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Top 500 Prospects Drafted by San Francisco in 2016
39 – Bryan Reynolds
96 – Heath Quinn
103 – Garrett Williams
191 – Nick Deeg
198 – Ryan Howard
208 – Matt Krook
319 – Gio Brusa
336 – Stephen Woods
344 – Jacob Heyward
348 – Jose Layer
2.59 – OF Brian Reynolds
Draft season comparison between Bryan Reynolds (39) and another famous Vanderbilt product…
.330/.461/.603 – 49 BB/58 K – 8/13 SB – 224 AB
.335/.423/.623 – 43 BB/54 K – 16/18 SB – 281 AB
That would be none other than 2015 first overall selection and 2017 Atlanta Braves starting shortstop Dansby Swanson at the bottom there. Is Reynolds the outfield version of Swanson? Let’s look at some career college numbers…
.329/.413/.508 – 103 BB/174 K – 39/52 SB – 791 AB
.330/.418/.541 – 84 BB/108 K – 39/47 SB – 579 AB
Not a terrible statistical comp, right? There’s clearly a little more swing-and-miss going on with Reynolds and the difference between shortstop and Reynolds’s likely corner outfield landing spot is no small thing, but there’s enough there to make this a conversation worth having. If you buy that the two have similar offensive ceilings, then the Giants getting Reynolds in the second round has to qualify as one of the draft’s easiest to identify sleepers. From October 2015…
Reynolds also reminds me somewhat of Kyle Lewis in the way that both guys have rapidly improved their plate discipline in ways that haven’t yet shown up consistently on the stat sheet. If or when it does, Reynolds could join Lewis as a potential future impact big league outfielder.
Reynolds didn’t quite have that same kind of junior year breakout, but the general point that both players received similar “he has a better approach that shows up in the box score” praise from scouts who saw them day in, day out. I thought that this sentiment would quiet down once pro scouts got their first looks at him, but I heard more of the same throughout the summer. That’s the bullish view on Reynolds: he’s good now as a hitter, but he has it in him to take it up a whole other notch once something in his approach clicks. The less optimistic but still plenty exciting view was laid out back in April 2016…
Bryan Reynolds’s physical tools are all at least average, though there are none that I’d hang a plus on without some serious cajoling first. If we compare him to the guy directly behind him in the rankings, Buddy Reed, he’ll lose any athletic head-to-head battle. Furthermore, his defense in center is a bit of a long-term concern for me, but smarter people than I have said he’s actually better – more instinctual, quicker reads, just more natural all-around – in center than he is in a corner. I haven’t seen enough of him to say either way, but it’s an interesting view to consider. Thankfully, despite those concerns, the man can flat hit. Speed, defense, and arm strength are all important, but the bat will forever be king.
Reynolds’s numbers – again, the ones on the bottom in the two comparisons above – are undeniably excellent. One of the few concerns I have about the Vanderbilt slugger is his propensity to end long at bats with short walks back to the dugout. Strikeouts at the big league level don’t bother me in the least, but they mean something more at the amateur and minor league level. Some of this concern is mitigated by Reynolds’s high walk totals, but the high strikeout/high walk college hitter archetype is one that has seen mixed result at the pro level in recent years. It’s also one that I still don’t know what to do with as an evaluator.
Reynolds looks like one of those hitters who can pile up both walks and strikeouts while also making a ton of good contact and hitting for average or better power. You know what we call guys like that? Well when they can also run, throw, and defend average or better, we tend to call them potential big league all-stars. As a ceiling, that’s exactly what you want out of your first pick. What makes Reynolds even more appealing is his high floor. When I think of high floor players, I think of guys who have clear baseball skills that are desirable to all thirty big league teams. The ability to play all three outfield spots is a clear baseball skill that is desirable to all thirty big league teams. The ability to switch-hit is a clear baseball skills that is desirable to all thirty big league teams. A track record of hammering righthanded pitching when hitting lefty is a clear baseball skill that is desirable to all thirty big league teams. You get the idea. As was written in June, Reynolds “looks like a long time future regular with a chance for flashes of greatness;” if he falls short of that, however, a career as an ace bench bat who wears out righthanded pitching and fourth outfielder who won’t hurt you in spot-duty in center is a fine backup option.
I still can’t believe Reynolds fell this far.
3.95 – OF Heath Quinn
College outfielders ranked ahead of Heath Quinn (96) by me in the 2016 MLB Draft: Lewis, Ray, Fisher, Reynolds, Fraley, Woodman, Grier, Thompson-Williams, Reed, Dawson. College outfielders selected ahead of Heath Quinn in the 2016 MLB Draft: Ray, Lewis, Grier, Reed, Boldt, Woodman, Reynolds, Dawson, Fraley, Call, Hays. I have no deeper point here. Never like to miss an opportunity to highlight this past draft’s crazy outfield depth, though. I stand by my rankings six months later (obviously) and don’t see a name in the second list that was drafted — maybe Boldt, but that’s stretching it some — ahead of Quinn that looks egregious in hindsight. That said, Quinn is an outstanding prospect who had a stellar debut in professional ball. I hope he starts his first full season in 2017 at the same level (A+) he ended 2016. On Quinn from October 2015…
Just what this class needed: another outfielder loaded with tools that comes with some question marks about the utility of his big-time power because he’s still learning how to hit against serious pitching.
Like Reynolds, Quinn’s approach took a step forward in 2016. It may not have been a Kyle Lewis size step, but progress is progress. Quinn improved his approach, upped his power output, and continued to show a well-rounded physical tool set that includes above-average speed underway, an above-average arm, and average or better range in a corner. A prospect who you can confidently project to giving you quality defense, positive value on the base paths, and potential above-average offensive contributions is just about all you can ask for; if Quinn can do all of those things, he has similar upside (“long time future regular with a chance for flashes of greatness”) to Reynolds. I’m bullish on both reaching that level. San Francisco did really well with these first two selections.
Of course, that’s the optimistic view. What happens if both players struggle with high-level pitching? One thing I particularly like about these first two picks is the high floor that I believe comes with them. The absolute worst case scenario for the Giants with their first two picks (barring major injury, naturally) could result in backing into a potentially dominant corner outfield platoon. The switch-hitting Reynolds has a history of killing righthanders while the righthanded hitting Quinn mauls lefthanders. I think the Giants got long-term future left and right fielders (really good ones at that), but even a hater of these picks would have to admit that the possibility of a timeshare between the two would be scary. Maybe using two picks to get one combined corner outfielder is a less than ideal outcome, but if you take a look at the actual success rate of picks past the first round in the draft then you’d take this “worst case scenario” every single time if it comes to it.
4.125 – LHP Matt Krook
The first night of the draft is a bit of a pain, what with the made-for-TV element slowing everything down. I won’t really complain about it too much because that kind of exposure is a really good thing for growing the draft beyond the niche audience that already exists, but, even as an apparently rare soul who enjoys MLB Network’s presentation (more or less) of the event, the first night drags. Day two is fantastic; this year I was able to speed home from work listening to the selections go by on the MLB At Bat app and then settle in with the computer for the rest of the late-afternoon’s selections. Day three is also a ton of fun, but the timing of this past year’s draft killed me. Instead of being at the home base with every electronic device available locked into tracking the draft, I was making the six hour trek to beautiful Cleveland, Ohio. It was tons of fun. You work all year towards a three-day event and you get to spend 75% away from a computer. Fantastic.
Long story short, even as I was driving 80ish MPH west on 76 (or 80, who can remember) it was easy to put together that the Giants were getting weird with their draft. Look at four of the five college pitchers taken by San Francisco in the top ten rounds…
Matt Krook: 6.18 BB/9
Garrett Williams: 7.52 BB/9
Stephen Woods: 7.01 BB/9
Alex Bostic: 8.10 BB/9
Those are college career walk rates. I started by doing just 2016 numbers, but so many of these guys pitched so infrequently in 2016 BECAUSE OF THEIR TERRIBLE CONTROL that using the larger sample felt like a fairer representation of their true abilities. I assumed the walk rates would go down some, but…nope. The Giants also took Reagan Bazar (5.71 BB/9), one of the mid-round poster boys for “big stuff, little control” in the seventeenth. If that’s not a pattern, then I give up. The next logical question is a simple one: why? The Giants clearly prioritized stuff over control in this draft. Do they think they have an organizational-wide coaching magic formula that can fix any young pitcher with control woes? Did they see something specific in each individual pitcher they selected that can turn each respective hurler’s control around? Do they simply not care about control as much as the rest of baseball? Or was this just a simple case of a good team realizing that picking in the late first round every year (or not even that depending on free agency) has limited their opportunities picking pitchers with “big stuff,” so they just went for it when they could with the idea that they’d figure out the “little control” stuff later?
I have no definitive answers. I do know that I’m a little surprised I didn’t give Matt Krook (208) the “first round stuff, tenth round command/control” tag prior to the draft. Here’s a little on Krook from April 2016…
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?
Needless to say, I’m on board with this pick. It’s scary, true, but sometimes moving away from what’s safe is what a franchise in need of another wave of high-impact talent needs. I’ll say something irresponsible about Krook that I honestly believe to be true: no amateur player I’ve ever seen pitch has had the kind of consistent natural and unnatural movement on his pitches as Krook. I think once pro scouts begin getting eyes on him and we start to see some internet chatter about him people will begin to realize that Krook is a rare bird. Everything he throws moves like crazy. His fastball, though still not completely back to its pre-injury velocity peaks, is an easy plus pitch even with spotty command. His slider and his curve run together at 78-84 MPH, but it doesn’t really matter what the pitch is called because it’s another offering that flashes plus more often than not. I even like his steadily improving mid-80s diving changeup more than most. Most guys simply don’t have the ability to throw three to four pitches (depending on if you want to give him credit it for an extra breaking ball or just call the pitch a curve) that dance like Krook’s fastball, breaking ball(s), and changeup do. If James Brown was a pitcher, he’d be Matt Krook. It’s special stuff, really. It’s hard to draw a straight line between stuff and stats at the minor league level, but check this out: 91 of the 118 balls in play against Krook this year were on the ground. That’s good for a 76.5% GB rate. If that doesn’t speak to Krook’s ability to get plus movement on damn near everything he throws, I’m not sure what else will. Plus fastball, plus breaking ball(s), and an average yet ascending change? That’s the kind of stuff only aces and $80 million closers possess.
Of course, without even a baseline amount of control the whole thing falls apart. A future without ever reaching the big leagues has to be in play for a college pitcher coming off a draft season where he walked 8.23 batters per nine. Krook is no sure thing, clearly. An honest worst case scenario is never getting his control woes figured out and topping out in AA. A more optimistic worst case would be following the up-and-down career arcs of guys like Jonathan Sanchez and Dontrelle Willis; bullpen, rotation, great years, not so great years, and everything in-between. Those two outcomes represent fair middle-tier paths for Krook if he can remain a starter with well below-average control. Just getting that control to slightly below-average would go a long way to putting Krook on the road to a future as a potential front line starting pitcher. I’ve mentioned more than once that I think Krook has the stuff to project as an ace or a star closer (Zach Britton 2.0?) if the rest of his game comes together. Names that fall just short of being called aces like Francisco Liriano and Matt Moore (but with ground balls) show that pitchers with wild backgrounds can make it. That’s probably where I’d place my bet now that I’ve had time to reflect: flashes of ace-like dominance with occasionally frustrating bouts of wildness that leave you with a pitcher who has defied the odds in a great way yet still disappointed just a touch at the same time.
5.155 – SS Ryan Howard
On Ryan Howard (198) from April 2016…
Ryan Howard is a nice prospect, but not the kind of guy who would crack the top five at short in a major college conference in most years. He does most everything fairly well – solid hitter, average raw power, dependable at short – but nothing so well that you’re pumped to call his name on draft day. Part of my reticence in buying in to Howard comes from what may be a silly place. There is far more to the position than speed, but Howard’s below-average foot speed has always struck me as a potential red flag when assessing his long-term defensive outlook. Maybe that’s being lazy by haphazardly using speed as a proxy for athleticism, but the solid yet unsexy profile that I seem to like at other positions doesn’t grab me the same way at shortstop.
Eight months later and I still feel a little bad about that. I guess I didn’t come right out and say it, but the implication there was that Howard, as a prospect, bored me. Still kind of does. He’s pretty good (arm, approach, instincts) to just all right (power, range, speed) across the board. That gives him a good chance of making it as a quality utility player — fair value in the fifth round if that’s indeed the outcome, by the way — but little shot at much more. I’ve used the comp a few times already over the years (most directly on Mikey White), but Howard could have a career similar to a player he shares a lot of common traits with in Jordy Mercer.
6.185 – OF Gio Brusa
On Gio Brusa (319) from March 2016…
Remember when Gio Brusa was a thing? This was his report from last year…
The appreciation for Brusa, however, is right on point. His above-average to plus raw power will keep him employed for a long time, especially combined with his elite athleticism and playable defensive tools (slightly below-average arm and foot speed, but overall should be fine in left field). Brusa going from good prospect to great prospect will take selling a team on his improved approach as a hitter; early returns are promising but a team that buys into his bat will do so knowing he’ll always be a player who swings and misses a lot. Whether or not he a) makes enough contact, and/or b) demonstrates enough plate discipline (strikeouts are easier to take when paired with an increased walk rate, like he’s shown so far this year) will ultimately decide his fate as a hitter and prospect. Before the season I would have been in the “think he’ll be drafted too high for my tastes, so let me just kick back and watch somebody else try to fix his approach” camp in terms of his draft value, but I’m slowly creeping towards “if he falls just a bit, I’d think about taking a shot on his upside over a few players with more certainty and less ceiling” territory. That’s a big step up for me, even if it doesn’t quite seem like it.
Almost exactly one year to the day, I can say that’s pretty much where I remain on Brusa as a prospect. There’s still upside in a player like him because his natural gifts are obvious – maybe all it will take is the right voice in his ear in pro ball – but the increasingly large sample of below-average plate discipline is getting harder and harder to ignore. I tried my best to do so last year when spinning his early season successes as a potential step in the right direction, but reading between the lines above should reveal what I really thought. Avoiding the urge to flat out say “I just don’t like this prospect” has cost me some credibility among some small pockets of the baseball world in the past, but I sleep a lot better knowing I skew positive publicly on this site. When it comes to writing about young men chasing their dreams in a game we all love, why wouldn’t you make the attempt to be positive if at all possible? Positive doesn’t mean ranking every player in a tie for best prospect, of course. Brusa finished last season as my 144th ranked draft prospect. For a variety of reasons, some because of baseball but most not (i.e., signability past a certain point), he fell to pick 701. I think his ranking this year could split the difference between the two spots…but with a slight edge to being closer to 144 than 701. Have to stay positive, after all.
Pick 422.5 splits the difference between 144 and 701. He wound up going at pick 185 after I ranked him 319th overall. Not sure what it all means, but there you go.
Despite dropping Brusa down the final draft board, I remain intrigued about how his physical abilities will translate to pro ball. From the scouting notes featured on this site back in his high school days…
OF Giovanni Brusa (St. Mary’s HS, California): above-average arm; above-average speed; great athlete; big power upside; raw hit tool; could be league average defender in RF; 6-3, 200 pounds
Sounds about right. Brusa’s power and athleticism are carrying tools that should give him enough chances to buy time while he figures out some of the more skill-based aspects of the game (“raw hit tool” remains relevant here). Interesting to note that he’s a switch-hitter who performed significantly better as a lefthanded hitter in his pro debut. Bryan Reynolds did similar things in his debut. Maybe we can upgrade the “worst case scenario” for those first two picks to include this one: Reynolds in one corner and Brusa/Quinn in the other. Feels a little rich to me — Brusa’s floor is minor league slugger who can’t figure out upper-level breaking balls enough to be counted on for anything but up-and-down duty — but it could happen.
7.215 – LHP Garrett Williams
I have no idea what to make of Garrett Williams (103). Or maybe I do. I don’t know what I don’t know at this point. The short version: above-average fastball (88-94), above-average curve (76-83) that flashes plus to plus-plus, intriguing hard changeup (85-90) that can get too firm for his own good, usable low-80s slider, and no idea where any of them are going. What do you do with a pitching prospect like that? There’s clearly enough there in raw stuff to thrive as a starting pitcher, but we all can agree it takes more than raw stuff to start. Williams’s control is a problem at present. I’d guess the only group that has a firm enough grasp on how correctable his control problems are would be those counted among the player development staff tasked to fix it. The only thing I know for sure here is taking a chance on an arm like this with mid-rotation or late-game reliever upside in the seventh round is worth the downside of getting nothing every single time.
8.245 – RHP Stephen Woods
I feel bad for quoting my past self so often, but these college pitchers are all the same. The same but different, I suppose. There are only so many ways to write “great stuff, not so great control” before thoughts of giving this all up and starting a mozzarella stick review website instead start creeping in. On Stephen Woods (336) from March 2016…
Right off the top, I’m fairly comfortable declaring that Stephen Woods is the most talented 2016 MLB Draft prospect in the America East. That may or may not be enough to make him the best prospect, but it certainly puts him in the mix. Woods has a big-time arm (95-96 peak) with an intriguing curve and an unusually firm yet effective changeup. All of that was enough to make him a sixth round pick out of high school. His biggest issue has always been control: he walked 9.9 batters per nine his freshman year, 7.0 batters per nine last year, and sits at 6.1 in the early going this season. Any team drafting Woods with a single-digit round pick will have to weigh his raw stuff against his wild ways. Look at his early 2016 line: 13.1 IP 16 H 11 ER 9 BB 25 K. What in the world do we make of that? Really good stuff + elite ability to miss bats + well below-average control + inconsistent (at best) track record of run prevention = I have no idea and I’m glad I’m not paid to make a definitive statement about his draft future. A selection anywhere from as high as round five to as low as the twenties wouldn’t surprise me at this point. When it doubt it never hurts to gamble on arm strength guys with pedigree like Woods, but know that his eventual pro future will be dictated far more on development than an accurate scouting report.
Huge arm, little control, and a chance for one of his offspeed pitches (hard curve, mid-80s change, and up-and-down cut-slider) to develop enough to make him a late-inning relief option. You take that all day in the eighth round. Based on little more than a hunch (which, in turn, is based off of doing this draft thing for years), I’m particularly bullish about Woods figuring things out in the pros.
9.275 – LHP Caleb Baragar
The one early-ish San Francisco draft pick that breaks that big stuff/little control mold is Caleb Baragar from Indiana. Baragar doesn’t wow you with stuff — he’s fastball, fastball, and fastball (88-92, mostly) with the occasional quality hybrid-breaking ball mixed in — but he pounds the strike zone and keeps the ball down. The Giants have had more look with players like this than they have had with the big stuff/little control types, so Baragar making it as something more than the middle relief matchup lefthander ceiling I’d put on him wouldn’t surprise me much. I mean, they did draft him in an even year, right? Has to count for something…
10.305 – LHP Alex Bostic
Fastball at 90-94 MPH. Above-average 78-83 MPH slider. Have seen a mid-70s curve and heard about a decent change. His control? Sit down for this one because you’re going to be shocked to hear that it’s not great. That’s Alex Bostic in fifty words or less.
12.365 – 1B Ryan Kirby
I’m not sure Ryan Kirby would have been my first choice when looking for a bat-first college prospect just outside of the top ten rounds, but I get what San Francisco was thinking here. Kirby has always flashed more power than he’s shown in-game — the HS notes on Kirby from this very site call his raw power “big” — so the potential for more than what we’ve seen makes him a fine developmental lottery ticket.
13.395 – OF Jose Layer
I like Jose Layer (348) just about as much as I do any other prep position player at this point in the draft. Nothing about him stands out per se, but I don’t think anybody would be shocked if he winds up as one of the better mid-tier high school outfielders from this class. Once you get past the first three rounds or so, personal preference takes over in an even more profound manner than with those first few thoroughly vetted and frequently cross-checked selections. Layer is a clear plus runner with potential standout ability in center field. That alone gives him some nice athleticism-based value that should prop up his career if his hitting lags behind. His small sample (61 PA) debut is a hopeful step in that not being a necessary fallback plan.
14.425 – LHP Conner Menez
On principle, It don’t enjoy seeing a team using two of its first nineteen selections on teammates from a semi-local (The Master’s College is in California, so, hey, it’s local…but California is a really big state, so semi-local it is) NAIA school. I’ve tried to explain my reasoning for this over the course of these draft reviews — seriously, just click any review and you’re almost certain to find me going into far greater deal about this silliness — so I’ll stick to the very short version here: it’s lazy. I’ve actually moved past the point of being annoyed at pro teams for doubling or tripling up at one school and am now focused on the know-it-alls of the sports media world who hide behind the idea that pro teams 100% absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt always know better than us fans. Pro teams do by and large know more than us, but at the end of the day they are working with finite resources, too. They don’t know everything. The only thing worse than those know-it-alls are the know-it-all draft guys who think they somehow have a better grasp on what teams should be doing on draft day than the teams themselves. Hey, wait a second…
So I shouldn’t like the Conner Menez pick, but, damn, I can’t help it. He’s a keeper. An excellent pro debut that included a whopping 27.1 IP at High-A (!) certainly helps his case. More importantly, it’s his stuff from the left side (low-90s heat, advanced change, solid slider) that make him so appealing. Great find by the Giants in the fourteenth round. Feels a little Cardinals-y to me.
15.455 – RHP DJ Myers
My notes on DJ Myers while at UNLV: “big guy, consistently solid peripherals.” He then went out and had one of the absolute best debuts of any pitcher in the 2016 MLB Draft class: 8.02 K/9, 0.77 BB/9, 1.70 ERA, 58.1 IP. He even got a successful one inning cameo in AAA at the end of the season. Not bad at all.
16.485 – LHP Chris Falwell
Size seems to be a common theme I’m picking up with San Francisco’s mid-round run of college pitchers. Chris Falwell fits that mold at 6-7, 210 pounds. He uses that size to get above-average extension and help his solid fastball (87-92) play up. Add in a quality curve and strong junior year results (9.14 K/9 and 3.01 BB/9), and you’ve got yourself a darn fine sixteenth round pick.
17.515 – RHP Reagan Bazar
I have always liked Reagan Bazar a little too much for my own good. Big guys with monster fastballs (90-96, 98-100 peak), nasty breaking stuff (when on), and little clue where the ball is going are my favorite. I can’t help it. Here’s what I wrote about Bazar back in October 2015…
Bazar is one of the bigger gambles to grace this list. He hasn’t done enough yet at Louisiana to warrant such a placement, but when he’s feeling it his stuff (mid- to upper-90s FB, promising low-80s SL) can suffocate even good hitting. Yes, I realize ranking the 6-7, 250+ pound righthander this high undermines a lot of what I said [about my historical tendency to overrate jumbo-sized pitchers] directly above. I’ll always be a sucker for big velocity and Bazar hitting 100+ certainly qualifies.
Even then I knew I was ranking him way too high and would regret it, but I just couldn’t help myself. One day I’ll learn…but probably not. His pro debut was pretty much perfect Bazar: plenty of strikeouts, walks, and ground balls. If coached up properly, the sky is the limit for Bazar. That much I’ll stand by. It’s just going to take a lot of work to get there. Not everybody makes it in the end.
18.545 – OF Jacob Heyward
Every draft class has one player I drag my feet on and delay writing about until the very end. I’ve gone from Bryan Reynolds to Chris Bono, but still find myself sitting here staring at an unfinished Jacob Heyward (344) section. I don’t know what it is about Heyward that renders me speechless, but here we are. Maybe looking back to last year will help. Here’s some Heyward notes from December 2015…
OF Jacob Heyward does a lot of the good things that his older brother does — defend, throw, run, work deep counts, hit for some pop — but not quite at the $184 hundred million level. He’s still a fine pro prospect and a potential top five round pick.
And here’s some from March 2016…
Steady year-to-year improvement has been the name of Heyward’s game as a Hurricane. It’s more of a fourth outfielder profile than a slam dunk future regular ceiling, but he’s a solid, well-rounded player capable of doing just enough of everything to keep you invested.
A late-season slump torpedoed Heyward’s chances at the top five rounds and negated that “steady year-to-year improvement” line; in fact, Heyward’s season total substantially dipped across the board from his sophomore year to his junior year. He still maintained interesting plate discipline indicators and flashed all the positive tools — above-average raw power, average speed, average or better arm, and quality defense in a corner — that made him a prospect in the first place. It feels like a nifty fourth outfielder package if his offense comes back to something resembling his second year output at Miami.
If the evaluation was that simple, then maybe this would have been written at a more reasonable hour of the night. Maybe I’m overreacting to a 143 PA sample, but Heyward’s professional debut was an offensive explosion that ranks among the very best of any 2016 draftee. In those 143 PA, Heyward hit .330/.483/.560 with 27 BB/33 K and 11/13 SB. If he would have done that as a junior, he would have been an easy top five round pick. Instead, we’re left with a confusing prospect with a future that can be spun any number of ways.
If you’re in on Heyward, then you cite the oft-repeated assertion that Heyward is just one of those guys who will be a better professional than collegiate athlete. His junior year was the real small sample size blip and his offensive growth can be measured more by his improved approach and steady power output (.146 ISO in 2015, .141 ISO in 2016) in the face of larger potentially BABIP-related struggles. He has a really well-rounded tool set and is at least average in just about every area of the game. If he can hang in center, then he could be an everyday asset; if not, then he’s on his way to a long, fruitful career as a well-paid fourth outfielder and spot starter.
If you’re cool on Heyward, then that down junior season is Exhibit A in explaining him being overrated for years. If he was Jacob Jones (or O’Brien or Miller or Ozga) and not Heyward, then he would never have gotten that top five round hype in the first place. He’s a classic tweener with not quite enough range to play center regularly and not enough thump in his bat to ride with him in a corner. He has no carrying tool that would propel him to a certain big league future. His small sample size debut was an aberration that we will look back and have no explanation for as he works himself into an up-and-down fill-in player who spends the majority of his time at AAA.
I try not to overreact to the small sample of a pro debut, but it’s hard not to get a little excited about what Heyward did. I don’t think it’s bad form to up his projection a bit based on a few hot months because only because he’s shown that kind of progress before. I’ll stand by the fourth outfielder projection for now, but the door is opened for more if what he did this summer is closer to the real Heyward than not.
19.575 – SS Brandon Van Horn
Here’s the second of the two prospects from The Master’s College referenced in the Conner Menez pick review five rounds above. I liked Menez quite a bit…maybe the Giants should have stopped there. Brandon Van Horn’s numbers in NAIA ball look fine enough on the surface (.280/.352/.567 with a less fine 17 BB/31 K ratio), but when the team as a whole combined for a .303/.377/.502 line, the luster begins to wear off just a touch. He’s a fine defender at short, so any path to the big leagues will be on the strength of his glove-first style of play appealing to the powers that be.
20.605 – RHP Justin Alleman
Justin Alleman, formerly of Michigan State, had a weird year at Division II Lee in 2016. His peripherals were as good as you’ll find (10.31 K/9 and 1.81 BB/9), but his run prevention (5.29 ERA) was ugly. Part of the reason for that looks to be some home run weirdness — Alleman allowed 12 dingers in 64.2 IP, over 35% of the team’s total in just 16% of the innings — so I’m not sure how much of a concern that should be going forward. Alleman’s stuff (90-94 FB, 96 peak; above-average breaking ball) suggest that those peripherals were a better reflection on his long-term ability than the ERA suggests. He’ll be 23-years-old to start his first full season, so he’ll need a hot start in pro ball to move as quickly as his scouting reports and track record warrant. I like this pick.
21.635 – C Will Albertson
Very boring trivia about me: for reasons unknown, I always associate Lonnie Chisenhall with Catawba. Seeing as he played at Pitt Community College and not Catawba, I have no idea why I think that. There’s yet to be a positive value player drafted out of Catawba. Jerry Sands has been the best so far. Maybe Will Albertson will be the first. In any event, writing this all out was done with the intent of finally getting the Chisenhall/Catawba out of my brain forever. Seeing it in writing helps me realize how wrong it all is.
Anyway, Will Albertson finished his season season with a disappointing .404/.494/.689 line with only 32 BB/19 K and a mere 7/10 SB. That was nothing compared to his junior season:.467/.531/.865 with 26 BB/21 K and 2/2 SB. Seeing a hugely productive hitter with athleticism capable of playing a premium defensive position like Albertson instantly made me think of the St. Louis draft (again) that I couldn’t write enough nice things about earlier this fall. Then I read this…
“I’m excited,” Albertson said. “They were one of the teams I has been talking to and they expressed a lot of interest. I knew if I team was going to take me, it was going to be them or St. Louis. St. Louis said I had a chance on being taken yesterday, but that didn’t happen.
Makes sense. Albertson is an accomplished Division II hitter with a decent arm (strong, but could use some quickening of his release to help it play up) and average speed. If he can keep developing defensively, then Albertson’s offensive blend of patience and pop could make him a real prospect with legitimate starting upside. I’m more than happy to drive this bandwagon.
22.665 – OF Malique Ziegler
I erroneously had Malique Ziegler in my notes as a 2017 draft-eligible incoming freshman at Northern Illinois earlier in the year. Imagine my surprise seeing him turn up as a signed 2016 draft pick of the Giants. If it helps set the stage, I was sitting at my computer with a slightly confused look on my face. I may or may not have said “Huh” to myself. Feels like you were there in the room with me, right? Ziegler left Northern Illinois to attend North Iowa Area Community College (or NIACC, which is all kinds of catchy) where he hit a robust .395/.490/.726 with 35 BB/43 K and 31/34 SB. He is a great athlete with plus speed who can more than hold his own in center. That sentence and his 2016 stats at NIACC are all I know about Ziegler, but that’s enough to make him a late-round name to watch going forward. I’m still not sure how I feel about the Giants drafting all those wild college pitchers, but just about everything else they’ve done gets an emphatic seal of approval from me.
23.695 – RHP Jacob Greenwalt
I’ll try to be brief here because I can only imagine how fans of 29 other teams are reacting to me loving all of these late-round Giants selections. Jacob Greenwalt is another outstanding find at this stage of the draft. Signing any prep prospect this late is an automatic win, but it becomes an even bigger WIN when the prep prospect in question has a quality fastball (88-92, 94 peak), commands two offspeed pitches (curve and change), is very athletic, and hails from one of my favorite states (Colorado) to unearth undervalued high school pitching. Greenwalt’s signing scout deserves a raise.
24.725 – C Jeffry Parra
I know very little about Jeffry Parra other than the fact that his name is not spelled Jeffery (as most of the internet claims), he’s a prep catcher from New York with a good chance to stick behind the plate, and he signed for the maximum bonus without penalty ($100,000) as a twenty-fourth round pick. You know what? Parra’s signing scout deserves a raise, too. Getting high school players signed past round twenty is a pretty big deal that should be celebrated more by prospect-obsessed fans.
26.785 – OF Nick Hill
Joe Lefebvre, Steve Balboni, and Jim Mecir were all drafted out of Eckerd College. Nick Hill will attempt to join them in the big league fraternity one day. His college draft year production (.391/.457/.590 and 12/15 SB) is strong yet not without red flags (10 BB/34 K). My notes on him that I was supposed to clean up, but it’s late so whatever: “size, decent start, idk.” Analysis like that is why they pay me the big bucks.
27.815 – RHP Pat Ruotolo
Whatever the maximum allowed amount of enjoyment can be derived from a team selecting an undersized college reliever from New England in the twenty-seventh round is, I’m there with Pat Ruotolo going off the board to the Giants here. Ruotolo is short and thick at 5-10, 220 pounds. His stuff is more ordinary (88-92 FB, 94 peak; mid-70s CB; CU) than amazing. His control has been up (2.35 BB/9 as a junior) and down (5.50 BB/9 as a sophomore, 4.70 BB/9 as a freshman). Through it all, Pat Ruotolo has missed bats. From 10.02 K/9 as a freshman to 12.89 K/9 as a sophomore to 10.58 K/9 as a junior, Ruotolo has gotten results out of the pen for the Huskies. In the pros, little changed: Ruotolo set down 15.75 batters per nine while walking 5.25 batters in the same stretch. I’m cool with going with either extreme in the mid- to late-rounds. Go get a guy with fantastic stuff and inconsistent results or a guy with questionable stuff and dominant results, but pick a lane and go hard with it. Ruotolo has been a great reliever for over three years now, and there’s no reason to doubt him going forward. The lack of knockout stuff puts a cap on his ultimate upside, but why can’t Ruotolo keep getting opportunities to impress the powers that be and eventually get his shot at middle relief?
29.875 – SS Mike Bernal
Already 24-years-old, Mike Bernal will have to get moving if he wants to fulfill his late-round utility guy upside. He played mostly second in his pro debut, but also managed to get a few innings in at short and third. I like him as a defender and athlete, so the possibility that he can keep rising as a defense-oriented backup exists. My lack of love for his offensive game has me bearish on him making it to the highest level.
30.905 – LHP Nick Deeg
Nick Deeg (191) has gotten a little bit better every season going back to his days as a Michigan prep star. You have to like that. From February 2016…
He’s third on my list only because of a lost coin flip to Deeg, another lefthander with above-average velocity (86-92, 94 peak) and an average or better breaking ball (his curve took off this summer after firming up from a loopier 71-74 to an improved 79-81 bender). Deeg got the edge over fellow lefty Akin despite the latter’s better peripherals to date because of a more advanced change (a low-80s offering with average or better upside) and an interesting but as yet underdeveloped mid-80s cutter. His size advantage (6-5, 220 for Deeg, 6-1, 200 for Akin) certainly didn’t hurt either.
I really don’t understand how Deeg fell to pick 905. I understand there was a velocity dip during the 2016 season from his usual upper-80s/low-90s down to mid-80s/upper-80s, but he was still effective throughout the year. I’d personally have a hard time knocking a prospect with as strong a track record as Deeg’s down for that unless I had been tipped off on whatever caused his velocity dip being permanent or not. Maybe teams know something I don’t here; 6-5, 220 pound lefthanders who have flashes his kind of stuff at his best don’t typically fall twenty plus rounds past their peak talent level without a decent reason. In the present absence of that missing piece of knowledge that may or may not actually exist, I’ll happily go on record calling Deeg one of the absolute biggest steals in this draft. Did you read all those word on Matt Krook earlier? The two are very different prospects with different degrees of upside and risk, but I ranked Deeg higher pre-draft than Krook. Pre-draft rankings lose a sliver of utility as every day past the end of the draft goes by, but still. This is a crazy steal by the Giants.
32.965 – RHP John Timmins
John Timmins does the power sinker/slider thing almost a little too well judging by how little present control he has on his darting stuff. In two years as a Bellevue Bruin, Timmins struck out 9.47 batters per nine while walking 5.08 batters in the same stretch. It was a small sample (26.2 total innings), but indicative of the kind of pitcher he is. The less said about his pro debut, the better. His arm is too good to dismiss based on 22.1 ugly innings, but it’s clear the big righthander has plenty to work on in pro ball.
34.1025 – RHP CJ Gettman
The Giants grab another big arm (90-94, 96 peak) from somewhat off the beaten path (Central Washington, home of just three MLB draft picks in twenty years) in CJ Gettman, a highly productive if effectively wild (13.85 K/9 and 5.19 BB/9) righthanded reliever with good size (6-5, 220). Feels like a slightly better version of John Timmins to me.
35.1055 – LHP Sidney Duprey
This is a fun one for a few reasons. First, Sidney Duprey is a native of Guayama, Puerto Rico. Didn’t see that one coming. Second, he’s a bonafide two-way prospect: his sophomore season at Kaskaskia CC in Illinois saw him hit .378/.471/.446 with 13 BB/13 K in 87 PA while also putting up outstanding numbers (9.71 K/9 and 1.99 BB/9 in 81.2 IP) on the mound. That leads us to our third fun fact about Sidney Duprey: the man can pitch a little bit. Duprey is typically 87-91 with his fastball and able to consistently command a decent breaking ball. If it all works out, maybe he can make it as a matchup lefty one day. If that’s the case, he’ll be MLB’s first Sidney since Sir Sidney Ponson retired back in 2009.
36.1085 – C Ryan Matranga
Any time you can select a local product coming off a .182/.237/.221 (8 BB/41 K) season, you pretty much have to do it. Matranga is a good defensive catcher, so it’s not like this is the worst pick in the entire draft or anything. I mean, it’s on the short list of worst picks and very much in the running, but it’s not definitively the worst pick. There are others that give it some stiff competition, I can assure you.
37.1115 – OF Chris Bono
I wouldn’t quite put the selection of Chris Bono in the worst draft pick mix, but he’s only about a tier away. Bono hit .183/.335/.266 as a redshirt-senior at UCLA. In his defense, he’s a better all-around prospect than can be summed up with his triple-slash. He’s a good athlete who can run, throw, and more than hold his own in center field. There are worse potential org guys to give opportunities to at this stage, I suppose.
Unsigned Prospects and Where You Can Find Them in 2017
Jason Delay (Vanderbilt), Mike Rescigno (Maryland), Jayden O’Dell (?), Adam Laskey (Duke), Jarrett Montgomery (Northwest Florida State JC), David Lee (Florida), Andrew DiPiazza (?), Nick Bennett (Louisville)
I try not to draw too many conclusions from observing how a team drafts from the outside looking in, but there are always some interesting draft day patterns worth noting. For the San Francisco Giants, off the bat, it is pretty clear to see a surprising lack of, well, bats. Outside of Mac Williamson, there wasn’t a position player drafted by the Giants that I think even the most prospect-obsessed could realistically say is a potential big league regular. A case could be made for any one of Ryan Jones, Tyler Hollick, or Shayne Houck as the next best bet, but, like many of the hitters drafted by San Francisco, they all currently profile best as backups.
That actually leads to the next observation of the Giants 2012 draft: depth selections identified by the ability to play multiple positions. Jones, a second baseman by trade, also has extensive experience at the hot corner. Hollick currently plays a mean center field, but has shown well at second in the past. Prior to the draft, teams I spoke to were split 50/50 on whether or not Houck worked best as a third baseman or left fielder professionally. You can do the same with almost every position player drafted by the Giants. Trevor Brown, a prospect I’ve heard compared to a lighter, lesser version of current Giant minor leaguer and former Cal State Fullerton star Brett Pill, is a catcher who can also hold his own at any non-shortstop infield spot. Matt Duffy has played all over the diamond. Mitch Delfino has split time between third base and the mound, and Sam Eberle has done the same at third base and catcher. Andrew Cain has seen time at both corner outfield spots and first base. Even the owner of the Giants’ biggest draft bat, Williamson, a great athlete who many once believed had the agility and arm strength to be moved behind the plate, has pitching experience.
As for the talent level of the hitters drafted, well, there isn’t a ton of great news for Giants fans. The majority of the position players selected by San Francisco look like the kind of players typically considered organizational guys. The infielders (Brown, Duffy, Delfino, Eberle) all lack the type of raw physical tools associated with ballplayers capable of playing at the highest level. You can never totally rule out players capable of playing solid defense up-the-middle (good news for both Brown and Duffy, and potentially Eberle), but none of the aforementioned infielders will crack any offseason top thirty prospect list for the organization. Of all their drafted infielders, Jones stands the best chance of someday seeing time in the big leagues as a utility infielder.
Things are better in the outfield, though I realize that may sound like damning with faint praise. The selection of Williamson, he of above-average big league corner outfielder upside, alone makes this a better group of prospects over the infielders. There’s currently too much swing-and-miss to his game for him to reach his considerable ceiling, but college guys with power hitting track records are becoming a dying breed. In that light, a third round gamble makes some sense. I compared Williamson to Adam Brett Walker prior to the draft, but a more natural comparison seems to be his new organization-mate with the Giants, former Louisville standout and fellow third round pick Chris Dominguez. I know a lot of people like to hate on comps, but, come on, that’s a good one: fourth-year juniors from underrated baseball schools, similar size (6-4ish, 230ish), third round picks, strong enough arms to pitch, big raw power, trouble with anything that isn’t a fastball, worrisome strikeout totals – this thing writes itself! Williamson’s superior athleticism and speed give hope that he’ll adjust better to pro ball and/or provide more long-term defensive value. I’m already on record as stating Williamson alone makes the outfielders a better group than the infielders, but that shortchanges the potential contributions of a few other fly catchers taken by the Giants. It isn’t just Williamson that makes the outfield group intriguing. I’ve mentioned my affinity for Hollick already, but let’s go a little deeper. An argument can be made that Hollick, a player I didn’t give nearly enough love pre-draft, is the best position player drafted by the Giants. His scouting profile reads similar to current Giants prospect Gary Brown, but Hollick has a much stronger track record of working deep counts and drawing walks. McCall also deserves consideration as San Francisco’s top 2012 position player selection, though I’d have him behind Williamson, Hollick, and perhaps Jones. McCall is athletic enough to play either corner spot with an arm that should play at least average in right. The big question is, of course, whether or not he’ll hit enough to hold down an offensively demanding position in the big leagues. I’m encouraged by both what I’ve seen and heard, but would be lying if I could answer beyond that with any kind of certainty. Unlikely as it may be, a future all 2012 Draft outfield of McCall-Hollick-Williamson, from left to right, is fun to dream on. That trio could be backed up down the line by a pair of solid organization depth pieces in Cain and Houck. Both are older prospects – another San Francisco draft trend – who found themselves on the wrong side of 22 before notching their first pro at bats. Cain appears similar to Williamson on paper (big, good runner, intriguing power), but his tools aren’t quite as loud. Call him a deep sleeper as a 24th round pick and be prepared to either look super smart someday or, more likely, forget about him after he fails to make it to AA. Houck’s value would get a big boost if he shows he can play a little third base in addition to the outfield corners, but, like Cain, he’ll need to get his rear in gear in pro ball if he wants to keep cashing those sweet, sweet minor league paychecks.
San Francisco’s draft strategy when it comes to their approach to pitching was fairly clear in 2012: load up on college arms, early and often. The emphasis on high-floor/low-ceiling older arms wouldn’t be as troubling if buttressed with a few interesting long-term gambles at the high school level, but there is nary a signed prep arm to be found in this class. Fortunately, getting a pitcher like Chris Stratton with the twentieth overall pick makes it all worth it. Quibble with the no high school pitching approach if you must (seriously, though, what’s up with that?), but the Giants have a strong track record of identifying and developing pitchers at the top of their drafts. The last six drafts have produced the following first day pitchers: Kyle Crick, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson (the weak link of the group, but, hey, he did enough to bring value in a trade), and Tim Lincecum. It’s a little bit scary to think that Stratton could wind up as the fourth most successful pitcher of that group (fifth if you’re a big believer in Crick) and still be considered a major steal in this spot. There are some legitimate concerns surrounding his age (22 in August, old for a college junior) and workload (multiple 2012 starts well past 120+ pitches), but there’s really no questioning his outstanding stuff. Stratton boasts a full arsenal of pitches (FB, CB, CU, SL, cutter, two-seamer) that is as impressive in quality as it is in depth. I promised I wouldn’t turn these draft recaps into warmed over rehashes of my pre-draft analysis, but it’s probably worth mentioning that Stratton was my sixth favorite prospect in the entire draft, one spot ahead of the far more famous Mark Appel. Martin Agosta is another easy to like young righthander with a good chance of one day taking a big league mound as a starting pitcher. Two above-average offspeed pitches (cutter/slider thing and changeup) to go along with his solid fastball (made better be excellent command) are exactly what teams are looking for in prospective starters.
Steven Okert and Ty Blach could also be considered potential starters, but I think both will settle into relief roles after some of the adorable draft optimism (I only say this because I’m guilty of it every year) wears off. Okert goes plus fastball/above-average slider while mixing in a usable changeup with the chance for more. Blach’s stuff is more solid across the board – slider is just as good though not as consistent as Okert’s, but he’ll compensate by using a much more effective change – so the thought of him starting is a little bit easier to envision. I think both guys are ultimately relievers with Okert potentially being a darn good one.
I actually liked what the Giants did in targeting hard throwing yet flawed college relievers, though, upon closer review, the flaw in their approach becomes alarmingly evident. Okert, Stephen Johnson and EJ Encinosa are all almost certainly (call it a 99% certainty) relievers professionally. All are quality arms coming off really strong college seasons. All three throw hard, have good size, and feature at least one above-average or better secondary pitch. We’ve covered Okert already as a potential starting pitching convert, so we’ll focus on the two college relief aces. Johnson has arm strength you can’t teach but is in dire need of a consistent offspeed pitch, which hopefully you can. Encinosa profiles as a high-floor sinker/slider middle reliever, but with more mustard on both his four- and two-seam fastballs than your typical sixth/seventh inning guy. I like all three picks: cheap, controllable arms are big parts of what I think make good teams good. The less money spent on unpredictable, fungible middle relief, the more money is freed up to acquire elite talent at positions that have a greater nightly impact on the game. If all you achieve from one draft class is a half dozen or so legit big league relief options, then you’ve potentially saved yourself millions down the line. Then again, you could always avoid the temptation to blow money on veteran relievers in the first place, but that’s neither here nor there. What does come into the play is the concept of opportunity cost. A good argument could be made that of all the relievers selected by the Giants, the guy taken in the sixteenth round (we’ll get to him soon) is the most talented. If you can get quality relievers that late, and you can, then why spent a fourth, sixth, and seventh on relievers in the first place? Even Jason Forjet and Brandon Farley, 31st and 33rd rounders respectively, can be called potential big league relievers. They may not be on the level of Okert, Johhnson, or Encinonsa, but the cost of using a late-round pick on them is significantly less. Another example is 26th rounder Mason McVay. McVay throws hard (when healthy), has good size (6-8, 240 pounds), and features at least one above-average or better secondary pitch (curve). Sound familiar? Back to our aforementioned friend from round sixteen: Ian Gardeck continues the theme of plus fastball velocities with his mid- to upper-90s heater. His slider is devastating when on, a true plus big league out-pitch that hitters have a hell of a time recognizing before swinging over it. That’s the good news. The less good news is that I’m only half-kidding when I say the Giants might think about getting Gardeck’s eyes checked because it looks like he has no idea where the catcher is crouching half the time. The problem is likely in his mechanics, and not his arm, eyes, or head. If he can upgrade his control from nonexistent to “effectively wild,” then he’ll join Johnson in having big league closer upside.
All in all, I think we’re looking at five potential above-average big league relievers: Okert, Johnson, Encinosa, Gardeck, and McVay. Since wishing for different picks is fruitless at this point, all we can really do now is hope that two or three (or four!) live up to their promise and do our best to forget about what might have been. You don’t want to make a habit of rooting for a sweet relief pitching haul to be the best part of your draft class, but it’s better than nothing, right?
We’re just short of 3,000 words in what was intended as a short recap, so let’s hustle up and finish this thing. I am honestly surprised that Joe Kurrasch jumped to pro ball – he simply didn’t look ready when I saw him, and I heard similar things throughout the spring. Forjet and Farley both flash enough big league stuff to warrant follows as they travel through pro ball. I personally prefer Farley because he’s shown a little more zip on his fastball over the years, but when you’re debating the merits of two college relievers picked past the thirtieth round, everybody wins. Andrew Leenhouts is intriguing as a cold weather pitchability lefthander with the three pitches to start for a bit. His best chance of advancing to the bigs is probably via the bullpen (like so many college lefties, I’d love to know his splits to see if the lefty specialist path makes sense), but I think his talent level is closer to Blach’s than Kurrasch’s. That can be read in one of two ways, depending on your outlook on life: a) Leenhouts was good value for a 23rd round pick, or b) Blach was a serious overdraft in the fifth round.
Position-by-Position Breakdown of Prospects of Note
(Players are listed by draft order…included below each name, in italics, are each player’s pre-draft notes and ranking within position group)
10.328 Trevor Brown (UCLA)
77. UCLA JR C Trevor Brown: good defensive skills; good athlete; smooth defender at first base; can also play 2B; lack of power limits his offensive ceiling, but defensive versatility and a competent bat could carry him farther up the chain than you’d think; 6-2, 200 pounds
13.418 Ryan Jones (Michigan State)
22. Michigan State rJR 2B Ryan Jones: good speed; good approach; limited power upside; already a good defender at 2B and can also play 3B effectively; no standout tool, but easy to walk away impressed with him as a heady, instinctive ballplayer who does the little things right; 5-10, 170 rounds
18.568 Matt Duffy (Long Beach State)
58. Long Beach State JR SS Matt Duffy: nice swing; can play average defense at least at all spots on diamond; utility future; 6-2, 170 pounds
20.628 Mitch Delfino (California)
65. California JR 3B Mitch Delfino: average defender with what looks like a good enough arm once he gets his throwing mechanics retooled; has shown enough promise with the bat to get a look in the mid-rounds; 6-3, 210 pounds
25.778 Sam Eberle (Jacksonville State)
52. Jacksonville State SR C Sam Eberle: decent defender who might fit best at 3B in pro ball; good athlete; strong; good runner for either defensive spot; bat could be above-average if allowed to catch at next level, but he’ll have to improve footwork and speed of release; 6-1, 220 pounds
3.115 Mac Williamson (Wake Forest)
32. Wake Forest rJR OF Mac Williamson: impressive raw tools, emphasis on raw; above-average to plus arm strength; too aggressive at plate, gets himself out too often; I’ve long wanted to see him move back behind plate, but realize that dream is dead – as it is, he’s a good defender with the prototypical arm for RF; physically mature and very strong; plus power upside; above-average speed, but slow starter – once he gets underway, you see his speed; much improved as hitter in 2012, chasing fewer bad balls; Williamson is interesting for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being his consistently strong power performances and improved plate discipline; if it all comes together in pro ball, Williamson is a five-tool player (four of which are decidedly above-average, the most questionable tool being his bat) with big league starter upside – he profiles very similarly to Adam Brett Walker as a hitter and athlete, but with a higher floor based on his added defensive value; has also shown promise on the mound over the years: 88-92 FB, 94 peak; good sinker; good CB; shows CU; 6-4, 240 pounds
9.298 Shilo McCall (Piedra Vista HS, New Mexico)
151. OF Shilo McCall (Piedra Vista HS, New Mexico): good speed; good athlete; strong; above-average arm; 6-2, 215 pounds
14.448 Tyler Hollick (Chandler-Gilbert CC, Arizona)
79. Chandler-Gilbert (AZ) JC SO OF Tyler Hollick: plus speed; good CF range; I like his bat, others not sold; crazy production in 2012
24.748 Andrew Cain (UNC Wilmington)
29.898 Shayne Houck (Kutztown, Pennsylvania)
37. Kutztown (PA) SR 3B Shayne Houck: above-average hit tool; big raw power; can handle 3B and LF – stock goes way up if a team believes in him as a defender; 6-1, 200 pounds
1.20 RHP Chris Stratton (Mississippi State)
4. Mississippi State JR RHP Chris Stratton: 88-92 FB, 93-96 peak; velocity up in 2012 – more often 90-94, peaking at 95-96 consistently; leaves his FB up on occasion and it leads to trouble; holds velocity really well; really tough to square up on anything he throws, leaving him with reputation as a groundball machine; quality 77-80 CB; emerging 81-83 CU that is a good pitch now, could be plus in time; good 82-87 SL that flashes plus, but is hit or miss depending on start; solid cutter; added an effective two-seam FB; seen as four-pitch starter, but, depending on how you want to classify his fastball variations, he could eventually throw six legit pitches for strikes; above-average control and command; this is a comp that is decidedly not a comp, but a scout who saw Stratton said that, at his best, he reminded him of a righthanded version of Cliff Lee, mostly because his repertoire is so deep that he can use whatever pitch is working best on any given day; the fact that he throws two distinct breaking balls and has the fearlessness/understanding about how to use them is really impressive for an amateur prospect; 6-2, 200 pounds
2.84 RHP Martin Agosta (St. Mary’s)
23. St. Mary’s JR RHP Martin Agosta: 91-93 FB, 95-96 peak; sometimes sits 89-92 with 94 peak; 80-85 SL with upside, flashes plus – has also been called a cutter; good CB; above-average CU; plus overall command; gets better as game goes on; Agosta’s FB-SL-CU and command make him a good starting pitching prospect, and the chance he’ll continue to find ways to further differentiate his breaking ball – gaining some separation with his cutter and curve from his slider would be a start – make him especially intriguing; 6-1, 180 pounds
4.148 LHP Steven Okert (Oklahoma)
82. Oklahoma JR LHP Steven Okert: 88-91 FB, 92-94 peak; up to 94-97 out of bullpen; good SL; CU is better than often given credit; command comes and goes; reminds me a little bit of Chris Reed before Reed became last year’s “it” first round pick – could be a dominant reliever if everything breaks right, but also has the chance to continue starting at next level; 6-3, 220 pounds
5.178 LHP Ty Blach (Creighton)
254. Creighton JR LHP Ty Blach: 89-91 FB, 92-94 peak; good CU that has improved in last calendar year; attacks hitters on the inner-half and is a renowned strike thrower; low-80s SL flashes plus; good overall command; has the three pitches to start and above-average velocity from the left side, but lack of draft year dominance at the college level is a tad disconcerting; 6-1, 200 pounds
6.208 RHP Stephen Johnson (St. Edward’s, Texas)
64. St. Edward’s (TX) JR RHP Stephen Johnson: consistent 93-96 FB, 98 peak; has reportedly been as high as 101, but typically tops out upper-90s; 77-81 SL that has gotten harder (mid-80s) and better over the past year; hard 84-88 CU that is better when softer; great deception; closer upside; 6-4, 200 pounds
7.238 RHP EJ Encinosa (Miami)
131. Miami JR RHP EJ Encinosa: had him originally with a 87-91 FB with sink, 94 high school peak but hadn’t seen it in a while, instead peaking at 91-92; once committed to bullpen, velocity shot back up – now sits 94-95, and has hit 98 in 2012; no matter the velocity, the fastball remains an excellent pitch – very consistent plus-plus sink; plus low-80s SL; good, but inconsistent CU; reliever all the way (and likely not a closer), but a good one all the same; 6-4, 235 pounds
8.268 LHP Joe Kurrasch (Penn State)
315. Penn State rSO LHP Joe Kurrasch: as starter, sits 87-90, 92 peak; can get it a tick or two higher as reliever; average CU; has done a good job getting in better shape over past year, but doesn’t have the depth or quality of stuff to make much of a pro impact at this point; Cal transfer; 6-2, 200 pounds
16.508 RHP Ian Gardeck (Alabama)
256. Alabama JR RHP Ian Gardeck: 94-96 FB, 98-100 peak; plus to plus-plus mid- to upper-80s SL; bad control and command; mechanics need overhaul; stuff was down as he had an awful spring, but still showed enough flashes of two potential wipeout big league pitches that somebody will bite; 6-2, 225 pounds
23.718 LHP Drew Leenhouts (Northeastern)
270. Northeastern SR LHP Andrew Leenhouts: 87-88 FB, 90-91 peak; good CB; average CU that sometimes shows better; FB command needs work, and pitch is presently too straight; clean mechanics; 6-3, 200 pounds
26.808 LHP Mason McVay (Florida International)
103. Florida International rJR LHP Mason McVay: 87-91 FB post-injury as starter; solid potential with CB, plus upside; mechanics need cleaning up; control is an issue; peaked at 95-96 out of bullpen in fall 2011, so, if healthy, he can throw some smoke; Tommy John survivor; good coaching and good health will go a long way in determining his pro future, but his two potential plus pitches and size give him more upside than your typical double-digit round pick; 6-8, 240 pounds
31.958 RHP Jason Forjet (Florida Gulf Coast)
418. Florida Gulf Coast SR RHP Jason Forjet: upper-80s FB, low-90s peak; CB; CU; very good command; good athlete; 6-2, 200 pounds
33.1018 RHP Brandon Farley (Arkansas State)
393. Arkansas State SR RHP Brandon Farley: 89-92 FB, 94-95 peak; 6-2, 200 pounds