Scouting Baseball's MLB Draft ContentDraft Central & Complete Site Archive AL East Age, Part One & Age, Part Two
For a full list of picks in every round, check out MLB's handy Draft Tracker and for other content on the players listed below, clicking on their name or checking out Scout.com's Draft Central where you can find links for scouting videos for many players below and full scouting reports on every player in my Top 111 Draft Rankings and many others.
Josh Hart & Hunter Harvey are both guys I saw this spring that I liked a lot and I think represent solid values for the Orioles with their top two picks. I slightly prefer Hart but wondered late in the spring where his premium tools that have been compared to Kenny Lofton would be drafted with his hitting mechanics backing up during the spring. I figured he'd fall into the early second round, but I would've taken him in the first round and heard some clubs had him in their final groups at a couple first round slots. Harvey will flash a plus fastball-curveball combination but is still immature physically and his delivery needs work, but he has the athleticism and youth to make me think he has a good chance to continue improving. His upside is a #2/3 starter, but comes with understandable risk.
The O's mixed it up the rest of the way with higher upside/risk guys like Stephen Tarpley, a juco lefty that flashes mid-rotation stuff but his makeup and consistency have been questioned, along with prep catchers Chance Sisco, Jonah Heim and Alex Murphy in addition to projectable Canadian prep lefty Travis Seabrooke. After that, Baltimore scooped up solid college bats in 3B Drew Dosch (advanced bat, improving defense, questionable power), 1B Trey Mancini (huge power & production but swings and misses) and C Austin Wynns (tough spring but solid swing, good defense, solid senior sign). Two relief type college picks were Tampa righty Jon Keller (up to 96 mph with occasionally hard slider but feel issues) and Cal Poly righty Reed Reilly (closer with chance to start has hit 94 mph but stuff is more average). Two interesting prep signability choices late were Georgia signee RHP Robert Tyler (up to 95 mph with good curve but long arm action causes feel/consistency issues) and Florida prep righty Dustin Hagy (6'6 and hit 95 mph early as well, but more high 80's late in the year with soft breaking ball).
I wrote at length about Trey Ball yesterday, so I don't need to elaborate much more. He's a solid prospect that I thought was more of a mid first round pick in this class for a number of reasons, but is still very talented player that has a #2 starter ceiling if everything works out. Teddy Stankiewicz (Arkansas signee) went in the second round out of high school last year, not signing with the Mets, then went about 20 picks higher this year. He's a big, physical, projectable righty with a plus fastball that shows a breaking ball and slider that are at least average, but scouts disagree about the upside of his secondary stuff and overall command. The Red Sox presumably are on the high end and see mid-rotation starter potential.
The Sox took a number of notable high school players that slipped due to signability and should sign a few of them if they can save some money in other spots. The most likely to sign is C Jon Denney, a backstop with top 10 pick buzz entering the spring that backed up across the board but should get a low seven figure bonus. There were rumors at the beginning of day two that the Royals had a deal worked out with Denney at the next pick. I also really liked the Sox 4th round pick, Myles Smith out of NAIA Lee University, who is a smallish righty that will flash a plus fastball and changeup for potential #3/4 starter upside. Some of the other college picks I liked include Kentucky LHP Corey Littrell (three average pitches and some command when he's right), Nova Southeastern 2B Carlos Asuaje (little guy at 5'8 that just hits) and Florida QB Jeff Driskel (starting QB and super premium athlete with lots of baseball potential, little experience). Among the multitude of notable late prep picks is RHP Jordan Sheffield (missed senior season due to Tommy John surgery but hit 98 mph with above average curve when healthy), CF Ryan Boldt (first round potential but missed senior season with knee injury), CF Joseph Monge (big tools, short on performance), CF Jordon Austin (more big tools but trouble making contact), LHP Gabe Speier (crafty prep lefty with four pitches), RHP Derek Burkamper (raw arm from Iowa is into low 90's with three pitches), RHP Derik Beauprez (projectable 6'5, 215 pounds with arm speed but lacks consistency) and 1B Nick Longhi (modest tools but long track record of hitting had hiccup with tough spring).
The Yankees were hoping to add some higher level college bats to the system and lucked out that both Notre Dame 3B Eric Jagielo and Fresno State RF Aaron Judge made it to their first two picks, judging by the pre-draft buzz that had them both going a bit higher than 26th and 32nd. I saw both players this spring and have posted videos and reports on them, but suffice to say both show above average regular potential at corner positions with track records of success in college and solid showings last summer on the Cape. Ian Clarkin was another solid pick and player that was rumored to be going as high as the middle of the first round at times.
The Bombers next pick was unexpected but fits with their previous trend of drafting up the middle talents that hit with good makeup. Gosuke Katoh was thought to go a little lower than the second round, but he has solid size at 6'2, 180 pounds, an advanced lefty stick and a chance to be an above average runner and defender at the keystone. Mike O'Neill is the nephew of True Yankee Paul O'Neill but has a little different skillset as a better athlete and runner that's more of a tweener that likely fits in right field long term. There are some questions on both his power for right field and his ultimate hitting upside, but there's everyday potential here. Among the other notable college picks are LSU righty Nick Rumbelow (power arm very similar to last year's Yankee/LSU pick Nick Goody), Georgia Tech CF Brandon Thomas (athletic with big power/speed combo but troubles with contact, 2012 4th rounder) and AUuburn LHP Connor Kendrick (average to above fastball-slider with usable changeup and some feel). The notable late high school picks here are Canadian RHP Cal Quantrill (very young, average stuff, projection, son of former Jays reliever Paul), Florida LHP Nestor Cortes (athletic smaller lefty with good delivery/command and fringy to average stuff) and Oklahoma CF Cody Thomas (OU signee as QB, big physical lefty bat that will be tough sign).
The first pick was a predicted and solid pick in South Carolina prep C Nick Ciuffo. Ciuffo is a physical catcher with at least average potential defensively and a plus arm along with above average raw power and some feel to hit with wood. He's got a grittiness to his approach to the game that scouts love and I think he'll be a big leaguer. Ryne Stanek is a guy I've written a lot about recently. Most of the time it start positive, in regards to how he's looked in the past (plus to plus-plus fastball-slider combination) and then negative as to how I saw him (terrible recently with average stuff and bad body language) along with buzz I heard around when the Rays drafted him. The buzz was that some clubs were concerned about his elbow while others thought it was pretty ordinary wear and tear for a top pitcher. He represents a good value at #30 and has #2 starter upside if it all comes back
The Rays next two picks are classic prep bats in the style they have traditionally drafted in the past: Arizona 2B Riley Unroe and Connecticut CF Tom Milone. Unroe is the son of a former big leaguer and is an above average runner with above average hands and bat speed but doesn't have the arm strength to play on the left side of the infield. The switch-hitting developed more power this spring and is still raw but could be an everyday 2B. Unroe was tied to the Rays all spring and scouting director R.J. Harrison lives in Arizona. Milone shows similar everyday tools with bat speed and average raw power potential along with above average speed. He has a bit of a hand hitch to his swing that could be fixable and hasn't faced a lot of high-end pitching due to the poor competition in Connecticut. Four other names caught my eye: Hawaii prep IF Kean Wong (not quite as physical as his brother, Cardinals 2B prospect Kolten, but similar skills) Texas prep OF Jeremy Hadley (shows a solid swing and some skills but lacks everyday tools), Jacksonville State outfielder Coty Blanchard (premium multi-sport athlete has tools but is very raw) and N.C. State righty Anthony Tzamtzis (smallish righty reliever returned from injury to sit 90-93 and hit 95 mph late in spring).
The big name in this draft is California prep righty Phil Bickford, who I wrote about some in another article that came out today. You can read my full report here but the short version is Bickford has been compared to Jered Weaver for his long, projectable from and fastball that's been up to 98 mph. Bickford is young and has a clean arm and good command but simply hasn't shown much secondary stuff with many scouts calling his breaking ball a present fringy pitch. The Jays appear to be going below slot in some of their next few picks, then took a number of risky overslot signs beyond the 10th round, so their strategy is clear: save money with other picks, sign Bickford for an overslot bonus and if he doesn't sign, then spend the savings on the post 10th round signs.
Some of the slot or lower signs in the top 10 rounds are interesting talents. Kentucky prep RHP Clinton Hollon was up to 96 as a prep underclassmen but leveled off this year with concerns about injuries, his delivery, his feel for pitching and even some scout questioning his makeup. When he's right, the super athletic righty will flash two plus pitches, so the upside is there and it sounds like the price is right. Patrick Murphy is presumably another below slot pick in the 3rd as an advanced righty that missed the whole season with Tommy John surgery but is known to Jays scouts from playing on the same high school team as their bonus baby Mitch Nay from last year's draft class. I also like the 6'6 prep lefty from Alabama the Jays took in the 4th, Evan Smith, who's been up to 94 with some feel for a breaking ball. College arms Matt Boyd and Kendall Graveman are both seniors with average stuff and good numbers that likely signed for a discount. As for the post 10th round insurance against Bickford, I like Missouri prep LHP Jake Brentz the most. He's a very athletic 6'2 lefty with some projection and a lack of pitching experience that flashes four above average pitches at times and has hit 97 mph, but has some real issues with his delivery and consistency. Three other over-slot prep picks are Ohio LHP Eric Lauer (another athletic, projectable 6'3 lefty that shows average stuff but could add more), California prep 1B Rowdy Tellez (massive lefty masher with plus raw power but no margin for error as an all-bat prospect) and Florida prep RHP Dane Dunning (a long, athletic 6'3 righty with fringy stuff that's shown better stuff at times and should add more as he matures).