2014 MLB Draft Reactions: Day One Live Blog
2014 MLB Draft Rankings: The Draft Board
2014 MLB Draft Podcast: Jim Callis
I'll be brief with my thoughts and limited in the amount of names I list here as the first and biggest event of the 2015 MLB Draft showcase season, the PG National, is going right now and is over 12 hours per day. The Junior National hosts some of the top 2016 MLB Draft's prep prospects and had much better talent this year than last, despite only 6 of my top 16 in the class attending, because 4 of the top 6 were here and all impressed with a numbers of new names emerging. These players are all rising high school juniors and are just entering the sweet spot where most of them will commit, though many of the top players already have, as you can see below.
1. C Herbert Iser (Killian HS, FL)
Iser had the loudest BP of the event, showing above average raw power launching balls out to various parts of right field that is deep even for big league parks, the Red Sox spring training home that is a replica of Fenway Park. Iser is already big for his age at 6'3/205, so the concern is if he can stick behind the plate, but his arm is above average and he moves alright, so right field is as far down the positional spectrum as he will go.
Dillard's tools aren't quite as loud, but he's got a little better chance to stick behind the plate and also hit a few balls over the Monster in left field. He's a below average runner but the rest of his tools are average to slightly above, giving him the base at a young age to possibly work into the top couple rounds in 2016.
Quintana's cut can get a little uphill at times, but he shows the ability to manipulate the bat head to where the ball is, spraying it all over the field with average raw power. He's fine now at short, but may eventually move to second base, though his bat should profile there.
4. OF Ryan Mejia (Alonso HS, FL)
Mejia also made some loud contact via his above average bat speed and fringy current raw power that should grow as he fills out his 6'2/180 frame. He's an above average runner that may be able to play center, but likely settles in a corner with left field the most likely. The bat is enough to profile everyday there if he keeps developing, though.
In the second tier of names, two shortstops emerged in Hudson Sanchez (Southlake Carroll HS, TX) and Drew Mendoza (Lake Minneola HS, FL, Florida State commit). Sanchez is young enough for the 2017 class and has a lot of the starter tools of 2014 Mets 3rd rounder Milton Ramos. Mendoza is a bigger, more projectable shortstop that likely moves to third base and doesn't have big power right now, but a solid idea at the plate and smooth actions. C Michael Amditis (Boca Raton HS, FL, Miami commit) was the third best catcher at the event but still stood out on his own with an above average arm and pull power. OF Seth Beer (Lambert HS, GA) is one of the most popular players in the class, but I've always been a little light on him since the tools fit best in left field and he's aged like a 2015 prospect, so his best tool (bat) is always a little hard to buy into when facing kids a year older than him, though the bat is very solid. Lastly, CF Chase Cheek (Dr. Phillips HS, FL, Duke commit) showed plus wheels and great feel for contact in games, which isn't easy to find at this age.
In the lower upside or pure projection are of the prospect list, SS Grant Bodison (Mauldin HS, SC, South Carolina commit) stands out a lot as a loose, projection shortstop with a live body, but he's old for the class and can be erratic in games offensively and defensively. C Kyle McCann (Lambert HS, GA) is a high school teammate of Beer's and showed an above average arm and feel for contact in games. C Marc Coffers (Barron Collier HS, FL, Ole Miss commit) is the second catcher that Ole Miss has committed in this class, but his tools are more in line with something that may get to campus, with solid-average speed and below average power, but average tools otherwise. SS Cole Stobbe (Millard West HS, NE) is a projectable shortstop with good actions, feel to hit and some quick-twitch his game.
C Christian Leonard (St. Thomas More HS, LA) was a high school teammate of Royals 2nd rounder C Chase Vallot and will obviously now get to catch more often; his tools remind me of Simeon Lucas as a catcher with a shot to stay behind the plate and an advanced lefty bat with some pop. 3B/RHP Mason Studstill (Rockledge HS, FL) flashed fringy to average stuff on the mound, advanced for the class, but his carrying tool is his raw power, already major league average. 3B Zach Weller (Coronado HS, CA) took a BP reminiscent of Cardinals 2014 2nd rounder RHP Jack Flaherty from when he was a primary 3B; Weller has a chance to profile as a everyday player with continued development. Lastly, 3B Andres Sosa (Reagan HS, TX, Texas commit) didn't jump out in the workout portion of the event, but hit like crazy in the games and also has a chance to profile as an everyday player.
Some other bats in the class that weren't here but will show up at other spots on the showcase circuit this summer/fall include OF Blake Rutherford (Chaminade Prep HS, CA, UCLA commit), C/OF Blake Sabol (Aliso Niguel HS, CA) and C/1B T.J. Collett (Terre Haute North Vigo HS, IN, Kentucky commit). Less than half of the elite players in this class are committed and nearly every big time program had at least one coach at the event as it's about time for that number to increase. Typically, the class' top 100 players will be about 75% committed by the end of the summer or into the fall.
It's also worth noting that 2017 OF Ronald Washington (Dulles HS, TX), one of a few 2017 prospects at the event, stood out as one of the best overall prospects at the event as well. Unlike many super-advanced underclassmen, Washington is appropriately aged for his class (18.23 on 2017 draft day, 15 right now) and has tools on par with kids in the 2015 draft class. Before you get too excited and put Washington in the class of Justin Upton or other super precocious prep bats, Washington is listed at 5'11/202 and may be a bit shorter and bigger than that. He's a solid-average runner that already has average raw power, good bat speed, smooth hitting mechanics and flashes an average arm at times. The tools are here for a top couple rounds draftee and Washington is probably the best in his class right now (though college recruiters don't even have a great feel for the class yet) and that's a great start.
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