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2015 MLB Draft Reviews – Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Angels 2015 MLB Draft Picks

After a .188/.345/.217 junior season, I was ready to stick 1B Jared Walsh back on the mound and embrace him as a potential lefthanded middle reliever prospect. Maybe I should have paid closer attention to the 15 BB/8 K ratio as a sign of a potential senior season breakout instead. Walsh did just that and then kept hitting upon entering pro ball. It’s a tough profile to get behind as Walsh doesn’t have the usual strength and power associated with first base, but he deserves credit for at least getting a mention here as a 39th round pick. Hitting .325 in your debut season will do that. 1B Nick Lynch didn’t hit .325 in his debut and is older than you’d like in a recent draftee (24 next February), but he flashed enough power as a college slugger to earn himself at least another season of trying to see if he can make it.

2B Tim Arakawa is a nice addition to the franchise in round 23. He’s not the biggest nor the fastest nor the most powerful, but he grinds out professional at bats and puts himself in good situations in the field and on the base paths. It’s a nearly impossible profile to make it as a second base only prospect, but you never know. 2B Hutton Moyer is toolsier than most college second base prospects and it shows. Those tools — above-average speed, average power, average or better glove — got him selected earlier than I would have guessed (7th round) and should continue to give him chances over the next few seasons. Like Arakawa, it’s very likely second base or bust for Moyer, so getting to the highest level will be a challenge.

3B Michael Pierson, another older than you’d like prospect (24 next May), hit like the man among boys in short-season ball that he was. It was the kind of performance that gets your name on the map within an organization, perhaps even leading to a double-jump promotion (right to A+?) heading into next season. The former Appalachian State star has the early edge on some of the previously mentioned 2015 MLB Draft infielders not only for what he did with the bat (.395/.467/.528 with 22 BB/30 K) but also for his slightly more versatile defensive utility (second and third).

Speaking of defensive versatility, I’d love to see 3B Kenny Towns make the long rumored switch to catcher in instructional league this fall. Having watched him play a fair amount of third base over the years, I think it’s fair to say he’s got the hands, arm, and athleticism to potentially pull it off. More to the point, catching is probably his one and only true shot at ever advancing past a certain level in pro ball. If that switch is made then there will be a good bit of competition behind the plate to come out of this draft class. C Izaak Silva is decent organizational depth, but C Dalton Blumenfeld and C Tanner Lubach each have a chance to be more. Blumenfeld, the overslot twelfth round pick, fits the big-bodied, plus arm strength, plus raw power archetype that has recently fallen out of favor some among most teams; their loss could very well be the Angels gain. Lubach is more of a modern catcher — big enough but not huge, hit over power, reliant more on athleticism and smarts defensively — so Los Angeles gets a little bit of variety out of two second-tier backstops. I’ve anticipated a breakout season for Lubach for way too long now, so it might be time to accept the fact it’s not going to happen and readjust expectations. If LA gets a backup catcher out of this group, they’ve done well for themselves.

The man they’d be backing up looks like a really safe bet to be C Taylor Ward (65). My final pre-draft ranking had Ward as more of a second round value than a first rounder, something I wish I hadn’t hedged on. Should have stuck to my mid-season guns…

Sometimes I get so wrapped up into doing things for the site that I forget that there is a great big baseball world outside my tiny corner of the internet. As such, I’m way behind on checking in on a lot of the mainstream draft coverage that has been put out since the college season in February. Help me out here: Fresno State JR C Taylor Ward is a first round pick, right? People have caught on to that? He’s pretty much Max Pentecost without the Twitter approved cool guy name. If Pentecost could go eleventh overall, then surely Ward can find a fit in the first day, right? He’s a really good athlete who moves exceptionally well behind the plate. His arm is an absolute howitzer with easy to spot plus to plus-plus raw strength. Offensively he does enough of everything – average or a tick below speed underway, about the same raw power, and a disciplined approach that consistently puts him in good hitter’s counts – to profile as a well above-average regular when both sides of his game are considered.

“The best true catcher is probably Pentecost,” a club executive said. “He’s going in the first round for sure. He doesn’t have a lot of power, it’s more alley and extra-base hits than pure power, but he’s a good hitter, a good athlete and he can run. He can throw and he will get better as a receiver. I think it’s a solid overall player at a tough position to find.”

Sub out Pentecost’s name for Ward’s and you’re all set. His closest competitors for top college catcher in this class (pre-season) for me have all slipped enough that I think there’s real separation between Ward and everybody else. Shaun Chase (Oregon) still has the prodigious raw power that will keep him employed for years to come, but the approach has shown little to no signs of improving. My former top guy, Ian Rice (Houston), has been up and down (to put it kindly) in his first season of D1 baseball. Austin Rei (Washington) seemed poised to have a breakout season and challenge Ward for the top spot, but a torn thumb ligament stalled his season after only 17 at bats. There’s still a question as to whether or not he’ll be back before the end of the season. I could see a scenario where a team would prefer Rei, who I still think goes higher than anybody thinks because of his pitch-framing abilities alone, but the injury obviously makes him one of the draft’s greatest unknowns heading into June.

I don’t actually know where Ward will go in the draft and without having my entire board lined up just yet it is premature to say he’s a no-doubt first round pick for me personally. I do find it hard to imagine that a player with his upside will fall past the first forty picks or so into the second round. This kind of logic doesn’t always hold because it takes but one team to select a player, but if Pentecost, who, I liked more than loved as a prospect, went off the board at eleven last year then I don’t see why Ward would fall multiple rounds past that in what many (not me, but still) consider to be a weaker draft.

At least the last part came to pass after the Angels popped Ward with pick 26 in the first round. The most important takeaway here is that Ward is a really good player, both offensively and defensively. I think we all knew about his upside as a catcher, present plus to plus-plus arm strength, and well above-average athleticism for the position. The bat, however, was a revelation as a pro: .348/.457/.438 with 39 BB/23 K. He’s hardly coming out of nowhere with a performance like that: those numbers are fairly consistent with what he did in his last two seasons at Fresno State. He was called a future “well above-average regular when both sides of his game are considered” on this site during the season and his play since then has only helped sway some of the last remaining doubters. Nothing against any of the other catchers taken at the top of the draft, but Ward is clearly the best blend of upside and polish…and it’s not even close. Tyler Stephenson is still an excellent prospect, but he’s the only other catcher you’d consider taking over Ward out of this class. This is a great pick made even better by all the insta-hatred it caused on Twitter back on draft night.

(Would I throw that last dig in if Ward struggled rather than excelled in his first 250 or so professional PA? There’s no way of knowing for sure, but I honestly believe that I would. Let’s be real, though: it obviously doesn’t hurt any. I certainly didn’t expect Ward to hit quite like he did, but the Angels drafted a really good prospect with the 26th pick in the first round and the majority of prospect “experts” took turns lining up to lambaste the selection. That’s crazy to me. Everybody is entitled to an opinion, but having an informed one doesn’t really cost all that much extra. At minimum, I’d throw out the idea that opinions about something you might not know everything about be made a bit more quietly and with a little less know-it-all venom. I guess the best way to get noticed in the online scouting world these days is being as loud as possible with your opinions since the bad ones all have a way of getting forgotten over time. Still, there’s a big difference between “I’m not sure about this pick based on what I know about the player and I would have rather had [blank], but it’ll be fun to see where it goes.” and “OMG LOL WORST PICK EVER THIS GUY IS A WALKING BUST DRAFTED TEN ROUNDS TOO SOON I SHOULD BE THE NEW GM OF THE ANGLES JET FUEL CANT MELT STEAL BEEMS!!1!!1”)

I like how this pre-draft piece on SS David Fletcher (133) sounds today…

Loyola Marymount SO SS David Fletcher would be the top shortstop in many conferences across the country. He does a lot of the same things that Holder does well, especially on the defensive side. I’m a tiny less sure about his bat going forward, so consider that my admittedly thin rationale for having him behind both Holder and Sullivan. Being the third best shortstop behind those two guys is still a really, really good thing. He’s stung the ball so far this season, and I’ve heard from those who have seen him often that the improvements are real. Slowly but surely his ceiling has risen with some now willing to make the move from glove-first utility player to potential big league regular. I’m not quite there yet, but I get it. All the shortstops are great.

All The Shortstops are Great! That would be the name of my video yearbook for this year’s draft. Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers, Newman, Martin, Holder, Trahan, Miller, Jackson, Fletcher all selected within the draft’s first two hundred picks…what a group. I talked a lot throughout the spring about how the depth of this year’s shortstop class could help some teams with front offices split on taking a shortstop early pass on the top-tier talents and wait it out. There’s obviously no way of knowing if the Angels FO had those internal discussions — maybe they were hoping either Newman or Martin fell to them, maybe they considered taking Holder but opted to wait — but it’s something to think about. The fun hindsight game gives you two options: Ward (first round C) and Fletcher (sixth round SS) or Holder (first round SS) and Francis Christy (catcher taken one pick after Fletcher in the seventh). Early pro returns there make the Angels look like geniuses!

In more seriousness, Los Angeles found themselves a real keeper in Fletcher. Like Ward, we knew he could do it all defensively, so the strides he’s made as a hitter over the last calendar year are almost icing on the cake. The lack of power is something to be monitored, but if he can just do enough to keep opposing pitchers on their toes, he’s a potential regular at short. Even if that doesn’t happen, he’s got a high-floor as a rather valuable potential utility guy.

I love the pick of Ti’Quan Forbes to Texas in the second round last year. The Angels selection of OF Jahmai Jones (37) in the second round this year gives me a very similar warm and fuzzy feeling. Jones has electric bat speed and plenty of natural raw power. Few, if any, high school players smoked the ball as consistently as he did in my admittedly limited views of the cream of the crop of this year’s class. Maybe my appreciation for him as a prospect is too heavily influenced on my “not a scout” personal observations — it’s human nature to do so and I’ve been guilty of it in the past — but the overall offensive tool set that includes a potential plus hit (could see him hitting .300 one day), above-average or better raw power, and above-average or better speed is exciting even if you haven’t seen him up close. I threw out a tentative Cameron Maybin comp on him before the draft that I think works from a raw ability standpoint but is hard to draw much meaning on beyond that considering Maybin’s generally underwhelming — though, in the real world, projecting a second round pick to ever have a 4.0 WAR season like Maybin once did is generous — career to date.

OF Brendon Sanger (63) was on my short-list of FAVORITES going into the draft, so seeing him go above where many of the expert sites had him ranked makes me very happy for him.

JR OF/2B Brandon Sanger (Florida Atlantic) is a lot of fun to watch as a hitter. He’s a high-contact bat with above-average raw power and average or better speed. Beyond that, Sanger is the kind of player that is tough for me to write about because he’s just so darn well-rounded that his game borders on boring at times. He gets on base so often that you begin to take for granted his outstanding plate discipline. He wears out the gaps as well as almost any other hitter in the country. If he could be counted on playing average or better defense at second base professionally – and I’m not ruling this out, but hedging my bets with the corner outfield projection because that’s what people who have seen him more than I have recommended – then he’d be at or near the top of my list of “Why are we not including this guy among the nation’s best position player prospects?” players. As a corner outfielder he’s a little less exciting, but still one of my favorite bats to watch this spring.

I still don’t think it’s crazy to want to see him get an honest shot at playing second base this fall. It’s a bit of a played-out comp, but I think there’s enough Jason Kipnis to Sanger’s game to make attempting the conversion worth a shot. If it doesn’t work, you move on. I still think the bat is big league regular quality in an outfielder corner. Jones, Sanger, Ward, and Fletcher give the Angels a really impressive quartet of hitting prospects to be excited about from this draft.

OF Jeff Boehm (292) played 1B in his debut season, but I think he has enough athleticism to man an outfield corner again if that’s what the Angels want out of him. He’s got a cannon for an arm, so right field makes sense. Boehm’s always showed some feel for hitting and has flashed some interesting power in the past, so don’t rule out the thirteenth round pick from potentially growing into a useful bench piece. That’s the most realistic ceiling I see for him now, though I was once a bit more bullish about his future…

Boehm flashes all five tools and enough at the plate to potentially profile as a regular in right field. The Kentucky transfer’s arm strength is his best current attribute while his other four tools all have a shot to play average or better as he continues to develop as a position player.

Perhaps one day Boehm will share a big league bench with OF Sam Koenig (281). Koenig’s swing has a lot of moving parts, so inconsistent contact figures to always be an issue to some degree. Thankfully, he has more than enough raw power packed into his 6-4, 220 pound frame to remain an intriguing potential bench bat or platoon option. The fact that he has experience at all of the four-corner spots (1B-3B-LF-RF) makes him appealing in that way. As a fifth-year senior (24 this March) and 27th round pick who didn’t exactly light the world on fire with his pro debut, he’ll have to get hitting quickly to keep getting chances.

rSR OF/3B Sam Koenig (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) is an old favorite who has plenty of raw power, but inconsistent contact skills. He’s even bigger than Timm and Mahoney – listed at 6-5, 220 pounds compared to their measly 6-5, 200 frames – but not nearly the defender at the hot corner as the two more natural infielders. That’s why he’s now listed as an outfielder first. It feels like he’s been on the verge of bursting out since mid-way through his sophomore season and just last year he was off to a blistering start (.424/.500/.667 with 5 BB and 6 K in 33 AB) before going down with an injury. It would be silly to suggest that such a small sample is the smoking gun that will lead to a breakout senior season; no sillier, however, then prematurely dismissing the progress any young, still developing player makes. There’s no need to overreact to Koenig’s aborted 2014 season, so the best (and most obvious) course of action is to keep a close eye on him in 2015 to see if he can finally put it all together.

OF Jared Foster (439) and OF Trever Allen winding up with the same pro club feels right. Both are outstanding athletes who can run, throw, and hit the ball out of the damn stadium if you make a mistake. Both are also senior-signs who never really had that one true breakout season to give you the confidence that they’d grow into anything more than tooled-up backup outfielders with perpetual promise. That’s not to say both didn’t have very good senior seasons…

Foster: .294/.352/.533 – 13 BB/31 K – 7/7 SB – 180 AB
Allen: .345/.387/.505 – 13 BB/33 K – 4/7 SB – 200 AB

Pretty similar production, right? Those raw lines are super and both were key bats at upper-echelon college programs, but the underlying plate discipline numbers are less than ideal. Those rough BB/K ratios carried over to the pro game as one might expect. Still, there are many ways to wind up a successful pro ballplayer. I like my guys to exhibit the kind of strike zone awareness that has the ballpark questioning an umpire’s call when a 50/50 pitch goes against the batter — blame watching 162 games a year of Bobby Abreu (and later Jayson Werth) during my formative baseball watching years for that — but hitters like that who can also do other things at a high-level are rare. You’ve got to embrace imperfect players at a certain point. Foster’s pre-draft blurb sums him up pretty well, I think: “raw, but as much upside for a senior sign as you’ll find.” If the light bulb ever comes on for Foster, he’s an above-average regular. That “if” is pretty gigantic considering we’re talking about a soon-to-be 23-year old prospect and not a teenager out of high school, but you never know. Allen is about a half-step down from Foster in certain physical areas (arm, speed), but if you tried to sell me that he’s better prepared for the pro game than Foster based on the idea that Allen actually started all four years at Arizona State while Foster, when not serving as the reserve QB on the football team, was consistently crowded out of a stacked LSU outfield then I wouldn’t argue.

In the end, I think both players have that one fatal flaw that will make advancing to the big leagues very difficult. Foster will get more chances as a fourth rounder (Allen went in the 25th), so he’ll get the leg up when the politics of promotions comes into play. He’d be my bet to go higher up the chain, but I think toolsy up-and-down reserve outfielder is the most realistic best case scenario. I can’t blame the Angels for going big on tools, though.

A trio of college outfielders picked later by Los Angeles caught my eye for various reasons. OF Kyle Survance was a surprise top ten round pick to me (8th), but his athleticism, speed, and CF range all play. The pre-draft take…

JR OF Kyle Survance is the best of the trio. His power is limited, but his speed and defense should keep him employed for at least a few years. If it clicks for him, it’s a big league skill set.

I saw OF Jordan Serena up close a lot this spring for Columbia. Besides sporting an impressive beard, he ran well, showed good athleticism, and could drive a mistake to the gaps. I like the Angels taking the approach of moving him around the diamond (2B, 3B, SS) while also keeping the knowledge that he can play a mean CF in their back pocket. He’s a solid org player.

Then there’s OF Josh Delph. Delph is weird. The guy has a strange knack for getting on base. I don’t really know how to explain it beyond that. For a corner outfielder with an iffy hit tool and minimal power to put up the kind of consistent on-base figures he has…there’s really no figuring it out. Look at some of his weird lines while at Florida State…

.261/.465/.342 – 34 BB/14 K
.268/.385/.351 – 34 BB/32 K
.279/.410/.358 – 38 BB/42 K

He kept it up as a pro by hitting .313/.441/.354 with 8 BB/8 K. Come on, that’s weird. I really think he was created in a lab somewhere by Mike Martin in an attempt to create the Platonic ideal of a Florida State hitter. Or maybe Delph was drafted because he’s almost this year’s draft exact counterpoint to Jared Foster. Either way, for as much as I value plate discipline, Delph will have a tough time moving up relying on that one awesome skill. I’ll be rooting for him all the same.

My pre-draft rankings cease to mean a whole lot the second the draft ends, if they ever meant anything to anybody else at all. I can admit that. Prospect rankings are merely snapshots in time as real life living breathing players improve, stagnate, and generally evolve in ways that no one person could ever hope to accurately predict with real precision. Still, rankings serve an organizational purpose. Less so on straight prospect rankings, but draft rankings can literally be used to determine who gets picked and when. Every team makes some kind of list before the draft and sticks to it for as long as feasible (in some cases, you’d be stunned how quickly the list is abandoned…though it’s often replaced by smaller positional lists, so I guess it’s all the same thing in a different wrapper), so there is at least some utility in a pre-draft ranking. This is all a long way of saying that the Angels somehow managed to draft only one pitcher off my personal pre-draft list of 500 names. They grabbed seven of my position players, but only one pitcher. More of a weird quirk than an attempt to denigrate the work done by the Los Angeles front office, but an interesting note all the same.

That one pitcher is RHP Grayson Long (62) from Texas A&M. I love that the Angels managed to get Long with pick 104…

Long hasn’t progressed quite as much as I was expecting back then, but that’s not to say he hasn’t progressed at all. It’s been a slow and steady climb for him, and the results so far this year indicate that real honest improvements have been made. Long lives 88-92, but can climb up to 94-95 when needed, though those mid-90s figures are an admittedly rare occurrence. The fact that the long and lean high school version of Long, thought for all the world to be full of projection and potentially of capable of eventually lighting up radar guns once he filled out, hasn’t added much to his fastball can be taken either as a negative (for obvious reasons) or a positive (he’s pitched damn well even without the big fastball and there could yet be some more in the tank coming) depending on your world view. All of those other extras that made me fall for his heater in the first place remain, and I’d call his fastball a plus pitch still even without the knockout velocity. There still isn’t one consistent offspeed pitch that he can lean on from start to start, but there are enough flashes of his change and slider that you can understand what the finished product could look like.

I really believe in Long; he’s one of those players I’d go out on a limb for and really push my team to draft if ever put in such a position of power. I think he’s as good a bet as almost any college pitcher in this class to have a long career in a big league rotation (high-floor!) while still retaining some of that upside we’ve seen over the years to be something even more (high-ceiling!).

Even though I only ranked Long, I did reference a good number of pitchers selected by the Angels this past year. RHP Nathan Bates out of Georgia State had a solid junior year. He’s big (6-8, 200) and throws hard enough (low-90s) to deserve a long look. I saw LHP Ronnie Glenn start as many games at Penn than just about any human not affiliated with the team, school, or his family. He’s a good one. Glenn throws three pitches with a chance to be around average (88-92 FB, 76-78 breaking ball, 78-80 change) with a nice amount of deception in his delivery that figures to give lefthanded hitters fits in the pros. RHP Aaron Rhodes was a stalwart performer in the Florida bullpen over the past few seasons. He’s a tough player to figure out going forward because he plays with his delivery so much that you don’t know which pitcher the real Aaron Rhodes is. The more traditional delivery can give you low-90s sinking velocity (up to 96) with the occasional above-average slider. The sidearm action is more low- to mid-80s, but no less effective. RHP Jacob McDavid out of Oral Roberts has some projection left and a good low-90s heater.

I won’t pretend to know any more about RHP Adam Hofacket than you do, but I’ve heard he throws bowling balls and his pro debut (63.3 GB%) seems to back it up so far. He’s got my attention. I like what little I know about LHP Nathaniel Bertness, a long and lean lefty out of junior college. The 6-5, 185 pound pitcher was a standout basketball player in high school who has only really focused on baseball full-time within the last year or two. Needless to say, I’m intrigued. RHP Samuel Pastrone is an intriguing overslot HS arm out of Nevada who can throw four pitches for strikes who has reportedly made a big leap forward with his velocity over the past calendar year (from 88-92, 94 peak to 90-94, 96 peak).

RHP Travis Herrin is a blank canvass with some upside. RHP Aaron Cox was worth a draft pick even without his fun backstory (though, as an aside, I personally think it’s awesome that his sister/Mike Trout’s girlfriend was [maybe still is?] a teacher…didn’t know that until this year’s draft). RHP Taylor Cobb is a decent arm strength shot in the dark. I thought RHP Cody Pope might have been the first pick ever out of Eastern New Mexico, but he’s not even the first pick drafted out of Eastern New Mexico this year! Whoops. I knew LHP Connor Lillis-White wasn’t the first pick ever out of the University of British Columbia because Jeff Francis was a first rounder back in 2002. LHP Winston Lavendier has a name that just needs to be on a baseball card one day. RHP Jonah Dipoto is off to San Diego to play college ball, a really good decision made even better by what transpired in the Angels front office shortly after the draft in June…

Here are the 2015 Los Angeles draft picks that slipped into my pre-draft top 500…

37 – Jahmai Jones
62 – Grayson Long
63 – Brendon Sanger
65 – Taylor Ward
133 – David Fletcher
281 – Sam Koenig
292 – Jeff Boehm
439 – Jared Foster

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2015 MLB Draft – Top 100 D1 College Catching Prospects

Title explains what we’re doing here. Other college prospects and high school guys will get their moment soon enough. I cut the list off at 100, but added in some bonus prospects (in order despite being unnumbered) at the end. First base will be up later in the day.

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1. Fresno State JR C Taylor Ward (2015): plus to plus-plus arm strength; good athlete; average at best speed; average at best power upside; good defensive tools, but needs reps; arm alone is special enough to carry him up ladder professionally; 6-2, 190 pounds

2013: .195/.306/.336 – 16 BB/26 K – 2/4 SB – 113 AB
2014: .320/.395/.438 – 28 BB/29 K – 3/6 SB – 219 AB
2015: .304/.413/.486 – 35 BB/34 K – 7/7 SB – 214 AB

2. Illinois JR C Jason Goldstein (2015): really good defender; strong arm; good approach; quick bat; exceptionally smart catcher, calls own pitches like a veteran; maybe not the best bat, best glove, or best athlete of the class, but the overall package is big league caliber; FAVORITE; 6-0, 200 pounds

2013: .210/.266/.252 – 9 BB/21 K – 3/3 SB – 143 AB
2014: .316/.370/.435 – 16 BB/17 K – 2/3 SB – 193 AB
2015: .303/.384/.511 – 21 BB/22 K – 0/1 SB – 188 AB

3. Washington JR C Austin Rei (2015): plus all-around defender; outstanding reputation as a pitch framer; above-average to plus arm; above-average raw power; 5-11, 180 pounds

2013: .240/.356/.260 – 5 BB/11 K – 0/0 SB – 50 AB
2014: .314/.408/.451 – 21 BB/36 K – 1/1 SB – 153 AB
2015: .330/.445/.681 – 12 BB/28 K – 0/0 SB – 91 AB

4. Dallas Baptist rJR C/OF Daniel Salters (2015): plus to plus-plus arm; average to plus raw power, wide range of opinions on his pop but I lean to the plus side; good approach; good athlete; quick bat; above-average glove; decent speed; very divisive prospect that some think of as a fringy corner outfield prospect and others (like me) buy into as a potential first-division starting catcher if it all works; FAVORITE; 6-3, 225 pounds

2014: .251/.398/.454 – 45 BB/29 K – 3/4 SB – 227 AB
2015: .265/.377/.410 – 30 BB/41 K – 4/5 SB – 200 AB

5. Illinois State rJR C/3B Paul DeJong (2015): can also play 2B; average arm; smart hitter; above-average raw power; has made great strides defensively in short order; FAVORITE; 6-1, 200 pounds

2014: .349/.430/.596 – 22 BB/39 K – 2/5 SB – 218 AB
2015: .333/.427/.605 – 28 BB/50 K – 2/3 SB – 210 AB

6. Penn SR C Austin Bossart (2015): strong defender; good arm; physically strong; based on scouting heat, would be surprised if the Orioles don’t consider selecting him higher than many project; 6-2, 210 pounds

2012: .261/.313/.306 – 10 BB/13 K – 6/8 SB – 134 AB
2013: .257/.301/.431 – 4 BB/24 K – 9/10 SB – 144 AB
2014: .297/.397/.430 – 12 BB/29 K – 1/2 SB – 158 AB
2015: .358/.420/.540 – 13 BB/18 K – 6/9 SB – 137 AB

7. USC SR C Garrett Stubbs (2015): really good athlete; versatile defender; good behind plate; average speed; average or better arm; may or may not profile as regular catcher (I think he could), but added value as super-sub makes him intriguing fit for creative team; 5-10, 175 pounds

2012: .205/.299/.244 – 15 BB/17 K – 2/4 SB – 127 AB
2013: .265/.380/.316 – 22 BB/14 K – 2/5 SB – 136 AB
2014: .287/.382/.310 – 16 BB/22 K – 6/11 SB – 171 AB
2015: .330/.421/.415 – 25 BB/27 K – 19/26 SB – 212 AB

8. Houston JR C Ian Rice (2015): great approach; above-average to plus raw power; solid defender, but still learning on job; very impressed at his improvements behind the plate; average arm; bat hasn’t played quite as expected, but approach remains consistent and think he’ll make a quality pro; FAVORITE; 6-0, 190 pounds

2014*: .331/.500/.647 – 44 BB/23 K – 5/6 SB – 139 AB
2015: .258/.431/.371 – 43 BB/32 K – 1/2 SB – 151 AB

9. Stony Brook SR C/SS Cole Peragine (2015): good defensive tools as middle infielder, hands and feet play really well behind plate; strong enough arm, though more good than great; intriguing pop, hasn’t shown up in games quite yet; above-average speed when instincts considered, average raw foot speed; love his approach at the plate; can’t help but fall for a converted shortstop who took to catching as well as he has; FAVORITE; 5-11, 180 pounds

2012: .276/.362/.379 – 21 BB/21 K – 8/10 SB – 214 AB
2013: .264/.352/.323 – 23 BB/21 K – 6/9 SB – 201 AB
2014: .287/.396/.378 – 31 BB/14 K – 13/15 SB – 188 AB
2015: .296/.443/.366 – 47 BB/19 K – 3/4 SB – 186 AB

10. Arizona State JR C RJ Ybarra (2015): plus arm strength; above-average to plus power; slow; good approach; raw defensively; 6-0, 230 pounds

2013: .304/.361/.491 – 5 BB/27 K – 0/0 SB – 112 AB
2014: .273/.342/.394 – 19 BB/45 K – 1/1 SB – 198 AB
2015: .284/.383/.493 – 23 BB/30 K – 1/3 SB – 134 AB

11. Maryland JR C Kevin Martir (2015): above-average raw power; above-average arm; steady glove after lots of work; very well-coached; 5-11, 215 pounds

2014: .269/.359/.386 – 14 BB/28 K – 3/4 SB – 171 AB
2015: .330/.428/.495 – 28 BB/29 K – 3/7 SB – 218 AB

12. Miami SR C Garrett Kennedy (2015): good approach; sneaky pop; average arm; steady glove; 6-1, 200 pounds

2013: .290/.430/.395 – 29 BB/23 K – 0/2 SB – 124 AB
2014: .231/.336/.308 – 15 BB/23 K – 1/1 SB – 117 AB
2015: .347/.448/.518 – 29 BB/24 K – 1/1 SB – 193 AB

13. North Carolina JR C Korey Dunbar (2015): average power; steady glove, tools for more; good approach; plus arm; comfortable with scouting spotlight; 6-0, 215 pounds

2013: .159/.302/.205 – 7 BB/14 K – 1/1 SB – 44 AB
2014: .238/.333/.326 – 24 BB/50 K – 4/6 SB – 181 AB
2015: .288/.362/.484 – 21 BB/46 K – 0/1 SB – 184 AB

14. LSU SR C Kade Scivicque (2015): average or better arm; good defender; leadership abilities evident; 5-11, 220 pounds

2014: .304/.377/.467 – 13 BB/19 K – 0/0 SB – 184 AB
2015: .353/.393/.517 – 12 BB/20 K – 0/0 SB – 201 AB

15. Wagner SR C Nick Dini (2015): has also played 2B and 3B; experienced catching high velocity arms; will be a steal if given a chance; could be Austin Barnes 2.0; FAVORITE; 5-9, 180 pounds

2012: .278/.338/.384 – 16 BB/29 K – 6/7 SB – 198 AB
2013: .316/.369/.460 – 12 BB/15 K – 13/13 SB – 215 AB
2015: .392/.489/.625 – 30 BB/7 K – 14/15 SB – 176 AB

16. Bowling Green rSO C Trey Keegan (2015): quick bat; good athlete; above-average arm; 5-11, 190 pounds

2014: .233/.333/.315 – 10 BB/8 K – 0/0 SB – 73 AB
2015: .295/.405/.453 – 29 BB/16 K – 8/11 SB – 190 AB

17. Arizona SR C Riley Moore (2015): power upside; above-average arm; good defensive tools, but still a work in progress; great athlete; very quick behind plate; could be better pro than college player; 6-3, 190 pounds

2012: .265/.360/.338 – 34 BB/50 K – 2/5 SB – 219 AB
2013: .244/.394/.343 – 35 BB/26 K – 3/3 SB – 172 AB
2014: .247/.339/.318 – 14 BB/34 K – 1/1 SB – 154 AB
2015: .306/.397/.426 – 32 BB/36 K – 2/3 SB – 209 AB

18. Rice SR C John Clay Reeves (2015): mature defender; accurate arm, average at best arm strength; strong hit tool; even more power upside than he’s shown; has called own games; Arkansas transfer; 6-0, 190 pounds

2014: .317/.360/.439 – 17 BB/32 K – 1/2 SB – 221 AB
2015: .324/.424/.484 – 24 BB/29 K – 3/3 SB – 188 AB

19. UAB rJR C Esteban Tresgallo (2015): good glove; smart; Miami transfer; 6-1, 210 pounds

2012: .243/.335/.379 – 20 BB/46 K – 3/4 SB – 140 AB
2015: .292/.404/.571 – 26 BB/37 K – 8/8 SB – 161 AB

20. Southeastern Louisiana JR C Jameson Fisher (2015): strong hit tool; average or better power; below-average speed; raw defender; labrum surgery caused him to miss 2015 season; no idea about his recovery or signability, but still talented enough to consider using an early pick on to find out; 6-2, 200 pounds

2013: .279/.372/.384 – 21 BB/23 K – 8/16 SB – 219 AB
2014: .389/.481/.469 – 30 BB/29 K – 9/17 SB – 239 AB

21. Morehead State rSR C/OF Chris Robinson (2015): good athlete; plus speed; interesting defensive tools; 5-10

2014: .332/.417/.407 – 26 BB/20 K – 8/10 SB – 226 AB
2015: .402/.472/.654 – 29 BB/31 K – 10/12 SB – 246 AB

22. Wisconsin-Milwaukee JR C Mitch Ghelfi (2015): power upside; great athlete; above-average to plus arm; defense needs work; raw tools stack up with almost any college catching peer; 5-11, 190 pounds

2013: .315/.374/.466 – 14 BB/21 K – 6/9 SB – 146 AB
2014: .267/.352/.342 – 20 BB/31 K – 7/9 SB – 161 AB
2015: .356/.463/.514 – 27 BB/31 K – 4/8 SB – 177 AB

23. Coastal Carolina JR C Casey Schroeder (2015): interesting hit tool; defense needs work, but tools are there; good athlete; above-average arm; big power upside; strong; good approach; average speed; Kentucky transfer; 6-0, 190 pounds

2015: .230/.370/.500 – 33 BB/41 K – 2/3 SB – 174 AB

24. Stetson JR C/1B Pat Mazeika (2015): strong hit tool; above-average raw power; good approach; average at best glove, improving somewhat; wish the glove was a surer bet, but the bat could play elsewhere if need be; 6-3, 220 pounds

2013: .410/.512/.528 – 32 BB/19 K – 1/1 SB – 212 AB
2014: .354/.479/.471 – 34 BB/18 K – 1/1 SB – 206 AB
2015: .307/.439/.485 – 33 BB/16 K – 1/1 SB – 202 AB

25. Belmont SR C/3B Matt Beaty (2015): flat-out hitter; 6-0, 210 pounds

2012: .261/.335/.449 – 25 BB/24 K – 7/10 SB – 234 AB
2013: .291/.402/.449 – 26 BB/19 K – 2/2 SB – 158 AB
2014: .352/.478/.536 – 28 BB/14 K – 4/4 SB – 125 AB
2015: .382/.469/.668 – 32 BB/17 K – 12/14 SB – 238 AB

26. LSU JR C Chris Chinea (2015): good defender; good athlete; plus raw power; have heard from some who think he’s best catcher on LSU roster; 6-0, 210 pounds (2013: .277/.373/.362 – 7 BB/3 K – 0/0 SB – 47 AB) (2014: .250/.310/.395 – 7 BB/4 K – 0/0 SB – 76 AB) (2015: .369/.403/.590 – 12 BB/31 K – 1/2 SB – 222 AB)

27. Georgetown JR C Nick Collins (2015): intriguing bat; average power; quick bat; raw defender, has some trouble actually catching the ball right now; reminded me of Cameron Rupp, but with rougher hands behind plate; 6-2, 220 pounds (2013: .322/.372/.429 – 12 BB/19 K – 0/1 SB – 177 AB) (2014: .351/.418/.426 – 18 BB/27 K – 2/4 SB – 188 AB) (2015: .370/.435/.540 – 22 BB/21 K – 6/7 SB – 211 AB)

28. William & Mary JR C/1B Charley Gould (2015): has consistently produced at the plate; 6-2, 210 pounds (2014: .333/.406/.567 – 16 BB/32 K – 0/0 SB – 150 AB) (2015: .388/.473/.706 – 24 BB/28 K – 0/1 SB – 170 AB)

29. Georgia JR C Zack Bowers (2015): plus arm strength; plus raw power; defense needs work; 6-1, 200 pounds (2013: .240/.286/.462 – 6 BB/36 K – 0/0 SB – 104 AB) (2014: .189/.299/.302 – 18 BB/43 K – 2/2 SB – 159 AB) (2015: .252/.421/.503 – 37 BB/55 K – 2/3 SB – 155 AB)

30. East Carolina JR C/1B Luke Lowery (2015): above-average to plus raw power, others have it plus-plus and maybe the raw is there, but hit tool keeps it from playing to full potential in game; plus bat speed; average speed, moves well for big man; all-or-nothing approach stems from timing issues; defense needs work; some think he could handle corner OF; “Schwarber level glove” behind plate; want to like him more than I do; 6-2, 240 pounds (2013: .304/.347/.489 – 6 BB/31 K – 1/2 SB – 92 AB) (2014: .287/.321/.400 – 6 BB/47 K – 3/8 SB – 160 AB) (2015: .313/.411/.561 – 25 BB/55 K – 7/9 SB – 198 AB)

31. Oregon SR C/1B Shaun Chase (2015): plus-plus raw power; strong arm; questionable glove, but playable; one of the draft’s most intriguing underachievers who could surprise in pro ball; 6-0, 215 pounds (2013: .230/.313/.368 – 10 BB/39 K – 0/1 SB – 87 AB) (2014: .283/.352/.634 – 15 BB/49 K – 1/2 SB – 145 AB) (2015: .191/.333/.391 – 20 BB/47 K – 0/0 SB – 115 AB)

32. Harvard SR C/3B Ethan Ferreira (2015): smart; interesting bat; 6-0, 200 pounds (2012: .231/.293/.297 – 8 BB/28 K – 3/6 SB – 91 AB) (2013: .224/.384/.276 – 15 BB/13 K – 0/1 SB – 58 AB) (2014: .238/.308/.300 – 9 BB/24 K – 0/0 SB – 130 AB) (2015: .361/.425/.594 – 18 BB/22 K – 4/6 SB – 155 AB)

33. Old Dominion C/JR 3B PJ Higgins (2015): gap power; strong arm; could also play 2B or OF; 5-11, 185 pounds (2013: .336/.380/.434 – 6 BB/16 K – 1/3 SB – 113 AB) (2014: .308/.361/.368 – 22 BB/22 K – 7/9 SB – 250 AB) (2015: .335/.402/.452 – 25 BB/16 K – 3/5 SB – 239 AB)

34. South Florida JR C/3B Levi Borders (2015): average or better raw power; good glove; average arm; approach holds him back; 6-3, 185 pounds (2013: .232/.301/.312 – 10 BB/41 K – 1/3 SB – 138 AB) (2014: .243/.341/.317 – 17 BB/41 K – 1/1 SB – 189 AB) (2015: .295/.381/.498 – 17 BB/63 K – 4/4 SB – 217 AB)

35. Illinois-Chicago SR C/OF Tyler Detmer (2015): relatively new to position; good arm; good approach; power upside; 6-0, 180 pounds (2013: .285/.364/.375 – 20 BB/36 K – 3/8 SB – 200 AB) (2014: .330/.436/.470 – 28 BB/25 K – 2/2 SB – 185 AB) (2015: .351/.452/.534 – 25 BB/34 K – 1/2 SB – 208 AB)

36. UC Davis JR C Cameron Olson (2015): plus raw power; plus arm; defense improving; hasn’t gotten reps, but upside is there; 6-1, 220 pounds (2013: .286/.365/.381 – 5 BB/24 K – 0/0 SB – 84 AB) (2015: .208/.323/.453 – 6 BB/18 K – 1/1 SB – 53 AB)

37. Connecticut JR C Max McDowell (2015): good athlete; good speed; good defender; power upside; has the well-rounded skill set of a steady backup catcher; 6-2, 210 pounds (2013: .275/.379/.357 – 19 BB/23 K – 6/8 SB – 171 AB) (2014: .275/.376/.352 – 22 BB/18 K – 3/7 SB – 182 AB) (2015: .286/.392/.418 – 24 BB/27 K – 2/5 SB – 213 AB)

38. Oklahoma JR C/RHP Anthony Hermelyn (2015): average or better hit tool; good approach; good glove; 92-94 FB; has also played 1B and 3B; 6-1, 210 pounds (2013: .275/.356/.309 – 23 BB/29 K – 2/3 SB – 178 AB) (2014: .289/.339/.360 – 15 BB/29 K – 1/2 SB – 211 AB) (2015: .321/.360/.453 – 15 BB/21 K – 3/5 SB – 243 AB)

39. Cal Poly JR C Brian Mundell (2015): good frame; nice swing; quick bat; 6-3, 225 pounds (2013: .270/.349/.480 – 22 BB/44 K – 2/3 SB – 204 AB) (2014: .279/.374/.409 – 39 BB/47 K – 1/1 SB – 215 AB) (2015: .282/.377/.447 – 26 BB/27 K – 0/2 SB – 170 AB)

40. Georgia State JR C Joey Roach (2015): good glove; 5-11, 200 pounds (2013: .287/.366/.487 – 12 BB/20 K – 2/4 SB – 115 AB) (2014: .301/.379/.432 – 13 BB/27 K – 1/1 SB – 146 AB) (2015: .302/.381/.473 – 20 BB/25 K – 1/1 SB – 205 AB)

41. Georgia Southern SR C Chase Griffin (2015): big raw power; can also play 1B or OF; strong; impressive bat speed; rough behind plate, but has gotten better over years; strong arm; anticipated breakout has yet to come; 6-0, 200 pounds (2012: .310/.395/.523 – 22 BB/48 K – 2/2 SB – 197 AB) (2013: .264/.339/.360 – 27 BB/47 K – 0/0 SB – 239 AB) (2014: .258/.336/.369 – 22 BB/42 K – 2/3 SB – 217 AB) (2015: .265/.304/.404 – 13 BB/56 K – 2/2 SB – 223 AB)

42. Stetson SR C/OF Garrett Russini (2015): strong arm; power upside; steady glove; good approach; good athlete; 6-0, 200 pounds (2013: .271/.348/.350 – 25 BB/45 K – 0/0 SB – 203 AB) (2014: .297/.365/.482 – 21 BB/30 K – 3/3 SB – 222 AB) (2015: .272/.358/.401 – 24 BB/43 K – 0/0 SB – 202 AB)

43. Winthrop JR C Roger Gonzales (2015): plus defender; Miami transfer; 5-9, 190 pounds (2015: .335/.409/.425 – 21 BB/28 K – 1/1 SB – 167 AB)

44. UCLA JR C Darrell Miller (2015): strong arm; raw defender; 6-2, 220 pounds (2015: .254/.321/.353 – 14 BB/22 K – 0/0 SB – 173 AB)

45. Stanford JR C Austin Barr (2015): raw defensively; plus arm; power upside; good athlete; quick bat; 6-2, 215 pounds (2014: .146/.205/.268 – 2 BB/7 K – 0/0 SB – 41 AB) (2015: .241/.356/.348 – 18 BB/30 K – 0/0 SB – 112 AB)

46. San Diego SR C Jesse Jenner (2015): average or better power; strong arm; good athlete; slow; 6-0, 200 pounds (2014: .348/.371/.447 – 9 BB/15 K – 4/6 SB – 161 AB) (2015: .314/.407/.415 – 14 BB/17 K – 3/6 SB – 159 AB)

47. California JR C/3B Mitchell Kranson (2015): has experience calling own games; area guys rave about him; 5-8, 200 pounds (2013: .288/.333/.365 – 7 BB/13 K – 1/1 SB – 104 AB) (2014: .231/.283/.317 – 7 BB/13 K – 0/1 SB – 104 AB) (2015: .252/.285/.422 – 4 BB/10 K – 0/0 SB – 147 AB)

48. Xavier JR C Dan Rizzie (2015): quick bat; plus defender; 6-2, 180 pounds (2014: .307/.395/.459 – 28 BB/37 K – 9/12 SB – 218 AB) (2015: .275/.373/.275 – 6 BB/10 K – 2/2 SB – 51 AB)

49. Seattle SR C Brian Olson (2015): good defender; power upside; 6-0, 190 pounds (2012: .289/.393/.382 – 23 BB/16 K – 1/3 SB – 152 AB) (2013: .273/.374/.304 – 26 BB/41 K – 1/2 SB – 194 AB) (2014: .320/.393/.458 – 22 BB/26 K – 2/2 SB – 203 AB) (2015: .267/.382/.388 – 38 BB/35 K – 2/6 SB – 206 AB)

50. Maine JR C Kevin Stypulkowski (2015): accurate arm; steady glove; Florida transfer; 6-2, 220 pounds (2013: .184/.262/.211 – 2 BB/7 K – 0/0 SB – 38 AB) (2015: .254/.324/.377 – 15 BB/15 K – 2/4 SB – 130 AB)

51. Nebraska SR C Tanner Lubach (2015): average or better (underrated) hit tool; some power upside; good approach; improving behind plate, has gone from not so good to pretty impressive; very smart defender; 6-0, 190 pounds (2013: .252/.322/.337 – 15 BB/33 K – 2/3 SB – 163 AB) (2014: .282/.337/.423 – 13 BB/27 K – 1/1 SB – 149 AB) (2015: .312/.375/.441 – 14 BB/29 K – 2/3 SB – 186 AB)

52. North Florida JR C Keith Skinner (2015): power upside; good approach; 6-1, 210 pounds (2015: .325/.395/.429 – 19 BB/19 K – 0/1 SB – 154 AB)

53. Fordham JR C Charles Galiano (2015): good defender; good approach; good athlete; above-average arm; 6-0, 200 pounds (2013: .253/.363/.348 – 11 BB/38 K – 3/3 SB – 178 AB) (2014: .280/.348/.418 – 11 BB/38 K – 0/2 SB – 182 AB) (2015: .301/.370/.474 – 12 BB/33 K – 2/3 SB – 196 AB)

54. Southern Mississippi SR C Austin Roussel (2015): 6-0, 210 pounds (2014: .213/.348/.329 – 32 BB/18 K – 3/3 SB – 164 AB) (2015: .278/.418/.435 – 26 BB/8 K – 1/2 SB – 115 AB)

55. UNLV SR C/OF Erik VanMeetren (2015): 6-4, 210 pounds (2012: .264/.359/.391 – 10 BB/19 K – 1/1 SB – 87 AB) (2013: .273/.361/.326 – 25 BB/36 K – 4/7 SB – 187 AB) (2014: .291/.391/.394 – 29 BB/44 K – 7/9 SB – 213 AB) (2015: .301/.447/.475 – 38 BB/36 K – 4/9 SB – 183 AB)

56. Georgetown SR C AC Carter (2015): 6-1, 200 pounds (2014: .245/.366/.322 – 22 BB/20 K – 0/0 SB – 143 AB) (2015: .316/.410/.468 – 23 BB/23 K – 0/1 SB – 190 AB)

57. Middle Tennessee State SR C/RHP Michael Adkins (2015): plus defender; plus arm; power upside; 88-92 FB; 6-1, 200 pounds (2013: .225/.292/.324 – 15 BB/42 K – 0/0 SB – 182 AB) (2014: .282/.358/.352 – 18 BB/29 K – 1/2 SB – 142 AB) (2015: .245/.307/.328 – 15 BB/44 K – 1/1 SB – 192 AB)

58. Tennessee JR C David Houser (2015): plus defender; strong arm; 6-2, 220 pounds (2013: .183/.271/.217 – 11 BB/38 K – 0/2 SB – 115 AB) (2014: .229/.279/.266 – 6 BB/44 K – 1/1 SB – 109 AB) (2015: .277/.375/.313 – 11 BB/20 K – 0/0 SB – 83 AB)

59. Duke rSR C Mike Rosenfeld (2015): elite defensive upside; 5-10, 185 pounds (2012: .329/.403/.476 – 16 BB/48 K – 170 AB – 7/8 SB) (2013: .377/.451/.525 – 8 BB/9 K – 2/3 SB – 61 AB) (2014: .268/.396/.335 – 32 BB/42 K – 7 – 11/SB – 194 AB) (2015: .278/.411/.377 – 32 BB/32 K – 10/11 SB – 162 AB)

60. Florida State SR C Daniel De La Calle (2015): plus defender; plus arm; way too much swing and miss; 6-3, 220 pounds (2014: .224/.315/.241 – 17 BB/37 K – 1/1 SB – 174 AB) (2015: .261/.303/.457 – 10 BB/57 K – 2/3 SB – 184 AB)

61. Texas A&M SR C Mitchell Nau (2015): solid power; steady defender, I like him behind plate more than others; good footwork; quick release; good approach; decent runner; 5-10, 200 pounds (2012: .200/.261/.233 – 6 BB/12 K – 0/1 SB – 60 AB) (2013: .226/.287/.323 – 8 BB/13 K – 0/0 SB – 124 AB) (2014: .274/.319/.345 – 3 BB/10 K – 1/1 SB – 84 AB) (2015: .376/.470/.510 – 28 BB/28 K – 1/2 SB – 194 AB)

62. Indiana SR C/OF Brian Hartong (2015): good athlete; strong; good defender; 6-5, 215 pounds (2014: .313/.345/.450 – 6 BB/12 K – 7/8 SB – 160 AB) (2015: .300/.361/.382 – 14 BB/24 K – 0/1 SB – 220 AB)

63. Rice JR C Hunter Kopycinski (2015): plus arm; good athlete; 5-11, 180 pounds (2013: .300/.341/.425 – 3 BB/8 K – 0/0 SB – 40 AB) (2014: .262/.340/.262 – 5 BB/6 K – 0/0 SB – 42 AB) (2015: .312/.364/.348 – 9 BB/11 K – 0/1 SB – 138 AB)

64. Northwestern State SR C CJ Webster (2015): good defender; strong arm; leader behind dish; Fullerton transfer; 6-2, 200 pounds (2014: .255/.335/.319 – 13 BB/26 K – 0/1 SB – 141 AB) (2015: .271/.359/.392 – 22 BB/31 K – 0/1 SB – 199 AB)

65. Northwestern State JR C/OF Cort Brinson (2015): power upside; good athlete; 6-0, 205 pounds (2014: .294/.409/.418 – 16 BB/18 K – 5/6 SB – 170 AB) (2015: .350/.407/.518 – 12 BB/35 K – 3/4 SB – 220 AB)

66. Southern Illinois Edwardsville SR C Parker Guinn (2015): 5-10, 180 pounds (2015: .269/.367/.552 – 17 BB/21 K – 1/3 SB – 145 AB)

67. VMI rSR C Matt Winn (2015): strong glove; 6-0, 220 pounds (2013: .320/.439/.438 – 19 BB/37 K – 0/0 SB – 153 AB) (2014: .204/.389/.276 – 16 BB/27 K – 1/1 SB – 152 AB) (2015: .304/.391/.586 – 28 BB/49 K – 0/1 SB – 191 AB)

68. Western Carolina JR C Danny Bermudez (2015): good glove; 5-11, 215 pounds (2014: .305/.443/.381 – 16 BB/28 K – 3/5 SB – 105 AB) (2015: .324/.422/.527 – 19 BB/48 K – 3/3 SB – 182 AB)

69. San Diego State rJR C/OF Seby Zavala (2015): 6-0, 180 pounds (2012: .276/.372/.366 – 19 BB/30 K – 4/5 SB – 123 AB) (2014: .297/.387/.397 – 28 BB/44 K – 2/6 SB – 232 AB) (2015: .283/.396/.539 – 29 BB/48 K – 4/6 SB – 219 AB)

70. Oklahoma JR C Chris Shaw (2015): power upside; much improved defender; second best Chris Shaw in class; FAVORITE; 6-1, 200 pounds (2013*: .372/.479/.715 – 22 BB/40 K – 4/6 SB – 172 AB) (2014*: .384/.471/.707 – 27 BB/35 K – 0/0 SB – 198 AB) (2015: .247/.316/.406 – 7 BB/36 K – 1/2 SB – 170 AB)

71. Michigan rSR C Kendall Patrick (2015): 6-2, 220 pounds (2015: .242/.399/.439 – 22 BB/34 K – 0/0 SB – 132 AB)

72. Oklahoma State SR C Bryan Case (2015): strong arm; 6-3, 200 pounds (2014: .262/.398/.488 – 12 BB/22 K – 2/4 SB – 84 AB) (2015: .241/.328/.429 – 14 BB/21 K – 2/3 SB – 112 AB)

73. Oklahoma State SR C/OF Gage Green (2015): good speed; solid athlete; 5-10, 195 pounds (2012: .220/.343/.322 – 9 BB/11 K – 5/5 SB – 59 AB) (2013: .298./408/.416 – 23 BB/39 K – 13/17 SB – 178 AB) (2014: .310/.392/.423 – 20 BB/44 K – 20/22 SB – 239 AB) (2015: .284/.398/.408 – 26 BB/43 K – 18/21 SB – 211 AB)

74. Mississippi SR C Austin Knight (2015): power upside; strong defensive tools; 5-11, 200 pounds (2012: .267/.371/.267 – 4 BB/7 K – 0/0 SB – 30 AB) (2013: .167/.192/.208 – 1 BB/9 K – 0/0 SB – 24 AB) (2014: .303/.324/.303 – 1 BB/8 K – 0/0 SB – 33 AB) (2015: .268/.354/.362 – 14 BB/28 K – 0/1 SB – 138 AB)

75. Virginia JR C/RHP Robbie Coman (2015): good glove; 6-1, 200 pounds (2014: .283/.377/.368 – 13 BB/9 K – 106 AB) (2015: .309/.366/.364 – 13 BB/15 K – 2/6 SB – 165 AB)

76. Michigan SR C/OF Kevin White (2015): average power; strong arm; 6-0, 215 pounds (2012: .248/.328/.349 – 13 BB/45 K – 2/5 SB – 109 AB) (2013: .290/.348/.426 – 15 BB/40 K – 9/10 SB – 162 AB) (2014: .253/.293/.373 – 5 BB/26 K – 4/5 SB – 75 AB) (2015: .274/.432/.396 – 27 BB/33 K – 2/3 SB – 106 AB)

77. Central Michigan SR C Tyler Huntey (2015): great athlete; 6-3, 210 pounds (2014: .329/.393/.460 – 15 BB/34 K – 13/15 SB – 237 AB) (2015: .266/.365/.356 – 27 BB/44 K – 4/5 SB – 222 AB)

78. Texas-San Antonio SR C John Bormann (2015): steady glove; above-average arm; 6-0, 200 pounds (2014: .288/.341/.404 – 10 BB/28 K – 4/8 SB – 208 AB) (2015: .273/.384/.398 – 22 BB/28 K – 4/4 SB – 216 AB)

79. Southeast Missouri State JR C/1B Garrett Gandolfo (2015): 6-1, 200 pounds (2015: .303/.427/.528 – 40 BB/41 K – 1/2 SB – 178 AB)

80. William & Mary JR C Ryan Hissey (2015): 6-0, 200 pounds (2015: .290/.400/.525 – 23 BB/36 K – 1/2 SB – 162 AB)

81. Belmont SR C/1B Alec Diamond (2015): 5-10, 175 pounds (2013: .357/.444/.390 – 25 BB/15 K – 5/9 SB – 154 AB) (2014: .293/.375/.351 – 23 BB/17 K – 4/6 SB – 188 AB) (2015: .323/.427/.358 – 35 BB/8 K – 7/10 SB – 226 AB)

82. Houston Baptist SR C Samm Wiggins (2015): 5-8, 175 pounds (2014: .273/.392/.335 – 26 BB/22 K – 3/3 SB – 161 AB) (2015: .328/.419/.497 – 26 BB/30 K – 0/4 SB – 195 AB)

83. St. John’s rJR C Tyler Sanchez (2015): good glove; 6-3, 220 pounds (2014: .246/.350/.336 – 14 BB/24 K – 0/0 SB – 134 AB) (2015: .231/.336/.405 – 14 BB/22 K – 1/1 SB – 121 AB)

84. UC Irvine rSR C Jerry McClanahan (2015): good glove; 6-2, 200 pounds (2012: .265/.407/.378 – 20 BB/12 K – 0/2 SB – 98 AB) (2013: .252/.427/.311 – 27 BB/22 K – 0/1 SB – 135 AB) (2014: .304/.377/.343 – 29 BB/33 K – 3/5 SB – 207 AB) (2015: .276/.434/.354 – 44 BB/30 K – 1/3 SB – 181 AB)

85. Eastern Michigan rSO C/OF Michael Mioduszewski (2015): strong; great athlete; 6-4, 240 pounds (2014: .248/.329/.348 – 13 BB/32 K – 5/6 SB – 141 AB) (2015: .259/.315/.330 – 12 BB/53 K – 4/7 SB – 197 AB)

86. Alabama SO C Will Haynie (2015): plus raw power; plus arm; good defender; old Ben Davis comp; clearly not ready for the pro game, but raw power is no joke; 6-5, 230 pounds (2014: .177/.231/.274 – 7 BB/51 K – 0/0 SB – 113 AB) (2015: .195/.299/.391 – 21 BB/80 K – 1/2 SB – 169 AB)

87. Butler SR C/1B Ryan Wojciechowski (2015): power upside; 6-0, 210 pounds (2015: .316/.403/.497 – 27 BB/38 K – 2/3 SB – 187 AB)

88. Southeastern Louisiana SR C Sam Roberson (2015): out in 2015; 5-11, 190 pounds (2013: .209/.283/.264 – 20 BB/30 K – 7/11 SB – 201 AB) (2014: .296/.380/.423 – 20 BB/28 K – 8/11 SB – 189 AB)

89. Central Michigan SR C/1B Tommy Monnot (2015): strong arm; good defensive tools; 6-3, 210 pounds (2012: .324/.390/.437 – 6 BB/13 K – 0/0 SB – 71 AB) (2013: .219/.286/.290 – 10 BB/29 K – 1/1 SB – 169 AB) (2014: .186/.250/.291 – 6 BB/8 K – 0/0 SB – 86 AB) (2015: .244/.328/.452 – 11 BB/24 K – 2/2 SB – 168 AB)

90. Bucknell JR C Jon Mayer (2015): strong arm; raw defender; 6-2, 210 pounds (2013: .231/.286/.282 – 1 BB/12 K – 1/1 SB – 39 AB) (2014: .246/.340/.381 – 11 BB/30 K – 0/0 SB – 118 AB) (2015: .276/.382/.379 – 17 BB/19 K – 0/1 SB – 145 AB)

91. Western Illinois SR C JJ Reimer (2015): good glove; 5-11, 200 pounds (2014: .319/.374/.429 – 7 BB/17 K – 3/4 SB – 91 AB) (2015: .286/.402/.387 – 22 BB/22 K – 8/9 SB – 168 AB)

92. Louisiana SR C/3B Evan Powell (2015): good defender; LSU transfer; 5-10, 205 pounds (2014: .250/.370/.517 – 9 BB/17 K – 2/2 SB – 60 AB) (2015: .232/.333/.377 – 17 BB/26 K – 8/13 SB – 138 AB)

93. Nevada SR C Jordan Devencenzi (2015): good glove; good arm; 6-0, 210 pounds (2014: .265/.326/.311 – 5 BB/13 K – 1/4 SB – 196 AB) (2015: .294/.359/.382 – 9 BB/14 K – 3/9 SB – 170 AB)

94. Louisiana-Monroe JR C Dalton Todd (2015): really smart catcher; 5-11, 175 pounds (2013: .150/.227/.250 – 7 BB/29 K – 1/1 SB – 80 AB) (2014: .170/.302/.226 – 6 BB/14 K – 1/2 SB – 53 AB) (2015: .262/.402/.330 – 23 BB/27 K – 1/2 SB – 103 AB)

95. High Point SR C Josh Spano (2015): great arm; steady glove; power upside; 6-2, 215 pounds (2013: .311/.367/.387 – 19 BB/34 K – 1/1 SB – 225 AB) (2014: .279/.335/.365 – 17 BB/31 K – 0/0 SB – 208 AB) (2015: .288/.336/.418 – 9 BB/22 K – 2/4 SB – 208 AB)

96. Southeastern Louisiana JR C Chris Eades (2015): strong arm; power upside; 6-3, 240 pounds (2015: .262/.383/.384 – 21 BB/54 K – 1/1 SB – 164 AB)

97. Florida International JR C Zack Soria (2015): good glove; 5-10, 200 pounds (2015: .293/.370/.337 – 19 BB/31 K – 4/5 SB – 205 AB)

98. Central Connecticut State JR C Connor Fitzsimmons (2015): plus arm; good athlete; above-average glove; 5-9, 180 pounds (2013: .226/.293/.250 – 5 BB/22 K – 0/1 SB – 84 AB) (2014: .230/.314/.291 – 8 BB/33 K – 2/2 SB – 148 AB) (2015: .263/.356/.321 – 14 BB/37 K – 0/1 SB – 137 AB)

99. Louisiana JR C Nick Thurman (2015): good defender; 6-2, 210 pounds (2013: .294/.339/.373 – 2 BB/15 K – 1/2 SB – 51 AB) (2014: .222/.364/.315 – 5 BB/22 K – 0/0 SB – 54 AB) (2015: .272/.346/.359 – 24 BB/52 K – 4/4 SB – 206 AB)

100. Nicholls State SR C Christian Correa (2015): good glove; 5-10, 200 pounds (2015: .261/.354/.345 – 12 BB/22 K – 1/3 SB – 142 AB)

*****

Cal State Fullerton JR C AJ Kennedy (2015): plus defender; plus pitch-framer; strong arm; bag is a major question; 6-0, 190 pounds (2014: .178/.268/.205 – 9 BB/15 K – 1/1 SB – 73 AB) (2015: .171/.263/.217 – 17 BB/42 K – 0/2 SB – 152 AB)

Mississippi State SR C Cody Walker (2015): good defensive tools; strong arm; quick transfer; catches ball well; bat lags behind; 5-10, 200 pounds (2014: .222/.382/.296 – 6 BB/6 K – 0/0 SB – 27 AB) (2015: .259/.375/.481 – 4 BB/5 K – 0/0 SB – 27 AB)

UC Riverside JR C Matthew Ellis (2015): plus arm; good glove; 6-1, 170 pounds (2014: .249/.335/.272 – 22 BB/31 K – 2/4 SB – 169 AB) (2015: .207/.246/.259 – 4 BB/23 K – 0/0 SB – 116 AB)

Albany SR C Craig Lepre (2015): really good glove; 6-2, 200 pounds (2014: .273/.341/.338 – 10 BB/17 K – 0/0 SB – 154 AB) (2015: .214/.318/.286 – 15 BB/13 K – 0/2 SB – 126 AB)

Texas A&M JR C Michael Barash (2015): steady glove; average or better arm; LSU transfer; 6-1, 200 pounds (2015: .239/.322/.284 – 14 BB/19 K – 1/3 SB – 134 AB)

Mount St. Mary’s SR C Andrew Clow (2015): 5-10, 185 pounds (2014: .369/.415/.468 – 12 BB/17 K – 5/7 SB – 141 AB) (2015: .346/.394/.497 – 10 BB/16 K – 3/4 SB – 159 AB)

Towson rSO C Chris Henze (2015): 6-3, 215 pounds (2015: .331/.419/.503 – 22 BB/37 K – 3/5 SB – 151 AB)

UNC Wilmington rSO C Gavin Stupienski (2015): 6-2, 220 pounds (2014: .257/.364/.343 – 7 BB/10 K – 0/0 SB – 35 AB) (2015: .341/.410/.517 – 20 BB/29 K – 2/2 SB – 176 AB)

Alabama State rSO C Chris Biocic (2015): 6-3, 200 pounds (2015: .357/.428/.485 – 17 BB/27 K – 12/15 SB – 171 AB)

Texas-San Antonio JR C/OF Kevin Markham (2015): 6-0, 200 pounds (2015: .311/.393/.505 – 26 BB/44 K – 8/11 SB – 222 AB)

Butler JR C Chris Marras (2015): 5-11, 200 pounds (2015: .304/.404/.467 – 21 BB/22 K – 3/3 SB – 135 AB)

Oral Roberts rSR C/1B Audie Afenir (2015): 6-2, 220 pounds (2015: .347/.424/.472 – 29 BB/44 K – 0/0 SB – 216 AB)

South Dakota State SR C Reid Clary (2015): 6-4, 200 pounds (2014: .256/.353/.316 – 17 BB/21 K – 2/3 SB – 117 AB) (2015: .293/.398/.448 – 27 BB/28 K – 6/8 SB – 174 AB)

North Dakota State JR C/OF Taylor Sanders (2015): 5-9, 190 pounds (2015: .344/.414/.432 – 12 BB/12 K – 1/1 SB – 125 AB)

Fairleigh Dickinson rJR C Patrick McClure (2015): 6-0, 210 pounds (2014: .271/.335/.336 – 10 BB/22 K – 0/0 SB – 140 AB) (2015: .276/.405/.418 – 21 BB/18 K – 0/0 SB – 134 AB)

Army JR C Ben Smith (2015): 5-10, 180 pounds (2015: .310/.404/.439 – 17 BB/21 K – 1/4 SB – 155 AB)

Valparaiso JR C/OF Daniel Delaney (2015): 5-11, 200 pounds (2015: .325/.400/.439 – 27 BB/30 K – 2/3 SB – 212 AB)

Central Florida SR C Jordan Savinon (2015): 6-3, 215 pounds (2015: .299/.387/.470 – 17 BB/34 K – 0/0 SB – 134 AB)

UC Davis SR C Izaak Silva (2015): 5-10, 185 pounds (2015: .320/.392/.456 – 24 BB/38 K – 6/9 SB – 206 AB)

Northwestern rSR C Scott Heelan (2015): Virginia Tech transfer; 5-10, 180 pounds (2014: .317/.393/.413 – 17 BB/16 K – 1/3 SB – 189 AB) (2015: .332/.386/.428 – 17 BB/11 K – 1/1 SB – 208 AB)

Iowa JR C Daniel Aaron Moriel (2015): 6-0, 200 pounds (2015: .281/.455/.404 – 14 BB/7 K – 0/0 SB – 57 AB)

Siena JR C Dave Hoffmann (2015): 6-0, 175 pounds (2014: .255/.341/.340 – 18 BB/26 K – 0/0 SB – 141 AB) (2015: .242/.387/.409 – 27 BB/32 K – 0/0 SB – 132 AB)

Texas State JR C/1B Tanner Hill (2015): 6-1, 250 pounds (2014: .220/.302/.353 – 14 BB/29 K – 0/0 SB – 150 AB) (2015: .319/.379/.511 – 16 BB/35 K – 2/4 SB – 188 AB)

Saint Louis JR C Jake Henson (2015): 6-0, 215 pounds (2013: .297/.387/.453 – 9 BB/9 K – 0/0 SB – 64 AB) (2014: .244/.313/.344 – 14 BB/23 K – 0/0 SB – 131 AB) (2015: .327/.366/.531 – 11 BB/21 K – 2/3 SB – 211 AB)

High Point SR C/1B Spencer Angelis (2015): 6-2, 200 pounds (2013: .314/.388/.415 – 22 BB/27 K – 0/0 SB – 188 AB) (2014: .390/.477/.512 – 27 BB/16 K – 0/4 SB – 213 AB) (2015: .333/.439/.471 – 29 BB/37 K – 3/5 SB – 174 AB)

Columbia JR C Logan Boyher (2015): 5-10, 200 pounds (2013: .273/.293/.382 – 1 BB/9 K – 0/1 SB – 55 AB) (2014: .253/.306/.303 – 2 BB/22 K – 0/1 SB – 99 AB) (2015: .303/.422/.449 – 17 BB/23 K – 2/2 SB – 89 AB)

Liberty SR C Becker Sankey (2015): 6-0, 215 pounds (2014: .221/.335/.322 – 12 BB/32 K – 0/0 SB – 149 AB) (2015: .267/.379/.503 – 29 BB/58 K – 1/3 SB – 195 AB)

New Mexico State JR C Brent Hermanussen (2015): 6-3, 215 pounds (2015: .291/.366/.480 – 14 BB/23 K – 0/0 SB – 127 AB)

Presbyterian SR C Cam McRae (2015): 6-0, 200 pounds (2014: .267/.324/.403 – 10 BB/23 K – 4/8 SB – 191 AB) (2015: .364/.407/.525 – 11 BB/39 K – 7/10 SB – 217 AB)

Utah JR C AJ Young (2015): 6-3, 220 pounds (2013: .211/.328/.321 – 16 BB/38 K – 0/0 SB – 109 AB) (2014: .203/.372/.216 – 16 BB/29 K – 0/0 SB – 74 AB) (2015: .297/.407/.446 – 27 BB/49 K – 3/6 SB – 175 AB)

Xavier SR C/1B Derek Hasenbeck (2015): 6-2, 210 pounds (2012: .253/.351/.343 – 29 BB/32 K – 1/5 SB – 198 AB) (2013: .261/.390/.400 – 31 BB/29 K – 0/0 SB – 180 AB) (2014: .309/.387/.428 – 30 BB/33 K – 0/2 SB – 236 AB) (2015: .282/.343/.426 – 16 BB/30 K – 1/1 SB – 188 AB)

Bradley SR C Drew Carlile (2015): 6-3, 230 pounds (2015: .283/.320/.478 – 7 BB/19 K – 3/4 SB – 138 AB)

New Jersey Tech JR C Stephan Halibej (2015): 6-1, 200 pounds (2013: .281/.366/.399 – 14 BB/32 K – 2/2 SB – 178 AB) (2014: .268/.315/.366 – 5 BB/11 K – 0/0 SB – 82 AB) (2015: .301/.368/.416 – 17 BB/25 K – 0/1 SB – 173 AB)

Texas Southern rJR C Javier Valdez (2015): 5-8, 160 pounds (2015: .298/.384/.405 – 19 BB/13 K – 2/3 SB – 131 AB)

Kennesaw State JR C Brennan Morgan (2015): 6-4, 225 pounds (2014: .281/.357/.386 – 20 BB/34 K – 2/3 SB – 210 AB) (2015: .276/.383/.400 – 29 BB/31 K – 5/6 SB – 185 AB)

Saint Louis SR C/OF Colton Frabasilio (2015): 6-3, 210 pounds (2014: .253/.353/.296 – 20 BB/21 K – 2/3 SB – 162 AB) (2015: .313/.381/.460 – 19 BB/28 K – 1/2 SB – 211 AB)

Fairfield SR C Sebastian Salvo (2015): 6-2, 235 pounds (2014: .354/.426/.505 – 11 BB/14 K – 0/1 SB – 99 AB) (2015: .283/.367/.428 – 20 BB/37 K – 2/3 SB – 173 AB)

Kansas State JR C Tyler Moore (2015): 5-11, 190 pounds (2015: .302/.371/.465 – 15 BB/33 K – 2/3 SB – 172 AB)

North Florida SR C James Abbatinozzi (2015): 6-1, 220 pounds (2014: .314/.402/.353 – 13 BB/20 K – 3/3 SB – 102 AB) (2015: .315/.425/.391 – 17 BB/14 K – 2/3 SB – 92 AB)

Prairie View A&M SR C Grant Dougherty (2015): 6-1, 190 pounds (2014: .258/.350/.368 – 18 BB/27 K – 6/6 SB – 155 AB) (2015: .321/.468/.404 – 38 BB/38 K – 23/30 SB – 156 AB)

Incarnate Word SR C Colton Besett (2015): 6-0, 185 pounds (2015: .256/.369/.444 – 17 BB/32 K – 1/2 SB – 117 AB)

Ohio rJR C Cody Gaertner (2015): 5-10, 175 pounds (2012: .338/.369/.411 – 6 BB/12 K – 4/7 SB – 151 AB) (2013: .256/.325/.341 – 16 BB/21 K – 5/11 SB – 176 AB) (2015: .295/.363/.411 – 18 BB/27 K – 2/4 SB – 224 AB)

Old Dominion SR C Mike Perez (2015): 5-11, 210 pounds (2013: .275/.353/.470 – 16 BB/30 K – 1/2 SB – 149 AB) (2014: .244/.321/.382 – 15 BB/23 K – 0/0 SB – 123 AB) (2015: .276/.365/.412 – 15 BB/36 K – 1/1 SB – 170 AB)

Southeast Missouri State JR C Scott Mitchell (2015): 5-10, 160 pounds (2014: .291/.402/.333 – 25 BB/24 K – 3/4 SB – 141 AB) (2015: .316/.399/.395 – 20 BB/19 K – 0/0 SB – 152 AB)

Ohio State SR C Aaron Gretz (2015): 6-0, 200 pounds (2012: .253/.384/.286 – 19 BB/18 K – 1/2 SB – 91 AB) (2013: .259/.361/.304 – 25 BB/25 K – 0/1 SB – 158 AB) (2014: .284/.381/.367 – 17 BB/11 K – 1/1 SB – 109 AB) (2015: .279/.370/.367 – 23 BB/21 K – 0/0 SB – 147 AB)

Radford rSR C Josh Reavis (2015): 6-1, 200 pounds (2014: .264/.382/.360 – 27 BB/32 K – 11/13 SB – 178 AB) (2015: .291/.413/.398 – 30 BB/42 K – 10/12 SB – 196 AB)

NC State JR C Chance Shepard (2015): 6-1, 230 pounds (2014: .234/.379/.394 – 22 BB/34 K – 1/3 SB – 94 AB) (2015: .200/.347/.425 – 19 BB/32 K – 1/1 SB – 80 AB)

The Citadel JR C Stephen Windham (2015): 6-0, 190 pounds (2015: .305/.398/.416 – 28 BB/44 K – 0/2 SB – 190 AB)

Quinnipiac JR C/1B Lou Iannotti (2015): 6-3, 170 pounds (2015: .284/.353/.376 – 18 BB/23 K – 10/11 SB – 197 AB)

North Dakota State rSO C JT Core (2015): 6-2, 210 pounds (2015: .299/.409/.381 – 17 BB/16 K – 1/1 SB – 97 AB)

Charleston Southern SR C Andrew Widell (2015): 5-10, 190 pounds (2014: .303/.405/.360 – 30 BB/25 K – 0/3 SB – 175 AB) (2015: .269/.370/.366 – 27 BB/33 K – 6/7 SB – 189 AB)

Northern Kentucky JR C Logan Spurlin (2015): 6-4, 220 pounds (2014: .350/.416/.503 – 17 BB/39 K – 0/0 SB – 183 AB) (2015: .218/.351/.324 – 19 BB/31 K – 0/0 SB – 142 AB)

Mountain West Conference 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Fresno State JR C Taylor Ward
Nevada SR 1B Austin Byler
New Mexico JR 2B Sam Haggerty
New Mexico JR SS Dalton Bowers
San Diego State JR 3B Ty France
San Diego State SR OF Steven Pallares
Fresno State JR OF Brody Russell
New Mexico SR OF Ryan Padilla

San Diego State JR RHP Bubba Derby
UNLV JR LHP Brayden Torres
Fresno State SR RHP Garrett Mundell
Nevada JR RHP Michael Fain
Nevada JR RHP Sam Held

Sometimes I get so wrapped up into doing things for the site that I forget that there is a great big baseball world outside my tiny corner of the internet. As such, I’m way behind on checking in on a lot of the mainstream draft coverage that has been put out since the college season in February. Help me out here: Fresno State JR C Taylor Ward is a first round pick, right? People have caught on to that? He’s pretty much Max Pentecost without the Twitter approved cool guy name. If Pentecost could go eleventh overall, then surely Ward can find a fit in the first day, right? He’s a really good athlete who moves exceptionally well behind the plate. His arm is an absolute howitzer with easy to spot plus to plus-plus raw strength. Offensively he does enough of everything – average or a tick below speed underway, about the same raw power, and a disciplined approach that consistently puts him in good hitter’s counts – to profile as a well above-average regular when both sides of his game are considered.

“The best true catcher is probably Pentecost,” a club executive said. “He’s going in the first round for sure. He doesn’t have a lot of power, it’s more alley and extra-base hits than pure power, but he’s a good hitter, a good athlete and he can run. He can throw and he will get better as a receiver. I think it’s a solid overall player at a tough position to find.”

Sub out Pentecost’s name for Ward’s and you’re all set. His closest competitors for top college catcher in this class (pre-season) for me have all slipped enough that I think there’s real separation between Ward and everybody else. Shaun Chase (Oregon) still has the prodigious raw power that will keep him employed for years to come, but the approach has shown little to no signs of improving. My former top guy, Ian Rice (Houston), has been up and down (to put it kindly) in his first season of D1 baseball. Austin Rei (Washington) seemed poised to have a breakout season and challenge Ward for the top spot, but a torn thumb ligament stalled his season after only 17 at bats. There’s still a question as to whether or not he’ll be back before the end of the season. I could see a scenario where a team would prefer Rei, who I still think goes higher than anybody thinks because of his pitch-framing abilities alone, but the injury obviously makes him one of the draft’s greatest unknowns heading into June.

I don’t actually know where Ward will go in the draft and without having my entire board lined up just yet it is premature to say he’s a no-doubt first round pick for me personally. I do find it hard to imagine that a player with his upside will fall past the first forty picks or so into the second round. This kind of logic doesn’t always hold because it takes but one team to select a player, but if Pentecost, who, I liked more than loved as a prospect, went off the board at eleven last year then I don’t see why Ward would fall multiple rounds past that in what many (not me, but still) consider to be a weaker draft.

Last March I wrote very briefly about Nevada SR 1B/3B Austin Byler and his promising future. Back then I had him ranked seventh out of all draft-eligible college first basemen behind a pretty damn good list of bats. Kyle Schwarber, Casey Gillaspie, Sam Travis, JD Davis, AJ Reed, and Kevin Cron were the only players I had above him then. Coming into this year I had him only behind Boston College 1B/OF Chris Shaw in terms of straight college first base prospects and neck and neck with Central Florida 1B/OF James Vasquez. I haven’t updated those rankings in a while, but I think Byler is comfortably in the top five first base prospect range. Here’s the blurb on Byler from last March…

Slow start notwithstanding, Byler’s power is legit and his approach to hitting, while not reflected just yet in terms of BB/K ratios, is well-suited for professional ball.

Not much has changed in his scouting profile, though he’s turned into even more of a three-true-outcomes monster in 2015. I’ve asked around on Byler and gotten some pretty interesting feedback. On the high end he’s gotten comparisons to Mark Reynolds and Russell Branyan. More to the point, he’s viewed as a hitter who will strike out a ton, walk his fair share, and swat dingers at an impressive clip. I also got a Preston Wilson comparison (hitter only, obviously) that I enjoyed as much for the nostalgia as the utility. A more cautionary comparison is the one that likened him to former first round pick Tyler Colvin. I personally find the continuum from a lefthanded Reynolds (useful power source that can be quite valuable when deployed properly) to Colvin (4A slugger with flashes of promise, but more of an up-and-down bench bat) particularly useful.

As far as a draft prospect comparison, I think Byler could wind up going off the board around the same range as another senior sign slugger from yesteryear (way, way back in 2012), Preston Tucker. Byler could get a bit of a boost because power is in even higher demand now than just three years ago. He could also beat that seven round projection because he’s a more conventionally pleasing looking player for scouts who might worry as much about aesthetics than results. I like the bat enough that I think you start thinking seriously about him somewhere between rounds three and five.

All of the middle infielders from New Mexico that I like (JR 2B/SS Sam Haggerty, JR SS/2B Dalton Bowers, and JR SS Jared Holley) have gotten off to slow starts so far. The consistently positive things I’ve heard about Bowers (in general) and Holley (his plus glove specifically) keep my appreciation for the group alive, but a little more pop out of the trio would make me feel a bit better. San Diego State JR 3B Ty France has one of the draft’s most underrated bats, especially when his natural feel for hitting and functional strength (and subsequent power) are considered. Guys who really get excited about watching a young player swing at bat well come away raving about what France can do at the plate. I haven’t seen enough of him to get that feeling (also: I’m not a scout), but hearing it as often as I have from people who have been around the game forever definitely gets my attention.

The outfield group in the MWC this year is more about depth than high-end talent. There are a lot of maybe/maybe not draftable players, but no sure things. My favorite of the bunch is San Diego State SR OF/RHP Steven Pallares. It’s taken some time for Pallares to get going – it’s the end of March as I write this and he’s already tied his career high in AB – but now that he’s hitting full-time he’s, well, hitting full-time. His arm is both strong and accurate, he’s an above-average runner, and the strides he’s made at the plate are undeniably encouraging.

Below you’ll find my unedited (with one exception) pre-season list of Mountain West 2015 MLB Draft pitching prospects. The only tweak I made was in moving up San Diego State JR RHP Bubba Derby from third to first; all other players are exactly where I put them before the season began. I make special note of that now because this list has not held up well at all. It could be that I have no idea what I’m talking about or that the MWC has an especially volatile group of arms this year or that maybe the elevation or atmospheric conditions or something altogether unexplainable inherent to this conference makes predicting pitching more of a guessing game than even I, a guesser by nature (“Baseball Guesser” should go on my nonexistent business card because, let’s face it, that’s all we’re really doing here), am used to. All I know is that I’m more confused about these pitchers now more than ever.

We know Derby is good, though even with his awesome numbers (12.5 K/9) we’re still not quite sure how good he really is. The fact that he can throw two above-average breaking balls to complement his 88-92 (94 peak) fastball is obviously a very good thing. His 5-11, 185 pound frame, however, could give evaluators some pause when projecting him to carry a full starter’s workload in the big leagues one day. I don’t share those concerns, but I get it. I’d personally like to see or hear more about a usable changeup before going all-in on him as a potential average or better big league starter, but the pieces are there. Behind Derby are two other favorites that don’t get much national acclaim. Fresno State SR RHP Garrett Mundell is extension personified. It’s as if he’s handing the ball off to the catcher. I like that. UNLV JR LHP Brayden Torres has pitched out of the bullpen for the Runnin’ Rebels, but I think he has the depth of stuff, control, and build to start professionally.

Little to nothing has gone right with Nevada’s top draft-eligible pitching prospects this season. JR RHP Michael Fain has an electric arm capable of mid-90s heat and a hard low-80s slider, but his college career has been plagued by inconsistency. He’s got the long, lean frame (6-6, 185) to dream on, so no reason to hop off the bandwagon altogether. His teammate JR RHP Sam Held is another good athlete with a strong fastball (94 peak) and plenty of projection left who hasn’t performed as hoped so far this season.

Finally, since we’re on the subject of Nevada, how about JR 1B/OF Ryan Howell? He’s a junior college transfer (Chabot College) that I have little to no information on, but his numbers leapt off the page when doing a quick check of the conference’s strongest early performers: .400/.485/.790 in 105 AB is no joke. That’s one year after wrecking juco ball to the tune of .292/.464/.571 with 35 BB/25 K in 154 AB. The Oregon State transfer is finally healthy after the long recovery from a torn labrum. He’s played both first and in the outfield in the past, but is manning second for the Wolfpack in 2015 in deference to one of college ball’s most stacked set of corner prospects (Byler at first with Kewby Myer and Trenton Brooks in the outfield corners). I’m not sure how real this hot start is or how he’s holding up at second, but I’m motivated to know more.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Fresno State JR C Taylor Ward
  2. Nevada SR 1B/3B Austin Byler
  3. San Diego State JR 3B Ty France
  4. Nevada SR 1B/LHP Kewby Meyer
  5. New Mexico JR 2B/SS Sam Haggerty
  6. San Diego State SR OF/RHP Steven Pallares
  7. Fresno State JR OF/SS Brody Russell
  8. New Mexico SR OF/1B Ryan Padilla
  9. UNLV JR OF/3B Joey Armstrong
  10. New Mexico JR OF Aaron Siple
  11. UNLV SR C/OF Erik VanMeetren
  12. San Jose State JR 2B Ozzy Braff
  13. San Diego State rSO C/RHP CJ Saylor
  14. San Diego State SR 3B/1B Ryan Muno
  15. New Mexico JR SS/2B Dalton Bowers
  16. New Mexico JR SS Jared Holley
  17. San Jose State SR OF Andre Mercurio
  18. Nevada SR SS Kyle Hunt
  19. San Diego State rJR OF/C Seby Zavala
  20. Nevada SR C Jordan Devencenzi
  21. San Diego State rJR OF Spencer Thornton

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. San Diego State JR RHP Bubba Derby
  2. UNLV JR LHP Brayden Torres
  3. Fresno State SR RHP Garrett Mundell
  4. Nevada JR RHP Michael Fain
  5. Nevada JR RHP Sam Held
  6. Nevada SR LHP Tyler Wells
  7. New Mexico rJR LHP Toller Boardman
  8. UNLV JR RHP Kenny Oakley
  9. New Mexico JR RHP/SS Drew Bridges
  10. San Diego State JR RHP Dalton Douty
  11. New Mexico rJR LHP Alex Estrella
  12. UNLV rJR LHP Zak Qualls
  13. UNLV rJR RHP Zack Hartman
  14. San Diego State JR RHP Mark Seyler
  15. New Mexico JR RHP Taylor Duree
  16. Nevada JR RHP Adam Whitt
  17. UNLV JR RHP/1B Bryan Bonnell
  18. New Mexico rJR RHP Victor Sanchez
  19. San Jose State SR RHP/OF Kalei Contrades
  20. New Mexico JR RHP Mike Gould
  21. Air Force SR RHP Ben Yokley
  22. UNLV SR RHP Joey Lauria
  23. New Mexico SR RHP Jake Cole