2015 MLB Draft: Full Count Trends 5/11

Which MLB Draft prospects are on the rise and which players have seen their stock fall in recent weeks?

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.


Click here for SCOUT's complete 2015 MLB Draft Coverage

This week things are a little different for Full Count Trends. I really wanted to highlight some guys who have been mentioned heavily of late in articles and rumors. On Friday, my mock draft dropped but, in addition, BaseballAmerica and Fangraphs released their mock drafts. My mock draft was turned in on Thursday evening, so neither of these had any effect on what I wrote but, of course, I was curious to look and see how they compared.

This week I am going to go with four balls and two strikes. I had to mention two players in particular because of the other mock drafts that I mentioned above.


Balls

Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State

I nearly mentioned Harris last week and he could have made this list every week for the past month. He missed some time at the start of the year with injuries but has been as good as anyone could have hoped since then. I had him third in my mock draft. He is a top-20 guy, for sure, and I would bet he finds his way into the top 10. He is a big athlete who is similar to another top prospect, Kyle Funkhouser. They both are bigger innings-eater types who struggled with command entering the year. Harris is starting to emerge as the pitcher I favor. I know it wasn't that way in my big board but at the time I was allowing group-think to sway my opinions. Plus, at the time, Funkhouser had looked to be emerging with some really dynamic appearances. This weekend, Harris went 7.2 innings and he allowed two hits, walked none, allowed no runs, and struck out 10. Harris is a small-school guy. I can't wait to see his performances against better competition, as his team will be a part of the College World Series.

Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas

I feel like I have been driving the Benintendi bus for a long time. I looked at every top draft prospect ranking out there and saw he didn't make a single top 40. He was basically graded in most places as a second-round pick and in line with other athletic college outfielders like Harrison Bader and Donnie Dewees. I refuse to ignore the power he has showed facing top competition. He had another strong weekend against Tennessee, as he was 6-for-7 with a homerun, two doubles, and three runs scored. This week, Fangraph’s mock draft had him going 13 to Tampa Bay and they stated that Benintendi is moving up boards and is a good bet to go in the top 20 picks, if not top 10. Tampa, New York, Cleveland, San Francisco and Pittsburgh are all likely landing spots for the speedy centerfielder, who is still leading the NCAA in homeruns.

Justin Hooper, LHP, De La Salle HS (Calif.)

Hooper's draft stock has only been matched in terms of inconsistency by his performance this year. The talent and ceiling are tantalizing. It's rare to find a left-hander with his size (6'7") and velocity (he hit 97 this year). The problem has been, at points, he has shown command that would grade 30, maybe 20. He had the stuff but had no idea where it was going. While he struggled with command, his velocity also dipped and he looked very unlikely to be signable. He is reported to have a higher bonus demand, as well. If he doesn't go early, he might not be a signable guy later. I knocked him from my last mock draft and top draft prospects list. This week, he faced one of the top-10 high school programs in the country and was the pitcher who looked like a possible first round pick. He shut-out College Park and struck out seven. Hooper strikes me as a guy a team could target if they save money early. He could easily be the top pick of round two if the Diamondbacks save a ton of pool cash on pick one. A huge risk reward type of arm, but the total package is something that is not easily found.

Matthew Crownover, LHP, Clemson

If you wanted to find the antithesis of Hooper, it would nearly be Crownover. He is left-handed so that stops him from being the perfect antithesis. Crownover is a 5'10" pitcher who has excelled for Clemson. Over the weekend, he went seven strong against Georgia Southern, allowing three runs, on six hits, one walk, and he struck out eight. He has been a known name since he was in high school. It has struck me over the years that teams are more willing to overlook height issues at 18 than at 22. I am not sure if they think the player might grow, even if it is unlikely. Crownover was taken a year ago as a draft-eligible sophomore by the San Francisco Giants. I understand the knocks; he is the shortest player and older for his grade. Crownover is a solid command-control lefty. I mentioned he was draft eligible a year ago. He is already 22, so I fully expect him to sign this year. The age and size will cause him to be over-looked yet by production and performance he could be a good get for a team in the third through sixth rounds.


Strikes

Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville

I nearly had Funkhouser make this list a week ago. It wasn't a horrible performance but it was not what you expect from a guy in May who was being talked about as a top-10 pick. This week, however, Florida State piled up on Funkhouser, who was chased after just five innings. His command was off and he walked five while allowing six hits and six runs. Funkhouser has two potential plus pitches and a solid build, which screams innings eater. I am just nervous about being sure anyone is a sure innings-eater when command has been such an issue for the majority of his career. I would not be shocked if he fell out of the top ten with a host of names surging of late.

Blake Trahan, SS, Louisiana-Lafayette

Trahan is one of a myriad of college shortstops in this year’s class. For all the comments many have made, myself included, about the weakness of this class one area where it does have depth is at shortstop. Trahan has played shortstop and there is debate if that is where he will end-up long term. I think he can and should be given the chance. His best skill is his speed and it is clearly plus. He has had excellent on-base skills in college. He has walked more than he struck out every year and his batting average for his career is over .330. Over the weekend, he went 3-for-12 with a run scored. Trahan is a likely second round pick but should be a good value as a player whose floor is a very good utility bat with plus speed.


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