The Baseball Draft Report

Home » Posts tagged 'Peter Zyla'

Tag Archives: Peter Zyla

2018 MLB Draft Profile – Duke

OF Griffin Conine is hitting .211 through eleven games as of this writing. This is normally the time where you expect me to bring up how there’s more to life than batting average (true) and an eleven game sample is not something to get worked up over (true, again). Instead, let’s go the other way. In fact, let’s go the other way completely. Conine hitting .211 at this stage of the season is important. Not only that, it’s a good thing. Hear me out. For most hitters, hitting .211, small sample or not, would be a disaster. However, Conine’s .211 is far from an empty .211. His complete triple slash: .211/.354/.421. He’s still walking at an impressive clip (just about one per game) and his ISO is north of .200. The mini-lesson is here is that Conine is such a damn good hitter that he can provide offensive value even when the hits aren’t falling. Conine can be an above-average hitter even when batting .211. Imagine him at .250. Or .275. Or even .300. When you consider many, myself included, think Conine has a plus hit tool then that means big league seasons hitting .280+ could very well be in his future. Give me that with his plus raw power (25+ homers), average to above-average speed (closer to average raw, but it definitely plays up), the athleticism and arm strength to excel in right field…yeah, I’m pretty happy with that. Perfect Game has mentioned two-thirds of the Mets outfield as possible comps (Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce) while I’ve gotten “better Phil Plantier” as a possibility. The Conforto comparison is particularly interesting when you look at their respective sophomore seasons…

.328/.447/.526 – 41 BB/47 K – 6/11 SB
.298/.425/.546 – 41 BB/45 K – 9/9 SB

Conforto on top, Conine on bottom. Pretty close! Conforto went tenth overall in 2014. That may be a little rich for Conine in this particular class, but it’s not crazy. As one of this class’s cleanest prospects — seriously, there’s no real hole in his game to pick at unless you want to ding him for not being able to play center — Conine offers some of the same high floor certainty that makes Seth Beer appealing to me. High floor, good shot at being an above-average regular, and a chance of a star peak. Pretty, pretty good.

Also good: OF Jimmy Herron. I love watching Herron play baseball and think he’s one of the draft’s best outfield talents. If I had to nitpick, I guess I’d question whether or not his arm is consistently strong and accurate enough to play regularly in center field. Besides that, he’s golden. Herron can run, defend, and, most importantly, hit. He makes a ton of quality contact with enough pop to keep opposing pitching honest and a discerning eye that has led him to a very comforting career (so far) 66 BB/63 K mark. Herron’s final ranking on this site is very likely going to wind up higher than anywhere else on the internet. He’s really good.

OF Kennie Taylor has many of the same strengths (speed, CF range, athleticism) and weaknesses (arm strength) as Herron, but is a step behind him as a hitter, especially in the plate discipline department. His tool set may be too good for teams to pass up this June, but I think his game looks even better as a potential 2019 senior-sign. Up-the-middle defenders who can run tend to get more benefit of the doubt as seniors since it’s fairly easy to envision roles for them in pro ball.

I love SS/3B Zack Kone almost as much as I love Herron. His approach is a definite work in progress — though early returns are promising — but the physical gifts are all there. He’s a no-doubt shortstop with enough arm and speed to play the position well in the pros. As a hitter, he’s begun to make the leap as he’s begun to find more of his natural power while fighting through longer, better at bats so far this spring. His defense gives him a high floor (utility infielder?) while his offensive upside is enough to make him a potential starter in the big leagues. It’s repeated all the time, but it’s true: with very few exceptions, college shortstops who can remain at the position in pro ball are a dying breed. Kone is an exception.

C Chris Proctor is a nice little sleeper — in as much as any starting ACC catcher can be a sleeper — who doesn’t wow as a defender, but gets the job done behind the dish. Same can be said for him as a hitter, though a quality start to 2018 could suggest an expected power uptick coming to fruition is more real than not. It doesn’t add up to a potential starter for me, but there are some big league tools to work with all the same.

3B/RHP Jack Labosky has long been a favorite, but I’ve cooled on him a bit now that it’s becoming clearer his approach is always going to be a little more “grip it and rip it” than I personally like. That doesn’t make Labosky a lesser prospect on the whole, just less appealing to me personally. I’d still go to bat for his athleticism, power, and defensive talent even though he’s more of a solid mid- to late-round candidate than a sleeper top ten round senior-sign pick like I may have once thought. 2B/SS Max Miller is a sensational defensive player who can’t hit. I don’t know if the former will outweigh the latter for some teams, but my hunch is probably not. 2B/OF Peter Zyla‘s positional versatility makes him a little interesting, especially if a team is willing to try him behind the plate again.

LHP Chris McGrath is a wild lefty with a nice enough fastball/slider combo. LHP Mitch Stallings has a touch less velocity (87-91 as opposed to McGrath peaking at 93), but has a more well-rounded arsenal including a solid 79-81 changeup. RHP Al Pesto was great in 2016, but that feels like a long time ago for the junior pitcher. Jimmy’s nephew (probably) has enough of a fastball/slider mix to at least get in the conversation as a potential relief prospect if he can get back on the mound. RHP Hunter Davis has similar stuff, but I like him a little less since he offers no lame Bob’s Burgers joke for me to make. RHP Ethan DeCaster is a ton of fun as a sidearmer with a long track record of success as a Creighton Bluejay. I can’t speak to his stuff (yet!), but he’s definitely a player worth investigating this spring.

Years of waiting for RHP/SS Ryan Day to break out might finally be paying off. The senior pitcher is off to a sizzling start so far in 2018. I’ve long been a believer in his athleticism (he was once a standout defender at short with as impressive an arm for the position as you’ll find) and his fastball/slider one-two punch is among my favorite of its kind in his class. Day’s fastball doesn’t have premium velocity at 87-92 (94 peak), but the movement he routinely gets on it makes it a plus pitch. His slider is more of a cut-slider and is a really tough pitch for opposing hitters to square up. At 82-85, it’s already an average offering with plus upside as he works to refine it. A fastball known as much for movement and command as velocity + a knockout secondary pitch + elite athleticism = an easy Baseball Draft Report FAVORITE.

SR LHP Chris McGrath (2018)
SR LHP Mitch Stallings (2018)
JR RHP Al Pesto (2018)
JR RHP Hunter Davis (2018)
rSR RHP Ethan DeCaster (2018)
SR RHP/SS Ryan Day (2018)
SR 3B/RHP Jack Labosky (2018)
JR OF Jimmy Herron (2018)
JR OF Griffin Conine (2018)
JR OF Kennie Taylor (2018)
JR SS/3B Zack Kone (2018)
JR C Chris Proctor (2018)
SR 2B/SS Max Miller (2018)
SR 2B/OF Peter Zyla (2018)
SR 1B/OF Michael Smicicklas (2018)
SO LHP Graeme Stinson (2019)
SO LHP Adam Laskey (2019)
SO RHP Coleman Williams (2019)
SO LHP Bill Chillari (2019)
SO RHP Cam Kovachik (2019)
SO RHP/1B Matt Mervis (2019)
SO C Chris Dutra (2019)
SO OF Chase Creek (2019)
SO 3B Erikson Nichols (2019)
FR RHP Bryce Jarvis (2020)
FR RHP Josh Nifong (2020)
FR OF Steve Mann (2020)
FR C/1B Mike Rothenberg (2020)
FR 1B Chris Crabtree (2020)
FR 1B Joey Loperfido (2020)

2017 MLB Draft Report – Duke

Lefthanders that stand 6-10, 230 pounds are always a lot of fun, especially when they attack hitters from a really funky angle with more power (85-90, 92 peak) than most sidearmers we see. That’s James Ziemba. Karl Blum is plenty big in his own right — not 6-10, 230, but 6-5, 210 ain’t nothing to mess with — with quality stuff (88-93 heat, average or better 79-81 breaking ball) and little to no idea where anything is going. Chris McGrath is a good arm (93 peak, good SL) that needs innings. Mitch Stallings can get it up to 90 MPH with a nice 79-81 changeup. Luke Whitten is like a much smaller Ziemba in that he’s got an effective fastball (87-93) and slider (low-80s) combo that comes at you from a much lower slot than the norm. I have nothing on Nick Hendrix — a rarity for an accomplished fifth-year college player at a major university — but his peripherals are always good so maybe there’s something there. If you’re scoring at home, that’s six potentially draftable pitchers for Duke with five of them bringing it from the left side.

The seventh intriguing 2017 arm for Duke might be my favorite of the bunch. What Ryan Day lacks in stature (5-11, 165) he more than makes up for in arm strength (90-94 FB) and athleticism. I’ll admit to some trepidation with him as his general effectiveness has consistently overshot his mediocre peripherals, but two-way talents like Day are often guilty of blooming later rather than sooner. He’s one to watch for sure. An eighth intriguing 2017 arm is also Duke’s first intriguing 2017 bat. Two-way Jack Labosky is either a third baseman or a righthanded pitcher depending on where you stand. Like fellow ACC two-way standout Donovan Casey at Boston College, Labosky’s best bet in the pros is on the mound. Based on a quick check with some smarter people I’ve asked that’s a bit of a minority view, but I’m sticking with it for now. While I appreciate Labosky’s thump and defensive prowess at the hot corner, I think his sinking fastball (89-90 MPH) and diving change (79-80 MPH, flashes plus) make him a better long term bet as a pitcher. That’s an opinion highly subject to change with three months of daylight separating us from draft day.

Maybe it’s me overvaluing versatility, but I can’t help be a little intrigued at Peter Zyla and his history at second, outfield, and catcher. He could be a useful 2018 senior-sign if teams are less enamored with versatility than I am. My notes on Jalen Phillips include the question “time to bail?” so you might have some clue as to where I’m leaning on him. The long-awaited breakout simply hasn’t happened…yet. Time is clearly running out for the redshirt-senior. In a similar vein, Justin Bellinger felt poised for a monster 2017 after making a ton of progress as a hitter from his freshman to sophomore seasons. So far, not so much. Still, it’s way too early to give up on him; quite the opposite, in fact, as he remains one of the most appealing first base prospects in this college class, early struggles or not. Hard not to fall for his size, power, and underrated feel for hitting when he’s at his best.

As much as I try to stay away from publicly commenting on future classes — not for the lame claim it’s “too early” that others use, but for the fact these already long pieces would be untenably long — I can’t help but throw a little love Jimmy Herron‘s way. Herron, an early FAVORITE for 2018, is legit. Plus runner, plus arm strength, intriguing power upside, great approach…it’s a really appealing package. From both a tools and performance standpoint, Griffin Conine isn’t all that far behind. Future looks great for the Blue Devils outfield.

*****

rJR RHP Karl Blum (2017)
rJR LHP James Ziemba (2017)
rSR LHP Nick Hendrix (2017)
JR LHP Chris McGrath (2017)
SR LHP Kevin Lewallyn (2017)
JR LHP Mitch Stallings (2017)
JR LHP Luke Whitten (2017)
JR RHP/SS Ryan Day (2017)
JR 3B/RHP Jack Labosky (2017)
JR 1B Justin Bellinger (2017)
rSR OF/1B Jalen Phillips (2017)
JR 2B/SS Max Miller (2017)
JR 2B/OF Peter Zyla (2017)
JR OF Michael Smicicklas (2017)
SO RHP Al Pesto (2018)
SO RHP Hunter Davis (2018)
SO OF Griffin Conine (2018)
SO OF Kennie Taylor (2018)
SO OF Jimmy Herron (2018)
SO SS Zack Kone (2018)
SO SS Zack Kesterson (2018)
SO C Chris Proctor (2018)
FR LHP Adam Laskey (2019)
FR LHP Graeme Stinson (2019)
FR RHP Coleman Williams (2019)
FR LHP Bill Chillari (2019)
FR RHP Cam Kovachik (2019)
FR RHP/1B Matt Mervis (2019)
FR C Chris Dutra (2019)
FR OF Chase Creek (2019)
FR 3B Erikson Nichols (2019)