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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – SWAC

The SWAC saw nine players drafted by MLB teams last June. I think the talent is there to match or exceed that in 2016.

Larry Barraza leads the way as a middle infield prospect with sneaky pop, functional speed, and a track record of making plenty of solid contact. I’m a fan of his all-around game. Diamyn Hall is more of a boom/bust pick considering he only managed 26 healthy at bats last season. His 2014 was strong and his tools are exciting (quick bat, tons of speed, intriguing power), so I think he’ll fly up boards with a full return to health. Sam Campbell is a thumper with advanced strike zone knowledge. Both Moses Charles and Ryan Lazo are capable of sticking up the middle defensively as pros; Lazo in particular stands out as being outstanding in center with speed and athleticism for days.

Jackson Figueroa is a little like the Diamyn Hall of pitchers: he only threw fourteen innings last year, so his spot atop the pitching rankings is a gamble on his athleticism and arm speed. Guys who can hit the mid-90s like he can don’t stay under the radar for long, SWAC or not. Jevon Jacobs is another two-way talent who could make his mark in pro ball thanks to a very appealing three-pitch mix. Like Figueroa, Jacobs makes up for his lack of physicality (both guys are listed around 6-0, 180 pounds) with serious athleticism. Angel Alicea is the third guy who logically can be lumped together with the short, two-way, athletic, big fastballing profile. Jamal Wilson and Robert Pearson both stick to pitching only – as far as I know – but can run their heaters up to 96 at their best. That’ll get you noticed. Michael Tellado and Joseph Camacho are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Both righthanders fall just shy of the 90 MPH mark with their fastballs, but do enough well beyond that (curve for Tellado, sinker/slider/change/deception for Camacho) that they are able to pile up strikeouts year after year. There are many paths to getting one’s name called on draft day, and I could see a team that factors analytics high in their decision-making give those two sleepers some consideration this year as senior-signs. I would, but nobody asked me.

Hitting

  1. Grambling State SR 2B/SS Larry Barraza
  2. Grambling State rJR OF Diamyn Hall
  3. Jackson State JR 1B Sam Campbell
  4. Alcorn State SR SS Moses Charles
  5. Texas Southern SR OF Ryan Lazo
  6. Texas Southern rSR C Javier Valdez
  7. Prairie View A&M JR OF Cody Den Beste
  8. Alabama State JR OF Carlos Ocasio
  9. Jackson State JR C Carlos Diaz
  10. Alcorn State rJR INF Daniel Corona
  11. Southern JR SS/RHP Troy Lewis
  12. Alcorn State SR 1B Collin Carroll
  13. Prairie View A&M SR 1B Angel Avalos
  14. Alabama State rJR C Chris Biocic
  15. Southern rSR C Jose DeLa Torre
  16. Alabama A&M SR 1B Dylan Payne
  17. Mississippi Valley State JR C Arrington Smith
  18. Grambling State JR SS Wesley Drain
  19. Prairie View A&M JR INF/RHP Charles Philpott
  20. Jackson State SR OF Tony Holton
  21. Prairie View A&M JR 2B Kevin Macias
  22. Prairie View A&M SR C Jaron Hicks
  23. Alcorn State SR OF LaDerrick Williams
  24. Mississippi Valley State rSR 3B/OF Drew Wheeler
  25. Prairie View A&M JR 1B Carson Lee
  26. Texas Southern SR OF Christopher Scroggins
  27. Prairie View A&M SR OF Anthony Fernandez
  28. Texas Southern SR INF Joel Rosario

Pitching

  1. Arkansas-Pine Bluff JR RHP/OF Jeremiah Figueroa
  2. Jackson State SR RHP/SS Jevon Jacobs
  3. Jackson State JR RHP Jamal Wilson
  4. Texas Southern rSR RHP Robert Pearson
  5. Alabama State JR RHP/SS Angel Alicea
  6. Alabama State rSR RHP Michael Tellado
  7. Alabama State SR RHP Joseph Camacho
  8. Jackson State JR RHP Jesse Anderson
  9. Alabama State SR RHP Hunter McIntosh
  10. Grambling State JR LHP Tanner Raiburn
  11. Alabama State JR RHP Austin Bizzle
  12. Grambling State SR LHP Dion Holbrook
  13. Alabama State JR RHP Brandon Caples
  14. Alabama State rJR RHP Tyler Howe
  15. Alabama A&M SR RHP Josh Burchell
  16. Arkansas-Pine Bluff SR RHP Blake Estep
  17. Arkansas-Pine Bluff SR RHP Humberto Medina
  18. Jackson State SR RHP Rene Colon
  19. Southern rSO RHP Harold Myles
  20. Texas Southern JR RHP Ryan Rios
  21. Jackson State SR LHP Vincent Anthonia
  22. Prairie View A&M SR RHP Jordan Foster

Alabama A&M

SR RHP Josh Burchell (2016)
SR RHP Caleb Roberts (2016)
SR RHP Jordan Benford (2016)
SR 1B Dylan Payne (2016)
JR INF JT O’Reel (2016)
rFR 3B Austin Turner (2017)
SO INF Tanner Ivey (2017)

High Priority Follows: Josh Burchell, Dylan Payne

Alabama State

SR RHP Joseph Camacho (2016)
rSR RHP Michael Tellado (2016)
rJR RHP Tyler Howe (2016)
JR RHP Austin Bizzle (2016)
SR RHP Hunter McIntosh (2016)
JR LHP Patrick Coffin (2016)
JR RHP Brandon Caples (2016)
JR RHP/SS Angel Alicea (2016)
SR OF Dillon Cooper (2016)
JR OF Carlos Ocasio (2016)
rJR C Chris Biocic (2016)
SO LHP Ivanniel Vazquez (2017)
SO RHP Darren Kelly (2017)
SO 3B Ray Hernandez (2017)
SO OF Joseph Estrada (2017)
SO 1B Gustavo Rios (2017)
SO 2B Yamil Pagan (2017)
SO C Hunter Allen (2017)
FR 2B Eriq White (2018)
FR OF Diandre Amion (2018)

High Priority Follows: Joseph Camacho, Michael Tellado, Tyler Howe, Austin Bizzle, Hunter McIntosh, Brandon Caples, Angel Alicea, Carlos Ocasio, Chris Biocic

Alcorn State

rJR INF Daniel Corona (2016)
SR 1B Collin Carroll (2016)
rJR INF Jesus Vasquez (2016)
JR C Walter Vives (2016)
SR SS Moses Charles (2016)
SR OF LaDerrick Williams (2016)
FR RHP Conrado Skepple (2018)

High Priority Follows: Daniel Corona, Collin Carroll, Moses Charles, LaDerrick Williams

Arkansas-Pine Bluff

SR RHP Blake Estep (2016)
SR RHP Skyler Henson (2016)
JR RHP CJ Lewington (2016)
SR RHP Humberto Medina (2016)
rSR LHP Chris Phelps (2016)
JR RHP/OF Jeremiah Figueroa (2016)
SR INF Roberto Colon (2016)

High Priority Follows: Blake Estep, Humberto Medina, Jeremiah Figueroa

Grambling State

JR LHP Tanner Raiburn (2016)
SR LHP Dion Holbrook (2016)
SR 2B/SS Larry Barraza (2016)
rJR OF Diamyn Hall (2016)
SR OF Darien Brown (2016)
JR OF Marshawn Taylor (2016)
JR SS Wesley Drain (2016)
JR 3B Daniel Barnett (2016)
FR OF Nick Wheeler (2018)

High Priority Follows: Tanner Raiburn, Dion Holbrook, Larry Barraza, Diamyn Hll, Wesley Drain

Jackson State

SR RHP/SS Jevon Jacobs (2016)
SR LHP Vincent Anthonia (2016)
JR RHP Jamal Wilson (2016)
JR RHP Jesse Anderson (2016)
SR RHP Rene Colon (2016)
JR 1B Sam Campbell (2016)
JR C Carlos Diaz (2016)
SR OF Tony Holton (2016)
SO C David Burke (2017)
SO 3B Jesus Santana (2017)
SO OF Bryce Brown (2017)
SO INF Lamar Briggs (2017)
FR OF CJ Newsome (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jevon Jacobs, Vincent Anthonia, Jamal Wilson, Jesse Anderson, Rene Colon, Sam Campbell, Carlos Diaz, Tony Holton

Mississippi Valley State

rSR 3B/OF Drew Wheeler (2016)
JR C Arrington Smith (2016)
FR RHP/SS Fredrick Spencer (2018)
FR RHP Marcus Jones (2018)

High Priority Follows: Drew Wheeler, Arrington Smith

Prairie View A&M

SR RHP Jordan Foster (2016)
JR INF/RHP Charles Philpott (2016)
SR 1B Angel Avalos (2016)
JR 3B Josh Jefferson (2016)
JR OF Cody Den Beste (2016)
SR C Jaron Hicks (2016)
JR 2B Kevin Macias (2016)
JR 1B Carson Lee (2016)
SR OF Anthony Fernandez (2016)
SO OF Brashad Jones (2017)
SO OF Darrien Williams (2017)

High Priority Follows: Jordan Foster, Charles Philpott, Angel Avalos, Cody Den Beste, Jaron Hicks, Kevin Macias, Carson Lee, Anthony Fernandez

Southern

rSO RHP Harold Myles (2016)
JR SS/RHP Troy Lewis (2016)
rSR C Jose DeLa Torre (2016)
JR INF Robinson Mateo (2016)
FR LHP Bryan Melendez (2018)
FR OF Anthony Valdes (2018)
FR SS/3B Franky Montesino (2018)

High Priority Follows: Harold Myles, Troy Lewis, Jose DeLa Torre

Texas Southern

rSR RHP Robert Pearson (2016)
JR RHP Larry Romero (2016)
JR RHP Ryan Rios (2016)
rSR C Javier Valdez (2016)
SR OF Ryan Lazo (2016)
SR INF Joel Rosario (2016)
SR OF Christopher Scroggins (2016)
SO RHP Seth Oliver (2017)
SO SS Gerreck Jimenez (2017)
SO C Blake Hicks (2017)
SO 3B Horace LeBlanc (2017)
SO INF Kamren Dukes (2017)
FR OF Oladjide Oloruntimilehin (2018)

High Priority Follows: Robert Pearson, Ryan Rios, Javier Valdez, Ryan Lazo, Joel Rosario, Christopher Scroggins

SWAC 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Southern rJR C Jose DeLaTorre
Alabama A&M JR 1B Austin Hulsey
Alabama State SR 2B Einar Muniz
Alabama A&M SR SS Julio Nunez
Jackson State SR 3B Melvin Rodriguez
Alabama State SR OF Waldyvan Estrada
Alabama A&M SR OF Andrew Utterback
Southern SR OF Lance Jones

Texas Southern SR RHP Robert Pearson
Alabama State SR RHP TJ Renda
Alabama State JR RHP Jorge Pantoja
Southern SR RHP Rafael Diaz
Alabama State SR RHP Michael Estevez

No disrespect to any of the returning players, but the biggest story from a prospect standpoint in the SWAC this year is the absence of Alabama State RHP/SS Branden Castro. If anybody knows what happened to Castro, an athletic two-way player with a fastball clocked as high as 96 in the past no longer on the Alabama State roster, please let me know. My lame attempt at researching the topic came up empty. I typically do a post on players that I’ve lost track of and get a bunch of really helpful responses out of it (I should probably do one for this year’s missing players…), so I’m hopeful somebody knows something that I don’t.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the players actually on the field this season. I’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback about Jackson State SR 3B Melvin Rodriguez and Alabama A&M SR SS/2B Julio Nunez when asking around about who to watch in the SWAC this year. A player from the SWAC has been drafted every year since the Rule 4 draft began in 1965. Powerful Alabama State SR OF Waldyvan Estrada is more than qualified to keep the streak alive through 2015. Pro teams value players a lot differently than one guy writing on the internet, but I like all three players to be drafted in June as senior signs with actual upside at the plate.

Texas Southern SR RHP Robert Pearson has the fastball (90-94, 96 peak) and average or better slider to be considered a viable relief prospect. His control is a red flag, but I’ve heard teams think his arm is worthwhile and that a mechanical tweak or two could vastly improve his control. I might like him more than I should because his name reminds me of noted former Phillies ace Robert Person. For the record, I originally meant the ace thing as a bit of a crack on how bad the Phillies were during Person’s time here, but damn if he wasn’t even better – pretty darn good, even! — than my already overly rosy memories of players past originally would have guessed. Pearson would be lucky to have a career like Person.

Luck would happen that I recently wrote up the Summit League, so forgive me for comparing the relatively stacked Alabama State pitching staff to that of the Summit’s Oral Roberts. SR RHP TJ Renda (average fastball, good command, very good control), JR RHP Jorge Pantoja (better fastball, above-average breaking ball, good size), SR RHP Michael Estevez (long track record of missing bats, 2015 included), and SR RHP Armando Ruiz (short, but can hit 93) are all within draftable range for me.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Alabama State SR OF Waldyvan Estrada
  2. Alabama A&M SR OF Andrew Utterback
  3. Southern SR OF Lance Jones
  4. Alabama A&M JR 1B/RHP Austin Hulsey
  5. Jackson State SR 3B Melvin Rodriguez
  6. Alabama A&M SR SS/2B Julio Nunez
  7. Alabama State SR 2B Einar Muniz
  8. Jackson State SR SS Gary Thomas
  9. Southern rJR C Jose DeLa Torre
  10. Alabama A&M SR OF Brandyn Crutcher
  11. Grambling State SR 2B Yariel Medina
  12. Jackson State SR 1B Tilur Smith
  13. Prairie View A&M SR SS Walter Wells
  14. Alabama State rSR OF Cesar Rivera
  15. Texas Southern SR OF Jerry Ford

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. Texas Southern SR RHP Robert Pearson
  2. Alabama State SR RHP TJ Renda
  3. Alabama State JR RHP Jorge Pantoja
  4. Southern SR RHP Rafael Diaz
  5. Alabama State SR RHP Michael Estevez
  6. Alabama State SR RHP Armando Ruiz
  7. Alabama A&M SR RHP Joshua Freeman

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – SWAC Follow List

Alabama A&M

SR OF Brandyn Crutcher (2015)
SR OF Patrick Dodson (2015)
SR SS/2B Julio Nunez (2015)
SR OF Andrew Utterback (2015)
JR 1B/RHP Austin Hulsey (2015)
SR RHP Devin Smith (2015)
SR RHP Joshua Freeman (2015)

Alabama State

SR OF Waldyvan Estrada (2015)
JR OF Dillon Cooper (2015)
rSR OF Cesar Rivera (2015)
rSO C Chris Biocic (2015)
SR 2B Einar Muniz (2015)
SR RHP TJ Renda (2015)
SR RHP Michael Estevez (2015)
SR RHP Armando Ruiz (2015)
JR RHP Joseph Camacho (2015)
JR RHP Hunter McIntosh (2015)
JR RHP Jorge Pantoja (2015)
rJR RHP Michael Tellado (2015)
rSO RHP Tyler Howe (2015)
SO LHP Patrick Coffin (2016)
SO RHP Brandon Capels (2016)
FR 3B Ray Hernandez (2017)

Alcorn State

SR OF Scotty Peavey (2015)
JR 1B Shaquille Cockrell (2016)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff

rJR 1B/LHP Andre Davis (2015)
JR RHP Kevin Walsh (2015)
FR OF/RHP Jerimiah Figueroa (2017)

Grambling State

SR OF Edwin Drexler (2015)
SR 2B Yariel Medina (2015)
JR OF Diamyn Hall (2015)

Jackson State

SR RHP Alexander Juday (2015)
JR LHP Vincent Anthonia (2015)
SR SS Gary Thomas (2015)
SR 1B Tilur Smith (2015)
SR 3B Melvin Rodriguez (2015)
SO RHP Jamal Wilson (2016)

Mississippi Valley State

SR OF Kalik May (2015)
rSR RHP Grant Reifers (2015)
SO C Arrington Smith (2016)

Prairie View A&M

SR C Grant Dougherty (2015)
SR SS Walter Wells (2015)
SO INF Josh Jefferson (2016)
SO OF Cody Den Beste (2016)

Southern

SR RHP Rafael Diaz (2015)
SR RHP Santos Saldivar (2015)
SR OF Lance Jones (2015)
rJR C Jose DeLa Torre (2015)
rSR OF Stephen Wallace (2015)
rSR OF Tyler Kirksey (2015)
SO INF Robinson Mateo (2016)

Texas Southern

SR RHP Robert Pearson (2015)
SR P Devin Konarik (2015)
SR P Frank Cruz (2015)
JR P Larry Romero (2015)
SR P Felix Gomez (2015)
SR OF Marquis Webb (2015)
SR OF Jerry Ford (2015)
SO OF Zach Welz (2016)
SO RHP Ryan Rios (2016)