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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

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)

2013 MLB Draft Conference Preview: West Coast Conference

College baseball starts tomorrow and there is still one team that has yet to post their 2013 rosters online. Alcorn State was the second to last holdout, but they’ve finally caved. We’re just waiting on South Carolina now. Get with it, Gamecocks!

Incidentally, there is a lot of content ready to see the light of day. I’ve long preferred the research aspect of the site over the writing, but I think I’m finally at the point where I’ve done enough homework on the college game to spend more time writing up some more conference draft previews. Happy to take suggestions if anybody’s up for it. I also have some other ideas kicking around my head that might be fun…if I can pull them off. Stay tuned. Until then, let’s talk WCC…

  • Bold = locks to be drafted
  • Italics = definite maybes
  • Underlined = possible risers
  • Plain text = long shots

C

  • Loyola Marymount SR C Colton Plaia
  • San Diego SR C Dillon Haupt
  • Portland rSR C Beau Fraser
  • Pepperdine rSR C Nate Johnson
  • San Diego rSR C Austin Green
  • San Francisco JR C Zachary Turner
  • Santa Clara SR C Quinton Perry

The WCC has a fun group of veteran catchers with the potential to position themselves as viable mid-round senior sign candidates with strong springs. Colton Plaia is the best of the bunch thanks to his average power, decent plate discipline, and average or better (arm is average, glove is better) defensive ability. Dillon Haupt is a large man (6-5, 225 pounds) who can really throw. Nate Johnson has a picture perfect swing, but he’ll have to put it to use this upcoming season if he wants to hear his name crackled over the speaker phone on draft day. Converted outfielder Austin Green is a really good athlete with intriguing defensive upside behind the dish, but, much like Beau Fraser and Johnson, 2013 represents a make or break season with the bat. I guess calling a college player’s senior season “make or break” is kind of unnecessary, but, let’s face it, unnecessary commentary is what I do best.

1B

  • Portland JR 1B Turner Gill
  • Pepperdine SR 1B Sam Meyer

Turner Gill may get pegged as a first base/corner outfield tweener (not enough bat for 1B, not quite enough foot speed for the OF), but I still can’t help but like the guy as a prospect. I’m fairly predictable about these things, so no big shock that I like a player with good raw power and a solid approach (23 BB/25 K last year).

2B

  • Gonzaga SR 2B Clayton Eslick
  • Loyola Marymount SR 2B Cullen Mahoney
  • Gonzaga SR 2B Steven Halcomb
  • San Francisco SR 2B Jason Mahood
  • Santa Clara SR 2B Justin Viele
  • Brigham Young JR 2B Adam Law

I won’t pretend to know a whole lot about Clayton Eslick other than reading his name in my Word doc here and there over the years, but his 2012 numbers (.350/.469/.447 with 33 BB/15 K in 197 AB) are enough to get me to pay attention in 2013. As much as I’m intrigued by Eslick, I think it’s more than fair to say that Cullen Mahoney’s tools give him the edge in upside.

3B

  • Loyola Marymount JR 3B Kevin Garcia
  • Brigham Young JR 3B Dillon Robinson

Never a good thing when the only notable thing about a position group is the missing name. Astute draft fans, followers of the WCC, or friends/family of the omitted player need not worry: the conference’s best prospect still gets his due, but count me as one of the first willing to accept the reality that Kris Bryant’s best professional position will be right field.

SS

  • San Diego JR SS Logan Davis
  • Santa Clara JR SS Gregory Harisis
  • Loyola Marymount SR SS Joey Boney

Logan Davis has a sterling defensive reputation, Gregory Harisis is coming off a very productive 2012 season (.366/.435/.447 with 13 BB and 19 K), and Joey Boney is named Joey Boney.

OF

  • San Diego JR OF Kris Bryant
  • San Diego rSO OF Louie Lechich
  • Pepperdine SO OF Aaron Brown
  • Brigham Young JR OF Jaycob Brugman
  • Gonzaga SR OF Billy Moon
  • Pepperdine rSO OF Bryan Langlois
  • Loyola Marymount SR OF Matt Lowenstein
  • Pepperdine rSR OF Chris Amezquita
  • San Francisco SR OF Justin Maffei
  • Brigham Young JR OF Kelton Caldwell
  • St. Mary’s SR OF Brenden Kalfus
  • St. Mary’s SR OF Cole Norton
  • Santa Clara JR OF Casey Munoz
  • Santa Clara SR OF Matt Ozanne
  • Loyola Marymount rSR OF Zac Fujimoto
  • San Diego SR OF AJ Robinson
  • San Diego rSR OF Dillon Checkal

I need to go back and do some research on this idea because I find it particularly interesting, but, in the meantime, a crackpot theory: amateur prospects, especially college prospects, with two potential professional defensive landing spots, tend to gravitate towards the less strenuous position sooner rather than later after signing pro contracts. As with most (all?) of my theories, this seems like common sense more than anything. Too often, however, draft season gets us all in a tizzy — happens to me every single year — and we begin dreaming on best case scenarios over the far more likely realities.

I should have applied this logic to Richie Shaffer last year (my head said 1B, my heart wanted so badly to believe 3B…for what I hope is the last time, my stupid heart won out), and I’ll be damned if I’m going to get burned on another similar player this year. Bryant might be able to play 3B at the pro level, but, really, what would you put the odds of him doing so effectively? 25%? Projecting him at his far more likely position seems like the smart way to go. As I’ve said before, I think Bryant will be a well above-average regular in right field if given the chance. I wasn’t a huge fan of his when he was a senior in high school, but the improvement he’s shown since then — the only thing that looks better than his modified swing is his much sleeker physique —  says something about what kind of prospect he is. As a draft prospect, think of him as a safer version of last year’s 39th overall pick, Joey Gallo. His old high school comp of Troy Glaus — one of those so obvious comps that you can’t help but see it — also makes a lot of sense as a pro ceiling. That’s big time.

Bryant’s teammate Louie Lechich hasn’t put up nearly the same numbers that Bryant has so far, but he’s a darn fine prospect in his own right. There is little that Lechich can’t do on the field as he’s one of this year’s class’ underrated five-tool talents. He’s shown average or better with all five tools at one point or another in his amateur days. If the Cal transfer taps into his raw power this year, watch out. Also worth noting my love of old comps that I can’t quit: in Lechich’s case, the comparison — pretty sure it was from Perfect Game, but I forgot to make a note of the origin — was Jim Edmonds. This obviously wasn’t meant to be a direct professional future style of comp (i.e. don’t expect the same numbers and career path), but more of a style, skill set, and physical build comparison. I also think it is fairly obvious that Lechich isn’t quite on the same level of Edmonds, a Hall of Famer in my nonexistent book, but rather a starting point based on the above three points (style, skill set, physical build) for those unfamiliar with his game.

Aaron Brown is a fun prospect because of his upside as a plus glove in CF or a power lefty capable of hitting the mid-90s with relative ease. Unrefined (5 K to every BB as a hitter, almost a walk an inning as a pitcher) doesn’t even begin to define his game, however, so any bet on him at this point is based entirely on his considerable physical gifts.

Quick hits on a few of the rest…Jaycob Brugman has enticing bat speed…Billy Moon is a defensive weapon in CF…Matt Lowenstein has consistently shown off a top of the lineup approach to hitting. All fit in nicely in the draft’s middle rounds with Brugman offering the greatest chance to move up.

P

  • Gonzaga JR LHP Marco Gonzales
  • San Diego JR RHP Dylan Covey
  • San Diego JR RHP Michael Wagner
  • Pepperdine JR RHP Scott Frazier
  • San Francisco JR RHP Alex Balog
  • St. Mary’s JR LHP Jordan Mills
  • Brigham Young JR RHP Adam Miller
  • St. Mary’s JR LHP Ben Griset 
  • Gonzaga rSR LHP Tyler Olson
  • Pepperdine rJR RHP Jared Lee
  • Pepperdine JR RHP Michael Swanner
  • San Diego JR RHP Trevor Bayless
  • Gonzaga JR RHP Arturo Reyes
  • San Diego SO LHP Max Homick
  • San Diego JR LHP Max MacNabb
  • Santa Clara SR RHP Tommy Nance
  • Santa Clara rJR RHP Kenny Treadwell
  • San Francisco rJR RHP Abe Bobb
  • Loyola Marymount SR LHP Justin Grijalva
  • Brigham Young JR RHP Marc Oslund
  • Pepperdine JR RHP Corey Miller
  • Pepperdine SR LHP Alex Najera
  • St. Mary’s JR LHP Ryan Brockett
  • Loyola Marymount SR RHP Aaron Griffin
  • Brigham Young SR RHP Matt Milke
  • Loyola Marymount JR RHP Bret Dahlson
  • San Francisco SR RHP Haden Hinkle
  • St. Mary’s SR RHP Patrick Keane
  • Pepperdine JR RHP Eric Karch
  • Brigham Young JR RHP Desmond Poulson
  • St. Mary’s JR RHP Thomas Cortese
  • Gonzaga rSO RHP Derek Peterson
  • Santa Clara rSR RHP Mike Couch
  • Brigham Young SR LHP Mark Anderson
  • Pepperdine SR LHP Brian McIlhenny
  • Santa Clara SR RHP Brock Simon
  • Pepperdine JR LHP Matt Maurer
  • Gonzaga JR RHP Kenny Smith
  • Santa Clara JR LHP Powell Fansler

I have Marco Gonzales as the top pitching prospect in the conference — a well-earned designation thanks in large part to his phenomenal changeup, arguably the best pitch of its kind in this year’s class — but any of his fellow bold brothers could overtake him by June. (Quick aside: As always, I sincerely hope that this year’s premier two-way college star gets drafted by a National League team. I want to see these two-way pitching prospects hit, damn it.). A full season of good health could help Dylan Covey retake his place at the top of the heap. Scott Frazier’s size, stuff (more sinker/slider than in his high school days, but the flashes of above-average offspeed stuff help round out his repertoire), groundball tendencies, and prep pedigree will keep him in the running for a first day selection. Michael Wagner is my pick for most likely to overtake Gonzales, if it happens at all. Wagner’s potential for four average or better pitches, command, pro build with room yet to grow (6-4, 185 pounds), and strong performances to date (over 8 K/9 through two seasons) make him a favorite.

Alex Balog could move way up between now and June; if so, I could then see him quickly moving through the minors once drafted. Hitters get bad swings off his mid-90s heat, and his offspeed stuff (change, slider) complement it quite well. Jordan Mills has similar stuff, but with a little less fastball (92 peak). Either one of San Diego’s pitchers named Max (Homick and MacNabb) could rise way up as well.