Photo of Jordan Sheffield by Don Yates / Vandymania.com

2016 MLB Draft: Full Count Trends 3/14

There was a perfect game and lots more to talk about last weekend during the NCAA baseball schedule. Jeff Ellis profiles three MLB Draft prospects who saw their stock rise this week and two that saw it fall some.

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.

Another week, another stock report, so let’s dive in.

I have to lead off this week’s stock report by talking about Jesse Scholtens of Wright State. On Friday, he pitched the first perfect game in Wright State school history. He struck out 12 on the day. Scholtens is a senior for Wright State. He started his career as a freshman at Arizona, then went the JUCO route for a year before ending up at Wright State. He is a big kid who could be drafted as a senior sign.

I really thought on Friday night I would end up with Will Craig in the three balls area, then he got a little dinged up and missed the rest of the weekend. Craig, a complete hitter who also pitches for Wake Forest, is in the top-15 of my big board (which will be released on Thursday). Last Friday, Craig went 2-4 with a pair of homeruns. He pitched two innings, allowing one hit, hitting a batter, striking out two, and picking up his third save of the year. The A.J. Reed comparisons are bound to happen and I think it’s a fair comparison. They are virtually the same size, though Craig is right-handed and Reed a lefty. Craig is playing third this year and has the arm for the position, but I think first is his future and the bat will play there. It would play anywhere, frankly.

Another fun fact I have to mention is that on Saturday, Virginia catcher Matt Thaiss, in his 15th game of the year, was struck out for the first time. If one were to assume a 60 game schedule, he is on pace for just four strike-outs this year. In an age where strike-outs are on the rise, it is interesting to watch a top prospect whose best skills are his plate discipline and being nearly impossible to strikeout.

Three Balls

Ronnie Dawson, OF, Ohio State

As you will see, this is a bit of an opposite week. Dawson moved from the not-hot list to the hot list. If I am going to spotlight a player’s struggles, you can bet I will also praise them when they find success. This was a big weekend for Dawson against UNLV. It was not a great weekend for Ohio State, who lost two of three, though they did manage to put up a 20 spot on Saturday. Dawson, though, really can’t take any blame for his team’s struggles this weekend.

Dawson went 6-14 over the weekend, with three walks, three homeruns, two doubles, and a stolen base. He reached base more than 50% of the time. When he collected a hit over the weekend, five out of six times it went for extra bases.

Dawson is a compact but strong athlete. When you see his size and weight you might think receiver or running back, not outfielder. He has half as many homeruns now as he did a year ago, and we are at the quarter point of the season. His mix of power and athleticism would make one think he should be in the top two rounds discussion, but his name has been absent.

Dawson is certainly a name to watch and, after this big weekend, I am sure others will be going back to examine him. The Big Ten is a weaker baseball conference compared to its power five brethren. This can cause talent to be a bit forgotten. In May, no one is racing to Ohio to see talent. The pool just doesn’t offer enough depth. Dawson, however, has performed well every year. While there are warts, if he can show above-average power, I expect to see him go in rounds 2-4.

Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Vanderbilt

Sheffield had another big night. He was facing Xavier and went 7.1 innings, allowing one hit, three walks, and striking out 12. Sheffield is undersized and this is only his second year pitching, after missing his entire freshman year due to Tommy John surgery. He has shown big time strikeout stuff in college while also displaying improved command.

Sheffield is in his second year back from surgery and an improvement in command is expected. I wish I had more data on him; as of now he has less starts than any starting pitcher on my big board. The stuff is there to get a team excited about his potential. I understand the concerns with injury and size, even if I don’t agree. I still think that he is a relatively safe bet, with the floor of an elite closer.

Nick Senzel, 3B, Tennessee

I will give a spoiler for my big board that comes out this week. Nick Senzel is the top college hitter in this class to me. I think his hit, power, and plate discipline tools are better than Corey Ray’s. If Ray can play centerfield, he would gain the position advantage, but if Ray stays at the corners, then Senzel would gain the advantage here, as well.

Over the weekend, Senzel went 3-8 with three walks, two doubles, a homerun, and a stolen base against UC Irvine. On Saturday, he also added a pair of sacrifice flies to drive in a pair of runs. Even when Senzel does not get on base, he manages to do something positive.

I was a bit slow to warm to Senzel. The thing for Senzel is that all he does is hit -- in the SEC and on the Cape, and I think that will continue to the pros.

Photo of Nick Senzel by Danny Parker

Two Strikes

Matt Krook, LHP, Oregon

http://www.scout.com/mlb/story/1644678-scout-s-2016-mlb-draft-central?s=...

A week after making the hot side of the sheet, Krook is now on the negative side. He failed to get out of the first inning against Mississippi State. His line was .2 innings, two hits, five walks, two hit batters, two strikeouts, and five runs given up. It was a rough weekend in general for the lefties from Oregon, as both got beat up on.

Krook is in his first year pitching after coming back from Tommy John surgery. We often see issues with command when players first return from surgery. In many respects, it can take a full two years for a player to get back to normal. I mention all of this because Krook’s command has been shaky, at best, this year. With his mechanics, I believe that it won’t be a long-term issue. I am still high on Krook and will keep him in my top-10, unless he completely unravels this year.

Cavan Biggio, 2B, Notre Dame

Biggio has been on the radar since high school. He had first round talk out of high school and I wondered a few times how much of that was due to his last name (he is the son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio). His first year at Notre Dame was not good. He rebounded his sophomore year, but was still a bit underwhelming to some. I was fine with the low average, as he balanced it with a high walk total and power production. The low BABIP numbers are a concern, as that tends to show at the lower levels how good a player is in terms of bat to ball skills.

Over the weekend, against a very good Louisville rotation, Biggio had a rough go. He went 0-11 with three walks. I am not sure that Biggio is ever going to hit well enough to be more than a utility type player.


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