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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – Ivy League

I’m bad at writing introductions because I’m bad at writing, so I’ll just pop down a few words here that surely interest me and me alone and get on with it. It’s my 2016 “scouting” goal to see every Ivy League team play at least one series this upcoming (Ed. Note: now ongoing) season. Teams that are locked in include Penn, Brown, Yale, Cornell, and Columbia, so I’m already more than halfway there all without having to go beyond a fifteen minute walk from my apartment. I’m an easy drive from a bunch of other schools, so I might just reach my goal. If I do, I think I’ll throw a little party for myself. Balloons, cake, maybe a few small presents…the works. It’s important to have goals in life, after all.

Rob Henry is the only 2016 Ivy Leaguer to get the FAVORITE treatment in my notes heading into the season. He’s a true center fielder with arm strength, athleticism, and intriguing righthanded pop. There’s clear fourth outfielder/platoon bat upside with him. I like him a lot as a mid- to late-round Ivy League value pick, but his signability, like just about any non-senior in this conference, figures to be up in the air.

Thomas Roulis is an old favorite – but not a FAVORITE, apparently – who has hit well when healthy. The “when healthy” part has been the problem. Roulis has missed the majority of two seasons already (2013 and 2015), so staying on the field is goal number one in 2016. Assuming he can do that, he’ll have the chance to show off an impressive feel for contact, a balanced swing, and an approach that utilizes the whole field effectively. I’m confident that he’ll hit, so reports on his glove and arm strength will what can separate him from other college middle infielders in this class. Most think he’s a second baseman only, but it only takes one to believe in him enough to be a stand-in at shortstop to get him popped higher than most think in June. Very similar things could be written about Will Savage, an athletic second baseman for Columbia. I like Savage by a hair thanks to his even more advanced hit tool and better speed.

Ryan Mincher and Billy Arendt are senior shortstops on different sides of the classic Penn/Princeton Ivy rivalry. Both guys are steady fielders and disciplined hitters. Dan Hoy is deceptively strong with the kind of sneaky pop one might expect (or not expect…) from somebody described as deceptively strong. Joe Purritano likely being a first baseman or bust hurts his prospect stock some, but he can really hit. Same goes for Nick Maguire, a hulking first baseman from Columbia who runs damn well for his size.

Forget the Ivy League, Duncan Robinson is one of the best senior-sign pitchers in all of college ball. He’s a power righthander with size (6-6, 220) capable of beating you with a low-90s fastball and average or better slider. As his changeup develops he’ll become an even more attractive prospect, what with the standard starter ceiling that typically comes with three usable pitches, size, clean mechanics, and a good track record of amateur success. If the change lags, then he’s still got the solid middle relief starter pack to fall back on.

Jake Cousins caught my eye last year as part of a crowded Penn pitching staff that has already gone on to put one starter (Ronnie Glenn) in the pros. Cousins could join him by mid-June on the strength of a good fastball (88-93), promising curve, and exactly the type of athleticism and projection (6-4, 180) that scouts want to see. He’s been a run prevention star (1.59 ERA in 2014, 2.34 ERA last year) despite not missing a ton of bats (5.56 K/9 and 5.94 K/9), so some degree of needing the scouting reports and the positive outcomes to start matching up with the peripherals is in play. His placement on this list suggests he’ll bridge that gap.

Austin French is a lefty with size (6-4, 215) who can dial it up to 94 when needed. George Thanopoulos is a classic sinker/slider guy who could soak up enough low-minors innings to buy the time needed to earn fans in high organizational places. There are hundreds of pitchers like him between amateur ball and the minor leagues and predicting which ones can take their sinker/slider blend to big league bullpens is anybody’s guess.

A pair of transfers from big-time schools (Virginia and Miami, respectively) round out Penn’s interesting staff: Adam Bleday and Jesse Roth. I’m really curious to see Bleday throw this spring after hearing nice things about him throughout the entirety of last season. Michael Byrne is a lefty with solid stuff and knockout peripherals (11.25 K/9 last year) who could shape up as a deep sleeper thanks to an unsightly 2015 ERA (7.25). Chasen Ford and Cameron Mingo are names that come up over and over when talking to those who see these guys even more than I do. Both have cool names, but I think there’s more to it than that. Both can reach the low-90s with interesting breaking balls. The cool names certainly don’t hurt, of course.

Hitters

  1. Brown JR OF Rob Henry
  2. Columbia JR 2B Will Savage
  3. Dartmouth rSR 2B/SS Thomas Roulis
  4. Penn SR SS Ryan Mincher
  5. Princeton SR SS Billy Arendt
  6. Princeton SR 2B Dan Hoy
  7. Brown SR OF/2B Jake Levine
  8. Columbia rSR OF Robb Paller
  9. Penn SR OF Matt Greskoff
  10. Dartmouth SR 1B Joe Purritano
  11. Columbia SR C/OF Logan Boyher
  12. Cornell JR 1B Cole Rutherford
  13. Cornell JR C/1B CJ Price
  14. Columbia rSR 1B Nick Maguire
  15. Cornell JR 2B/SS Frankie Padulo
  16. Harvard SR C DJ Link
  17. Harvard JR SS Drew Reid
  18. Yale JR 3B Richard Slenker
  19. Penn SR OF Gary Tesch

Pitchers

  1. Dartmouth SR RHP Duncan Robinson
  2. Penn JR RHP Jake Cousins
  3. Brown SR LHP Austin French
  4. Columbia SR RHP George Thanopoulos
  5. Penn JR LHP Mike Reitcheck
  6. Brown JR RHP Christian Taugner
  7. Cornell SR LHP Michael Byrne
  8. Penn JR LHP Adam Bleday
  9. Cornell JR RHP Paul Balestrieri
  10. Cornell JR RHP Peter Lannoo
  11. Yale JR RHP Chasen Ford
  12. Penn JR RHP Andrew Burnick
  13. Penn JR RHP Jesse Roth
  14. Princeton SR RHP Cameron Mingo
  15. Harvard SR RHP Nick Scahill
  16. Columbia SR RHP Adam Cline
  17. Harvard SR RHP Sean Poppen
  18. Princeton JR LHP Keelan Smithers
  19. Cornell JR RHP Tim Willittes
  20. Dartmouth JR RHP Chris Burkholder
  21. Yale SR RHP Chris Lanham
  22. Penn SR RHP Mitch Holtz
  23. Columbia SR RHP Kevin Roy

Brown

SR LHP Austin French (2016)
JR RHP Christian Taugner (2016)
JR RHP Max Ritchie (2016)
JR OF Rob Henry (2016)
SR OF/2B Jake Levine (2016)
SR 1B Kevin Guthrie (2016)
JR 3B Marc Sredojevic (2016)
SR 2B Noah Shulman (2016)
JR C Josh Huntley (2016)
SO RHP Reid Anderson (2017)
SO OF Sam Grigo (2017)
SO SS Brian Ginsberg (2017)
FR 3B Willy Hozman (2018)

High Priority Follows: Austin French, Christian Taugner, Rob Henry, Jake Levine, Kevin Guthrie

Columbia

SR RHP Adam Cline (2016)
SR RHP George Thanopoulos (2016)
SR RHP Matt Robinson (2016)
SR RHP Kevin Roy (2016)
SR LHP Thomas Crispi (2016)
SR RHP Willis Robbins (2016)
JR LHP Ryan Marks (2016)
JR RHP Ty Wiest (2016)
rSR 1B Nick Maguire (2016)
rSR OF Robb Paller (2016)
SR C/OF Logan Boyher (2016)
SR 3B John Kinne (2016)
JR 2B Will Savage (2016)
JR OF Shane Adams (2016)
SO 3B/SS Randell Kanemaru (2017)
FR SS Joe Engel (2018)

High Priority Follows: Adam Cline, George Thanopoulos, Matt Robinson, Thomas Crispi, Nick Maguire, Robb Paller, Logan Boyher, John Kinne, Will Savage

Cornell

SR LHP Michael Byrne (2016)
JR RHP Paul Balestrieri (2016)
JR RHP Scott Soltis (2016)
JR RHP Peter Lannoo (2016)
JR RHP Tim Willittes (2016)
JR 1B Cole Rutherford (2016)
JR C/1B CJ Price (2016)
SR OF Jordan Winawer (2016)
JR 2B/3B Tommy Wagner (2016)
JR 2B/SS Frankie Padulo (2016)
SO C Ellis Bitar (2017)
FR RHP/1B Mark Fraser (2018)
FR OF/RHP Parker Morris (2018)
FR C Will Simoneit (2018)

High Priority Follows: Michael Byrne, Paul Balestrieri, Peter Lannoo, Tim Willittes, Cole Rutherford, CJ Price, Tommy Wagner, Frankie Padulo

Dartmouth

SR RHP Duncan Robinson (2016)
SR RHP Beau Sulser (2016)
SR RHP Adam Charnin-Aker (2016)
JR RHP Mike Concato (2016)
JR RHP Jackson Bubala (2016)
JR RHP Chris Burkholder (2016)
SR OF Nick Ruppert (2016)
SR 1B Joe Purritano (2016)
JR 1B/3B Michael Ketchmark (2016)
JR OF Ben Socher (2016)
SR C Adam Gauthier (2016)
rSR 2B/SS Thomas Roulis (2016)
SO RHP Patrick Peterson (2017)
SO RHP Sam Fichthorn (2017)
SO OF/2B Kyle Holbrook (2017)
FR C Rob Emery (2018)

High Priority Follows: Duncan Robinson, Chris Burkholder, Joe Purritano, Thomas Roulis

Harvard

SR RHP Sean Poppen (2016)
SR RHP Nick Scahill (2016)
SR RHP TJ Laurisch (2016)
JR LHP Greg Coman (2016)
JR RHP Nick Gruener (2016)
SR LHP Sean O’Neill (2016)
SR C DJ Link (2016)
SR 2B/3B Mitch Klug (2016)
JR 1B Matt Hink (2016)
JR SS Drew Reid (2016)
SO LHP Dylan Combs (2017)
SO RHP Ian Miller (2017)
SO OF Conor Quinn (2017)
SO 2B/OF Matt Rothenberg (2017)
SO 3B John Fallon (2017)
FR 1B Parker McColl (2018)

High Priority Follows: Sean Poppen, Nick Scahill, Greg Coman, DJ Link

Penn

JR LHP Adam Bleday (2016)
SR RHP Mitch Holtz (2016)
JR RHP Andrew Burnick (2016)
JR RHP Jesse Roth (2016)
JR RHP Jake Cousins (2016)
JR LHP Mike Reitcheck (2016)
JR RHP Nick Pedalino (2016)
SR SS Ryan Mincher (2016)
SR OF Matt Greskoff (2016)
SR OF Gary Tesch (2016)
JR C Tim Graul (2016)
SR OF Jonah Campbell (2016)
SO RHP Billy Lescher (2017)
SO 2B Ryan Schroth (2017)
FR RHP Jake Nelson (2018)
FR C Matt O’Neill (2018)
FR 3B/SS Matt Tola (2018)
FR 1B Sean Phelan (2018)

High Priority Follows: Adam Bleday, Andrew Burnick, Jesse Roth, Jake Cousins, Mike Reitcheck, Ryan Mincher, Matt Greskoff, Gary Tesch

Princeton

SR RHP Cameron Mingo (2016)
SR RHP Luke Strieber (2016)
SR LHP Chris Bodurian (2016)
JR LHP Keelan Smithers (2016)
JR RHP/INF Chad Powers (2016)
SR 2B Dan Hoy (2016)
SR SS Billy Arendt (2016)
JR OF Danny Baer (2016)
JR OF Paul Tupper (2016)
JR 1B/OF Nick Hernandez (2016)
SO RHP Nick Brady (2017)
SO SS/RHP Asher Lee-Tyson (2017)
FR OF Chris Davis (2018)

High Priority Follows: Cameron Mingo, Keelan Smithers, Dan Hoy, Billy Arendt

Yale

SR RHP Chris Moates (2016)
SR RHP Chris Lanham (2016)
JR RHP Chasen Ford (2016)
SR OF Nate Adams (2016)
JR SS Derek Brown (2016)
JR 3B Richard Slenker (2016)
JR INF Harrison White (2016)
SO RHP Drew Scott (2017)
SO RHP Eric Brodkowitz (2017)
SO RHP Mason Kukowski (2017)
SO C Alex Boos (2017)
FR RHP/1B Benny Wanger (2018)
FR 1B/RHP Griffin Dey (2018)

High Priority Follows: Chris Lanham, Chasen Ford, Richard Slenker

Ivy League 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Penn SR C Austin Bossart
Dartmouth JR 1B Joe Purritano
Dartmouth SR 2B Thomas Roulis
Penn JR SS Ryan Mincher
Dartmouth SR 3B Nick Lombardi
Harvard SR OF Mike Martin
Columbia SR OF Jordan Serena
Penn rJR OF Jeff McGarry

Dartmouth JR RHP Duncan Robinson
Cornell JR LHP Michael Byrne
Penn SR LHP Ronnie Glenn
Cornell SR RHP Roberto Suppa
Harvard SR RHP Tanner Anderson

With one of the finer institutions of the Ancient Eight within walking distance from my apartment, it should come as no great shock that I’ve seen an alarmingly high number of Ivy League games over the past decade. Sure, I’d love to live in a more deeply talented amateur baseball part of the country, but defending the talent in the Ivy League has almost become a point of weird pride for me, so much so that I think I’d miss regularly attending games if I ever move too far away. On the rare occasions I’ll get contacted by pro teams to share some firsthand insight on guys I’ve seen a lot of, it’s almost always in relation to whatever player is regarded as the Ivy’s top prospect that year. Typically, that guy is one of if not the only player in the conference expected to consider leaving before using up all of his eligibility. That’s one of the reasons I like following the Ivy Leagues as closely as I do. It’s a rare and beautiful world of senior signs as far as the eye can see. In true brainiac Ivy League fashion, it seems like the ones that stay all four seasons tend to be the hitters. The pitchers, very wisely, are more apt to leave for the professional ranks when called upon perhaps in part because of the knowledge that their arms only have so many bullets available for use in a lifetime.

There is plenty of competition this year for top Ivy League senior sign. Penn SR C Austin Bossart might head into the year as the favorite thanks to his strong defensive chops and steadily improving bat. It’s not a sexy all-around profile, but a smart, dependable veteran catcher with a good track record of working with all kinds of different pitchers should have value to a team as the draft winds down. Bossart strikes me as a player who will have a minor league job for as long as he’s willing to stick it out. I have him ranked directly behind two plus speed, above-average or better center field defenders in Harvard SR OF Mike Martin and Columbia SR OF Jordan Serena. The two are very, very similar prospects for me, but I like Martin’s defense, athleticism, and approach at the plate all just a touch better than Serena’s.

A pretty compelling case could be made for Dartmouth SR 2B/SS Thomas Roulis as the conference’s top senior sign. He would have likely been in the top spot on this very ranking were it not for the forthcoming lost developmental time (all of 2015) he’s expected to miss due to injury. Complicating things just a smidge is the fact that, despite his senior year status as a student, he could potentially return to play baseball at Dartmouth in 2016. The Ivy League does not allow “redshirts” in the same way many other conferences do, but exceptions to the rule can be gained by working with the fine folks in the compliance department. Roulis could apply for a Fifth Year Waiver exception if he so chooses. I have no idea if they’d be more willing to grant Roulis a fifth year since he missed so much of his sophomore season in addition to what will likely be his entire senior year. In any event, he’s a player that I’d follow very closely all spring in order to best determine what he’d like to do with his immediate future. He’s a really talented natural hitter with a whole-fields approach and a pretty swing. Outside of the hit tool, nothing physically stands out about his skill set but his high baseball IQ and instincts for the game allows him to work around his modest tools. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of what he has to offer yet, and now we’re left to just wait and hope that he’ll return to health hitting like he’s capable.

In addition to all the names listed above, I’m excited to watch Dartmouth JR 1B Joe Purritano, Columbia rJR 1B Nick Maguire, Cornell SR 1B/OF Ryan Karl, Penn JR SS Ryan Mincher, and Columbia SR OF Gus Craig particularly closely as this year unfolds.

Dartmouth JR RHP Duncan Robinson isn’t just a good pitching prospect for the Ivy League; he’s a good pitching prospect full stop. Guys with his size (6-6, 220 pounds), fastball (consistently low-90s), and breaking ball (have it listed as an in-between pitch in my notes; I’d call it a slider, but think folks at Dartmouth call it a curve) are easy to get excited about. The mechanics and control both check out for me, so his chance at crashing the draft’s top tier of pitching prospects will largely come down to the development of a softer offspeed pitch that will keep hitters off his fastball/breaking ball combo and enable him to start as a pro.

Robinson isn’t the only big Ivy arm angling for a 2015 draft selection this June. My very rudimentary convassing of the conference unearthed close to a dozen draft-eligible pitchers capable of hitting 90 MPH or above. Cornell SR RHP Roberto Suppa might have the hardest fastball in the conference. Paired with his good changeup, usable low-70s curveball, and 6-5, 200 pound frame, Suppa has a backend starting pitcher starter kit ready to go. He’s been reasonably effective in limited innings, but control remains his biggest bugaboo. Harvard SR RHP Tanner Anderson has similar stuff (88-92 FB, 94 peak; mid-70s CB; low-80s CU) with better control, more athleticism, and perhaps (I go back and forth here) a little more projection left in the tank. Then there are the two top lefthanders in the conference, Cornell JR LHP Michael Byrne and Penn SR LHP Ronnie Glenn. Both have had plenty of success to date by pitching off their 88-92 MPH fastballs and working in a collection of average or better secondary offerings. Upside plays like Harvard JR RHP Sean Poppen and Princeton JR RHP Cameron Mingo give the league better depth than many located outside of the northeastern part of the country might expect. Or maybe that’s not true and I’m just getting all preemptively defensive about the Ivy League again.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Harvard SR OF Mike Martin
  2. Columbia SR OF/SS Jordan Serena
  3. Penn SR C Austin Bossart
  4. Penn JR SS Ryan Mincher
  5. Penn rJR OF/RHP Jeff McGarry
  6. Dartmouth SR 2B/SS Thomas Roulis
  7. Dartmouth JR 1B Joe Purritano
  8. Dartmouth SR 3B Nick Lombardi
  9. Columbia SR OF Gus Craig
  10. Princeton JR 2B Dan Hoy
  11. Columbia rJR 1B Nick Maguire
  12. Columbia rJR OF Robb Paller
  13. Cornell SR 1B/OF Ryan Karl
  14. Columbia SR 3B David Vandercook
  15. Cornell SR OF JD Whetsel
  16. Cornell JR OF Jordan Winawer

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. Dartmouth JR RHP Duncan Robinson
  2. Cornell JR LHP Michael Byrne
  3. Penn SR LHP Ronnie Glenn
  4. Cornell SR RHP Roberto Suppa
  5. Harvard SR RHP Tanner Anderson
  6. Columbia JR RHP George Thanopoulos
  7. Penn SR RHP Connor Cuff
  8. Harvard JR RHP Sean Poppen
  9. Brown SR RHP David St. Lawrence
  10. Cornell JR LHP Matt Horton
  11. Yale JR RHP Chris Lanham
  12. Princeton JR RHP Cameron Mingo
  13. Brown SR RHP Eddie Fitzpatrick
  14. Penn SR RHP Dan Gautieri
  15. Columbia JR RHP Adam Cline
  16. Dartmouth JR RHP Beau Sulser
  17. Yale JR RHP Chris Moates