbons
  20. USC JR OF Corey Dempster
  21. USC SR OF David Oppenheim
  22. UCLA rJR C Darrell Miller
  23. Arizona SR 1B/OF Ryan Aguilar
  24. Arizona SR OF Justin Behnke
  25. UCLA JR OF Brett Stephens
  26. California SR OF Devin Pearson
  27. Stanford JR OF Jackson Klein
  28. Oregon SR 1B/OF Phillipe Craig-St. Louis
  29. Oregon rSO OF/1B AJ Balta
  30. Oregon SR 3B/SS Matt Eureste
  31. Oregon JR OF Nick Catalano
  32. Oregon State JR 3B Caleb Hamilton
  33. USC rJR SS Reggie Southall
  34. UCLA JR OF Kort Peterson
  35. Utah SR 1B Kellen Marruffo
  36. Stanford SR 1B/C Austin Barr
  37. California SR OF/1B Nick Halamandaris
  38. USC SR OF/1B AJ Ramirez
  39. USC rSO 2B/SS Frankie Rios
  40. Oregon State JR OF Kyle Nobach
  41. Oregon State JR 1B/OF Billy King
  42. UCLA rSR OF Christoph Bono
  43. Utah rJR 3B Dallas Carroll
  44. Washington JR OF Jack Meggs
  45. Washington JR 1B Gage Matuszak
  46. Washington State JR OF Cameron Frost
  47. California rSR 1B Brenden Farney
  48. UCLA SR 2B Trent Chatterdon
  49. Washington JR SS Chris Baker
  50. Arizona State SR C RJ Ybarra
  51. California JR 2B/OF Robbie Tenerowicz
  52. Arizona JR SS Louis Boyd
  53. California rSR OF Brian Celsi
  54. Utah SR 2B Kody Davis
  55. Utah SR C AJ Young
  56. Washington JR OF MJ Hubbs
  57. Stanford SR OF Jonny Locher
  58. Washington JR OF Josh Cushing
  59. Utah JR OF Josh Rose
  60. Utah JR SS Ellis Kelly

Pitchers

  1. California JR RHP Daulton Jefferies
  2. Stanford JR RHP Cal Quantrill
  3. Oregon rSO LHP Matt Krook
  4. Oregon rJR LHP Cole Irvin
  5. Washington State JR RHP Ian Hamilton
  6. Oregon JR RHP Stephen Nogosek
  7. Stanford JR RHP Chris Viall
  8. USC SR RHP Kyle Davis
  9. Arizona State JR RHP Hever Bueno
  10. California SR RHP Ryan Mason
  11. Arizona State JR RHP Seth Martinez
  12. USC JR RHP/3B Jeff Paschke
  13. USC JR LHP Bernardo Flores
  14. UCLA JR RHP Grant Dyer
  15. Stanford JR RHP Tyler Thorne
  16. UCLA rJR RHP Tucker Forbes
  17. USC SR RHP Brooks Kriske
  18. Arizona State JR RHP Eder Erives
  19. Oregon State JR RHP Jake Thompson
  20. Oregon State SR RHP Travis Eckert
  21. Arizona SR LHP Cody Moffett
  22. USC rJR RHP Joe Navilhon
  23. Arizona SR RHP Nathan Bannister
  24. Washington SR RHP Troy Rallings
  25. Arizona JR RHP Austin Schnabel
  26. Washington SR RHP Spencer Jones
  27. Oregon State JR RHP John Pomeroy
  28. UCLA rJR RHP Nick Kern
  29. Oregon State rJR LHP Max Engelbrekt
  30. Stanford SR RHP Daniel Starwalt
  31. California JR RHP Alex Schick
  32. USC SR RHP Brent Wheatley
  33. Washington JR RHP Westin Wuethrich
  34. USC SR LHP Marc Huberman
  35. Washington SR RHP Alex Nesbitt
  36. California JR RHP Trevin Haseltine
  37. Stanford JR RHP/3B Brett Hanewich
  38. USC JR LHP/OF Andrew Wright
  39. Utah SR RHP Dalton Carroll
  40. Washington SR LHP Will Ballowe
  41. Arizona State SR RHP Eric Melbostad
  42. Arizona rSO LHP Rio Gomez
  43. Washington SR RHP Ryan Schmitten
  44. Utah JR LHP Dylan Drachler
  45. UCLA JR RHP Moises Ceja
  46. UCLA JR RHP Scott Burke
  47. Washington JR LHP Henry Baker
  48. UCLA rJR LHP Hunter Virant
  49. Arizona rSO RHP Robby Medel
  50. Arizona JR RHP Kevin Ginkel
  51. UCLA rJR RHP Chase Radan
  52. Stanford JR LHP Chris Castellanos
  53. Utah SR RHP Nolan Stouder
  54. Arizona JR LHP JC Cloney
  55. Oregon JR RHP Cooper Stiles
  56. Arizona State SR RHP/2B Jordan Aboites

Arizona

rSO LHP Rio Gomez (2016)
SR RHP Nathan Bannister (2016)
SR LHP Cody Moffett (2016)
JR RHP Austin Schnabel (2016)
rSO RHP Robby Medel (2016)
JR RHP Kevin Ginkel (2016)
JR LHP JC Cloney (2016)
JR 3B/RHP Bobby Dalbec (2016)
SR OF Zach Gibbons (2016)
SR OF Justin Behnke (2016)
SR 2B/SS Cody Ramer (2016)
SR 1B/OF Ryan Aguilar (2016)
JR SS Louis Boyd (2016)
JR 1B Michael Hoard (2016)
SO RHP Matt Hartman (2017)
SO LHP Cameron Ming (2017)
SO OF Jared Oliva (2017)
SO 1B/OF JJ Matijevic (2017)
SO C Ryan Haug (2017)
FR RHP Austin Rubick (2018)
FR RHP Cody Deason (2018)
FR RHP Michael Flynn (2018)
FR LHP/OF Randy Labaut (2018)
FR OF Alfonso Rivas (2018)
FR C Cesar Salazar (2018)

High Priority Follows: Rio Gomez, Nathan Bannister, Cody Moffett, Austin Schnabel, Robby Medel, Kevin Ginkel, JC Cloney, Bobby Dalbec, Zach Gibbons, Justin Behnke, Cody Ramer, Ryan Aguilar, Louis Boyd, Michael Hoard

Arizona State

JR RHP Hever Bueno (2016)
JR RHP Seth Martinez (2016)
JR RHP Eder Erives (2016)
SR RHP Eric Melbostad (2016)
SR RHP/2B Jordan Aboites (2016)
JR SS/2B Colby Woodmansee (2016)
JR OF/1B David Greer (2016)
SR C RJ Ybarra (2016)
JR C Brian Serven (2016)
SR OF/1B Chris Beall (2016)
JR OF Daniel Williams (2016)
JR C Zach Cerbo (2016)
SO RHP Ryan Hingst (2017)
SO LHP Tucker Baca (2017)
SO LHP/OF Andrew Shaps (2017)
SO LHP Reagan Todd (2017)
SO RHP Grant Schneider (2017)
SO LHP Eli Lingos (2017)
SO OF Coltin Gerhart (2017)
SO SS/3B Ryan Lillard (2017)
SO OF/1B Sebastian Zawada (2017)
SO 2B Andrew Snow (2017)
FR RHP Giovanni Lopez (2018)
FR RHP Garvin Alston (2018)
FR RHP Fitz Stadler (2018)
FR RHP Liam Jenkins (2018)
FR LHP Connor Higgins (2018)
FR LHP Zach Dixon (2018)
FR OF Tyler Williams (2018)
FR OF Gage Canning (2018)

High Priority Follows: Hever Bueno, Seth Martinez, Eder Erives, Eric Melbostad, Jordan Aboites, Colby Woodmansee, David Greer, RJ Ybarra, Brian Serven, Daniel Williams, Zach Cerbo

California

JR RHP Daulton Jefferies (2016)
JR RHP Alex Schick (2016)
SR RHP Ryan Mason (2016)
rJR RHP Jordan Talbot (2016)
JR RHP Trevin Haseltine (2016)
rSR RHP Keaton Siomkin (2016)
SR RHP/C Jesse Kay (2016)
JR OF Aaron Knapp (2016)
JR 2B/OF Robbie Tenerowicz (2016)
SR 3B/C Mitchell Kranson (2016)
rSR OF Brian Celsi (2016)
SR OF Devin Pearson (2016)
SR OF/1B Nick Halamandaris (2016)
SO C Brett Cumberland (2016)
rSR 1B Brenden Farney (2016)
SO RHP Jeff Bain (2017)
SO LHP Matt Ladrech (2017)
SO RHP Erik Martinez (2017)
SO SS Preston Grand Pre (2017)
SO 3B Denis Karas (2017)
FR RHP/OF Tanner Dodson (2018)
FR RHP Jake Matulovich (2018)
FR RHP Aaron Shortridge (2018)
FR RHP Connor Jackson (2018)
FR 2B/SS Ripken Reyes (2018)
FR OF Lorenzo Hampton (2018)
FR OF Jeffrey Mitchell (2018)
FR OF Jonah Davis (2018)
FR C Tyrus Greene (2018)
FR OF Cole Lemmel (2018)

High Priority Follows: Daulton Jefferies, Alex Schick, Ryan Mason, Trevin Haseltine, Aaron Knapp, Robbie Tenerowicz, Mitchell Kranson, Brian Celsi, Devin Pearson, Nick Halamandaris, Brett Cumberland, Brenden Farney

Oregon

rJR LHP Cole Irvin (2016)
rSO LHP Matt Krook (2016)
JR RHP Stephen Nogosek (2016)
JR RHP Cooper Stiles (2016)
JR OF Austin Grebeck (2016)
JR OF Nick Catalano (2016):
JR SS/2B Mark Karaviotis (2016)
rSO OF/1B AJ Balta (2016)
SR 1B/OF Phillipe Craig-St. Louis (2016)
SR 3B/SS Matt Eureste (2016)
SO LHP David Peterson (2017)
SO RHP Brac Warren (2017)
SO C Tim Susnara (2017)
SO OF Jakob Goldfarb (2017)
SO SS/2B Daniel Patzlaff (2017)
rFR C/OF Slade Heggen (2017)
rFR SS Carson Breshears (2017)
SO INF Kyle Kasser (2017)
FR RHP Isaiah Carranza (2018)
FR RHP Cody Deason (2018)
FR RHP Jacob Bennett (2018)
FR RHP/C Parker Kelly (2018)
FR RHP/INF Matt Mercer (2018)
FR SS/2B Travis Moniot (2018)
FR 3B Matt Kroon (2018)

High Priority Follows: Cole Irvin, Matt Krook, Stephen Nogosek, Cooper Stiles, Austin Grebeck, Nick Catalano, Mark Karaviotis, AJ Balta, Phillipe Craig-St. Louis, Matt Eureste

Oregon State

SR RHP Travis Eckert (2016)
JR RHP John Pomeroy (2016)
rJR LHP Max Engelbrekt (2016)
JR RHP Jake Thompson (2016)
JR SS Trever Morrison (2016)
JR C Logan Ice (2016)
JR 3B Caleb Hamilton (2016)
JR OF Kyle Nobach (2016)
JR 1B/OF Billy King (2016)
SO RHP Drew Rasmussen (2017)
SO RHP Mitch Hickey (2017)
SO RHP Luke Heimlich (2017)
rFR LHP Christian Martinek (2017)
SO LHP Ryan Mets (2017
SO 1B/C KJ Harrison (2017)
SO 2B/SS Christian Donahue (2017)
SO OF Elliott Cary (2017)
SO 3B/SS Joe Gillette (2017)
SO SS Michael Gretler (2017)
FR LHP Eric Parnow (2018)
FR LHP Jordan Britton (2018)
FR SS Cadyn Grenier (2018)
FR SS Nick Madrigal (2018)
FR OF Steven Kwan (2018)
FR OF Trevor Larnach (2018)
FR 3B Bryce Fehmel (2018)
FR C Alex O’Rourke (2018)

High Priority Follows: Travis Eckert, John Pomeroy, Max Engelbrekt, Jake Thompson, Trever Morrison, Logan Ice, Caleb Hamilton, Billy King

USC

SR RHP Brent Wheatley (2016)
SR LHP Marc Huberman (2016)
SR RHP Brooks Kriske (2016
JR LHP Bernardo Flores (2016)
rJR RHP Joe Navilhon (2016)
SR RHP Kyle Davis (2016)
JR LHP/OF Andrew Wright (2016)
JR RHP/3B Jeff Paschke (2016)
JR C/1B Jeremy Martinez (2016)
SR OF Timmy Robinson (2016)
rJR SS Reggie Southall (2016)
SR OF David Oppenheim (2016)
SR OF/1B AJ Ramirez (2016)
JR OF Corey Dempster (2016)
rSO 2B/SS Frankie Rios (2016)
JR C AJ Fritts (2016)
SO RHP Mitch Hart (2017)
SO RHP Brad Wegman (2017)
rFR RHP Bryce Dyrda (2017)
SO RHP Mason Perryman (2017)
SO 3B/SS Adalberto Carrillo (2017)
SO SS Angelo Armenta (2017)
SO INF Stephen Dubb (2017)
FR RHP Marrick Crouse (2018)
FR RHP Soloman Bates (2018)
FR LHP Quentin Longrie (2018)
FR 1B Dillon Paulson (2018)
FR INF Lars Nootbaar (2018)
FR C/RHP Cameron Stubbs (2018)

High Priority Follows: Brent Wheatley, Marc Huberman, Brooks Kriske, Bernardo Flores, Joe Navilhon, Kyle Davis, Andrew Wright, Jeff Paschke, Jeremy Martinez, Timmy Robinson, Reggie Southall, David Oppenheim, AJ Ramirez, Corey Dempster, Frankie Rios

Stanford

JR RHP Cal Quantrill (2016)
JR RHP Chris Viall (2016)
SR RHP Daniel Starwalt (2016)
JR RHP Tyler Thorne (2016)
JR LHP Chris Castellanos (2016)
rSR LHP John Hochstatter (2016)
JR RHP/3B Brett Hanewich (2016)
SR OF Jonny Locher (2016)
SR SS Bobby Zarubin (2016)
JR OF Jackson Klein (2016)
JR 2B/SS Tommy Edman (2016)
SR 1B/C Austin Barr (2016)
JR C Alex Dunlap (2016)
FR RHP Tristan Beck (2017)
SO RHP Keith Weisenberg (2017)
SO RHP Colton Hock (2017)
SO LHP Andrew Summerville (2017)
SO LHP John Henry Styles (2017)
SO LHP/OF Quinn Brodey (2017)
SO C Bryce Carter (2017)
SO SS/2B Beau Branton (2017)
SO 3B Mikey Diekroeger (2017)
SO SS Jesse Kuet (2017)
SO OF/1B Matt Winaker (2017)
FR LHP Kris Bubic (2018)
FR RHP Ben Baggett (2018)
FR SS Nico Hoerner (2018)
FR OF Brandon Wulff (2018)
FR OF/1B Nickolas Oar (2018)
FR OF Alec Wilson (2018)
FR SS Peter McEvoy (2018)
FR SS Duke Kinamon (2018)
FR 3B Nick Bellafronto (2018)

High Priority Follows: Cal Quantrill, Chris Viall, Daniel Starwalt, Tyler Thorne, Chris Castellanos, John Hochstatter, Brett Hanewich, Jonny Locher, Jackson Klein, Tommy Edman, Austin Barr, Alex Dunlap

UCLA

JR RHP Grant Dyer (2016)
rJR RHP Tucker Forbes (2016)
rJR LHP Hunter Virant (2016)
rJR RHP Nick Kern (2016)
rJR RHP Chase Radan (2016)
JR RHP Scott Burke (2016)
JR RHP Moises Ceja (2016)
JR OF/2B Luke Persico (2016)
rSR OF Eric Filia (2016)
JR OF Kort Peterson (2016)
rSR OF Christoph Bono (2016)
JR OF Brett Stephens (2016)
rJR C Darrell Miller (2016)
SR 2B Trent Chatterdon (2016)
SR 2B/OF Brett Urabe (2016)
SO RHP Griffin Canning (2017)
SO RHP Matt Trask (2017)
SO RHP Jake Bird (2017)
rFR RHP Nathan Hadley (2017)
rFR LHP Garrett Barker (2017)
rFR 1B Zander Clarke (2017)
rFR SS Scott Jarvis (2017)
SO SS/2B Nick Valaika (2017)
SO 3B/1B Sean Bouchard (2017)
FR RHP Kyle Molnar (2018)
FR LHP Justin Hooper (2018)
FR RHP Brian Gadsby (2018)
FR RHP Jonathan Olsen (2018)
FR RHP Jack Ralston (2018)
FR OF Daniel Amaral (2018)
FR INF Dayton Provost (2018)
FR 1B Jake Pries (2018)
FR OF Jordan Myrow (2018)
FR C Jake Hirabayshi (2018)

High Priority Follows: Grant Dyer, Tucker Forbes, Hunter Virant, Nick Kern, Chase Radan, Scott Burke, Moises Ceja, Luke Persico, Eric Filia, Kort Peterson, Christoph Bono, Brett Stephens, Darrell Miller, Trent Chatterdon, Brett Urabe

Washington

SR LHP Will Ballowe (2016)
JR RHP Westin Wuethrich (2016)
SR RHP Ryan Schmitten (2016)
SR RHP Alex Nesbitt (2016)
SR RHP Troy Rallings (2016)
SR RHP Spencer Jones (2016)
JR LHP Henry Baker (2016)
JR OF Jack Meggs (2016)
JR 1B Gage Matuszak (2016)
JR OF MJ Hubbs (2016)
JR OF Josh Cushing (2016)
JR SS Chris Baker (2016)
SO RHP Noah Bremer (2017)
SO 3B Nyles Nygaard (2017)
SO C Joey Morgan (2017)
FR RHP Joe DeMers (2018)
FR SS/2B AJ Graffanino (2018)
FR C Willie MacIver (2018):
FR OF Rex Stephan (2018)
FR 3B/OF Peyton Lacoste (2018)
FR 2B Dallas Tessar (2018)
FR 2B/OF Karl Kani (2018)

High Priority Follows: Will Ballowe, Westin Wuethrich, Ryan Schmitten, Alex Nesbitt, Troy Rallings, Spencer Jones, Henry Baker, Jack Meggs, Gage Matuszak, MJ Hubbs, Josh Cushing, Chris Baker

Washington State

JR RHP Ian Hamilton (2016)
JR LHP Layne Bruner (2016)
JR OF Cameron Frost (2016)
rJR 2B Shea Donlin (2016)
rJR OF Trek Stemp (2016)
SO RHP Ryan Walker (2017)
SO LHP Scotty Sunitsch (2017)
SO RHP Colby Nealy (2017)
rFR RHP Nick Leonard (2017)
SO INF Shane Matheny (2017)
SO OF Derek Chapman (2017)
SO C/OF JJ Hancock (2017)
FR RHP Parker McFadden (2018)
FR RHP Ryan Ward (2018)
FR SS Justin Harrer (2018)

High Priority Follows: Ian Hamilton, Cameron Frost, Trek Stemp

Utah

SR RHP Dalton Carroll (2016)
rJR LHP Hunter Rodriguez (2016)
SR RHP Nolan Stouder (2016)
JR LHP Dylan Drachler (2016)
SR C AJ Young (2016)
JR SS Ellis Kelly (2016)
SR SS/2B Cody Scaggari (2016)
rJR 3B Dallas Carroll (2016)
SR 2B Kody Davis (2016)
SR OF Wyler Smith (2016)
SR 1B Kellen Marruffo (2016)
JR OF Josh Rose (2016)
JR C Max Schuman (2016)
SO LHP Josh Lapiana (2017)
SO RHP Tanner Thomas (2017)
SO RHP Andre Jackson (2017)
SO RHP/OF Jayson Rose (2017)
FR RHP Riley Ottesen (2018)
FR OF DaShawn Keirsey (2018)
FR C Zach Moeller (2018)

High Priority Follows: Dalton Carroll, Hunter Rodriguez, Nolan Stouder, Dylan Drachler, AJ Young, Ellis Kelly, Cody Scaggari, Dallas Carroll, Kody Davis, Wyler Smith, Kellen Marruffo, Josh Rose, Max Schurman

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Pac-12 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team – PITCHERS

First Team

UCLA JR RHP James Kaprielian
USC JR LHP Kyle Twomey
Arizona State JR LHP Brett Lilek
Oregon rSO LHP Cole Irvin
UCLA JR RHP Cody Poteet

Second Team

Stanford JR RHP Marc Brakeman
Arizona State JR LHP Ryan Kellogg
Arizona State JR RHP Ryan Burr
Oregon JR LHP Garrett Cleavinger
Oregon State JR RHP Andrew Moore

I’m oddly fascinated at the idea of a pitcher with a “four-pitch mix” because I feel like that phrase almost exclusively is thrown around at the amateur level. Maybe you’ll hear it at times for minor leaguers, but depth of repertoire is not something discussed much in the big leagues. Obviously this is because we’ve got a self-selecting sample and pitchers without the requisite three or four pitches needed to run through lineups multiple times have already been converted to relief, but I still think there’s perhaps something to the way evaluators overrate prospects with a ton of decent pitches (who must be starters then!) and underrate young arms with two knockout pitches (relief all the way!) without factoring in that pitchers can in fact develop additional effective pitches along the way. I’m not saying a young guy who can’t throw a curve will one day wake up finding one in his wrist, but there have been enough recent examples of pitchers tinkering around the edges with grips that help previously unusable pitches (changeups, cutters, occasionally sliders) suddenly work to help get advanced hitters out. Even my old notes on Michael Wacha, a player that I think compares in certain respect to the guy we’re eventually going to talk about, make mention of this phenomena…

Texas A&M JR RHP Michael Wacha: big velocity jump during college tenure – once peaked only as high as 92, but now regularly sits 90-95 FB, hitting 96-97; like many young arms, can get himself in trouble when he overthrows fastball and it begins to straighten out; somewhat similar to Kyle Zimmer in the way he relied on excellent fastball command before seeing a velocity spike; holds velocity well, very rarely dipping below 90; have heard he’ll throw his legitimate plus to plus-plus CU with two distinct grips: one at 82-85 with the circle change grip, the other more of an upper-70s straight change; either way, the CU should be a weapon from day one on; occasional 81-85 SL with cutter action; also will go with a very rare upper-70s CB that could be the breaking pitch he’ll be asked to run with as a pro; neither breaking ball is pro-ready, but both have flashed enough that it is easy to imagine a pro staff believing it can coach him up; natural comparison is Ryan Madson, especially if Wacha never develops a consistent third pitch and is used out of the bullpen; as a starter, I think there are some similarities in terms of stuff when you compare him to Braves prospect Julio Teheran; 6-6, 200 pounds

Wacha wasn’t quite a two-pitch guy in college, but he was close. The idea that a player capable of hitting the mid-90s with an easy plus change, clean mechanics, and a prototypical starter’s frame would be relegated to the bullpen because of an iffy present third pitch was silly at the time and downright preposterous in hindsight. Thankfully, it also represents a learning experience and the chance to reevaluate what elements are most crucial when projecting pitchers into the future. Going back to the idea that amateurs need three or four pitches to start spurred me to look up what big league arms actually throw four quality pitches. The only three starting pitchers I found with positive pitch values (per Fangraphs) for each of the four pitches in the classic “four-pitch mix” (FB/CU/CB/SL) last season were Felix Hernandez, Anibal Sanchez, and Tanner Roark. If you expand it to include relievers, then Danny Farquhar, Tom Wilhelmsen, and Zach Duke join the fun. If you let David Price’s cutter in stand in for a slider, then you can add him to the starter party. Many players were close (Clayton Kershaw, Julio Teheran, Matt Garza, and Scott Kazmir to name a few) and the whole thing is about as unscientific as you can get, but I found it interesting and a fine use of five spare minutes.

This whole discussion goes back to a “four-pitch mix,” which admittedly is a bit of a strawman of a premise in the first place. I don’t know of anybody who says you NEED four pitches to make it as a starting pitcher in the big leagues. Three pitches is the most common baseline and a quick spin around Fangraphs Pitch Type leaderboard validates this idea. The only two pitchers you could even make a flimsy argument for being two-pitch starters (out of the 88 player sample of 2014 qualified pitchers) are Bartolo Colon (11.8% SL, 5.6% CU) and Lance Lynn (10.2% SL, 8.4% CB, 2.4% CU). Those two might be closest, but neither is what I’d expect anybody to call a two-pitch pitcher. Lynn, who is literally (!) a four-pitch pitcher, being included in this conversation at all is somehow both absurd (he throws four pitches!) and justified (showing a pitch and throwing a pitch aren’t the same, right?), but the whole thing is still a stretch. The three pitch minimum lives on.

That was a lot of words when I could have simply said that even though years of being in and around the game have conditioned me to want to see three usable big league pitches on any amateur (college, especially) before feeling confident enough to project him as a big league starter pitcher, I’ve come around to the idea that young guys with two above-average or better pitches can be just as likely to develop a usable third pitch as a more advanced at present peer. Even shorter still: give me the pitcher with two nasty pitches over the one with four average pitches, assuming all else (delivery, athleticism, command, control, etc.) is equal.

This all brings me to the guy I think Wacha compares to on some level, UCLA JR RHP James Kaprielian. Draft people like me who sometimes try to get too cute for own good have fought it in the past, but there’s no denying that Kaprielian warrants a first round grade this June. Well-built righthanders with four pitches (ding!) and consistently excellent results in a tough conference profile as big league starting pitchers more often than not. I’m going to just go with an excerpt of some of my notes on Kaprielian because they are among the longest running that I have on any player in this college class…

JR RHP James Kaprielian (2015): 87-92 FB, 94-95 peak; potential plus 79-84 CB, commands it well; potential plus 80-85 CU with serious sink; above-average 79-85 SL; good athlete; excellent overall command; 2014 Summer: 88-92 FB, 93 peak; above-average to plus or better 75-79 CB with plus command, still gets it up to 85 depending on situation; average or better upside with 79-82 SL; FAVORITE; average or better upside with mid-80s CU with splitter action; UPDATE: 83-85 SL, flashes above-average; average 78-80 CB with above-average to plus upside; good athlete; commands both breaking balls well; 2015: 89-94 FB; above-average 78-81 CB flashes plus; above-average 83-85 SL; above-average mid-80s CU, flashes better; 6-4, 200 pounds (2013: 12.39 K/9 | 5.09 BB/9 | 2.20 FIP | 40.2 IP) (2014: 9.17 K/9 – 2.97 BB/9 – 106 IP – 2.29 ERA)

The UPDATE and 2015 sections give the most pertinent information (88-94 FB, 95 peak; above-average 78-81 CB, flashes plus; average 83-85 SL, flashes above-average; above-average mid-80s CU with drop, flashes plus; good athleticism; commands both breaking balls ably; plus overall command), but I like including the whole thing (or as much as can be published) to highlight the growth he’s made. Kaprielian is damn good and smart team picking in the latter half of the first round will get a quick-moving mid-rotation arm who still might have a bit of upside left in him beyond that.

On the other end of the spectrum (kind of) is USC JR LHP Kyle Twomey. Twomey has long been a favorite thanks to a fastball/changeup combination (just two pitches, gasp!) good enough to get big league swings and misses within the year. His fastball doesn’t have premium velocity (87-92, 94 peak), but the heaps of movement he gets on it make it a consistent above-average to plus offering. His change does a lot of the same things from the same arm speed, making the 78-82 MPH pitch above-average with plus upside. Those two pitches and room to grow on a 6-3, 170 pound frame make him a very appealing prospect. There are some issues that will need ironing out at the pro level – deciding on whether to further refine his cutter/slider hybrid or tightening up his soft curve, plus improving his overall control and offspeed command – but the pieces are there for him to make it as a big league starting pitcher.

I was all about UCLA rSO LHP Hunter Virant heading into the season as a prospect with no college track record storming up boards and claiming his spot in the first round. I think on the original iteration of this list he was in the top five. Whoops. His situation in school isn’t exactly the same as Matt Purke’s, but there are enough depressing similarities to the two that I think citing their stories might give the push to recommend pro ball to any young arm. That’s not to say that anything specifically done to Virant while at UCLA has damaged his pro prospects; pitchers get hurt no matter the time and place. Heck, if anything you could argue that Virant is better off with (presumably) three years of coursework towards a degree at a fine university than he would have been taking bonus money out of high school and flaming out of pro ball by now. Other HS arms I loved once upon a time that have fallen into hard times collegiately include the Stanford duo of JR RHP Freddy Avis and JR RHP Daniel Starwalt. I still have hope for all these players, but every day that passes without them pitching effectively on the mound (or pitching at all, really) makes it a little tougher to justify the faith.

In happier news, Oregon rSO LHP Cole Irvin’s return from injury (Tommy John) has gone fairly well to date. I’d say he’s done enough to show he should be in the top five round mix this June, especially when his pre-injury talent level, athleticism, control, and plus-plus pickoff move are all taken into account.

Somebody at Perfect Game (I believe) compared Arizona State JR LHP Brett Lilek to a lefty Phil Bickford. I can buy it to some degree as their stuff (and frame and command) isn’t too far off, but Lilek has never shown the same ability to miss bats as Bickford, admittedly at a different level, right now. He’s still a lefthander with size (6-4, 200), velocity (90-94, 95 peak), and three offspeed pitches each with a varying degree of promise (I’d rank them slider, curve, change). Yes, I fully understand the irony of pumping up Lilek, a potential four-pitch pitcher (though more likely three-pitch) with a prospect status built more on the strength of a high likelihood of at least some success (league average starter?) rather than sheer upside, right after my weird little tangent about no longer wanting to overrate prospects just like him. Maybe every prospect should be evaluated on their own merits or something? Lilek’s teammate JR LHP Ryan Kellogg is a similar prospect (size, command, smarts) but has neither the same fastball (87-92) nor the same quality of offspeed stuff. That’s not meant to diminish his ability as he still has a chance (just slightly less so than Lilek for me) to make it as a back-end big league starter.

I swear I’m not making this up, but my notes on UCLA JR RHP Cody Poteet include this exact phrase: “legit four-pitch mix.” I mean, it is true after all. What Poteet lacks in physicality he more than makes up for with the depth of his stuff. I like more than love him as a prospect, but his slider has the makings of a really good pro pitch. USC JR RHP/C Kyle Davis and Oregon State JR RHP Andrew Moore (easy plus command and control guy) give the class two additional short righthanders with well-rounded stuff and strong track records.

Stanford JR RHP Marc Brakeman is more of a two-pitch prospect (like Twomey) that I’ve referenced above. Armed with a nice albeit inconsistent heater (88-94, 95 peak – though I’ve seen him sit more on the low end of that range at times) and an outstanding low-80s changeup, Brakeman could move up boards quickly once he gets healthy again. I’ve been the low man on him in the past, but that’s more due to an intuition thing than anything I can reasonably express.

Arizona State JR RHP Ryan Burr and Oregon JR LHP Garrett Cleavinger stand together as the two best 2015 relief prospects likely to come out of the conference. Burr has gotten some recent love as a possible starter at the next level, but I don’t really see it. Been there, done that. He has the stuff (90-96 FB, above-average low-80s SL, ability to mix in raw yet intriguing mid-80s CU and upper-70s CB) to pull it off, but the delivery, control (though improved), and command all scream reliever to me. I haven’t heard anybody mention Cleavinger as a potential pro starter. Keeping him in the pen also makes sense to me because, though he has the pitches (90-96 FB, above-average breaking ball, average CU) to face a lineup multiple times through, he has the arm action and stamina (stuff plays way up in short bursts) to thrive in the relief role in the pros. There has been some market correction on how teams value college relievers in recent drafts, but I still expect to see Burr go higher than he’ll wind up on my personal board this June. He’s really good, so it isn’t as though that will be a horrible mistake…but assuming Cleavinger (and other “second tier” college relievers) wind up going multiple rounds lower, that’s the value play I’d lean towards.

I’ve said many times I don’t believe in sleepers. I find the whole concept a tad demeaning to all involved. To call somebody a sleeper insults the player, the audience, and the profession (or, if you’d prefer, industry). If you’re any good, somebody somewhere knows who you are, so you’re not a sleeper by my own personal, admittedly crazy narrow, definition. Still, insults might be too strong a word because I don’t take any of this stuff that seriously – I do this entirely for fun, I acknowledge that my influence is nonexistent, I don’t buy into scouting as some sacred insider only thing that only real baseball men can participate in, I actively root for all prospects (even the ones I “miss” on) to do well and make millions and live out all their dreams, etc. – but few things bug me more when reading draft or prospect stuff than really famous players being called “sleepers.” I realize the interest in the MLB Draft isn’t on par with the NFL or NBA counterparts, but when actual paid professional draft writers start with the assumption that their audience only knows players expected to go in the top five picks and then pat themselves on the back years later when their draft “sleeper” (picked, like, fourteenth overall) winds up a great player, a little part of me dies inside. Another example of this is the way that most publications write up at least thirty prospects per organization, but then the one that limits it to ten has the gall to name an additional prospect from each system a “sleeper” and crow when that player — nominally the eleventh ranked player in the system — has a good year. Come on.

I guess instead of sleepers I can just call them players I think I’ll wind up having ranked higher than where they’ll be drafted. Even then, if I like a guy more than most right now and wind up “right” about him as pro teams get wise to his ability/upside, then judging by that standard doesn’t seem particularly fair. Calling them guys I like more than the consensus isn’t very meaningful when most draft rankings only go about fifty deep (if that) up until the week leading up until the draft.

This tangent doesn’t really apply here since many of my potential sleepers (there’s that word again) haven’t quite lived up to expectations so far this year, but there are a few guys that will be drafted fairly late that I like quite bit. I like Arizona State SR RHP Darrin Gillies as a sinker/slider guy with size, Washington SR RHP Brandon Choate for similar reasons (90-94 FB, 96 peak; SL flashes plus; lots of ground balls), Oregon JR RHP Conor Harber (who might be too good to be a sleeper…I have no idea anymore) for his untapped upside, athleticism, and fresh arm, and, in the most decidedly non-sleeper of them all, UCLA SR RHP David Berg, who is just plain fun to watch carve up good hitters in high pressure situations with mid-80s fastballs and impeccable control. If I updated this list today rather than just reusing my existing preseason list with Virant dropped a dozen spots from his original lofty perch, all four guys would be higher than they are below. Harber would be much higher. I also try to tack on a few speculative picks at the end of these rankings when I can (the bottom quarter of many of these lists are mostly a combination of players with clearly defined potential big league roles — like a future lefty specialist or something — or players I don’t know much about with about much of a track record but with substantial upside), so don’t sleep on UCLA rSO RHP Tucker Forbes.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. UCLA JR RHP James Kaprielian
  2. USC JR LHP Kyle Twomey
  3. Arizona State JR LHP Brett Lilek
  4. Oregon rSO LHP Cole Irvin
  5. UCLA JR RHP Cody Poteet
  6. Stanford JR RHP Marc Brakeman
  7. Arizona State JR LHP Ryan Kellogg
  8. Arizona State JR RHP Ryan Burr
  9. Oregon JR LHP Garrett Cleavinger
  10. Oregon State JR RHP Andrew Moore
  11. Arizona rJR RHP Matthew Troupe
  12. UCLA rSO LHP Hunter Virant
  13. USC JR RHP/C Kyle Davis
  14. Oregon JR RHP/OF Conor Harber
  15. Arizona State SR RHP Darin Gillies
  16. Stanford JR RHP Freddy Avis
  17. Stanford JR RHP Daniel Starwalt
  18. Arizona JR RHP Nathan Bannister
  19. Washington SR RHP Brandon Choate
  20. Washington State rSR RHP Scott Simon
  21. California JR RHP Ryan Mason
  22. UCLA rSO RHP Nick Kern
  23. Arizona State JR RHP/OF David Graybill
  24. California rSR RHP Dylan Nelson
  25. Arizona JR LHP Cody Moffett
  26. Washington JR RHP Troy Rallings
  27. UCLA SR RHP David Berg
  28. UCLA SR LHP Grant Watson
  29. UCLA rSO RHP Tucker Forbes
  30. Washington rSR RHP Josh Fredendall
  31. Stanford JR LHP Logan James
  32. USC JR LHP Marc Huberman
  33. Stanford SR RHP David Schmidt
  34. Washington JR RHP Alex Nesbitt
  35. Utah JR RHP Dalton Carroll
  36. Utah JR RHP Bret Helton
  37. Washington State SR RHP Sam Triece
  38. Arizona State JR RHP/2B Jordan Aboites
  39. Arizona SR LHP Tyler Crawford
  40. Arizona JR RHP Tyger Talley
  41. USC JR LHP Tyler Gilbert
  42. Washington State SR RHP Sean Hartnett
  43. USC JR RHP Brooks Kriske
  44. USC JR RHP Brent Wheatley
  45. Washington SR RHP Tyler Davis
  46. Stanford SR LHP Jonathan Hochstatter
  47. Washington JR RHP Ryan Schmitten
  48. Washington State JR LHP Matt Bower

Pac-12 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team – HITTERS

First Team

Washington JR C Austin Rei
Oregon JR 1B/OF Phillipe Craig-St. Louis
Arizona JR 2B Scott Kingery
Arizona JR SS Kevin Newman
Oregon JR 3B Mitchell Tolman
Oregon State JR OF Jeff Hendrix
UCLA JR OF Ty Moore
Washington JR OF Braden Bishop

Second Team

Arizona State JR C RJ Ybarra
Oregon State JR 1B Gabe Clark
UCLA rJR 2B Kevin Kramer
Stanford JR SS Drew Jackson
Arizona State JR 3B Dalton DiNatale
Oregon rJR OF Scott Heineman
USC JR OF Timmy Robinson
Arizona JR OF Justin Behnke

I’ve touched on both Washington JR C Austin Rei and Oregon SR C Shaun Chase recently, so I won’t go into great depth on either again. I was hoping to see one or both make a serious run for college ball’s top catching prospect in 2015, but a torn thumb ligament for Rei and the continued inability to make adjustments as a hitter for Chase have knocked both out of the running. That said, I still think Rei gets picked way higher than anybody thinks because he’s coming into pro ball at the perfect time with plus pitch framing skills that match what teams want to see most in catching prospects. I’m a really big fan of Rei and think he’s one of the draft’s “safest” prospects with both a high ceiling (above-average regular) and high floor (elite defensive backup). Barring additional injuries, I don’t see how he doesn’t have some sort of big league career.

Arizona State JR C RJ Ybarra has had the kind of year I was expecting to see out of Chase. It doesn’t hurt that their player profiles are so similar: big arms, big power, big bodies, and raw defenders. Ybarra’s better approach gives him the edge as a hitter and prospect for now. Long time readers of the site (all six of you) will remember I’ve long been on the Riley Moore bandwagon. No reason to hop off now that the Arizona senior catcher is having his best season at the plate. For teams looking for athleticism and leadership in their catching prospects, he’s a great fit. Relative to where he’ll likely be picked, I think he winds up being a pretty nifty player. His numbers this year very closely mimic what Stanford JR C Austin Barr has done as of this writing. Barr is another member of the Chase/Ybarra/Graham (see below) group of upside bats with TBD defensive possibilities.

Oregon JR C/RHP Josh Graham is one of the most intriguing two-way talents in the country. I have him listed with the catchers for now, but I’ve heard the split on his pro future is pretty much 50/50 for folks in the game. He’s been up to 96 off the mound in the past (haven’t heard any updates in 2015, but his numbers have been really good) while also showing above-average raw power at the plate. His rawness definitely shows up both as a hitter and in the field, but the upside is significant.

There really aren’t any words to accurately describe USC SR C Garrett Stubbs. He’s a player you really need to see play to understand. Catchers with plus athleticism, above-average speed, and the defensive talent to actually stick behind the plate over the long haul don’t come around every day. I’m not sure that his power spike so far this year is real (track record suggests it is just a typical senior year bump), but if a team buys in to him potentially having even average raw power then you’re talking about a unique skill set with legitimate big league value.

It comes down to a Civil War battle for which first base prospect will wind up the conference’s best bet to be drafted first in 2015. I go back and forth almost daily – don’t be jealous of the exciting life that I live – between Oregon JR 1B/OF Phillipe Craig-St. Louis and Oregon State JR 1B Gabe Clark. It’s slightly more complicated than this, but today it comes down to the hit tool of Craig-St.Louis winning out by a hair over the power upside of Clark. Tomorrow I might go with the power.

I swear I’ve written about Arizona JR 2B/OF Scott Kingery on the internet somewhere before this season, but I can’t find proof of it anywhere. No matter, as I’m happy to write about one of my favorite 2015 draft prospects all over again for the first time. Of course, you can’t really write about Kingery without also writing about his double-play partner JR SS/2B Kevin Newman. Both players have the chance for plus hit tools in the big leagues with enough pop (average for Kingery, a touch less than that for Newman) and speed (above-average to plus for Kingery, average to above-average for Newman) to be really valuable offensive players. Defensively, Newman’s instincts are so damn good that I think he’s a sure-fire shortstop for a long time even without the kind of physical tools some teams demand in the middle infield talent. I hesitate to add that last part because it sells Newman’s actual tools short. Though he’s not plus in any area (except arguably the hit tool), every other non-power tool is at least average and that’s before getting bumped up because of his preternatural feel for the game.

Somebody smart told me that Newman reminded him of Dansby Swanson “without the super-charged athleticism.” He meant it as a compliment for both guys: Swanson is both a talented ballplayer and a freak athlete worthy of top ten consideration while Newman, a back-end first round pick in his eyes, can do almost everything Swanson can do without being gifted freaky tools (i.e., Newman does more with less). The description I got on Kingery was equally impressive. I was told that “he plays second base like a center fielder.” Again, though I can see how this might be perceived as a slight, this was meant in a very good way. Kingery is such a good athlete that his range at second base, especially on balls into the air behind him, is second to none. I was actually on the fence about his glove being able to stick in the infield this year, but only because I thought he could be good at second and potentially great in center. Now I’m confident that he could be an excellent defender at either spot.

If the preceding paragraphs weren’t clear, I’m all-in on both Kingery and Newman as potential first round picks. Tools, athleticism, instincts, approach, track record…not sure what else you could ask for. If these guys were doing what they are doing while playing for a certain ACC school disproportionately, for reasons both fair (proximity) and not so fair (not so thinly veiled fandom) covered by a certain publication, then we’d be getting weekly updates on their progress and the only draft question left would how high they’d go in the first. I’m extremely tempted to put Kingery over Newman, but the magic of being able to play shortstop wins out for now. That may change between now and June.

There are more misses than hits on my 2011 HS second base rankings — boy, I liked Phillip Evans a lot — but USC SR 2B Dante Flores and UCLA rJR 2B/3B Kevin Kramer coming in at 6th and 8th respectively have held up all right. It took Flores three seasons to hit (he was actually really good as a freshman, but let me have my narrative) and it’s fair to wonder if something has really clicked or if it’s the senior season bounce I referenced above. I buy it as real, but take that for what it is since I’m the guy with “hasn’t turned into player many hoped, but still like him” in my notes from Flores after seeing him during last year’s disappointing junior season. Here are some of the old notes from four years ago on Flores…

Flores can definitely swing the bat, but his power upside is limited and he is an average at best runner. He’s a steady defender at second, capable of making plays on balls hit at or near him but lacking the athleticism and instincts to ever wow you at the spot. Prospects who lack positional safety nets — i.e. a spot on the diamond they can play if they can’t hack it at their original spot — make me really nervous. Flores is probably a second baseman or bust, so there is a lot riding on that hit tool.

Kramer’s return to health has gone even better than hoped in 2015. His bum shoulder that kept him out last season is but a distant memory now that he’s back swinging a hot bat. I haven’t heard how much arm strength he’s regained (it was average pre-injury), but if it’s enough for the left side then he’s a prime candidate for above-average big league utility infielder. That might be selling him short as he’s got the swing, hands, and feel to hit enough to play every day at second base at the next level. Here are Kramer’s HS notes from 2011…

Strength, both at the plate and jammed into his throwing arm, describes Kramer’s biggest current asset. I also like his bat a lot — feel like I’ve said that about a half dozen players already, but it’s true — and have a strong intuitive feel on him.

I still have Arizona State JR 2B/RHP Jordan Aboites listed as a primary infielder, but his pro future will likely come on the mound if it comes at all. If that’s the case, I can vouch for his showing up on a Fangraphs list before too long as one of Carson Cistulli’s favorite prospects. Relievers who stand 5-5, 150 pounds with ridiculous athleticism, solid velocity (88-92), and plus breaking balls tend to be fairly popular players. I mean, even I love the guy and I’m an old curmudgeonly jerk.

California SR 2B/3B Chris Paul is another Pac-12 middle infielder who took longer than expected to hit, but appears to have figured something out in 2015. Stanford JR SS/RHP Drew Jackson might be the guy we talk about in a similar vein next season. I’ve come full circle on him, originally thinking he was overhyped back when some mentioned him as a first round sleeper to now believing he’s being undervalued as a toolsy athlete with as yet untapped upside. He’s got the goods to stick at shortstop (his plus-plus arm being his best tool) with enough offensive talent (plus speed, average raw power) to intrigue. I think the combination of his preseason draft expectations and the lure of a Stanford diploma will make him a very tough sign this summer, but that’s just one outsider’s take.

Oregon JR 3B/1B Mitchell Tolman has been under the radar for too long. He’s a steady, versatile (can also play 2B) defender with average speed, ample arm strength, and a patient approach. This is a “in no way is this a comparison” comparison, but Tolman’s profile is a little bit like the college game’s version of Matt Carpenter. Arizona State JR 3B/OF Dalton DiNatale is another guy who can play multiple spots. He’s also got a solid approach and good size. Utah rSO 3B Dallas Carroll is a good athlete with, you guessed it, a good approach, but I mostly wanted to include him since I felt bad for stiffing the Utah offense otherwise. JR 2B Kody Davis and JR SS Cody Scaggari are nice players, too!

Oregon State JR OF Jeff Hendrix is a fine looking prospect who hasn’t gotten much (any?) national attention just yet. If you’re starting to pick up on a trend with the Pac-12 this year, then you’re smarter than you look. On paper, Hendrix sounds damn good: above-average to plus raw power, average to above-average speed, and great athleticism. He’s made steady improvements on the field with little sign of slowing down. It’s rare that an honest to goodness potential top five round gets overshadowed like this – perhaps it has something to do with being teammates with the extremely impressive freshman KJ Harrison – but he’ll get his due before too long.

UCLA JR OF/LHP Ty Moore is living proof that you can have average tools across the board so long as the best of said tools is the bat, whether it’s straight hit or power. Moore has as good a hit tool as you’ll find in this year’s class. The rest of his tools may be more or less average, but that hit tool will keep him getting paid for years to come. It’s a bit of a tricky profile in an outfield corner, but those with confidence in him as a hitter will give him a long look. I’m buying it.

Meanwhile, Washington JR OF/RHP Braden Bishop is the anti-Moore. His tools have always been loud (plus arm strength, plus to plus-plus speed, plus CF range), but his bat has long been a question. By all accounts he has turned a corner as a hitter so far this spring, which is both great to see from a personal perspective and because it adds yet another talented up-the-middle talent to this year’s draft class. USC JR OF Timmy Robinson isn’t quite the same athlete, but works as another potential anti-Moore (or, more aptly, Moore’s inverse prospect) with four average or better tools (all but the hit).

I was very excited to see Oregon rJR OF/3B Scott Heineman back and healthy after getting past a lost 2014 season. There have been signs of rust both at the plate and in the field, but no real drop in his impressive set of tools. I’m starting to think of him more as a potential super utility player (OF, 3B, 2B, maybe some C) at the highest level, though I admit that usage like that might not exactly be all that realistic an outcome knowing what we know about how most big league managers favor more defined roles. I’m also starting to get the feeling that Heineman could be one of those players who, for whatever reason, wind up as better pros than collegiate players.

The positive buzz on Arizona JR OF Justin Behnke coming into the season was unrelenting, so it’s good to see him delivering on his promise in his first year as a Wildcat. He’s an easy to appreciate prospect who wisely plays within himself and accentuates his strengths (speed, defense, plate discipline) with smarts and good baseball instincts. I’m a fan. Arizona State JR OF John Sewald is his brother from another mother at a rival school. Neither player ever gives off the future regular in the big leagues vibe, but both have clear, usable skill sets that help you envision a path to the highest level as a valuable role player.

Though he’s done next to nothing so far this year, Stanford JR OF Zach Hoffpauir remains one of the draft’s most intriguing wild cards. He’s incredibly raw and a little stiff in his baseball movements, but still flashes the athleticism, strength, and power that keep him on follow lists. I’ve cooled a bit on football to baseball conversions, especially those that have trained their bodies to play on the gridiron during their college years, after getting the chance to talk to some really smart people in the game on the subject (both old school types and younger front office members privy to some interesting proprietary research). Washington State rJR OF Ben Roberts never played football for the Cougars, but much of what was written above applies to him all the same: tools aplenty, but hasn’t done it on the field enough to warrant serious draft consideration in 2015. Speaking of tools…I don’t recall if I’ve shared this before and I’m too lazy to check, but seeing in my notes that USC rSR OF Omar Cotto Lozada was once described to me as “if Usain Bolt played baseball” always brightens my day. I’d drop a pick in round forty on the guy just to watch him run.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting

  1. Arizona JR SS/2B Kevin Newman
  2. Arizona JR 2B/OF Scott Kingery
  3. Washington JR C Austin Rei
  4. Oregon State JR OF Jeff Hendrix
  5. UCLA JR OF/LHP Ty Moore
  6. Washington JR OF/RHP Braden Bishop
  7. Oregon rJR OF/3B Scott Heineman
  8. UCLA rJR 2B/3B Kevin Kramer
  9. Oregon JR 3B/1B Mitchell Tolman
  10. Stanford JR SS/RHP Drew Jackson
  11. Arizona State JR C RJ Ybarra
  12. Oregon SR C Shaun Chase
  13. Arizona SR C Riley Moore
  14. USC SR 2B Dante Flores
  15. USC JR OF Timmy Robinson
  16. Arizona JR OF Justin Behnke
  17. Arizona State JR 3B/OF Dalton DiNatale
  18. Arizona State rSR OF Trever Allen
  19. Arizona JR OF Zach Gibbons
  20. Oregon JR C/RHP Josh Graham
  21. Stanford JR C Austin Barr
  22. USC SR C Garrett Stubbs
  23. California SR 2B/3B Chris Paul
  24. Arizona State JR OF John Sewald
  25. Oregon JR 1B/OF Phillipe Craig-St. Louis
  26. Stanford JR OF Zach Hoffpauir
  27. USC JR SS Blake Lacey
  28. Oregon State JR 1B Gabe Clark
  29. Washington State rJR OF Ben Roberts
  30. UCLA JR 2B Trent Chatterdon
  31. UCLA JR C Darrell Miller
  32. Arizona JR 2B/SS Jackson Willeford
  33. USC rSO SS Reggie Southall
  34. Oregon rSR OF Steven Packard
  35. USC rSR OF Omar Cotto Lozada
  36. Utah JR SS Cody Scaggari
  37. Utah rSO 3B Dallas Carroll
  38. UCLA rJR C Justin Hazard

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – Pac-12 Follow List

Arizona

rJR RHP Matthew Troupe (2015)
JR RHP Nathan Bannister (2015)
SR LHP Tyler Crawford (2015)
rJR LHP Xavier Borde (2015)
JR RHP Tyger Talley (2015)
JR LHP Cody Moffett (2015)
rJR RHP Cody Hamlin (2015)
JR SS/2B Kevin Newman (2015)
JR OF Zach Gibbons (2015)
JR 2B/OF Scott Kingery (2015)
SR C Riley Moore (2015)
SR OF Joseph Maggi (2015)
SR C Jordan Berger (2015)
JR OF Justin Behnke (2015)
JR OF Ryan Aguilar (2015)
JR 3B/OF Cody Ramer (2015)
SR OF Tyler Krause (2015)
JR 2B/SS Jackson Willeford (2015)
SO 3B/RHP Bobby Dalbec (2016)
SO RHP Morgan Earman (2016)
SO RHP Austin Schnabel (2016)
rFR RHP Robby Medel (2016)
SO OF Kenny Meimerstorf (2016)
FR 1B JJ Matijevic (2017)
FR C/1B Handsome Monica (2017)
FR RHP Matt Hartman (2017)

Arizona State

JR RHP Ryan Burr (2015)
JR LHP Brett Lilek (2015)
JR LHP Ryan Kellogg (2015)
SR RHP Darin Gillies (2015)
JR RHP Eric Melbostad (2015)
JR RHP/OF David Graybill (2015)
JR 2B/SS Jordan Aboites (2015)
JR OF John Sewald (2015)
rSR OF Trever Allen (2015)
SR OF Jake Peeveyhouse (2015)
JR OF/1B Chris Beall (2015)
rSO OF Cullen O’Dwyer (2015)
JR C RJ Ybarra (2015)
JR 3B/OF Dalton DiNatale (2015)
SO RHP Seth Martinez (2016)
SO C Brian Serven (2016)
SO RHP Eder Erives (2016)
SO SS/2B Colby Woodmansee (2016)
SO RHP Hever Bueno (2016)
FR OF Coltin Gerhart (2017)
FR LHP Tucker Baca (2017)
FR SS/3B Ryan Lillard (2017)
FR RHP Ryan Hingst (2017)

California

SR 2B/3B Chris Paul (2015)
JR OF/1B Nick Halamandaris (2015)
SR SS Brenden Farney (2015)
rJR OF Brian Celsi (2015)
JR OF Devin Pearson (2015)
JR 2B Max Dutto (2015)
JR C/3B Mitchell Kranson (2015)
JR RHP Ryan Mason (2015)
rSR RHP Dylan Nelson (2015)
rSR RHP Keaton Siomkin (2015)
rSO LHP Jake Schulz (2015)
rSO RHP Jordan Talbot (2015)
JR RHP Collin Monsour (2015)
SO RHP Daulton Jefferies (2016)
SO RHP Alex Schick (2016)
SO RHP Trevin Haseltine (2016)
SO RHP/3B Lucas Erceg (2016)
SO INF Robbie Tenerowicz (2016)
SO OF Aaron Knapp (2016)
FR C Brett Cumberland (2017)
FR RHP Jeff Bain (2017)
FR SS Preston Grand Pre (2017)

Oregon

rSO LHP Cole Irvin (2015)
JR LHP Garrett Cleavinger (2015)
SR RHP Jack Karraker (2015)
JR RHP/OF Conor Harber (2015)
JR C/RHP Josh Graham (2015)
rJR OF/3B Scott Heineman (2015)
SR C Shaun Chase (2015)
JR 3B/SS Matt Eureste (2015)
JR 3B/1B Mitchell Tolman (2015)
rSR OF Steven Packard (2015)
JR 1B/OF Phillipe Craig-St. Louis (2015)
JR 1B Brandon Cuddy (2015)
SO SS Mark Karaviotis (2016)
SO OF Nick Catalano (2016)
SO OF Austin Grebeck (2016)
SO RHP Steve Nogosek (2016)
SO OF/1B AJ Balta (2016)
SO RHP Trent Paddon (2016)
SO LHP Matt Krook (2016)
FR LHP David Peterson (2017)
FR C Tim Susnara (2017)
FR C/OF Slade Heggen (2017)
FR LHP Jacob Corn (2017)
FR SS Carson Breshears (2017)
FR SS/2B Daniel Patzlaff (2017)
FR RHP Kohl Hostert (2017)
FR OF Jakob Goldfarb (2017)

Oregon State

JR RHP Andrew Moore (2015)
JR RHP Travis Eckert (2015)
JR LHP Max Engelbrekt (2015)
SR OF/LHP Michael Howard (2015)
JR OF Jeff Hendrix (2015)
JR 1B Gabe Clark (2015)
SO C Logan Ice (2016)
SO SS Trevor Morrison (2016)
SO 3B Caleb Hamilton (2016)
SO 1B/OF Billy King (2016)
SO 2B/OF Tyler Mildenberg (2016)
SO RHP John Pomeroy (2016)
SO RHP Jake Thompson (2016)
SO LHP Trent Shelton (2016)
SO RHP Kevin Flemer (2016)
FR RHP Drew Rasmussen (2016)
FR OF Elliott Cary (2017)
FR C KJ Harrison (2017)
FR 3B/SS Joe Gillette (2017)
FR SS Michael Gretler (2017)
FR 3B/1B Jackson Soto (2017)
FR 2B/SS Christian Donahue (2017)
FR RHP Sam Tweedt (2017)
FR LHP Ryan Mets (2017)

USC

JR LHP Kyle Twomey (2015)
JR LHP Tyler Gilbert (2015)
JR RHP Brent Wheatley (2015)
JR LHP Marc Huberman (2015)
JR RHP Brooks Kriske (2015)
JR RHP/C Kyle Davis (2015)
JR OF Timmy Robinson (2015)
rSR 2B Angelo La Bruna (2015)
SR 2B Dante Flores (2015)
rSR OF Omar Cotto Lozada (2015)
SR C Garrett Stubbs (2015)
rJR OF Bobby Stahel (2015)
JR SS Blake Lacey (2015)
rSO SS Reggie Southall (2015)
SO LHP Bernardo Flores (2016)
SO C/1B Jeremy Martinez (2016)
SO OF Corey Dempster (2016)
SO 3B/RHP Jeff Paschke (2016)
SO SS Frankie Rios (2016)
SO 1B/OF Joe Corrigan (2016)
SO LHP/OF Andrew Wright (2016)
SO C AJ Fritts (2016)
FR RHP Mitch Hart (2017)
FR 1B Cole Young (2017)
FR RHP Brad Wegman (2017)
FR RHP Bryce Dyrda (2017)
FR RHP Mason Perryman (2017)
FR SS Adalberto Carrillo (2017)
FR SS Angelo Armenta (2017)
FR INF Stephen Dubb (2017)

Stanford

JR OF Zach Hoffpauir (2015)
JR C Austin Barr (2015)
JR SS/RHP Drew Jackson (2015)
JR SS/RHP Bobby Zarubin (2015)
JR OF/LHP Jonny Locher (2015)
JR RHP Marc Brakeman (2015)
JR LHP Logan James (2015)
SR LHP Spenser Linney (2015)
SR RHP David Schmidt (2015)
SR LHP Jonathan Hochstatter (2015)
JR RHP Freddy Avis (2015)
JR RHP Daniel Starwalt (2015)
SO SS Tommy Edman (2016)
SO OF Jack Klein (2016)
SO RHP Cal Quantrill (2016)
SO RHP/3B Brett Hanewich (2016)
SO RHP Chris Viall (2016)
SO RHP Tyler Thorne (2016)
SO LHP Chris Castellanos (2016)
FR C Bryce Carter (2017)
FR RHP Keith Weisenberg (2017)
FR LHP/OF Quinn Brodey (2017)
FR RHP Colton Hock (2017)
FR LHP Andrew Summerville (2017)
FR SS/2B Beau Branton (2017)
FR 3B Mikey Diekroeger (2017)
FR SS Jesse Kuet (2017)
FR LHP John Henry Styles (2017)
FR OF/1B Matt Winaker (2017)

UCLA

JR RHP James Kaprielian (2015)
rSO LHP Hunter Virant (2015)
JR RHP Cody Poteet (2015)
SR RHP David Berg (2015)
rSO RHP Nick Kern (2015)
SR LHP Grant Watson (2015)
rSO RHP Chase Radan (2015)
rSO RHP Tucker Forbes (2015)
JR OF/LHP Ty Moore (2015)
SO OF Kort Peterson (2015)
rJR 2B/3B Kevin Kramer (2015)
SR 1B/3B Chris Keck (2015)
rJR C Justin Hazard (2015)
rJR OF Chrisoph Bono (2015)
JR C Darrell Miller (2015)
JR 2B Trent Chatterdon (2015)
SO OF/2B Luke Persico (2016)
SO OF Brett Stephens (2016)
SO RHP Scott Burke (2016)
SO RHP Moises Ceja (2016)
SO RHP Grant Dyer (2016)
FR 3B Sean Bouchard (2017)
FR RHP Griffin Canning (2017)
FR SS/2B Nick Valaika (2017)
FR RHP Matt Trask (2017)
FR RHP Jake Bird (2017)
FR RHP Nathan Hadley (2017)
FR LHP Garrett Barker (2017)
FR 1B Zander Clarke (2017)
FR SS Scotty Jarvis (2017)

Washington

SR RHP Brandon Choate (2015)
rSR RHP Josh Fredendall (2015)
JR RHP Ryan Schmitten (2015)
SR RHP Tyler Davis (2015)
JR RHP Alex Nesbitt (2015)
JR RHP Troy Rallings (2015)
JR LHP Will Ballowe (2015)
JR OF/RHP Braden Bishop (2015)
rJR 1B/OF Branden Berry (2015)
SR 3B Alex Schmidt (2015)
JR C Austin Rei (2015)
SO LHP Henry Baker (2016)
SO OF Jack Meggs (2016)
rFR OF Mitch Bevaqua (2016)

Washington State

rJR OF Ben Roberts (2015)
rSO 2B Shea Donlin (2015)
SR RHP Sean Hartnett (2015)
rSR RHP Scott Simon (2015)
SR LHP Joe Pistorese (2015)
SR RHP Sam Triece (2015)
JR LHP Matt Bower (2015)
SO LHP Layne Bruner (2016)
SO RHP Ian Hamilton (2016)
SO OF Cameron Frost (2016)
FR INF Shane Matheny (2017)
FR RHP Nick Leonard (2017)

Utah

JR C AJ Young (2015)
JR OF Wyler Smith (2015)
JR SS Cody Scaggari (2015)
rSO 3B Dallas Carroll (2015)
JR 2B Kody Davis (2015)
JR RHP Dalton Carroll (2015)
JR RHP Bret Helton (2015)
rSO LHP Hunter Rodriguez (2015)
SO LHP Dylan Drachler (2016)
SO OF Josh Rose (2016)
SO C Max Schuman (2016)
FR OF/RHP Jayson Rose (2017)

2013 MLB Draft Conference Preview: Pac-12

Time for the Pac-12’s time in the sun. From where I’m sitting, the conference looks a little light in position players but plenty strong in arms. There are a few impact, early-round talents to account for in the position player group (Austin Wilson very clearly leading the way, trailed by Brian Ragira and Andrew Knapp) and some nice depth thereafter, but most of the talent in the 2013 draft class will be found on the mound. Mark Appel headlines the pitching talent with over a dozen names in serious competition to be selected second from the group. Should be a fun, competitive year with talent fairly evenly spread throughout the league. The one thing that shocked me when going through the Pac-12 rosters was the lack of interesting talent on what tends to be a traditionally strong Arizona State squad. Stanford, UCLA, Oregon, and Oregon State look to be the class of the conference, at least in terms of future professional talent. Alright, enough of that…let’s get to some 2013 MLB Draft talk.

Here’s the key for the player lists:

  • Bold = locks to be drafted
  • Italics = definite maybes
  • Underlined = possible risers
  • Plain text = long shots

Here we go…

C

  • California JR C Andrew Knapp
  • Oregon State JR C Jake Rodriguez 
  • Washington State JR C Collin Slaybaugh
  • Arizona State SR C Max Rossiter 
  • Southern California JR C Jake Hernandez
  • Washington JR C Ryan Wiggins
  • Stanford JR C Brant Whiting

Without giving it a ton of thought, I think it is fair to include Andrew Knapp on any short list of best draft-eligible college catching prospects in the country. He made a really nice jump between his freshman and sophomore seasons, and I expect more of the same heading into his junior year. It is probably unfair to peg him as a “breakout” candidate for 2013 — he’s too big a name for that, I think — but a .300/.400/.500 season with improved defense behind the plate doesn’t seem out of the question. Neither Jake Rodriguez nor Collin Slaybaugh profile as everyday catchers, but both guys do enough well at the plate that their defensive versatility (infield for Rodriguez, outfield for Slaybaugh) means something beyond just a novelty. Rodriguez, who probably has the tools to play any spot on the diamond in a pinch, is especially intriguing thanks to his speed, arm, power to the gaps, and better by the day defense behind the plate. Max Rossiter and Jake Hernandez are both really good defenders who can give you a little something at the plate as well; Rossiter in particular looks like a really strong senior sign this year.

1B

  • Oregon JR 1B Ryon Healy
  • Oregon State SR 1B Danny Hayes
  • Washington State rJR 1B Adam Nelubowich
  • California rJR 1B Devon Rodriguez 
  • Arizona JR 1B Brandon Dixon
  • Stanford SR 1B Justin Ringo
  • California JR 1B Jacob Wark
  • UCLA JR 1B Pat Gallagher
  • Oregon JR 1B Jake Jelmini
  • Arizona JR 1B Sam Parris

Healy in a nutshell, from my notes: “loved him out of HS, but now a 1B only [was a 3B in HS] so he’ll have to hit a ton to make it.” I still believe in the bat, but admit to liking Healy a little bit more than your usual 1B prospect thanks to the “break glass in case of emergency” option that is his right arm. His most direct path to the big leagues is via his bat, obviously, though his mid-90s fastball past could give him an alternate route if necessary. Danny Hayes is a legitimately great college hitter. His ability to control the strike zone, hit for power, and do it all while operating at far less than 100% physically makes him one of my favorite 2013 prospects to watch. Still, the road to the upper-levels of professional ball is littered with great college hitters who can’t replicate their success enough to make it once hitting becomes a full-time job. Adam Nelubowich has a lot of fans in the scouting community, but I’m still reticent to go all-in on him as a prospect. For all the beauty of his swing and the clearly evident raw power, he hasn’t had a whole lot of positive outcomes as a college player. I think most of his backers would also argue fairly strongly against his placement on the 1B list, citing his decent foot speed, solid reactions, and overall improved defense at the hot corner. As even a slightly below-average 3B, I’d put him on top of the list of eligible PAC-12 prospects, but, for now, I’ll stick with my perhaps overly conservative approach.

2B

  • Stanford JR 2B Lonnie Kauppila
  • UCLA JR 2B Kevin Williams
  • Arizona State JR 2B Mike Benjamin 
  • Stanford JR 2B Brett Michael Doran
  • Oregon JR 2B Aaron Payne
  • Southern California SR 2B Adam Landecker

Lonnie Kauppila should be listed with the shortstops — he’s very good there — but I like his defense so much at second base, where he has the potential to be at or near the top of whatever league ranking he’s in, that he stays here for now. Ultimately, his value will likely come as a defense-first backup middle infielder, so it won’t really matter what position is his primary spot going forward. Kevin Williams is enough middle infielder with legitimate plus defensive ability and outstanding athleticism in the conference. Mike Benjamin has the most pop out of the group, so consider his a name to follow this spring. Fun line on Brett Michael Doran, from my notes: “walks and talks like a big league veteran.” So, if nothing else, he’s got that going for him.

3B

  • Oregon State JR 3B Jerad Casper
  • UCLA SR 3B Cody Regis
  • Southern California JR 3B Kevin Swick
  • Utah JR 3B Trey Nielsen

Third base is easily the weakest position group in the conference with a strong likelihood that no Pac-12 prospect manning the hot corner will get drafted this June. The steady fielding Jerad Casper has the best chance at the moment, though much remains to be seen in how his bat will translate to major college ball. Cody Regis will likely play little to no 3B this spring for UCLA, but has shown enough there to warrant a switch back if he gets a shot in pro ball. Swick gets high marks for his instincts and intelligence on the diamond, and his power upside remains intriguing, but he’ll have to come a long way with the bat to get noticed in time for the draft this summer. The only thing I have on Nielsen in my notes outside of basic biographical information is that he can spin a good breaking ball. That’s a positive to be sure, but not exactly what you want your calling card to be as a third base prospect.

SS

  • Oregon State SR SS Tyler Smith
  • Oregon SR SS JJ Altobelli
  • Oregon State JR SS Kavin Keyes
  • UCLA JR SS Pat Valaika
  • Southern California JR SS Jimmy Roberts
  • California JR SS Derek Campbell
  • Washington State rSO SS Trace Tam Sing
  • Stanford JR SS Danny Diekroeger
  • Oregon State JR SS Andy Peterson

I’d say it isn’t every season that a team finds itself with three draft-eligible shortstop prospects of note, but Oregon State has managed to pull off the trick in 2013. Tyler Smith is a steady glove with enough range and arm for the left side who is coming off an unexpected power explosion in 2012. Kavin Keyes can play average defense at short, third, and second, but will need to show a little more with the bat in 2013 to get more pro attention. Andy Peterson is coming off of two productive years at Santa Ana JC and comes highly regarded, though he’ll have to do his best to get at bats when he can behind both Smith (SS) and Keyes (2B). JJ Altobelli, Derek Campbell, and Trace Tam Sing can all more than hold their own in the field. I think it is worth mentioning that there were plenty of rumblings out of Stanford last spring that Danny was the better ballplayer than his older brother Kenny. Not necessarily the better prospect — though I’m sure some were willing to go that far — but the better ballplayer. Many casual draft fans get angry at this kind of logic — if he’s better now, how can he not be the better prospect? — but projection is king in the world of prospecting.

OF

  • Stanford JR OF Austin Wilson
  • Stanford JR OF Brian Ragira
  • UCLA SO OF Eric Filia-Snyder
  • Washington State JR OF Jason Monda
  • Arizona JR OF Johnny Field
  • UCLA JR OF Brenton Allen
  • Washington JR OF Will Sparks
  • Oregon SR OF Andrew Mendenhall 
  • Utah JR OF Braden Anderson
  • Oregon JR OF Connor Hofmann
  • Southern California SR OF Greg Zebrack
  • Oregon JR OF Kyle Garlick
  • Washington SR OF Michael Camporeale
  • California SR OF Vince Bruno
  • Oregon JR OF Brett Thomas
  • Southern California JR OF Omar Cotto Lozada
  • Oregon SR OF/RHP Ryan Hambright
  • Oregon State SR OF Ryan Barnes
  • Oregon State SR OF Joey Matthews
  • Utah SR OF Connor Eppard
  • Arizona State JR OF Kasey Coffman
  • Arizona State JR OF James McDonald
  • Arizona State rSO OF Trever Allen
  • Washington SR OF Jayce Ray
  • UCLA JR OF Brian Carroll
  • Oregon JR OF Tyler Baumgartner
  • Stanford JR OF Brian Guymon
  • Washington State rJR OF Brett Jacobs

There are some things to work on with Austin Wilson — a few swing issues that need ironing out, specifically his comically high back elbow that slows the whole operation down, and pitch recognition problems that may or may not be fixable with more at bats — but few amateur players across this country possess his blend of plus-plus power, much of it already present in-game, plus-plus arm strength, and above-average athleticism all wrapped up in a tight end strong 6-5, 250 pound frame.  I do find it interesting — not good, not bad, just interesting — that after two years of college we’ve learned so little about Wilson as a prospect. He’s pretty much the same player he was as a senior in high school that he is now. Here’s what I wrote about him then:

The comps for Wilson range from silly (Dave Winfield) to topical (Andre Dawson) to “man, I feel old comparing high school kids to players I loved when I was 10″ (Juan Gonzalez, Moises Alou) to intriguingly ultra-modern and therefore ultra-hip (Mike Taylor, Mike Stanton) all the way to completely made up by me just now (Shawn Green, Ellis Burks). It goes without saying that Wilson hitting his ceiling would be blessed to have a career like any of the players listed above (minus the minor leaguers, I suppose), but they do provide some context into what has been said about Wilson’s upside as a prospect so far. The two current minor league comps stick out to me as particularly interesting; Mike Stanton is a comp that mixes Wilson’s most immediate “realistic” upside as top minor league prospect with an equally plausible estimation of his tools (power, arm, good enough speed, should be good defenders in the corner), and Mike Taylor’s name serves as a reminder that Stanford commits like Wilson are always a pain in the neck to get signed.

Power, arm, good enough speed (especially for his size), should be good defender in a corner (RF)…I’d say all that holds true today. We still don’t know for sure about his plate discipline, other than what he’s actually done on the field thus far (7 BB/53 K as freshman, 25 BB/42 K as sophomore) and what little has been observed about his inability to pick up and hit good breaking stuff. One comp that I didn’t mention back in his high school days that I think makes a world of sense now, at least in terms of hitting style and build (especially if you don’t love his plate discipline outlook): former National and current Mariner Michael Morse. I think Morse represents a fairly realistic baseline for Wilson, if/when Wilson makes it as a big league regular.

Wilson’s teammate, Brian Ragira, is a hard player to figure defensively. As great as Ragira is at first base, his offensive profile fits much, much nicer in right field. I think he has the athleticism for it, but the emergence of Dominic Smith, first base defensive whiz at the high school level, has me reconsidering my view a bit. See, Smith is such an excellent glove at first that I wouldn’t want to move him off the position even if I thought he could become an average or better glove (I do think this, by the way) in an outfield corner. If Ragira can offer the same defensive upside at first base — and many think his glove at first is on par with Smith’s for best overall in the class — then maybe you keep him there, reap the defensive rewards, and pray that the bat can at least become average or even slightly below-average for the position in time. I’d still roll the dice on him in right field — he was an excellent defender in CF as a high schooler, if memory serves — and wait out his plus raw power, mature approach (which I could see really taking a leap forward in BB/K results this year), and quick bat developing over time.

The two UCLA prospects are exactly that: prospects. If the high ranking seems unusually aggressive, then, well, it probably is. Eric Filia-Snyder has all of 53 college at bats to his name. Brenton Allen has 24 total at bats in two post-high school years. A lot of faith is being put in Filia-Snyder’s advanced hit tool and Allen’s raw speed/power combination, doubly so when you combine the lack of experience with the unfortunate truth that both guys have below-average arms that will likely limit them to LF professionally. Jason Monda remains too aggressive for his own good at the plate, but flashes enough speed, arm, power, and athleticism to remain interesting. Johnny Field is totally different: his physical tools are all underwhelming, but he can roll out of bed ready to hit line drives. If he can play 2B, as some believe, he could be a fast riser this spring.

Where things get really interesting is the next tier down. The Pac-12 is absolutely loaded with plus running athletes up and down the league. With most of these guys you’re trading some degree of refinement and experience for said speed and athleticism, but if you gamble and wind up taking the right one, you’ll be sitting pretty.  Sparks, Mendenhall, Anderson, and Hofmann all have the sheer physical skills to rank third behind only the two Stanford standouts in terms of ceiling.  Sparks showed well in limited chances last year, and has the best raw power of the bunch. Mendenhall remains intriguing because of the relative low price tag the senior sign figures to jump at, not to mention his higher than usual ceiling for a fourth year player. Anderson is the best runner of the group and Hofmann, the rawest of the four, offers the widest range of current tools (arm, speed, hit, range). Then there’s Omar Cotto Lozada, a player described in my notes as “if Usain bolt played baseball.” I think that comparison is probably more true than even Cotto Lozada would like: you love the plus-plus-plus speed he brings, but his current skill level at the plate is closer to what you’d expect from a real deal non-baseball player like Bolt. Greg Zebrack doesn’t fit this speed/athleticism mold — his game is more power, smarts, and approach — but he’s a fun story to watch (started at USC, then went to Penn, where I saw him, and now back at USC for grad school) as a potential late-round senior sign.

SP

  • Stanford JR RHP Mark Appel
  • Oregon rJR LHP Christian Jones
  • UCLA JR RHP Adam Plutko
  • Stanford JR RHP AJ Vanegas
  • UCLA JR RHP Zack Weiss
  • UCLA JR RHP Nick Vander Tuig
  • Arizona State JR RHP Trevor Williams
  • Oregon JR RHP Jimmie Sherfy
  • Oregon State JR RHP Dan Child
  • Oregon rSO RHP Clayton Crum
  • Arizona JR RHP Konner Wade
  • Oregon State SR LHP Matt Boyd
  • Washington SR RHP Josh Fredendall
  • Oregon State JR LHP Ben Wetzler 
  • Oregon State SR RHP Cole Brocker 
  • Oregon State SR RHP Tony Bryant 
  • California JR LHP Mike Theofanopoulos
  • Oregon JR RHP Brando Tessar
  • Utah SR RHP Zach Adams
  • Arizona State SR RHP Alex Blackford
  • California SR LHP Justin Jones
  • Washington State JR RHP JD Leckenby
  • Oregon rJR RHP Jeff Gold
  • Washington rJR RHP Nick Palewicz 
  • Washington JR RHP Austin Voth
  • Oregon State rSR RHP Taylor Starr
  • Arizona SR RHP Tyler Hale
  • Arizona JR RHP James Farris
  • Oregon State JR RHP Scott Schultz
  • Stanford rJR LHP Garrett Hughes
  • California rSO RHP Dylan Nelson
  • UCLA rJR RHP Ryan Deeter
  • Arizona SR RHP Nick Cunningham
  • California rJR RHP Seth Spivack
  • Utah JR RHP Ben Mordini 
  • California JR LHP Kyle Porter
  • Washington JR RHP Tyler Kane
  • Stanford SR RHP Dean McArdle 
  • Southern California JR LHP Kyle Richter
  • Washington JR RHP Trevor Dunlap
  • Oregon State JR RHP Clay Bauer
  • Oregon State rSO LHP Tyler Painton
  • California SR RHP Ryan Wertenberger 
  • Southern California JR RHP James Guillen
  • Arizona State SR LHP Matt Dunbar
  • Washington JR RHP Jeff Brigham
  • Southern California SR RHP Matt Munson
  • Arizona SR LHP Vince Littleman
  • Utah SR RHP Brock Duke
  • Utah SR RHP Joe Pond 
  • California SR RHP Logan Scott
  • Utah SR RHP Chase Rezac
  • Southern California JR LHP Bobby Wheatley
  • Washington State JR RHP Kellen Camus
  • Washington JR RHP Zach Wright
  • Washington State rSO RHP Scott Simon
  • Utah JR LHP Tanner Banks
  • Stanford SR RHP Sahil Bloom

Here’s what we said about Appel last June, no reason to switch it up now (updated only to indicate change in year and height/weight):

Stanford SR RHP Mark Appel: sits 93-97 with four-seamer, hitting 99; holds velocity late: still at 94-95 in ninth innings; all FBs typically between 90-95; 88-92 two-seam FB with excellent sink; excellent FB command, but gets in trouble with too many hitter’s strikes – almost a little bit of a great control vs. good command situation; FB also gets in trouble at higher velocity when it flattens out and comes in too straight, especially when he forgets about two-seamer; sat consistently 96-98 with FB in summer 2011; easiest high velocity arm in class by a wide margin; rarely dips below 92; opening start 2012: 91-95 FB, 97 peak; above-average 82-84 SL that remains inconsistent; low-80s CU; for me, he’s at his best when he is 92-94 with plus sink and throwing lots of SL, sometimes gets too dependent on FB and overthrows it causing him to miss up in the zone; as the spring moved on, his SL improved considerably, though it lacks the sharpness and break of a true SL (it is more of a hybrid-breaking ball at this point) – now it is a more consistent, though still not reliable, 82-85 pitch with plus upside that can reach even higher (86-87 when he rears back); 80-85 circle CU with very good sink is currently an average big league pitch with plus upside – it is currently his best swing and miss pitch and my favorite of his offspeed offerings; can get in trouble showing too much of the ball in his delivery; no denying his raw stuff – taken individually, each pitch grades out as above-average to plus down the line, but the inability to throw all three pitches for strikes on any given day continues to be his downfall; downfall is, of course, relative – he still has the upside to be a frontline starter with the realistic floor of big league innings eater; 6-5, 215 pounds

He’s good. The gap between Appel and the next best pitching prospect in the conference is immense. That’s not to say there aren’t other high upside arms to be found — a quick glance at the UCLA roster disproves this notion in a hurry — but rather demonstrates the wonderful high ceiling/high floor projection that Appel carries with him. The aforementioned UCLA staff is so deep that my favorite pro arm can’t currently crack the weekend rotation. Zack Weiss has had an up and down career for the Bruins thus far, but possesses the three above-average pitches (FB/CB/SL) that could help him take off once given a more consistent opportunity.  Adam Plutko and Nick Vander Tuig, in line to start Friday and Saturday respectively this spring, are no prospect slouches in their own right. Plutko doesn’t blow his fastball by hitters, but the pitch still grades out as a consistent plus offering thanks to pinpoint command and exceptional late movement.  He’ll also flash a plus low-70s curve and work in solid but unspectacular changeups and sliders. I’m pretty sure just reviewing my notes and typing this out has convinced me to swap the two guys on my list. Just goes to show how important the fastball extras (command and movement) can be, especially when joined with beautiful, consistent mechanics. Vanegas, recently shut down due to injury, has back of the bullpen stuff that should help him take a huge step up in 2013, if his health allows it. The previously mentioned Vander Tuig and Trevor Williams feel like kindred spirits from a scouting perspective:  underwhelming performances, but optimism going forward thanks to fastballs with good sink, changeups that flash plus, and occasionally impressive breaking stuff. Lost in this discussion thus far is the man ranked one spot below Appel, Christian Jones. If Jones returns to even 80% of his pre-injury form before draft day, a team would be wise taking a chance on him early on. Jimmy Sherfy will be an interesting draft day case in that his numbers are second to none (14.38 K/9 in 2012) while his stuff is far more good than dominant. Dan Child fits the power-armed relief ace role more easily with a more consistently hot fastball and intimidating size (6-5, 225 pounds to Sherfy’s 6-0, 180), but hasn’t had quite the same kind of oppressive strikeout totals to date.

The overall depth of this year’s group of Pac-12 arms is quite impressive. I’m stuck wanting to talk about just about every name listed. For the sake of brevity I’ll just highlight a few interesting cases. Guys who stand out to me at this moment include Konner Wade (so well-rounded, plus sinking fastball), Matt Boyd (lefty, deep arsenal, good deception, very smart), Josh Fredenhall (everything down in zone, always), Zach Adams (inconsistent velocity, more inconsistent control, but electric when everything is working), JD Leckenby (underwhelming numbers but good stuff and excellent competitor), Taylor Starr (been in school for what seems like a decade, has endured multiple health challenges but shown good stuff when right), and Ben Mordini (one of the few players with an element of his game so bad I’d use the adjective “horrible” [control] but still flashes good stuff and can strike batters out). I feel bad leaving so many deserving pitchers without comments, so feel free to drop me a line via email or in the comments if there’s anything else that you’d like to see unearthed. One last name because I can’t help myself: Austin Voth (think I may be badly underrating him, but he throws strikes and has really good feel for his offspeed stuff, especially the change).

2012 MLB Draft: Pac-12 Pitchers to Know

There are plenty of quality arms to be found in the Pac-12 this year, from the obvious at the top (Stanford’s Friday/Saturday duo, the pair of pitchability starters from The Grand Canyon State) to the slightly more obfuscated due to injury (Jenkins, Starr, Jones, Hershiser) or questions of readiness (Jaffe, Spivack). The Pac-12 also has some good head-to-head prospect ranking battles found on the same roster, most notably the close race for first drafted pitcher from Oregon State. I prefer Boyd (three average or better pitches, loads of deception, really tough on lefties), but could definitely hear arguments for any of the players listed below. Last but not least, the Pac-12 highlights the age old debate centered around starters and relievers. Appel and Mooneyham, one and two on my personal ranking, will both enter pro ball as well-established starting pitching prospects. After that you’re left with an interesting mishmash of potential back of the bullpen relievers (Griggs, Barrett) and potential back of the rotation starters (Heyer, Rodgers). It’ll be enlightening to see where pro teams have them come June. I currently like the relievers over the starters (in the order listed above), but that’s at least in part because I think Griggs might be able to start while both Heyer and Rodgers could be moved to the bullpen in time. Emphasis on could.

Players are listed in a rough order by team. This isn’t an overall ranking. As great as this year’s Stanford team is, I do not think they have the eight best pitching prospects in all the Pac-12 on their roster. I do think they have eight pitchers that could potentially be drafted in June. That’s the difference, and that’s why we call this list “2012 MLB Draft: Pac-12 Pitchers to Know.”

  • Stanford JR RHP Mark Appel
  • Stanford rJR LHP Brett Mooneyham
  • Stanford rSO RHP Chris Jenkins
  • Stanford JR RHP Dean McArdle
  • Stanford rSO LHP Garrett Hughes
  • Stanford SR RHP Brian Busick
  • Stanford JR RHP Sahil Bloom
  • Stanford SR RHP Elliot Byers
  • UCLA JR RHP Scott Griggs
  • UCLA rFR RHP Eric Jaffe
  • UCLA rSO RHP Ryan Deeter
  • UCLA JR RHP Mike Kerman
  • Arizona State JR RHP Jake Barrett
  • Arizona State JR RHP Brady Rodgers
  • Arizona State JR RHP Alex Blackford
  • Arizona State SR RHP Joseph Lopez
  • Arizona JR RHP Kurt Heyer
  • Arizona JR RHP Tyler Hale
  • Arizona JR RHP Nick Cunningham
  • Arizona JR LHP Vince Littleman
  • Oregon State JR LHP Matt Boyd
  • Oregon State JR RHP Tony Bryant
  • Oregon State SO LHP Ben Wetzler
  • Oregon State rSR RHP Taylor Starr
  • Oregon State SR RHP Ryan Gorton
  • Oregon rSO RHP Jeff Gold
  • Oregon JR LHP Christian Jones
  • Oregon rJR RHP Joey Housey
  • Oregon SR RHP Alex Keudell
  • Washington rJR RHP Aaron West
  • Washington rSO RHP Nick Palewicz
  • Washington JR RHP George Asmus
  • Washington JR RHP Adam Cimber
  • California JR LHP Justin Jones
  • California SR RHP Matt Flemer
  • California rSO RHP Seth Spivack
  • California JR RHP Logan Scott
  • Southern California SR RHP Martin Viramontes
  • Southern California rSR RHP Andrew Triggs
  • Southern California SR RHP Ben Mount
  • Southern California SR RHP Brandon Garcia
  • Southern California rSR RHP Jordan Hershiser
  • Utah JR RHP Tyler Wagner
  • Utah JR RHP Zach Adams
  • Utah JR RHP Tony Vocca
  • Utah JR RHP Brock Duke
  • Utah JR RHP Joe Pond
  • Utah SR RHP Kesley Kondo
  • Washington State JR LHP Bret DeRooy

2012 MLB Draft: Pac-12 Position Players of Note

Who needs a fancy introduction on a Monday morning? Let’s dive right in and talk about some of the west coast’s most interesting college hitters.

Catchers

  1. UCLA JR C Tyler Heineman
  2. Washington JR C Chase Anselment
  3. California SR C Chadd Krist
  4. Oregon SO C Aaron Jones
  5. Arizona State JR C Max Rossiter
  6. Southern California SR C Kevin Roundtree
  7. Oregon rSR C Brett Hambright
  8. UCLA JR C Trevor Brown
  • UCLA rSO C Richie Brehaut
  • Utah JR C Parker Morin
  • Stanford JR C Christian Griffiths
  • Washington SR C BK Santy

Heineman is a breakout 2012 star based largely on an incredibly well-rounded skill set. His defense is big league quality as is, and his approach at the plate (none other than Aaron Fitt has lauded him for never wasting at bats) is top notch. There’s a chance he’ll be one of three UCLA catchers drafted in June. Brown profiles more as a utility guy (he’s a good defender already at first, and some think he’s athletic enough to hack it at second) and Brehaut, UCLA’s starting QB and one-time member of the baseball squad, might get picked as a total projection play despite not suiting up for the Bruins team this spring. Anselment is one of the best catchers on the left coast based on the strength of his solid defense, good pitch recognition, and above-average raw power. He’s showing off that power more often in 2012 leading some (fine, me) to believe that he’s finally turning into the player many (again, me) believed he’d be as one of top prospects to come out of his high school class. Jones is a true sophomore who is listed as a 2012 draft in my notes. He’s either eligible based on his age or I’ve made a mistake. His bat and athleticism are his current calling cards, as his defense behind the plate isn’t yet quite up to snuff.

First Basemen

  1. Washington State rJR 1B Taylor Ard
  • Oregon State JR 1B Danny Hayes
  • Stanford JR 1B Justin Ringo
  • Washington State rSO 1B Adam Nelubowich
  • California JR 1B Devon Rodriguez
  • Arizona State SR 1B Abe Ruiz

With his plus raw power and advanced approach, Ard’s upside stacks up against any collegiate first basemen in the country. Beyond Ard, I’d bet that the majority of the guys listed here will stick around until their senior years. Hayes is a gifted natural hitter, though you wouldn’t necessarily know it from his early season numbers He is hitting .188 through 17 games, but has an OBP of .409 thanks to 17 walks in only 48 at bats.

Second Basemen

  1. Stanford JR 2B Kenny Diekroeger
  2. Arizona State JR 2B Joey DeMichele
  3. California JR 2B Tony Renda
  • Oregon State JR 2B Tyler Smith

I’m firmly on board the Diekroeger as a second baseman bandwagon. We’re talking comfortably seated, safety belt on, and 72 ounces of Mountain Dew in my Big Gulp sweating in the cup holder. When I started out in this industry over thirty years ago (just kidding, I’m only 26 and I haven’t been doing this since the crib…), a crusty old scout named Virgil O’Marty once told me, “Son, always bet on tools. Even when the Mayans explode the world and buildings and whatnot are all collapsing around us, bet on tools.” So, yeah, that’s why I like Diekroeger. Athleticism, bat speed, enough foot speed and gap power to get the opposition honest, and that sneaky strength in his 6’2”, 200 pound build that some middle infielders have (e.g. the good ones) and some don’t all add up to make him the rare college second base prospect projected to play regularly at the big league level. Renda is also a good player, especially when allowed to play his best position: batter’s box. I’m actually one of the few who believe he will always be just good enough to stay at second, but I’m happy to acknowledge I’ve seen him a lot less than many of the people who are bearish about his future sticking up the middle. The same could be said for DeMichele, one of college ball’s underrated hitters. His lack of a surefire defensive home is somewhat concerning, but guys with that combo of a true plus hit tool and even average future power (maybe a touch more with added weight) don’t grow on cacti.

Shortstops

  1. Arizona State JR SS Deven Marrero
  • Oregon State SR SS Ryan Dunn
  • Arizona JR SS Alex Mejia

Marrero is a really good prospect with the chance to be an above-average regular at arguably the sport’s most difficult to fill (shortstop or catcher, flip a coin) defensive position. I’ve never watched him play and walked away thinking he’s an impact big league talent, but the positional adjustment is something that sometimes my tiny brain has a difficult time wrapping itself around. I mean, if he’s Yunel Escobar (my own personal off the wall comp), then you’re pretty thrilled taking him early in the first round, right? I had to lower the ranking of this Ryan Dunn when I found out he was not the inspiration for Freddy Prince Jr.’s Ryan Dunne. I have six specific bullet points regarding Mejia in my notes, all of which deal with his (strong) defensive abilities. Draw your own conclusions there.

Third Basemen

  1. Stanford JR 3B Stephen Piscotty
  2. UCLA JR 3B Cody Regis
  3. Washington JR 3B Jake Lamb
  4. Arizona JR 3B Seth Mejias-Brean
  • California JR 3B Mitch Delfino
  • Stanford JR 3B Eric Smith
  • Oregon JR 3B JJ Altobelli

I know I’ve read a pretty clever Garrett Atkins comp for Piscotty somewhere (BA?), but I’m pleased as punch to bust out the next generation perfect comp for Piscotty: former Gamecock and current Padre 3B/OF James Darnell. Both players can hit it to all fields, both guys are selective yet aggressive hitters (super plate coverage for both as well), and both are in between positions defensively. Piscotty’s upside in the field might be a little bit higher – he has a better shot at sticking at third, and has an arm that is plenty strong for RF – but the rest of the similarities (build, handedness, college numbers) are uncanny to me. Darnell was a second round pick in 2008 (fair value for Piscotty in my mind), but the relatively weak draft class could help push the Stanford slugger past that mark in 2012. Regis’s anemic start to the season has me a little concerned that something nefarious is afoot. A crowded third base field could knock him way down this list come June. Many would already have Lamb, a trendy first round sleeper coming into the year, ahead of Regis. I’d be a fool to look past Lamb’s impressive early season surge, but have a hard time reconciling his improved approach against his barely passable defense at third. He might be on a similar 3B/RF path as Piscotty, though I still think some creative team might give him a look behind the plate before it’s all said and done.

Outfielders

  1. UCLA JR OF Jeff Gelalich
  2. Stanford JR OF Jacob Stewart
  3. Stanford JR OF Tyler Gaffney
  4. Arizona State JR OF Andrew Aplin
  5. UCLA JR OF Beau Amaral
  6. Southern California JR OF Alex Glenn
  7. UCLA JR OF Cody Keefer
  8. Arizona JR OF Robert Refsnyder
  9. Utah SR OF Shaun Cooper
  10. Oregon JR OF Andrew Mendenhall
  11. Washington State SR OF Derek Jones
  12. Washington SR OF Caleb Brown
  13. Washington State SR OF Kyle Johnson
  14. Arizona JR OF Joey Rickard
  • Utah JR OF Connor Eppard
  • Oregon State JR OF Joey Matthews
  • Southern California SR OF Alex Sherrod
  • California JR OF Vince Bruno
  • Oregon State JR OF Ryan Barnes
  • California SR OF Danny Oh
  • California SR OF Chad Bunting
  • Oregon JR OF Ryan Hambright
  • Washington State SR OF Patrick Claussen
  • California JR OF Darrel Matthews
  • Washington State JR OF Brett Jacobs

Stewart is well known for his outstanding physical skills and five-tool ceiling, but Gelalich is no tools slouch in his own right. The only clear edge I’d give one over the other is raw power (Stewart), but everything else (hit, speed, defense, arm) is close. Gelalich’s better pitch recognition and more consistent production to date make him the better prospect by a hair. After those two, the Pac-12 is littered with prospects with reports that include some variation of the phrase “leadoff hitter profile, line drive swing, CF range, good athleticism, above-average speed, below-average power.” Sorting through Gaffney, Aplin, Amaral, Keefer, Glenn, and Refsnyder took me far longer than I’d like to admit. Despite his funky swing that causes many an evaluator to knock his hit tool down a grade or two, I just plain like Gaffney to contribute something somewhere someday at the big league level. That’s probably a testament to the fact that I’m not a scout, I guess. I can’t see a swing that works the way he does and decide that it is wrong and won’t work against more advanced pitching. Not saying that’s good or bad, just pointing out a potential blind spot in what I do here. Anyway, here’s my attempt to quantify what I’ve seen out of Aplin, Amaral, Keefer, Glenn, and Refsnyder:

  • Approach: Aplin, Amaral, Keefer
  • Hit tool: Aplin/Amaral/Keefer/Refsnyder (four-way tie)
  • Range: Glenn, Aplin, Amaral
  • Speed: Glenn, Amaral, Aplin
  • Arm: Aplin, Refsnyder, Glenn
  • Athleticism: Glenn, Refsnyder, Amaral
  • Pop: Refsnyder, Glenn, Amaral

If I assign points based on a 3-2-1 scale, I get the following totals:

  • Aplin: 11
  • Amaral: 9
  • Keefer: 3
  • Glenn: 12
  • Refsnyder: 9

My original order was the one you see above: Aplin, Amaral, Keefer, Glenn, Refsnyder. After this little thought exercise, the only change that I think I’m alright with making is bumping up Glenn over Keefer. Despite the higher score, Glenn’s rawness keeps him from leapfrogging the more polished duo of Aplin and Amaral. The reports I have on Refsnyder’s range all seem to indicate he’d be best in a corner, so he stays at the bottom despite outscoring Keefer by a healthy margin. I’m all for attempts to quantify this stuff, but it makes no sense to be a slave to any flawed numbers system, right?

Cooper has crazy power, but is an all-bat LF only in the pros. Jones has very good power, but is an all-bat LF only in the pros. Mendenhall has all the tools to succeed, but hasn’t done it at the college level. He’s like a less accomplished Adam Matthews (whoa, same initials!), in a way. You could say the same thing about Caleb Brown, minus the initials comment. Johnson and Rickard could both be in that “leadoff hitter, good speed, CF range, no power” category from above, but aren’t quite talented enough to fit in the names in that group. There is some talent down the list, but many of the names are in that nebulous “more data needed” group that we’ll get to some other time.