Editor’s Note: Every Monday through the draft we will have a Full Count Trends piece running here on SCOUT. Every weekend I will look at three players who had a strong weekend and two who had a down week or had their draft stock impacted by something negative (health or otherwise). I am looking at a full count from the hitter's perceptive, so players on the rise will be in the three-balls category and those who have had negative performances or health news will be in the two-strikes category. Think of this feature as a running stock watch on draft prospects. A player in the two-strikes category may recover in plenty of time before the draft commences. You will also likely see names jump into the three-balls category that may not have a high profile yet but will be worth watching in the lead-up to the draft.
This week I noticed a few players that I have not had a chance to cover yet and who might not get capsules had nice weeks. I wanted to take the time and target these players and give them their due.
A lot of players had strong weekends. Jon Harris made this space a week ago and put up his third great outing. If I could redo my mock draft I would have him going to the Astros at the end of the compensation picks. I took him out at the last second and that was a mistake. Dansby Swanson, who had a capsule last week, also put up some big numbers on Friday. Mikey White from Alabama is a guy who has been close to making this list and will soon. Christin Stewart from Tennessee made the not hot list in a previous article but this week nearly made the hot list this week.
Mariano Rivera Jr., RHP, Iona – Yes, he is the son of that Mariano Rivera. He has been on the draft radar since high school and most of it was due to bloodlines. He was drafted last year in the 29th round by the Yankees but ended up back at Iona. There was talk that his velocity was up this summer and it was up even more on Saturday. Reports stated he was hitting 95 early and, as a junior this year, he will certainly go higher than round 29. He ended up going seven on Saturday, striking out nine, walking one, and allowing six hits. It was only a seven inning game so technically it was a complete game, as well. He gave up two runs but only one earned. The reports are that his velocity faded a bit, but all of a sudden, Rivera is a player to watch for reasons more than his bloodlines. He is undersized but as his stuff plays up, Rivera looks like he could follow his father and be a good bullpen arm down the road.
Justin Jacome, LHP, UC Santa Barbara – No, he is not related to Jason Jacome, the lefty who bounced around the majors in the 1990s. I checked with him via Twitter and he said it would have been distant relative at best. It is easy to see why people want to make the comparison thanks to the same last name and both being left-handed. Justin is a lot bigger, though, and I would bet on him having a better career. Jacome has been over shadowed at UCSB but is a known name to every scout. He might not be as exciting as teammate Dillon Tate, but he has as good a chance as any arm in this draft of making the majors. On Friday, he went eight and a third striking out four, walking one, and allowing seven hits. He gave up two earned runs but got the win. He is a big kid with a great feel, solid command, and three legit pitches. If you want a safe left-handed pitcher who can move quickly, then Jacome is your man.
Kevin Duchene, LHP, Illinois – Speaking of lefties, Duchene has been a consistent pitcher for Illinois for three years while slowly improving and adding some velocity. On Friday, he went nine innings giving up a single unearned run. He struck out 10, walked none, and gave up seven hits. Illinois was able to win in 13 innings. Duchene gave the Fighting Illini every chance to win on Friday. He has excellent command and control. On the year, he has 47 strikeouts to only three walks and his era is 0.64. Duchene should go in the first five rounds as a pitch-ability lefty with the floor of a reliever and a possible back-end starter if his curve can develop into a solid third pitch. He wont hurt you by putting guys on and should be a quick moving lefty who is a good bet to help a team down the road.
Steven Duggar, OF, Clemson – Duggar should be a first-rounder this year. When one looks at the package of tools that he has, one would think he would be talked about as a possible top-10 pick. He looks like a five-tool player. He is fast, powerful, and has a strong arm. Yet he has not been able to put it together at Clemson. His tools have never been incorporated into the game. One would think he should be a centerfielder with power and speed. Instead he is a corner outfielder who has struggled all year. In a Clemson win on Friday, he was 1-for-4 with a strikeout and a run scored. On Saturday in a Clemson extra-inning win, he went 0-for-4 with a walk, strikeout, and a run scored. On Sunday, he was a lot better, going 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and a stolen base. For the whole weekend he was 2-for-11 with three walks. If Duggar can get that power out of batting practice and start to get on-base at a regular clip, he is a first rounder easily. His tools have out-shined his performance in college so far. Some team will draft him in the top three rounds betting they can take the tools and fix the talented Duggar.
Richie Martin, SS, Florida – Martin is another talented player scouts have been waiting to breakthrough for a while. He is a natural shortstop who should not only stay at the position but would have a plus arm there. In the Cape Cod League, he put up excellent numbers and many hoped it was the beginning of his break-out year. Now the college baseball season is two months old and it appears Martin just had a good summer in the Cape. He has not had a bad year but scouts expected more. He has plus speed and a good eye at the plate but has not been one of the better hitters on his own team. On Friday, Florida won, 5-1. Martin was in the two-hole and went 0-for-4 with a walk, run, and a strikeout. The next day Florida lost, 10-1. Martin went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. Florida ended up losing the series to unranked Missouri. Martin was 1-for-4 on Sunday. For the weekend, Martin was 2-for-12 with a walk and two strikeouts. Martin still has a chance to go in round one. Shortstops are the most valuable position in the draft and they always rise. Martin has showed some signs and is very young for the junior class. Much like Duggar, Martin is another player who has the tools to succeed. Scouts have been waiting for that breakout to happen and any sign of it could drive his stock way up.