The Baseball Draft Report

Home » Posts tagged 'WCC'

Tag Archives: WCC

2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – West Coast Conference

The arms are the story in the West Coast Conference this year. What’s especially nice about the 2016 draft class is the variety: whether you like velocity, size, or polish, it’s all here. Of course, the best of the best seem to have a little bit of everything working for them. That would be Corbin Burnes. Velocity? How does a sinking 90-96 MPH fastball that has touched 98 sound? Size? A highly athletic 6-3, 200 pound frame ought to do it. Polish? Burnes, who just so happens to be one of the most adept pitchers at fielding his position in his class, can throw any of his four pitches for strikes including an average 80-86 slider (currently flashes better with above-average upside in time), an average or better 81-86 changeup, and a 76-78 curve that also will flash above-average. What Burnes lacks is consistent with what the rest of the pitchers at the top of this conference’s class seem to lack as well: a clear plus offspeed pitch. Missing one of those guys isn’t all that unusual at the amateur level, so it’s not wrong to weigh the overall package of secondary pitches instead. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I start to think Burnes has the all-around scouting profile to crack the draft’s first day. Personal preference ultimately dictates how those decisions are made: all else being equal (more or less), do you take the pitcher with a clear plus secondary pitch yet little else or the pitcher with two or three average or so offspeed offerings but no potential big league out-pitch? I’m sure there’s a better example of this that I’m not thinking of, but off the top of my head the decision amounts to do you prefer a guy like Robert Tyler or would you rather cast your lot with Burnes? This whole thought exercise strips away a lot of the nuance – to say nothing of the absence of how important self-scouting your organization’s development staff strengths and weaknesses — that makes the draft so much fun…but it’s still fun in its own way.

That paragraph is about as stream-of-consciousness-y as I’ve gotten around here in a while. Let’s get back on track. Michael Rucker checks two of our three boxes pretty easily: he’s 88-94 (96 peak) with his fastball while commanding three offspeed pitches (low-80s SL, low- to mid-80s CU, mid-70s CB) with a veteran’s mindset on the mound. He’s not particularly big (6-1, 185) nor does he have that plus offspeed pitch (slider comes closest), but it’s still a potential big league starter skill set. His former teammate at Gonzaga, Brandon Bailey, shares a reasonable resemblance, though Bailey has a little less size (5-10, 170) and utilizes his 78-82 MPH changeup as his go-to offspeed pitch.

JD Busfield has the size (6-7, 230) that gets him noticed as he steps off the bus. His fastball velocity ranges from the mid-80s all the way up to a mid-90s (94-95) peak, but those wild fluctuations are largely because of the big sink he’s able to get at varying velocities. That sink, his impressive low-80s slider, and the silly amount of extension he gets with every pitch put him on the (no longer) short list of pitchers I want to dig into available batted ball data on. Gary Cornish’s reputation for being a ground ball machine puts him on that very same list. His sinker, breaking ball, plus command, and track record of missing bats all up to a fine senior-sign candidate.

AJ Puckett could be the closest thing to Corbin Burnes in terms of hitting that velocity, size, and polish trifecta. If his curve was a little more consistent and his change a little more advanced, then he’d have a shot of co-headlining this class. Alas, if’s are if’s for a reason. Connor Williams is an age-eligible sophomore with a monster fastball (92-95, 97 peak) that could very well help him wind up the second highest drafted pitcher in the conference come June. Mitchell White is a redshirt-sophomore with a fastball that dances (87-93 with serious movement), an above-average slider, and an intriguing cutter. On his best days, the three pitches seem to morph into one unhittable to square up offering. I like him a whole heck of a lot right now.

Troy Conyers has been one of my favorite draft arms for what feels like a decade now. He’s got a lot of the elements for being a major draft sleeper who winds up a better pro than amateur: handedness (LHP), size (6-5, 225), history of playing both ways (41 AB in 2014 isn’t a ton, but it’s something), and a Tommy John surgery (2014) that slowed his ascent just enough (temporarily, we think/hope) to depress his draft stock. Anthony Gonsolin doesn’t fit each those categories, but offers similar intriguing upside as a highly athletic two-way prospect. His two-way bonafides are among the strongest in this class as those I’ve talked to have it as a pretty even split on what his best long-term position will be.

Cameron Neff might have both enough of a slider and a changeup to buck the trend of no plus pitches in the WCC this year. I need more information on him, but the vast majority I have is positive. Steven Wilson (96 MPH peak), Michael Silva (96-97), Anthony Gonsolin (95), Vince Arobio (96), and Gage Burland (94) all throw hard with varying degrees of wildness. Control inconsistencies or not, the fact that guys with arm strength of that caliber can be found so long on a conference list speaks to the outstanding depth the WCC enjoys in 2016. It really might be time for me to move to California.

Doing so would allow me to regularly see Bryson Brigman, a prospect that has begun to remind me a lot of Arizona’s Scott Kingery from last year’s draft. Kingery was a second round pick (48th overall) and I could see Brigman rising to a similar level by June. Like Kingery last year, Brigman’s defensive future remains a question for scouts. Fortunately for both, the question is framed more around trying him in challenging spots than worrying about having to hide him elsewhere on the diamond. Brigman has an above-average to plus defensive future at second back in his back pocket already, so his playing a solid shortstop in 2016 is doing so with house money. In much the same way that former second baseman Alex Bregman wore everybody down with consistent above-average play at short last college season, Brigman has proved to many that he has what it takes to stick at shortstop in pro ball. Brigman’s appeal at this point is pretty clear: tons of defensive potential in the middle infield, contact abilities that elicit the classic “he could find a hole rolling out of bed” remarks from onlookers, and enough of the sneaky pop/mature approach offensive extras needed to be an impactful regular in the big leagues. I’ll stick with the Kingery – who smart people told me here could play shortstop if needed, a position since corroborated by those who have seen him in the pros (I’ll be seeing him for myself on Saturday, FWIW) – comparison for now, but I wouldn’t object to somebody who offered up a mix of the best of both Kingery and his old double play partner Kevin Newman. That would obviously be some kind of special player, but Brigman doesn’t seem too far off. I’ve said before I hate when people throw around terms like “first round player” so loosely that you could count 100 first rounders in their eyes in the months leading up to June, but I’ll be guilty of it here and call Brigman a first round player as of now. I’ve really come to appreciate his game since the start of the season.

Taylor Jones is a risky pick behind Brigman as guys with long levers bring that boom/bust aspect to hitting. The boom of Jones’s power currently outweighs any bust I feel about his long-term ability to make consistent contact as a pro. The fact that he’s more than just a slugger helps give some wiggle room. Jones is an average runner who fields his position really well. He’s also capable of moonlighting on the mound thanks to an upper-80s fastball and up-and-down curve. Broken record alert, but he’s one of my favorite senior-sign hitters in this class. That makes about four dozen favorite senior-sign hitters; thankfully, nobody keeps track.

If not Jones, then either Brennon Lund or Steve Berman could have stepped in in the two spot behind Brigman. Lund is putting it all together this year for BYU. In his case, “all” refers to plus speed, easy center field range, a plus arm, and above-average raw power. My soft spot for Jones has to be evident because the player I just described in Lund sounds pretty damn exciting. I’d consider it a minor upset if he doesn’t overtake the field as the second highest WCC hitter drafted (and ranked by me) this June. Berman’s case is a little tougher to make, but he’s a dependable catcher with an above-average arm who puts his natural strength to good use at the plate. In a class loaded with noteworthy catchers, Berman flies comfortably under the radar. Feels like a potential steal to me.

Just behind Berman fall fellow catchers Aaron Barnett and Nate Nolan. Barnett can flat hit, so it’s no shock he got the FAVORITE tag from me a couple years back. I’m still on board, though I’ve heard from some smart people who question how his arm strength will be viewed by pro guys. Nolan doesn’t have that problem. He’s not a FAVORITE, but his offensive profile is still quite intriguing. He’s very different from Barnett in that he’s all about finding ways to make his plus raw power work for him, often at the expense of at bats ending with a short, disappointing walk back to the dugout. This goes back to another theoretical prospect debate that I know I’ve touched on in years past: do you like the well-rounded, athletic catcher with better contact skills and a more mature approach or would you rather gamble on the big-armed, plus raw power, rough around the edges offensive talent? It’s a chocolate or vanilla argument in the end. Everybody wins.

Remember when Gio Brusa was a thing? This was his report from last year…

The appreciation for Brusa, however, is right on point. His above-average to plus raw power will keep him employed for a long time, especially combined with his elite athleticism and playable defensive tools (slightly below-average arm and foot speed, but overall should be fine in left field). Brusa going from good prospect to great prospect will take selling a team on his improved approach as a hitter; early returns are promising but a team that buys into his bat will do so knowing he’ll always be a player who swings and misses a lot. Whether or not he a) makes enough contact, and/or b) demonstrates enough plate discipline (strikeouts are easier to take when paired with an increased walk rate, like he’s shown so far this year) will ultimately decide his fate as a hitter and prospect. Before the season I would have been in the “think he’ll be drafted too high for my tastes, so let me just kick back and watch somebody else try to fix his approach” camp in terms of his draft value, but I’m slowly creeping towards “if he falls just a bit, I’d think about taking a shot on his upside over a few players with more certainty and less ceiling” territory. That’s a big step up for me, even if it doesn’t quite seem like it.

Almost exactly one year to the day, I can say that’s pretty much where I remain on Brusa as a prospect. There’s still upside in a player like him because his natural gifts are obvious – maybe all it will take is the right voice in his ear in pro ball – but the increasingly large sample of below-average plate discipline is getting harder and harder to ignore. I tried my best to do so last year when spinning his early season successes as a potential step in the right direction, but reading between the lines above should reveal what I really thought. Avoiding the urge to flat out say “I just don’t like this prospect” has cost me some credibility among some small pockets of the baseball world in the past, but I sleep a lot better knowing I skew positive publicly on this site. When it comes to writing about young men chasing their dreams in a game we all love, why wouldn’t you make the attempt to be positive if at all possible? Positive doesn’t mean ranking every player in a tie for best prospect, of course. Brusa finished last season as my 144th ranked draft prospect. For a variety of reasons, some because of baseball but most not (i.e., signability past a certain point), he fell to pick 701. I think his ranking this year could split the difference between the two spots…but with a slight edge to being closer to 144 than 701. Have to stay positive, after all.

Hitters

  1. San Diego SO SS/2B Bryson Brigman
  2. Gonzaga SR 1B/RHP Taylor Jones
  3. BYU JR OF Brennon Lund
  4. Santa Clara JR C Steve Berman
  5. Pacific SR OF Gio Brusa
  6. Pepperdine JR C Aaron Barnett
  7. St. Mary’s JR C Nate Nolan
  8. Pepperdine JR SS Manny Jefferson
  9. Loyola Marymount JR OF Austin Miller
  10. BYU SO 3B Nate Favero
  11. BYU SR SS Hayden Nielsen
  12. Gonzaga rJR OF Sam Brown
  13. San Diego JR OF Ryan Kirby
  14. San Diego rSO OF Hunter Mercado-Hood
  15. Pepperdine JR OF Brandon Caruso
  16. BYU JR SS/1B Tanner Chauncey
  17. San Francisco JR C Dominic Miroglio
  18. BYU JR C Bronson Larsen
  19. Pacific SR C JP Yakel
  20. BYU SR OF Eric Urry
  21. Portland SR 2B/OF Caleb Whalen
  22. Pepperdine SR 2B Chris Fornaci
  23. Pacific SR 2B/3B Louis Mejia
  24. Pepperdine JR OF Matt Gelalich
  25. Pepperdine SR 1B Brad Anderson
  26. San Diego JR C Colton Waltner
  27. Loyola Marymount JR C Cassidy Brown
  28. Loyola Marymount JR 3B/C Jimmy Hill
  29. Gonzaga SR C Joey Harris
  30. St. Mary’s SR 3B Anthony Villa
  31. San Francisco rJR OF Harrison Bruce
  32. St. Mary’s SR 2B/OF Connor Hornsby
  33. Loyola Marymount JR 3B/RHP Ted Boeke
  34. San Francisco JR SS Nico Giarratano
  35. Pacific SR 3B JJ Wagner
  36. Pacific JR 1B Dan Mayer
  37. Santa Clara SR C/3B Kyle Cortopassi
  38. San Diego rSR 2B/3B Jerod Smith
  39. St. Mary’s SR OF Davis Strong
  40. San Francisco JR 1B Manny Ramirez

Pitchers

  1. St. Mary’s JR RHP Corbin Burnes
  2. BYU JR RHP Michael Rucker
  3. Loyola Marymount JR RHP JD Busfield
  4. Gonzaga JR RHP Brandon Bailey
  5. Pepperdine JR RHP AJ Puckett
  6. BYU SO RHP/OF Connor Williams
  7. Santa Clara rSO RHP Mitchell White
  8. San Diego rJR LHP/1B Troy Conyers
  9. San Diego SR RHP Gary Cornish
  10. St. Mary’s JR RHP Cameron Neff
  11. Santa Clara rJR RHP Steven Wilson
  12. Loyola Marymount SR RHP Michael Silva
  13. St. Mary’s SR RHP/OF Anthony Gonsolin
  14. Pacific JR RHP Vince Arobio
  15. Gonzaga SO RHP Gage Burland
  16. San Diego SR LHP Jacob Hill
  17. San Diego rJR RHP Wes Judish
  18. Loyola Marymount JR RHP/SS Tyler Cohen
  19. Santa Clara SR RHP Jake Steffens
  20. San Diego JR RHP CJ Burdick
  21. Pacific JR RHP Will Lydon
  22. Pacific SR RHP Jake Jenkins
  23. BYU JR RHP Kendall Motes
  24. San Diego rSR RHP Drew Jacobs
  25. San Francisco rSO RHP Grant Goodman
  26. Santa Clara SR RHP Nick Medeiros
  27. Santa Clara JR LHP Jason Seever
  28. San Diego JR RHP Nathan Kuchta
  29. BYU rSO LHP Hayden Rogers
  30. Gonzaga JR RHP Wyatt Mills
  31. Gonzaga JR RHP Hunter Wells
  32. Santa Clara JR LHP Kevin George
  33. BYU JR RHP Mason Marshall
  34. San Francisco SR RHP Anthony Shew
  35. St. Mary’s JR LHP Johnny York

Brigham Young

JR RHP Michael Rucker (2016)
JR RHP Kendall Motes (2016)
rSO LHP Hayden Rogers (2016)
JR RHP Mason Marshall (2016)
JR RHP Keaton Cenatiempo (2016)
SO RHP/OF Connor Williams (2016)
JR OF Brennon Lund (2016)
JR SS/1B Tanner Chauncey (2016)
SR OF Eric Urry (2016)
SR SS Hayden Nielsen (2016)
JR C Bronson Larsen (2016)
SO 3B Nate Favero (2016)
SO RHP Maverik Buffo (2017)
SO C/1B Colton Shaver (2017)
FR RHP Jordan Wood (2018)
FR OF Kyle Dean (2018)
FR SS Daniel Schneemann (2018)
FR 3B Jackson Cluff (2018)
FR OF Danny Gelalich (2018)

High Priority Follows: Michael Rucker, Kendall Motes, Hayden Rogers, Mason Marshall, Connor Williams, Brennon Lund, Tanner Chauncey, Eric Urry, Hayden Nielsen, Bronson Larsen, Nate Favero

Gonzaga

JR RHP Brandon Bailey (2016)
SO RHP Gage Burland (2016)
JR RHP Hunter Wells (2016)
JR RHP Wyatt Mills (2016)
SR 1B/RHP Taylor Jones (2016)
rJR OF Sam Brown (2016)
SR 2B/OF Caleb Wood (2016)
SR C Joey Harris (2016)
SR C Jimmy Sinatro (2016)
JR OF Justin Jacobs (2016)
rJR SS Dustin Breshears (2016)
SO RHP Eli Morgan (2017)
SO LHP Calvin LeBrun (2017)
rFR RHP Dan Bies (2017)
SO RHP/OF Tyler Frost (2017)
SO OF Branson Trube (2017)
SO INF Nick Nyquist (2017)

High Priority Follows: Brandon Bailey, Gage Burland, Hunter Wells, Wyatt Mills, Taylor Jones, Sam Brown, Joey Harris, Justin Jacobs

Loyola Marymount

JR RHP JD Busfield (2016)
SR RHP Michael Silva (2016)
JR LHP Brenton Arriaga (2016)
JR RHP Tim Peabody (2016)
JR RHP/SS Tyler Cohen (2016)
JR OF/LHP Kyle Dozier (2016)
SR OF Ryan Erickson (2016)
JR C Cassidy Brown (2016)
JR 3B/C Jimmy Hill (2016)
JR OF Austin Miller (2016)
JR 3B/RHP Ted Boeke (2016)
SO RHP Cory Abbott (2017)
SO RHP/OF Sean Watkins (2017)
SO OF Billy Wilson (2017)
SO 1B Jamey Smart (2017)
FR SS Niko Decolati (2018)

High Priority Follows: JD Busfield, Michael Silva, Brenton Arriaga, Tyler Cohen, Kyle Dozier, Ryan Erickson, Cassidy Brown, Jimmy Hill, Austin Miller, Ted Boeke

Pacific

JR RHP Vince Arobio (2016)
SR RHP Jake Jenkins (2016)
JR RHP Will Lydon (2016)
JR RHP Jordon Gonzalez (2016)
SR RHP Sean Bennetts (2016)
SR OF Gio Brusa (2016)
JR 1B Dan Mayer (2016)
SR 3B JJ Wagner (2016)
SR 2B/3B Louis Mejia (2016)
SR C JP Yakel (2016)
SO 1B/OF Nate Verlin (2017)
SO C Lucas Halstead (2017)

High Priority Follows: Vince Arobio, Jake Jenkins, Will Lydon, Gio Brusa, Dan Mayer, JJ Wagner, Louis Mejia, JP Yakel

Pepperdine

JR RHP Chandler Blanchard (2016)
JR RHP AJ Puckett (2016)
SR RHP Evan Dunn (2016)
JR C Aaron Barnett (2016)
JR SS Manny Jefferson (2016)
JR OF Jack Ross (2016)
JR OF Matt Gelalich (2016)
JR OF Brandon Caruso (2016)
SR 1B Brad Anderson (2016)
SR 2B Chris Fornaci (2016)
SO LHP Max Green (2017)
SO RHP Kiko Garcia (2017)
SO RHP Max Gamboa (2017)
SO LHP Ryan Wilson (2017)
SO OF/RHP Jordan Qsar (2017)
FR LHP Easton Lucas (2018)

High Priority Follows: Chandler Blanchard, AJ Puckett, Aaron Barnett, Manny Jefferson, Matt Gelalich, Brandon Caruso, Brad Anderson, Chris Fornaci

Portland

SR RHP Jackson Lockwood (2016)
SR RHP Billy Sahlinger (2016)
SR LHP Cole Doherty (2016)
SR RHP Jordan Wilcox (2016)
JR RHP/1B Davis Tominaga (2016)
SR OF/RHP Ryan Barr (2016)
JR C Devin Kopas (2016)
SR C Brady Kerr (2016)
JR C Cooper Hummel (2016)
SR 2B/OF Caleb Whalen (2016)
SO RHP Jake Hawken (2017)
FR OF Cody Hawken (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jackson Lockwood, Billy Sahlinger, Cole Doherty, Jordan Wilcox, Davis Tominaga, Cooper Hummel, Caleb Whalen

San Diego

SR LHP Jacob Hill (2016)
SR RHP Gary Cornish (2016)
rJR RHP Wes Judish (2016)
JR RHP CJ Burdick (2016)
JR RHP Nathan Kuchta (2016)
rSR RHP Drew Jacobs (2016)
rJR LHP/1B Troy Conyers (2016)
SO SS/2B Bryson Brigman (2016)
rSR 2B/3B Jerod Smith (2016)
JR OF Ryan Kirby (2016)
rSO OF Hunter Mercado-Hood (2016)
JR C Colton Waltner (2016)
SO RHP Jonathan Teaney (2017)
SO C Riley Adams (2017)
FR LHP Nick Sprengel (2018)
FR OF Kevin Collard (2018)

High Priority Follows: Jacob Hill, Gary Cornish, Wes Judish, CJ Burdick, Nathan Kuchta, Drew Jacobs, Troy Conyers, Bryson Brigman, Jerod Smith, Ryan Kirby, Hunter Mercado-Hood, Colton Waltner

San Francisco

SR RHP Anthony Shew (2016)
rSO RHP Grant Goodman (2016)
rSO LHP Sam Granoff (2016)
JR RHP Mack Meyer (2016)
SR C Ryan Matranga (2016)
JR SS Nico Giarratano (2016)
JR 2B/OF Matt Sinatro (2016)
JR INF Dan James (2016)
JR 1B Manny Ramirez (2016)
JR C Dominic Miroglio (2016)
rJR OF Harrison Bruce (2016)
SO 3B Ross Puskarich (2017)
SO OF Brady Bate (2017)
FR RHP Thomas Pontcelli (2018)
FR 1B Matt Warkentin (2018)

High Priority Follows: Anthony Shew, Grant Goodman, Sam Granoff, Nico Giarratano, Manny Ramirez, Dominic Miroglio, Harrison Bruce

Santa Clara

SR RHP Nick Medeiros (2016)
rJR RHP Steven Wilson (2016)
SR RHP Jake Steffens (2016)
SR RHP Peter Hendron (2016)
JR LHP Jason Seever (2016)
JR LHP Kevin George (2016)
JR RHP Max Kuhns (2016)
rSO RHP Mitchell White (2016)
SR C/3B Kyle Cortopassi (2016)
SR OF Kert Woods (2016)
JR C Steve Berman (2016)
SR OF TC Florentine (2016)
SR 3B Ryan Budnick (2016)
rFR OF Matt Smithwick (2017)
SO 2B/SS Austin Fisher (2017)
SO OF Grant Meylan (2017)
SO OF/3B Evan Haberle (2017)
SO 2B Joe Becht (2017)
SO 1B Jake Brodt (2017)
FR RHP Travis Howard (2018)
FR RHP Freddie Erlandson (2018)
FR 3B/SS John Cresto (2018)
FR 1B Austin Cram (2018)

High Priority Follows: Nick Medeiros, Steven Wilson, Jake Steffens, Jason Seever, Kevin George, Mitchell White, Kyle Cortopassi, Steve Berman

St. Mary’s

JR RHP Corbin Burnes (2016)
JR RHP Cameron Neff (2016)
SR RHP David Dellaserra (2016)
JR LHP Johnny York (2016)
SR RHP/OF Anthony Gonsolin (2016)
SR OF Davis Strong (2016)
SR 3B Anthony Villa (2016)
SR C Ian McLoughlin (2016)
SR 2B/OF Connor Hornsby (2016)
JR C Nate Nolan (2016)
SO RHP Drew Strotman (2017)
SO RHP Billy Oxford (2017)
rFR OF Eddie Haus (2017)
SO SS/3B Logan Steinberg (2017)
SO SS Austin Piscotty (2017)
SO 2B Zach Kirtley (2017)
SO INF Brett Rasso (2017)
SO C Jackson Thoreson (2017)
FR RHP Jonathan Buckley (2018)
FR RHP Tim Holdgrapher (2018)
FR RHP Conner Loeprich (2018)
FR LHP/OF Ty Madrigal (2018)
FR SS/C Charles Zaloumis (2018)
FR OF Matt Green (2018)

High Priority Follows: Corbin Burnes, Cameron Neff, Johnny York, Anthony Gonsolin, Davis Strong, Anthony Villa, Connor Hornsby, Nate Nolan

West Coast Conference 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

San Diego SR C Jesse Jenner
St. Mary’s SR 1B Collin Ferguson
Loyola Marymount SR 2B David Edwards
San Diego JR SS Kyle Holder
Santa Clara JR 3B Jose Vizcaino
Pacific JR OF Giovanni Brusa
Pacific SR OF Tyler Sullivan
San Francisco SR OF Derek Atkinson

Brigham Young JR RHP Kolton Mahoney
San Diego JR RHP/1B David Hill
Loyola Marymount rJR RHP Trevor Megill
Santa Clara JR RHP Reece Karalus
Pepperdine JR RHP Jackson McClelland

The talent in the West Coast Conference exemplifies the 2015 MLB Draft college class as well as any conference in the country; in many ways, it resembles is a microcosm for the rest of the class. There’s pitching because, no matter the year, there always seems to be pitching. Power is scarce, shortstops are plentiful, and talented yet unrefined talents face hugely important draft seasons.

The pitching in the WCC is predictably deep. The best arms in the conference don’t have quite the name recognition as the top pitchers in other conferences, but they will by June. If not, then they should. BYU JR RHP Kolton Mahoney leads the way with an honest four-pitch mix that includes a pair of above-average breaking balls (77-84 SL, 75-77 CB) that come close to running into each other but never quite get there. San Diego JR RHP/1B David Hill has bounced around some, but appears to be settled in with the Toreros. He has a similar fastball to Mahoney (88-94, though Mahoney commands it better) and very comparable offspeed stuff (above-average 75-79 CB, 80-85 cut-SL that flashes plus, intriguing new-ish split-CU that I’ve heard good things about). Santa Clara JR RHP Reece Karalus is a classic sinker/slider arm that adds a fun wrinkle to the archetype with his plus command and plus control. He’s too good to call a sleeper, but between the way he misses bats, gets ground balls (presumably…would love to dig up the numbers on him), and limits walks he could be a shockingly quick mover once he hits the pro game.

Two wild cards in the conference are Loyola Marymount rJR RHP Trevor Megill and Pepperdine JR RHP Jackson McClelland. Both pitchers have been far more wild than usual so far this season. Megill’s wild ways can be explained at least in part to his ongoing adjustment to being back on the mound after missing last season (TJ surgery). When he’s on, he brings a devastating array of power stuff (86-92 FB with good sink that can reach the mid-90s; plus cut-SL; imposing 6-8, 250 pound frame) to the table. McClelland’s wildness is more difficult to explain; in fact, since I haven’t seen him this year, I won’t even attempt to do so. For now I just chalk it up to another oddity in what has been a perplexing collegiate career to date. His stuff is more than enough to get college hitters out (90-95 FB, breaking ball with upside, usable change) and he’s a really good athlete throwing from a 6-5, 220 pound body, but he’s never consistently missed bats. Teams with a more forging view of underachieving college talent who might consider him a talented ball of clay to mold rather than a near-finished product seem more likely to give him a call this June than otherwise.

Safer bets include St. Mary’s SO RHP Cameron Neff and Loyola Marymount SR RHP Colin Welmon. Welmon has stepped his game up considerably this year as he’s changing the narrative on his scouting reports (slider with upside; changeup with promise) from potential to realized skills. You could do worse if in the market for a rare senior sign pitcher with a chance to one day crack a big league rotation than Welmon. Neff is built similarly, but is already able to harness a plus offspeed pitch (changeup) that keeps hitters off his just good enough fastball (88-92). I can’t remember the origin, but I have an AJ Griffin comp on him in my notes that I think is reasonable.

Remember the bit about power being scarce? This piece got delayed a few days because I kept stopping and starting the section on first basemen, the position most commonly associated with power. It’s not that I think that these breakdowns constitute the most entertaining daily reads on the internet, but I try to say at least one interesting thing for as many players as possible within each piece. There are four first basemen in the conference worth writing about, but for the life of me I can’t figure out anything fun to say about any of them. St. Mary’s SR 1B/LHP Collin Ferguson is a senior sign that figures to appeal to teams of all player development philosophies. He has shown consistent power (more or less), a relatively sound approach, and the athleticism, arm, and glove one needs to play a mean first base. Pepperdine JR 1B Brad Anderson’s calling card is his big raw power. San Francisco SR 1B/3B Brendan Hendriks’ strengths are his hit tool and defensive versatility (in addition to 1B and 3B he has also seen time at 2B). Portland rSR 1B/OF Turner Gill’s career hasn’t gone quite according to plan – he hit .348/.408/.500 and .341/.418/.508 in his first two seasons before being injured and ineffective the past two years – but he’s still a dangerous guess hitter who can put a charge into the ball when he guesses right.

Power may belong to first basemen above all other positions, but outfielders can also get in on the fun; unfortunately, outside of Pacific JR OF Giovanni Brusa (one of those talented yet unrefined talents from earlier) there’s not much in the way of thump to be found among WCC outfielders. The lack of pop is forgivable, but the weird lack of noteworthy draft-eligible outfielders in the conference is just plain bizarre. I’m sure I’m missing a few names, but even after checking and double-checking the only three serious outfield prospects heading into the season were Brusa, Pacific SR OF Tyler Sullivan, and San Francisco SR OF Derek Atkinson. An argument could be made that even including Sullivan and Atkinson is me being generous, as Brusa is currently the only WCC outfielder mentioned as a viable top ten round pick. I think that sells Sullivan, a pesky hitter who fits the backup outfielder with a leadoff mentality mold well, a bit short.

The appreciation for Brusa, however, is right on point. His above-average to plus raw power will keep him employed for a long time, especially combined with his elite athleticism and playable defensive tools (slightly below-average arm and foot speed, but overall should be fine in left field). Brusa going from good prospect to great prospect will take selling a team on his improved approach as a hitter; early returns are promising but a team that buys into his bat will do so knowing he’ll always be a player who swings and misses a lot. Whether or not he a) makes enough contact, and/or b) demonstrates enough plate discipline (strikeouts are easier to take when paired with an increased walk rate, like he’s shown so far this year) will ultimately decide his fate as a hitter and prospect. Before the season I would have been in the “think he’ll be drafted too high for my tastes, so let me just kick back and watch somebody else try to fix his approach” camp in terms of his draft value, but I’m slowly creeping towards “if he falls just a bit, I’d think about taking a shot on his upside over a few players with more certainty and less ceiling” territory. That’s a big step up for me, even if it doesn’t quite seem like it.

All the shortstops are great. That was the short note I wrote to myself designed to be a placeholder for the actual text to come, but now I’m thinking that’s what I should publish. (My notes on the outfielders: BRUSA. I’m not a great writer, clearly.) San Diego JR SS Kyle Holder is a special talent with the glove. He’s a fantastic athlete with everything you’d want to see out of big league defender: his range, hands, feet, instincts, arm, and touch are all exemplary. There might not be a lot of power to come, but he’s a smart, balanced hitter who works deep counts and battles in every at bat. With a very real clear strength and no obvious weaknesses, the well-rounded Holder could be a dark horse first day candidate. If you shoot for the moon with an all-upside first pick, then going for what could be a quick-moving rock solid big league shortstop with your second pick makes a lot of sense. The comps I have on Holder are among my favorite for any player in this year’s class: Mike Bordick, Walt Weiss, and Orlando Cabrera. I don’t know why, but that strikes me as a fun group of possible outcomes. Bordick and Weiss both feel fair in a plus glove, good command of the strike zone, enough power to keep pitchers’ honest kind of way. The Cabrera comparison is especially intriguing to me because I’ve used it already this year on a big glove, little bat prospect. Kennesaw State JR SS Kal Simmons, the recipient of said comp, is an interesting head-to-head prospect comparison for Holder. So far in 2015…

KS: .302/.391/.563 – 11 BB/12 K – 8/9 SB – 96 AB
KH: .353/.409/.412 – 7 BB/6 K – 4/6 SB – 85 AB

And in their college careers…

KS: .284/.345/.365 – 46 BB/74 K – 14/17 SB – 543 AB
KH: .315/.374/.406 – 22 BB/22 K – 11/15 SB – 276 AB

I think both players have big league regular upside – something I wouldn’t have said about Simmons prior to this season – but Holder gets the edge for me as the better all-around offensive threat. The real conclusion is this, however: all the shortstops are great.

Pacific JR SS/OF Brett Sullivan is an all-caps FAVORITE of mine who compares favorably to Holder in many areas of the game. The one great big obvious difference between the two is defensive projection. I’m obviously confident in Holder being a damn fine defensive shortstop in the big leagues, but I can’t say the same with much certainty about Sullivan. I mean this literally: I can’t say it with certainty because I straight up don’t know right now.

This is one of those cases where a position conference ranking doesn’t do the quality of depth at the position justice: three of the top four hitters in the conference are shortstops (four out of five if you think Santa Clara JR 3B/OF Jose Vizcaino sticks at SS). 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.

If you’re buying Vizcaino’s glove at shortstop then he might be the co-headliner up the middle with Holder. He’s easily one of the 2015 draft class’s best tools to skills transformation prospects. Like Brett Sullivan, I don’t quite have enough updated information on his defensive future to say one way or another where he’ll wind up as a pro. I have as more likely than not to switch over to third in the pros, but it’s a fluid situation. An admittedly far too generous Matt Carpenter comp (qualified with less advanced as a hitter and less athletic) for Gonzaga SR 3B Mitchell Gunsolus has stuck in my mind over the years. It’s obviously too much, but I still like Gunsolus power and patience blend. Even if he has to move to left field, as some have speculated, his bat looks strong enough to be a worthy senior sign all the same.

So we’ve covered the lack of power bats, the great shortstops, and some of the better tools to skills transformers. What’s left? Loyola Marymount SR 2B/SS David Edwards is a versatile enough defender to play just about any spot on the diamond. That versatility should serve him well professionally assuming he hits enough at the next level to fulfill his destiny as a big league super-sub. That versatility is also what gives him the slight edge over Pepperdine JR 2B Hutton Moyer, a good glove likely limited to second who can run and flash some power. Portland SR 2B/OF Caleb Whalen has long intrigued me as a plus runner who can play multiple spots with an underrated hit tool, but time is running out on him turning some of his raw ability into concrete skills.

I’ve liked what I’ve heard about San Diego SR C Jesse Jenner so far. The consensus on him seems to be there is enough power, arm strength, and athleticism to profile as a potential big league backup backstop. He stands out as the best of a thin group of WCC catchers.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. San Diego JR SS Kyle Holder
  2. Pacific JR OF Giovanni Brusa
  3. Pacific JR SS/OF Brett Sullivan
  4. Loyola Marymount SO SS David Fletcher
  5. Santa Clara JR 3B/OF Jose Vizcaino
  6. Gonzaga SR 3B Mitchell Gunsolus
  7. Brigham Young SO SS Tanner Chauncey
  8. San Diego SR SS/2B Austin Bailey
  9. Loyola Marymount SR 2B/SS David Edwards
  10. Pepperdine JR 2B Hutton Moyer
  11. San Diego rJR C Jesse Jenner
  12. Portland SR 2B/OF Caleb Whalen
  13. Pacific SR OF Tyler Sullivan
  14. San Francisco SR OF Derek Atkinson
  15. San Diego SR 3B Brandon DeFazio
  16. St. Mary’s SR 1B/LHP Collin Ferguson
  17. Pepperdine JR 1B Brad Anderson
  18. San Francisco SR 1B/3B Brendan Hendriks
  19. Portland rSR 1B/OF Turner Gill
  20. Gonzaga JR 2B/OF Caleb Wood
  21. San Francisco rJR 2B Michael Eaton
  22. Brigham Young SR C Jarrett Jarvis
  23. Santa Clara JR 3B Kyle Cortopassi

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Pitching

  1. Brigham Young JR RHP Kolton Mahoney
  2. San Diego JR RHP/1B David Hill
  3. Loyola Marymount rJR RHP Trevor Megill
  4. Santa Clara JR RHP Reece Karalus
  5. Pepperdine JR RHP Jackson McClelland
  6. St. Mary’s SO RHP Cameron Neff
  7. Loyola Marymount SR RHP Colin Welmon
  8. Portland SR RHP Kody Watts
  9. San Diego JR LHP Jacob Hill
  10. San Diego JR LHP Troy Conyers
  11. San Diego rJR RHP Wes Judish
  12. Gonzaga JR RHP Andrew Sopko
  13. Brigham Young SO RHP Michael Rucker
  14. Loyola Marymount SR LHP/OF Sean Buckle
  15. San Diego JR LHP PJ Conlon
  16. Loyola Marymount JR RHP Michael Silva
  17. Gonzaga SR RHP/C Zach Abbruzza
  18. Gonzaga JR RHP Taylor Jones
  19. Santa Clara JR RHP Jake Steffens
  20. Santa Clara rSO RHP Steven Wilson
  21. Pacific SR RHP Michael Benson
  22. Brigham Young SR RHP Jeff Barker
  23. Pacific JR RHP Jake Jenkins
  24. Pacific SR RHP Michael Hager
  25. San Francisco SR LHP Christian Cecilio
  26. San Diego JR RHP Gary Cornish
  27. Brigham Young SO RHP Mason Marshall
  28. Pepperdine JR RHP Evan Dunn
  29. Brigham Young SR RHP Brandon Kinser
  30. San Francisco SR RHP Logan West
  31. St. Mary’s SR RHP Tanner Kichler
  32. San Diego rJR RHP Drew Jacobs

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – WCC Follow List

Brigham Young

JR RHP Kolton Mahoney (2015)
SO LHP Hayden Rogers (2015)
SR RHP James Lengal (2015)
SR RHP Jeff Barker (2015)
JR LHP Austin Kamel (2015)
SR RHP Brandon Kinser (2015)
SO RHP Michael Rucker (2015)
SO RHP Mason Marshall (2015)
SO SS Tanner Chauncey (2015)
SR C Jarrett Jarvis (2015)
JR OF Eric Urry (2015)
SR 1B/3B Dillon Robinson (2015)
SO OF Brennon Lund (2016)

Gonzaga

JR RHP Andrew Sopko (2015)
JR RHP Taylor Jones (2015)
rSR RHP David Bigelow (2015)
SR RHP/C Zach Abbruzza (2015)
SR 3B Mitchell Gunsolus (2015)
rJR OF Beau Bozett (2015)
rSR OF Cory LeBrun (2015)
JR C Jimmy Sinatro (2015)
JR 2B/OF Caleb Wood (2015)
rSO OF Sam Brown (2015)
SO RHP Brandon Bailey (2016)
FR RHP Gage Burland (2016)
FR OF/RHP Tyler Frost (2017)
FR OF Branson Trube (2017)
FR INF Nick Nyquist (2017)
FR RHP Eli Morgan (2017)

Loyola Marymount

rJR RHP Trevor Megill (2015)
SR RHP Colin Welmon (2015)
SR LHP Brandon Horth (2015)
JR RHP Michael Silva (2015)
SR LHP/OF Sean Buckle (2015)
SR 2B/SS David Edwards (2015)
SR C Chris Barnett (2015)
SR OF Tanner Donnels (2015)
SR 1B Jimmy Jack (2015)
SO SS David Fletcher (2015)
SO SS/RHP Tyler Cohen (2016)
SO C Cassidy Brown (2016)
SO RHP JD Busfield (2016)
SO OF Austin Miller (2016)
SO 3B/RHP Teddy Boeke (2016)
SO LHP Brenton Arriaga (2016)
SO RHP Tim Peabody (2016)
FR RHP Tylor Megill (2017)
FR RHP Cory Abbott (2017)
FR OF/RHP Sean Watkins (2017)
FR OF Billy Wilson (2017)
FR OF Marcus Still (2017)

Pacific

JR OF Giovanni Brusa (2015)
SR OF Tyler Sullivan (2015)
JR SS/OF Brett Sullivan (2015)
JR C JP Yakel (2015)
SR 2B Jimmy Gosano (2015)
JR 3B JJ Wagner (2015)
SR RHP Michael Benson (2015)
JR RHP Jake Jenkins (2015)
SR RHP Michael Hager (2015)
SR RHP Bryce Lombardi (2015)
SO RHP Vince Arobio (2016)
SO RHP Will Lydon (2016)
SO RHP Jordon Gonzalez (2016)
SO RHP John Jaeger (2016)
SO C Parker Klein (2016)

Pepperdine

JR RHP Jackson McClelland (2015)
SR RHP Mat Snider (2015)
JR RHP Evan Dunn (2015)
JR 1B Brad Anderson (2015)
JR 2B Hutton Moyer (2015)
JR 2B Chris Fornaci (2015)
SR C Kolten Yamaguchi (2015)
SO C Aaron Barnett (2016)
SO SS Manny Jefferson (2016)
SO OF Brandon Caruso (2016)
SO OF Jack Ross (2016)
SO RHP AJ Puckett (2016)
SO RHP Chandler Blanchard (2016)
FR RHP Kiko Garcia (2017)
FR LHP Ryan Wilson (2017)

Portland

SR 2B/OF Caleb Whalen (2015)
rSR 1B/OF Turner Gill (2015)
SR 3B Cody Lenahan (2015)
SR RHP Kody Watts (2015)
SR RHP Kurt Yinger (2015)
JR RHP Jackson Lockwood (2015)
JR RHP Billy Sahlinger (2015)
rSR LHP Brandon Snyder (2015)
SO RHP/INF Davis Tominaga (2016)
SO C Devin Kopas (2016)

San Diego

JR LHP PJ Conlon (2015)
JR RHP/1B David Hill (2015)
JR LHP Jacob Hill (2015)
JR RHP Gary Cornish (2015)
rJR RHP Wes Judish (2015)
rJR RHP Drew Jacobs (2015)
JR LHP Troy Conyers (2015)
JR RHP Daniel Reitzler (2015)
rSR RHP Brady Kirkpatrick (2015)
SR C Jesse Jenner (2015)
JR SS Kyle Holder (2015)
SR SS/2B Austin Bailey (2015)
JR OF Kacy Smith (2015):
rJR OF/LHP Ben Wylly (2015)
SR 3B Brandon DeFazio (2015)
SR OF Grant Melker (2015)
rJR 2B/3B Jerod Smith (2015)
SO RHP CJ Burdick (2016)
SO OF Ryan Kirby (2016)
SO SS/RHP Seve Romo (2016)
SO OF Hunter Mercado-Hood (2016)
FR SS/2B Bryson Brigman (2016)
FR C Riley Adams (2017)
FR RHP Jonathan Teaney (2017)
FR OF Jonathan Grimsley (2017)

San Francisco

SR 1B/3B Brendan Hendriks (2015)
rJR 2B Michael Eaton (2015)
SR OF Derek Atkinson (2015)
JR C Ryan Matranga (2015)
rSR OF Connor Hofmann (2015)
SR C Justin McCullough (2015)
SR LHP Christian Cecilio (2015)
rSR LHP Sheldon Lee (2015)
SR RHP Logan West (2015)
SO SS Nico Giarratano (2016)
SO 2B/OF Matt Sinatro (2016)
SO RHP Grant Goodman (2016)
SO 1B Manny Ramirez (2016)
SO C Dominic Miroglio (2016)
FR LHP Jeider Rincon (2017)
FR 3B Ross Puskarich (2017)

Santa Clara

JR RHP Reece Karalus (2015)
JR RHP Jake Steffens (2015)
JR RHP Peter Hendron (2015)
rSO RHP Steven Wilson (2015)
SR LHP Evan Brisentine (2015)
SR 1B/OF CJ Jacobe (2015)
JR OF Kert Woods (2015)
JR 3B/OF Jose Vizcaino (2015)
SR 1B/OF TJ Braff (2015)
JR 3B Kyle Cortopassi (2015)
SO C Steve Berman (2016)
SO LHP Jason Seever (2016)
SO LHP Kevin George (2016)
SO RHP Max Kuhns (2016)
FR 3B Evan Haberle (2017)
FR 2B Joe Becht (2017)
FR 1B Jake Brodt (2017)

St. Mary’s

JR 3B Anthony Villa (2015)
JR OF/RHP Anthony Gonsolin (2015)
JR C Ian McLoughlin (2015)
JR 2B/OF Connor Hornsby (2015)
SR 2B/SS Darian Ramage (2015)
SR 1B/LHP Collin Ferguson (2015)
SR RHP Tanner Kichler (2015)
JR RHP Jake Valdez (2015)
JR RHP David Dellaserra (2015)
SO RHP Cameron Neff (2015)
SO C Nate Nolan (2016)
SO RHP Corbin Burnes (2016)
FR SS Austin Piscotty (2017)
FR 2B Zach Kirtley (2017)