Archive for June, 2013

16- Phillies- Colin Moran.  A solid hitter, Moran still needs to develop some power.  He should be a good fit for a Philly team that needs to get younger, and has a solid chance to be a Major Leaguer – while maybe not a superstar – without a lot of minor league seasoning.

17- White Sox- Ian Clarkin. The question here is if the Sox should go into full rebuild mode or stay the course of a slightly above-average team that keeps nipping at the heels of the Tigers, and try to add Major League ready talent.  I would go with the former and take unpolished, but high ceiling, high school lefty Ian Clarkin.

18- Dodgers – Nick Ciuffo.  The conundrum of the draft.  With so many high-priced talents on the big league roster, I can’t see them taking anything but a high schooler unless they decide to cut bait on the big league roster and try to rebuild.  I see them going with premium raw talent at a premium position (catcher) here.

19- Cardinals- Chris Anderson.  One of the best college arms in the draft.  If I’m the Cardinals I stay with what works.

20- Tigers- Austin Wilson. The consensus here is that some work with his swing is needed.  The Stanford  outfielder is athletic with promising potential.

21- Rays- Dominic Smith.  One of the best high school bats in the draft, Smith should be a good investment for the Rays at pick 21.

22- Orioles- Jonathan Crawford. With a strong fastball and slider, The Gators sophomore holds velocity deep into games and if he can figure out his control issues, could be a steal at 22.

23- Rangers- Phillip Ervin.  The Cape Cod League MVP has a bat that should progress through the Rangers system relatively quickly.  A speed and power threat, Ervin could be a starting outfielder for the Rangers in two years, even if his skill set doesn’t play well enough to allow him to remain in center.

24- A’s- Hunter Harvey.  The 18 year old high schooler is the son of former closer Bryan Harvey.  With purely dominant numbers in high school, Hunter has also excelled at multiple national showcase events.  An impact arm, this is the pick I would target for the A’s.

25- Giants- Eric Jagielo.  An offensive-minded third baseman, Jagielo hits for both power and average, though needs to stop chasing bad pitches.  He should provide serviceable but not standout defense at the hot corner.

26- Yankees – Sean Manaea.  This pick could be a steal for the Yankees if he is truly healthy.  The Bombers have the resources most other teams don’t, and with two more first round picks and as close to an unlimited checkbook as you will find in all of Major League Baseball, this should be a no brainer.

27- Cincinnati Reds- Jon Denny. An offensive stud behind the plate, Denny may not have the chops to stick there defensively, but his bat profiles well even if he shifts to a corner outfield position.

28- Cardinals- Tim Anderson.  A very toolsie player, Anderson missed a lot of high school baseball due to injuries and other sports commitments.  Has performed well in Junior College and is a shortstop, although there are questions about his arm at the position long-term.

29- Rays- Cord Sandberg.  A bunch of raw power and great bat speed, Sandberg is a two sport athlete, but has a strong desire to stick to baseball.  Sandberg could profile as a high-impact power bat for the Rays down the road.  A little bit of risk with this pick, but the potential for high reward.

30- Rangers- Cavan Biggio.  The son of future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here.  A pure hitter with fringe speed, Biggio is an average defender but should have no problem playing multiple positions.  His dad’s Texas ties are a plus here too.

31- Braves- Hunter Green.  With a fastball topping out at 95 and sitting in the low-to-mid 90s, Green is the kind of pitcher that fits perfectly in the Braves system.  Long term, I see him as a solid big league reliever.

32- Yankees- Rob Kaminsky.  The Yankees should go with the best available arm at this point and that’s Kaminsky.  The local high schooler has solid command with a good fastball and nasty curve, and is a perfect fit for a Yankee system looking to add impact arms.

33- Yankees- Bobby Wahl.  The closer for USA Baseball’s College National team last summer, Wahl can crank it up to 97 on the gun.  He has two other plus pitches – a slider and a change.  For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Yankees are going to be looking to fill that role in the back end of their bullpen and this should pick would help.

Greetings, fellow prospectors.

As we are on the verge of the 2013 Major League Rule 4 Draft, I thought I’d share with you all my personal top ten players who I am most curious to see where they are picked.

1)    Aaron Judge, OF (Fresno State) – Literally a giant of a player at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds, what stands out to me is how well rounded he is. You definitely don’t see many players his size play the outfield, and according to Baseball America, he is both a good runner and defender. He also has excellent power potential. As a Rays fan, I’d very much like to see them take a flyer on him, as he is expected to go towards the bottom of the first round, where they have two picks.

2)    Sean Manaea, LHP (Indiana State) – He is the draft’s biggest wildcard and enigma. Going into this season, just about everyone predicted he’d be one of the top five picks, as his pitches were explosive in the Cape Cod League last summer. Unfortunately on March 15, he suffered an ankle injury, which led to hip problems. His results suffered as a result. Recently, he was expected to pitch in a crucial game, but left after just a couple of warm up pitches. I’m guessing a high-market team who is confident he can recover may grab him up, but as of now he could very well be a tough sign, as he could easily attempt to restore his status for next year’s draft instead.

3)    Austin Meadows, OF (Grayson HS) – He has all the tools to be a 5-tool outfielder, but his season wasn’t quite what scouts were hoping for. He can play any outfield position, and is considered one of the safest bats in this year’s class. He’s also an excellent athlete. It was reported he was very impressive in a recent workout, and is expected to go in the top 10 to 15 picks.

4)    Colin Moran, 3B (North Carolina) – Considered to have the best hitting ability and bat speed in this year’s class, as well as the ability to stick at third, the speculation is all over the map with him, as he could go anywhere from the 6 to 10 range, to the top 3, to possibly even #1 overall, as ESPN’s Keith Law believes the Astros could sign him for a below-slot deal so they can save their money for later picks, as they did last year with former #1 pick Carlos Correa. Uncertainty is the most exciting aspect of the draft for me, and so I’m very curious to see where he lands.

5)    Michael Lorenzen, OF (Cal State Fullerton) – He’s been a two-way player, as he moonlights as a reliever, but the team that drafts him will almost certainly use him in the outfield, as he has a cannon arm, and is considered perhaps the best defensive player in the draft. He still has a ways to go at the plate, but has above-average power potential. I think he could get picked in either the sandwich or second round, come Thursday.

6)    Kris Bryant, 3B (San Diego) – Power is his game, and he has it to spare, hitting 31 jacks this season. He is also considered to be at least an average hitter, with an above-average arm at the hot corner. I think he has the ability to stay there as a pro. He’ll almost certainly go in the top five picks, but no one seems to know exactly where, although the Rockies have been the team linked to him most.

7)    Jordan Sheffield, RHP (Tullohoma HS) – Before this season, he was considered to have one of the best curveballs in this year’s class. He also showed increased velocity in the World Wood Bat showcase, hitting 97 on the gun. Unfortunately in March he developed stiffness in his arm, eventually leading to Tommy John surgery. The question is, can a team with a large enough budget sign him away from his commitment to Vanderbilt or not.

8)    Connor Jones, RHP (Great Bridge HS) – Considered to be the best player with the lowest chance of turning pro this year, he has excellent life on his 90-92 MPH heater, as well as a solid or better slider. He sent all clubs a letter asking them not to draft him, but as we know by now this is likely a tactic, as he did not withdraw from eligibility altogether. Based on talent alone he could be a first rounder, so it will likely take that kind of money to pry him away from his Virginia commitment.

9)     J.P. Crawford, SS (Lakewood HS) – Shortstops expected to remain at the position are extremely rare in this year’s class, and so he could very well go in the top ten picks based on that alone. He has great range, an above-average arm, a fast runner and is extremely solid at the plate, with emerging power potential. If he’s still on the board after the 15th selection I’ll be very surprised.

10) Adam Plutko, RHP (UCLA) – As a freshman, he pitched behind both Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer in the rotation. While his stuff can’t compare to theirs, he still gets the job done. His secondary stuff is more impressive than his fastball, especially his changeup, and I think he could go early on in Day Two.