Editor’s Note: Every week 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.
Having written this column on a weekly basis over a few years now, one enters into a few patterns. On Friday, I like to forecast who I think I will pick out for the weekend. I make a list of players who had good or bad nights. I mention this process because there were so many good performances that I feel bad leaving off several names. So, instead, I am going to do a few quick-hitters before the deep dive.
Alec Hansen’s game will be the most talked about this week. After early issues, he faced a very good UCLA team and was cruising until the seventh, when he was pulled after giving up four runs, and picked up the loss. The numbers, though, are strong, especially the 11 strikeouts to just one walk. There was still a hit batter and a wild pitch, showing the issue with command. I know I will catch hell for it, but Hansen won’t be in the top-10 in my big board this month. I need to see more outings like this before I trust the talented, but inconsistent hurler.
Speaking of players who will surprise on my big board this month, Ben Bowden is going to make the cut over bigger names. He is a 6’4” left hander who has growth potential due to this being his first year as a starter. He is not pitching deep into games yet, but has performed well every week. Facing Stanford on Thursday, Bowden went five innings and allowed just three baserunners. He struck out four and allowed a single unearned run. I see mid-rotation potential in his big left-handed frame.
I have to mention Duke’s Bailey Clark, a 6’5” right-hander who has pitched well every Friday thus far. This week he faced Toledo and went seven strong. He didn’t walk anyone and only allowed four hits while striking out nine. His continued excellence is going to make a lot of teams take notice. Clark is one of the guys just outside my top 30, but could easily sneak into the next one.
I also have to mention the Friday that Jacob Bosiokovic had. His name came up on the most recent podcast as an above-average athlete in a huge 6’5”, 240 pound frame. He only started one game this weekend, but it was one of the best performances of the week. Facing Seton Hall, he was 4-5 with three doubles and a homerun. A red-shirt junior returning from injury, Bosiokovic is trying to prove that there is enough power potential to get him drafted this year.
Now onto the main attractions this week...
Matt Krook, LHP, Oregon
I have been big on Krook since he was an athletic high school pitcher. Before the year began, he made my big board even though he didn’t pitch last year and had only eight starts for his entire college career. His ability has always been clear. A plus athlete with an easy, repeatable delivery, Krook isn’t a concern in terms of his development. It has always been more about reps than needing him to change his approach.
On Saturday, he went six innings and didn’t allow a single hit. He faced 24 batters and struck out 12. Krook walked two batters, but there were some command issues. He hit four batters, including last week’s hot sheet member Andrew Calica, twice.
I want to give kudos to the Oregon coaches for not sending out Krook for a long performance to chase a no-hitter. Krook is pitching for the first time for Oregon since 2014; the coaches need to get his work load up slowly. Sadly, we rarely see college coaches who seem to put their pitchers first.
Krook is my number three lefty in this class and my number three college arm. He has the pedigree and the ability to be a top-five pick. If he can continue to excel, the sky is the limit for him; especially in a draft that is lacking at the top.
Logan Shore, RHP, Florida
Meet the Rodney Dangerfield of college baseball and this draft season. Logan Shore just can’t get the respect he deserves. He is the ace Friday night starter for the number one team in the country. He has had this role for the last two years. Shore was the SEC freshman of the year and won a national freshman of the year award. In terms of performance, there is not a better pitcher in major division baseball.
This season, in 21 innings, he has an ERA of 0.43 and has allowed only 10 baserunners all year. Shore has struck out 22 during that time, making his strikeout to walk totals 22:2. He has been a force on the mound pretty much since day one in Gainesville. Still, Shore is not even the top starter on his team in this draft.
Shore isn’t the biggest arm, nor does he throw the hardest. This is often a combo which can cause a player to slip, no matter the performance level. I am typically not the biggest advocate of safe picks, but I think there is value in Shore. His size and stuff won’t excite teams, but his performance shows a guy who should move very quickly once he enters a system.
Matt Thaiss, C, Virginia
Thaiss was drafted in the 32nd round by the Red Sox out of high school. In a class with no clear first-round catcher, he is one of the four guys who are trying to make a case to be the top catcher in this draft.
Thaiss is the number three hitter for one of the top teams in the country. He has a great approach at the plate, walking more than he has struck out during his college career, and combines this with above-average power. Thaiss hit 10 homeruns a year ago and I think the tool grades out as above-average MLB power.
He is not just a bat, though, and is a solid defender behind the plate. Thaiss doesn’t have a big arm and is likely to be an average to above-average defender. He should be able to stick there, but don’t expect him to be a premier guy defensively.
This weekend, Thaiss did what he usually does. He went 5-11 with four walks, no strikeouts, and a homerun. I felt like this weekend was a great illustration of exactly why Thaiss is so high on so many boards.
I am sure I am leaving out a name, but right now I think the top four catchers are Thaiss, Sean Murphy, Chris Okey, and Zack Collins. I expect that just about anyone I talk to will have them in a different order, and I would have a hard time arguing one is significantly better than the others.
Ronnie Dawson, OF, Ohio State
I talked about the big day Dawson’s teammate had. Well, in that one game, Bosiokovic reached base as many times as Dawson managed the entire weekend.
Dawson is a left-fielder from Ohio State who many thought would have a chance to be a first-round pick after his big freshman year for Buckeyes. Dawson is a plus athlete who has played left because OSU has one of the best defenders in the Big Ten playing center. Dawson’s power-and-speed combination got scouts excited two years ago. The lack of progress, however, has been a concern for Dawson.
Over the weekend, Dawson was 2-12 with two doubles, two walks, and a stolen base as Ohio State lost two of three.
Dawson’s best season was his freshman year. Since then, he has gone backwards in every area statistically but slugging. The progress that many hoped for has not happened. This is not to say he has been a bad player, far from it. Dawson has posted an OPS over 800 every year so far. He is certainly a talented player, but sometimes lack of growth is viewed as badly as regression.
Dawson is a cold weather player with one of the better power-and-speed combos in the draft. I think he goes in the top-three rounds to a team who thinks they can turn his potential into ability.
Michael Shawaryn, RHP, Maryland
Maryland has grown into a sneaky good Big Ten program. For the past few years they have had a player that generates a lot of talk. Last year, they actually had two such players in Alex Robinson and Brandon Lowe. In spite of this, Maryland has not had a non-supplemental first rounder since the Oakland A’s drafted John McCurdy in 2002. Shawaryn has a chance to break that streak, but it will be hard for him to do so.
Shawaryn is one of the many right-handed junior arms vying to go early this year. The problem is that there are so many good arms that a team could find nearly equal value at the start of round three as they can find in the late first. There is so much depth it could cause arms to slide, as teams could decide to wait.
Over the weekend, Maryland had a very tough match-up against Tennessee and Shawaryn struggled. Maryland was still able to pick up the win, however. Shawaryn went 4.1 innings. He gave up five earned runs on four hits, two walks, two wild pitches, and a hit batter. He only struck out four. It was not a great game in terms of his command, and in general he struggled. This was very troubling, as he has always been a guy known for his command and control more than his great stuff. Last year, for instance, his strikeout to walk total was 138:29. He averaged less than two walks a game. He had more wild pitches on Friday than he had in 116 innings last year.
It wasn’t a great summer for Shawaryn and many thought he might have been tired. This was his second start against an SEC team and neither was good. The other one was okay, but again, command not as good as expected and his day ended prematurely. He won’t get too many chances to prove himself against top teams this year. To lead off with struggles against two teams after a weak summer is going to hurt.
I have a hard time seeing a first-rounder here. Shawaryn looks like a back-end arm, and in a class this deep, he could end up seeing himself more in the 2-4 round range on draft day. His performance needs to pick up and show why, a year ago, he managed to generate future first round talk.