Here is the final Big Board. This is the first time I have ever gone to 100 but, since it's me, I decided to go to 102. Now, I am just one person and I have a day job, so I will admit that, on a list of this size, I have to rely on others. Some of the players I placed on here were because of reports from people I know and trust well. For others, I was intrigued by tools and a stat line. For still others, I watched every video I could find on them. With some players, I combined all of these to get information.
http://www.scout.com/mlb/story/1644678-scout-s-2016-mlb-draft-central?s=304 I have my own approach, and it is stat heavy. You will notice that one big name that’s not even on my list is Matt Krook. I had Krook as a top-10 player earlier, but, when your walk rate goes to 9.00 BB/9, I take that player off my board even taking into account that he is coming back from surgery.
The other issue is, again, I am only one guy. I don’t think any other writer for a national site does these lists on his/her own. This also limits my ability to see certain players or go into a deep dive of smaller programs.
Lastly, thank you all for reading and commenting. This year has been a lot of fun and everyone has been great.
1. Blake Rutherford OF Chaminade HS (Calif.)
At the end of last year, I congratulated the Phillies for winning the Blake Rutherford sweepstakes. I stand by my belief that he is the top player in this class. If he had reclassified and been draft-eligible last year, he would have been a top 5-10 selection. Now, since he is 19 and has some fatigue because he has been scouted so much, it seems people are not as enthralled. He has the best future hit tool in this class, to me, and the chance for above-average to plus power, with a ++ hit tool, makes him my top player.
2. Nick Senzel 3B Tennessee
I have intensely debated who my top college bat is, frequently going back and forth on this.
In the end, I feel like Senzel is the guy. I know there is debate on his position, but the bat will play anywhere. He hit on the Cape, with wood bats, facing top competition. He hit for a very weak Tennessee team, with little protection around him, in the top conference in the NCAA. He rarely strikes out, and his power started to emerge this year. Senzel has hit twice as many home runs as last year, with his strikeout rate dropping. He has the best hit tool of any college player right now, and I would project him to have the second best future hit tool, with above-average power. I trust the bat more than the other top college players.
3. Mickey Moniak OF La Costa Canyon HS (Calif.)
I had Moniak in the top four back in February. I backed off, in part, because I took a ridiculous amount of flack. Now, it seems like a lock that he goes in the top five. The reason I projected him so high then was the fact that he is a polished prep hitter who can stick in center and is young for his class. Every person who sees him ends up in love with him as a player. I have not gotten one negative comment all year. The only question is, will he develop power? I would bet on it being an average tool down the road.
4. Jason Groome LHP Barnegat HS (NJ)
I have had a long, interesting trip with Groome. Last summer, I had him in the top-five when most places had him more in the 6-15 range. Then, early in the spring season, when he jumped to one, I was the one saying he is not on the level of Brady Aiken, or even Koby Allard. Now, he sits third on my board. There is a lot of potential, thanks to size and secondary offerings. I have heard some concerns that he has bought into his own hype and that has impacted his value.
5. Corey Ray OF Louisville
I know, here comes the avalanche of people saying Ray is too low. He has been a little up-and-down at points, but the numbers are still strong. I think Senzel will be a better hitter, but Ray gets points for the ability to play centerfield. A year ago, Ray isn’t a top-10 player, and we are seeing him fall a bit late this year. He is a safe future centerfielder with one plus skill, his speed. He should provide an above-average bat in centerfield. I know there have been a lot of Ray Lankford comps, but I see more of a Carl Everett type, who could surprise with some power as he gets older.
6. A.J. Puk LHP Florida
Puk has been strong when he pitches, but I do have concerns about both his command and control this year. The stuff is premium and his velocity is special for a lefty, but he just can’t go deep into games right now, because of the amount of pitches it takes him to be effective. I compared him to Drew Pomeranz about a month ago, and I think that is a fair comp. He has the size and stuff, but both had injury and command woes as juniors in the SEC. I think he ends up a mid- rotation starter, because of command and control, but will admit that, if he can be fixed, then there is ace potential here.
7. Kyle Lewis OF Mercer
I know I am the low man on Lewis, but his high K-rate in a weak conference is concerning. He has been my number three college bat throughout the process, because of the risk inherent with him. Of that top tier of college bats, he has the lowest floor and the highest ceiling. There is star potential here, but he also has the best chance to end up being a 4A guy.
8. Delvin Perez SS International Baseball Academy (PR)
The tools are there, but the problem seems to be that Perez knows it, as well. The attitude in game and concerns about work ethic have lowered him on the board. If he was a plus makeup kid, then he would be the top player on my board. He has the potential to be a top 5 shortstop, but he needs to do a lot of growing up and is sliding on boards of late. It’s a strong class in Puerto Rico and he has been scouted heavily. I talked to one scout who, after a visit out there, was raving more about his teammate than Perez himself. The reason was that Perez’s perceived attitude had put him off.
9. Riley Pint RHP St. Thomas Aquinas HS (KS)
If you are ok with risks, then Pint is your guy early on. He has the ace starter training starting kit with his size and velocity, but there is a lot of rawness here, as well. Any outcome is possible, from failing outright, to reaching AA, to becoming a Cy Young winner. A team has to trust its ability to develop arms before it can consider Pint. I know I am lower than most, but, over the past few years, I feel like the risk is a lot higher with arms like Pint.
10. Dakota Hudson RHP Mississippi St.
Hudson has ascended to be my top college right-handed pitcher. It has been quite the year for Hudson, who has blossomed in his first year as a starter, seeing his walk rate more than cut in half from the year before. He has maintained a high strikeout rate while both his control and command have improved. He rarely gets hit hard, has given up few extra base hits, and has been one of the best, if not the best, pitchers in the top conference in the country. He’s one of the safest players in this class.
11. Braxton Garrett RHP Florence HS (AL)
Garrett is so developed for a high school pitcher. He shows three pitches which project out as at least above-average. His curve is a legitimate weapon, which he should be able to use to get out left-handers or right-handers. He might not have big velocity, but he still has 2/3 potential and a floor that is a lot higher than most prep arms.
12. Nolan Jones 3B Holy Ghost HS (PA)
I am unsure why Jones has slid in some places. I see a very good athlete, with a polished approach and some loft in his swing, which shows me power potential in his large frame. He plays short, and I would be curious to see him try second, but, with his size, third is the most likely position. He is also young for his level and a cold weather guy, which indicates that he has a lot more growth potential. His hit and power tools both project out as above-average down the road. I don’t think he has any tools that project to below average, which is incredibly valuable for any infielder. He kind of has a Senzel starter kit, and I could see him becoming a similar player, but bigger and with more power potential.
13. Matt Manning RHP Sheldon HS (Calif.)
I think Manning and Pint are very close, in terms of my personal evaluation. Pint has more velocity, but Manning is the better athlete. I feel like, over the years, we have learned that the arms that stay the healthiest are the ones who are the best athletes. Manning is raw, and it is going to take some time, but this son of a former NBA player has the size, athleticism, and velocity to be a possible front of the rotation starter. The only question is, will his price tag be too much, or where will it cause him to fall to?
14. Alex Kirilloff OF Plum High HS (PA)
Kirilloff projects out as a corner outfielder, with above-average hit and power tools down the road. He has shown big power in a HR derby he won at Petco Park, as part of Perfect Game event. He is a solid athlete, but his future is definitely as a corner outfielder. He has the arm to work in right, and could be an above-average defender there. He is a cold weather kid, with a plus offensive profile, which should see him drafted in the top 20 picks.
15. Jordan Sheffield RHP Vanderbilt
The question with Sheffield is, do you think he can start? It is the same debate I have had every single year with people. I could recite the list of players I was much higher on, because I value stuff over size. For those keeping track at home, the list of players I had to fight for have been as follows: Sonny Gray, Marcus Stroman, Rob Kaminsky, Brandon Finnegan, and Carson Fulmer, off the top of my head. I am sure there have been many others. I know some of these players could still fail, but my point is that you often get a good value on a player because of size concerns. If a pitcher is 6’1” or shorter, their draft projections are much lower than if a guy was 6’3”. Sheffield, in his second year back from arm surgery and his first year as a starter, has excelled in the SEC. I can admit that there is more risk with a smaller arm, but the potential payoff is greater. Sheffield has the profile of a potential mid-rotation starter, with two plus pitches, and the floor of an elite reliever.
16. Zack Collins C/1B Miami
These next two hitters are very close in grade to me. The reason for the higher valuation on Collins is the outside chance that he could catch. I am not sure if he will be given the chance, as the value of catcher defense and pitch framing has risen a lot more over the past few years. Collins has average hit and power tools, but his plate discipline is clearly plus. He is a walk machine, with numbers in college that are very similar to Michael Conforto, with a bit more pop. The issue here is defense; if he was even an average catcher, then Collins is a top-five pick. As a more than likely first baseman, it drops him down the board.
17. Will Craig 1B Wake Forest
It is natural to compare Craig and Collins. Both are name big bats in the ACC, who will more than likely have to move to first base. Craig’s bat is better. I would rate his hit and power tools as being better, as well as his plate discipline. He will get dinged because of his build and worries about how he played with wooden bats on the Cape. I would argue that he was tired after a heavy work load as a hitter and being Wake’s closer all year. I think he has some growth potential for the team that drafts him if he focuses just on hitting. There is some A.J. Reed potential here, to me, in terms of a 1B prospect who is undervalued, in spite of production, who should take a jump when he focuses on hitting. He doesn’t have Reed’s power, but I still think the bat plays anywhere.
18. Joey Wentz LHP Shawnee Mission East HS (KS)
There is a bit of a drop after Wentz, it seems to me. This would be the end of the second tier of players for me, personally. Wentz was a hitter all summer and would have been drafted in the top-three rounds as a first base power bat. Then, when he started pitching, he was hitting 95 this spring. He’s a big kid, at 6’5”, with the chance for even more projection. A good athlete with solid, repeatable mechanics, Wentz has front line potential and could see his name go in the top-10 picks.
19. Justin Dunn RHP Boston College
Dunn has started six games this year; the previous two years combined, he had started seven. If Dunn had been a starter since the beginning of the season, he would be a lot higher. He has hit 99 and often sits low to mid 90s. He has four pitches, though he hasn’t had to use the change-up much, since he has mostly worked out of the bullpen. Dunn could be compared to Dillon Tate a year ago. They are both undersized former relievers with electric stuff and command concerns. His slider is nowhere near as strong as Tate’s, so he is more of a poor man’s Tate. Still, in this draft, that is a clear top-20 guy to me.
20. Ian Anderson RHP Shenendehowa HS (NY)
Anderson had a late start, because of New York weather and an injury. The past few years have seen some players from New York go pretty high in the draft and then disappoint in terms of performance. I am not sure if it will have an effect on Anderson’s stock or not. Anderson is an upside gamble, who already hits the mid 90’s. Anderson is a cold weather arm, so one is expecting added velocity once he is in a system full-time. A potential 2/3 type of arm, he is widely considered one of the top-five prep arms in this draft.
21. Joshua Lowe 3B Pope (GA)
Lowe is the reverse of Wentz. He started this process viewed as a future starter to most, and has ended it as a consensus bat. As a matter of fact, I don’t see him listed anywhere as a pitcher anymore. The arm he showed as a pitcher means third is a natural position, where his arm would be a plus tool. He is currently a shortstop, but, because of his size, a move to third is expected. He has been grouped in with Jones, because of similar size and profiles. I have Lowe lower because I don’t think he has as good of an approach at the plate and I think the ceiling is a little lower overall. Lowe is a great athlete with plus speed now, but I think as he fills out, the speed will turn to average as the power goes to above-average. I think he can be a plus defender at third, with power potential and an average hit tool.
22. Forrest Whitley RHP Alamo Heights HS (TX)
I like Whitley, but I found it odd that, while everyone bags on Rutherford for age, no one mentions it for Whitley, who turns 19 in September. I have him as my fourth-best prep right-hander because I think the upside is not quite as high as the previous three. I see more of a mid-rotation arm who reminds me a bit of T.J. Zeuch. They are the same height, velocity, pitch mix, and are barely two years apart in age. Whitley is hitting 97 and has a clean, easy delivery. There is a chance for three above-average pitches here.
23. Matt Thaiss C Virginia
I still think Thaiss has a chance to stick at catcher going forward, but he will always be a below-average defender. His bat is his carrying tool, and it is enough to let him play anywhere. He has hit for double digit home runs the last two years, which is big, because his home park is a pitcher’s park. He has done this while striking out all of 12 times in 255 plate appearances, as of this writing. He rarely swings at bad pitches and can work counts, drawing walks. He doesn’t have the bat of Collins or Craig, which is why he is lower. I do concede that he is also likely to move off of catcher, but if he can stick there and be just below average, he will be a top-five offensive player at the position.
24. T.J. Zeuch RHP Pittsburgh
Zeuch has always been a cold weather arm and, this year, a groin injury caused him to miss the first month or so of the season. This has limited his exposure and his innings, compared to many other pitchers his age. Pitt didn’t make the ACC tournament, so his season is already over. It was a limited schedule for Zeuch, but he took advantage all year. The ACC is right now the second best conference in baseball, and Zeuch mostly pitched in conference play, which means he didn’t get to face some of the easier squads teams play in their non-conference schedule. He put up excellent numbers this year in ACC play. He has shown solid command and has seen his velocity tick up to 97 at points. Actually, as the year went on, he got better; his last start might have been his best of the year. There is a bit more upside in Zeuch, and I know several teams that are fans. He isn’t getting out of the top-25.
25. Eric Lauer LHP Kent State
Lauer is a plus athlete, who has put up numbers that are impossible to look past. Last year, he led the Cape in strikeouts and has followed that by posting an ERA of 0.69, which is just 8 earned runs in 104 innings. This would be the lowest ERA since Jeff Keener of Kentucky posted a 0.51, back in 1981. Three of those runs came in Lauer’s first start against Virginia, where he struggled. So, since then, he has allowed just 5 earned runs in 99 innings, which would be an ERA of 0.45. He still has a very high strikeout rate this year of over 11 a game and, thanks to his athleticism, he has one of the cleanest and most repeatable deliveries in the draft.
26. Cal Quantrill RHP Stanford
Quantrill is the great unknown in this draft. No, I am not saying he is Sir Walter Scott, though that was his nickname. I would assume that Quantrill has read Ivanhoe, though, since he did go to Stanford. He is shrouded in mystery because he has had all of three starts the last two years. He had some number one overall talk a year ago, so this is a bet on him coming back from surgery strong. A full return from Tommy John often takes two years, so the drafting team can be fine knowing that year one is down. The potential is there but, again, there have been so few starts that no one really knows what can be expected with Quantrill.
27. Cody Sedlock RHP Illinois
We have entered the safe college arm section of this year’s draft board. This is Sedlock’s first year starting, and he has excelled in that role for Illinois. He is a more of a 3/4 type of pitcher and looks to be a future innings eater down the road. I just can’t put him higher, because of the lack of ceiling. He is the first pitcher I have talked about who I don’t think has at least number two potential. Sometimes, when a player is a recent bullpen convert, we expect extra growth, but I don’t think that is the case. If you want a safe pick with a little bit of growth potential, then Sedlock is your arm.
28. Logan Shore RHP Florida
Shore has been one of the best pitchers in college baseball for a few years now. He has been so good, he kept Puk out of the Friday night ace role for Florida. I had a talk recently about Shore, and we both agreed that he could pitch in the majors this year and should be up no later than next year. He is a player whose floor and ceiling virtually touch. He is clearly a back end arm, but I don’t think any player is a safer pick. It is virtually a lock that he will have a longer career than half the players chosen in front of him. Shore is so low because the upside is just not there. It also means that while he is safe, if something does happen and he regressed even a little, then he won’t make it. The margin of error is small, but the likelihood of any regression is small, as well. Shore is the safest player in this draft.
29. Heath Quinn OF Samford
Here is another player I am the high man on. Quinn plays in the same conference as Lewis and has put up numbers close to him this year. If you are worried about the level of competition and the league itself, well, Quinn also excelled on the Cape. He was known as a pretty good athlete coming out of HS. He might no longer have the speed he had then, but his power has grown during that time. He has an arm for right field and should be able to play either corner spot. He has some swing and miss to his game, but the power potential is what gets Quinn drafted. I am a believer in his power potential and think he is a better athlete than he gets credit for.
30. Robert Tyler RHP Georgia
Right now, Tyler is a two-pitch player, but the upside is that both are plus pitches. He combines a high velocity fastball with a killer change-up. This is his first year back from Tommy John surgery, and with it have come the typical command woes. His walk rate is over 5.5 per nine. Now, if you believe he can add a third pitch and that the command woes are more a result of recovery from surgery, then I could see Tyler as a top-20 pick. I think there is a 50/50 shot he ends up a reliever, but there is a chance for a number two type of pitcher. I think back end reliever is the more likely outcome.
31. Gavin Lux SS Indian Trail Academy (WI)
The quarterback of the MLB draft is the shortstop. They always rise, especially in a year like this that is lacking depth. Lux has bloodlines, as his uncle was also a high selection years ago, number two overall, and is now a college coach in Wisconsin. Lux grew up around the program and has shown the extra polish one would expect from that experience. He is a sure shortstop, with a chance for average to above-average tools across the board. He has had a lot of helium of late, because of the late start that is inherent with Wisconsin prep baseball.
32. Sean Murphy C Wright State
I saw Murphy, in person, during one of his best performances of the year. He hit the ball hard, worked counts, and ran better than I expected. I went in knowing he was a plus defender with a cannon for an arm. He broke the hamate bone in his left hand, which sidelined him after a hot start. If not for this injury, I think he would have worked his way into the first-round discussion. He has a future as a backup, just based on his defensive profile. He has above-average power, as well. The only question will be, can he hit enough to be more than a backup down the road?
33. Anfernee Grier OF Auburn
Grier has always been known for his tools, but he finally put them together this year. In turn, he put himself high on the draft map. He uses his plus speed well in centerfield and projects as a plus defender there. He has shown power this year and has a chance to have a little bit of pop. The concern is his lack of plate discipline and development of his hit tool. He doesn’t walk much and strikes out a lot. I have a little more faith in his hit tool than most, because of his high BABIP, which has been an indicator for future success at lower levels. I look at his defense/speed and think he has a pretty high floor as a future fourth outfielder. The ceiling is a three tool elite defender in center, which is extremely valuable.
34. Taylor Trammell OF Mount Paran Christian School (GA)
Trammell is your classic toolsy outfielder. The Georgia product was an extremely productive football player, as well, statistically one of the best in the entire state. Right now, the stand out tool is his speed, which in turn allows him to excel as a defender in center. In some ways, he reminds me a bit of Grier, but with louder, rawer tools. He has the higher ceiling, but also the lower floor. He needs a lot of refinement, but is one of the best prep athletes in this class.
35. Zack Burdi RHP Louisville
I never rank relievers. I just think that a large number of relievers are often failed starters and that, in general, a reliever is a lot less valuable than any other player on a team. When you add in the highly volatile nature of relievers, teams are often taking a big risk. On top of that, we have seen several high pick relievers who were supposed to be slam dunks struggle. So, why is Burdi ranked this high? I think he has a chance to start. He has the size and three pitches to make it as a starter. He has hit 101 and sits 95-98, so even if he were to sit 92-95 as a starter, his fastball would still be a weapon. He has shown better command than his older brother (Nick Burdi) did in school and I think that, unless a team thinks he can help them this year, they are better off seeing if they can turn this closer into a starter.
36. Corbin Burnes RHP St. Mary’s College
St. Mary’s is best known for basketball, but the Gaels have quietly produced some good baseball players over the years. This spring was the first time that the Gaels qualified for the College World Series, and a big part of that is their ace Burnes. Burnes is yet another great athlete. As I stated earlier, I think athleticism is an underrated asset to have in a pitcher. He has four pitches that he uses in games, the best one being his low- to mid-90s fastball. As one would expect for a small school player, he is a bit raw. There is middle to back of the rotation upside in the highly athletic Burnes, who should hear his name in the first 50 picks. The question is, can he got higher than the 39th pick? If so, that would make him the highest selection in school history, passing Mark Teahen.
37. Carter Kieboom 3B Walton HS (GA)
Both of Carter's brothers played D1 baseball and his oldest brother, Spencer, currently plays in the Washington Nationals organization. Kieboom isn't as big or athletic as earlier similar prep players, Jones and Lowe. Yet, he is the most polished of the three. He isn’t a huge kid, at 6’2”, which is why I do wonder if he has an outside chance to stick at short. He has played well there, but most think he will transition to third. When people talk about his hitting, the word that is always used is mature. He has a clean swing, knows the zone, and uses all fields. He has faced top competition in Georgia and the summer league circuit and has been able to hit virtually every pitcher, no matter the velocity. He has no loud tools. He won’t wow you with speed or power. Yet, he is about as fundamentally sound as a high school kid can get. One has to wonder if he is being underrated because he is so steady and not flashy.
38. Will Benson OF The Westminster Schools HS (GA)
Speaking of flashy tools: that would describe Benson pretty well. He is a huge kid, at 6’6”, and it is pretty easy to see why everyone projects him to have plus power down the road. Now, don’t let his size fool you, as he can also run. The question is can he hit enough and is he maybe too aggressive at the plate? I have thought the Jason Heyward comp is silly, as they are completely different ball players, outside of both playing the same position and hailing from Georgia. Benson’s best tool is his power potential and that is what will get him drafted. He does have some pretty considerable risk, though.
39. Jon Duplantier RHP Rice
I am such a fan of Duplantier, and I really think he would be a lot higher if not for the fact that he went to Rice. He missed all of last year due to a shoulder injury that did not require surgery, but when you add it into the dubious, at best, history of pitchers at Rice, the injury will scare off some teams. Also, Rice plays in a weaker conference; as much as I love his strikeout rates throughout the year, it is hard to judge him against other players. So, why do I like him so much? Well, he is a big, athletic kid, who is very intelligent. He could have gone to Yale, but decided to go to the bigger baseball program at Rice. Duplantier was actually draft eligible last year, but since he missed last year due to injury, he went undrafted. He has two above-average to plus pitches, but the big concern right now is that shoulder and whether it will explode, like so many arms from Rice have.
40. Kevin Gowdy RHP Santa Barbara HS (Calif.)
I know I am a bit lower on Gowdy than most. He is a safe, well-developed prep arm. I think I am guilty of docking him a bit because of the lack of sizzle. He is about as safe as a high school arm can get. He shows three pitches, has a clean and easy delivery, and really has no flags or concerns of any sort. The reports are that his floor is 42, and it is easy to see why teams like Gowdy. He is a pitcher, first and foremost. He looks like a future mid-rotation starter, who should be able to move a bit quicker than your typical prep pitcher.
41. Joe Rizzo 3B/OF Oakton HS (VA)
Rizzo has so many things going against him. First off, he is all of 5’9” and weighs 194. He isn’t an athlete and is a below-average runner, at best. He also lacks a defined position and might end up at first long term. Look at all of that information, then realize he is one of the top-50 players on every board, in spite of that. The first reason for that is because he is going to outwork everyone on your team and the second is that he can hit. Since he is vertically challenged, almost no one gives him a chance for above-average power, but I think he has a chance. His current hit tool can rival any prep player in this class. The question is, what can he do to improve? His size is going to be a big limiting factor, but bet against Rizzo at your own peril.
42. Bryson Brigman SS San Diego
Brigman is a draft-eligible sophomore who plays shortstop, but many think will move to second. As always, I would let him try the more challenging position first to maximize his value. He has above-average speed and has seen his steal totals jump this year, but his best tool is his bat. He has hit just about everything these past two years at San Diego, while rarely striking out. The bat would be a plus tool at second or shortstop. If he had to move to outfield or third it would be closer to average, but, looking at relative position value, it would play up. He has a little more leverage as a sophomore, but I expect him to be drafted and signed this year.
43. Daulton Jefferies RHP California
I kind of hate my rating on Jefferies. If I knew he was full healthy with no concerns he moves up to the 20’s. It was big to see him go out and pitch recently. Yet the whole situation with his injury felt incredibly shady. There were always going to be concerns with Jefferies because he is an undersized right hander who doesn't throw hard. The injury issue was more troubling to me. If healthy Jefferies is a 3/4 type who I would rate right above Sedlock. Jefferies is pretty well developed and should move very quickly, but the lingering injury issues raises too much of a concern.
44. Bryan Reynolds OF Vanderbilt
I have been the low man on Reynolds throughout this process. He does a lot of things well, but I never saw a standout tool, which would make me project him out as a top-15 pick. I talked with a scout earlier in the year and we both agreed that he is likely a left fielder going forward. He has a lot of swing and miss to his game which concerns me as well. I would project out average hit and power tools and think he can be a league average starter in left field, whose best tool is his speed.
45. Alec Hansen RHP Oklahoma
This is all about potential. I am not sure Hansen has a chance to hit his potential but there is pretty clearly number one pitcher potential. I would argue this, though, when was the last time we heard about a player with big issues but front of the rotation stuff figure it all out and become a star? Even a Matt Harvey, who had big struggles at UNC his first two years, put it together to have a solid junior campaign. There is a decent chance that Hansen’s control remains an issue and he never makes the majors. There is also the chance he could be an All-Star. I think the odds are better in the former than the latter, but one just can’t look past these tools.
46. Chris Okey C Clemson
Okey is a player that has been followed closely since high school. He has been a bit overlooked this year playing with freshman sensation Seth Beer and in the same conference as likely top 20 pick Collins, another offensive catcher. Of all of the catchers I have mentioned so far, four, Okey is the second-best defender behind Murphy. He is an average defender, nothing special, but also not a guy teams think will have to move. He has been a consistent performer in college improving every year. This year has seen his walk rate nearly double while his strikeout and power rates have stayed even. His bat will play up as a catcher and gives up a legitimate chance to be a starting catcher down the road. He doesn’t bring any plus skills but outside of foot speed doesn’t have any negative ones either. This might be too low, but there is a pretty good chance late in the first or into the second round some team will get a starting catcher of the future with Okey.
47. Brandon Marsh OF Buford HS (GA)
I have been told that Marsh is going before the second round. I know of one team with multiple picks that is a huge fan of him and I think that he could even go in the 20s. Again, this could be a smoke screen, but, having seen him in multiple mocks that have him higher than those writers have him ranked, I wonder if they have heard the same information. It is easy to see why a team would be high on the hyper-athletic Marsh. He is a big kid, with plus speed and power potential down the road. He could have had a future as a wide receiver, having been a very good one in Georgia, but decided baseball was his future. He is raw, since he has been playing multiple sports, but with his size, speed, and athleticism, Marsh will be gone before the second round begins.
48. Ronnie Dawson OF Ohio State
The issue with being a top talent in Ohio is that you often get overlooked. I think Dawson has not gotten the love he has deserved this year. I have mentioned this a lot but, back in 2013, the state of Ohio had 0 players taken in the top 16 rounds. The first player selected was Lauer, in the 17th by the Blue Jays. I was shocked at the time. I had expected Lauer, Andrew Benintendi, and Farmer to all get drafted. Well, if Benintendi was eligible for this draft, he would be the first player taken. Dawson marks the 4th player from that 2013 class to make my list this year. He looks like a linebacker in right field and throws like a quarterback. His arm is a clear plus tool and all he has done is perform all three years in school. He has above-average speed, as well. He has hit for a lot more power this year than in years past, but the question is, can he hit enough and will there be power? I think he can be a 45/50 grade hitter, with power a shade under that. His speed and arm, along with his defense, are still enough to give him a chance to be a starter down the road.
49. Kyle Muller LHP Jesuit College Prep (TX)
Muller is one of those names that has popped up a bit late in the process. I have not been super deep into Texas this year as, for the second year in a row, it felt a little down. Over the past few years, we have seen California emerge as the big state for prep baseball talent. Muller did make headlines recently, when his coach left him in to throw 134 pitches in a game. Joe Sheehan had a great tweet on this, no MLB pitcher has thrown 125 pitches this year, and just 11 have thrown over 130 this decade. This type of arm abuse, and it is most definitely abuse, will scare some teams. It will make them worry about his overall work load and if his arm is a time bomb waiting to blow. He is a 6’5” lefty with a strong build, who hits 95; that is what will get him drafted. Everything else is a bit raw, but stat lines like that last one will do nothing but hurt his value as the draft approaches.
50. Anthony Kay LHP UCONN
If there is a left handed opposite to Muller, it would be Kay. It is hard to imagine two more opposite places than Texas and Connecticut, so it fits that these two lefties would be so different. He is a sub six foot lefty, who sits in the low 90s, and has three average pitches, which are all pretty developed. He has been extremely consistent the last two years and is a rather safe pick, with a floor as a steady, left handed reliever. Kay went to the same high school as Steven Matz, and was actually drafted by the Mets in the 29th round of 2013. This year, Kay should go no later than the second round.
51. Jared Horn RHP Vintage HS (Calif.)
When one talks about a pop up player, what that means is a player who was not on the radar and popped up out of nowhere. So, the name is pretty self-explanatory, but every year I get asked what I mean when I use it. Horn is the big pop up guy this year, to me. I heard nothing about him, then all of a sudden people were telling me there is another potential first round prep arm in California. Horn is a good athlete and was also the quarterback on the football team. He just so happened to start hitting 97 this spring. He has a chance for two plus pitches, between his curve and fastball, but he is one of the more raw pitchers who has first round talk this year. For the right team, they can see his ability and have faith they can mold him into a front line starter. One more big bonus here is that he is very young for his class. Horn won’t turn 18 till the end of July, which is always something teams love.