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2016 MLB Draft Mailbag #4

InsidetheHalos' Publisher and MLB Draft analyst Taylor Ward answers questions from readers on Twitter about this week's big event.

Q: MLB comp on Alex Kirilloff, Nolan Jones and Dakota Hudson?

- Colin Massey (@Colin_Massey)

As much as I hate comparing players, this one came with a bit of entertainment because I had three guys right off the top of my head when I saw the names. When it comes to comparing, the first thing you come up with is playing style, then lean towards body size and how they range with projected statistics which led me to these names.

Kiriloff is a corner outfielder who will likely profile best as an athletic first baseman in the future, so I started with corner outfielders who are used at first at times. Then I went to size and a guy who will hit 20+ home runs in multiple seasons, which gave me Seth Smith of the Mariners, Jay Bruce of the Reds and Brandon Moss of the Cardinals (who came to my mind first). A comp for Jones is a stretch because no one really knows his approach and it won't match the comparable player, but Cardinals' infielder Matt Carpenter fits the mold with the bat and defensively. Hardly any starting pitcher in the majors has a cutter/slider combo like Hudson, but I did think of a guy who has some speed to his slider and sits in the mid 90's with some sink - Chris Tillman of the Orioles.

Q: Who has the better bat between Mickey Moniak and Blake Rutherford?

- Aaron the Less (@aldwinning)

This comes down to more opinion than an actual "who is better than who?" Moniak and Rutherford have been unfairly compared due to their hometown location and position they play, but they're two entirely different players, and particularly, hitters. Both swing from the left-side but one has more power and a better approach, while the other has a more direct path to the ball with a more aggressive nature.

Although Moniak has picked up in the power department, he doesn't match up with Rutherford there. Rutherford is older and has a better approach in terms of pitch selection, but Moniak has better hand-eye coordination and can make the in-box adjustments to hit anything. Rutherford pulls the ball a little more while Moniak can hit to all parts of the field. Once again, it comes down to opinion of who you feel is a better hitter in general.

Q: Who are the Angels looking at?

- Crudmeister General (@Crudemeisters)

Q: Angels first rounder used on pitcher or position player or best available?

- Trey Hannuela (@TreyHannula)

Perks of being an Angels writer is you get all the questions about the Angels. The Angels have been linked to multiple prep bats, in the likes of Kiriloff, Jones, and Joshua Lowe, along with California prep arms Matt Manning and Kevin Gowdy. There's also some ties with Cal Quantrill and Hudson, but after sitting next to an Angels Front Office member at one of Hudson's starts, I just don't believe in the interest.

LA GM Billy Eppler told me recently the Angels are going with the best available player, regardless of if it's college or prep, hitter or pitcher. That's when things like scouts come in to play because what is actually regarded as the "best available player" is going to be very different from team-to-team. One thing I will say is that the big board in the Angels' draft room will have plenty of names, and a surprise selection likely won't happen, it will be the most talented guy on the board.

Q: How do you see the Angels draft strategy changing with Billy Eppler aboard?

- Glenn Milligan (halofanatic776)

Q: What is the difference between Billy Eppler and Jerry Dipoto in terms of approach to the draft?

- The Mick (@basedhaloballs)

There's one primary difference I've taken notice to when it comes to Eppler and Dipoto, and that is Dipoto knew exactly who he wanted going into the draft room, and Eppler has a multitude of guys he feels he could draft. There are a lot of people that are involved in the draft process, even though the General Manager has the ultimate say. You have to look at the one thing that remains a constant - Ric Wilson. Wilson loves, and I mean absolutely loves athletic guys, and Eppler seems to feel the same way. I expect the Angels to look at guys who were two-sport stars, which tends to lead to rawness, which is something Wilson avoids. That would focus in on guys who are toolsy but know how to play, which is a focus of Eppler with the big club, as well.

When it comes to differences between Dipoto and Eppler, look at the outset of this answer for the obvious. As for digging into type of players and draft strategy, most know Dipoto goes a little about with how the player produced in college and tends to go to guys who will move through the system with ease as a "safe pick" as opposed to upside. Every player Eppler has been linked to has been an upside style player, so it's almost easy to say they're opposites. However, no one can gauge this until Eppler and Dipoto make draft decisions with their respective new clubs.

Q: Is there anyway Riley Pint or Cal Quantrill fall to the mid to late teens?

- Aaron the Less (@aldwinning)

Q: Why is Cal Quantrill tabbed to make majors quick when he hasn't pitched?

- Crudmeister General (@Crudemeisters)

I found this intriguing because at the beginning of the year, I would have said yes to Pint and no to Quantrill. Now, I can flip flop that with ease. Welcome to the early and late draft process. Pint shouldn't fall out of the top 10, and it seems his floor is Detroit at #9 due to them loving velocity (Pint throws 102 MPH). Quantrill still has yet to pitch this year competitively and has seen his stock drop by a margin.

As for Quantrill and being quick the majors, there's a few things that come to the fold. Since his sophomore year, he's only pitched in three games, so he hasn't really been able to get a set game plan on the mound when facing hitters - particularly professionals. However, his pitches already play up as major league ready, and not just one or two, but four. He repeats his mechanics, throws everything for strikes, and is about as close to major league ready as anyone in this draft. He has thrown in showcases, and teams have seen him enough to where he'll get a big pay day on Thursday and will pitch competitively right out of the draft.

Q: In OOTP 16, Riley Pint turned into the greatest pitcher ever. That means he will do exactly that in real life, right?

- Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite)

I'd never even heard of "Out of the Park Development" or "OOTP" until this question, so I went asking and exploring. A name familiar with Angels fans would be Eric Stamets, a former prospect traded to Cleveland who OOTP had as a future batting champ in the majors. Stamets is currently in his fifth year in the minors, just seeing his first taste of Triple-A this year, and holding down a .256 average. May be time to ignore some of those projection sites, excluding, of course.

As for Pint however, if everything comes together, he could be among the greats. That does mean every little thing comes together, though. He has trouble repeating his mechanics, puts a lot of stress on his shoulder and elbow which brings up injury concerns and hasn't been great at finding the strike zone. Aside from that, he has a plus curveball and throws over 100 miles per hour with ease. Personally, I feel Pint is a premier reliever in the future, but if it all comes together, you could be looking at a Nolan Ryan like pitcher, a.k.a., one of the greatest pitchers, ever.

Q: Any recent news on Jesus Luzardo?

- Aaron the Less (@aldwinning)

For those who don't know, Luzardo is a prep pitcher from Florida who landed on the disabled list as the season started with a blown elbow, leading to Tommy John surgery. If it hadn't been for that, teams would have likely gone after him in the teen picks due to his advanced feel for pitching and lively action on three pitches. The southpaw saw his fastball upwards of the mid 90's with sink, and teams saw a curve and change that should at least be average offerings being thrown for strikes.

As for any recent news, there isn't much to report. Teams are still keeping tabs on him and he will still be drafted early due to his upside. He's committed to Miami, but will likely get a nice bonus out of the draft and opt to become a professional pitcher. When assessing who will take him, you have to look at teams with no fear of spending money on upside and ignoring past injuries, which currently fits a larger list of teams than it used to. Luzardo also has a relatively easy delivery which should help his stock in recovery.

Q: Have you heard of the Mets linked to any prep arms like Alex Speas? Who not named Will Craig can you see the Mets taking in the first round?

- afka nymets18 (@bartolodinger)

I do have some connections to the Mets, and the name that is constantly brought up is... Will Craig. Outside of that, the Mets have been linked to upside catchers who's bats will play with the upper levels of the minors already, such as Zack Collins and Matt Thaiss, with Thaiss being the more likely option. They've also been linked to a few prep infielders, in the likes of Jones, Lowe, Gavin Lux and Drew Mendoza.

When all is said and done, I do expect the Mets to take a college hitter who has produced over the a prep player. Also, the Mets' pitching depth beyond the big club isn't all that stellar, so a pitcher would make much more sense when looking from the outside. If that was the case, I could see Speas, Gowdy or Jared Horn being a shot in the dark with their second selection at #31.

Q: Who are the Nationals interested in?

- Kyle (@redskinsfan9000)

I'd be lying if I said I had any specific names on my board going to D.C. based on expressed interest. This is when you look at past selections and the Nationals farm system to get an overall idea. That leaves me with these items; not much outfield depth, no fear of past injuries, not much fear of going upside, velocity, athleticism.

That would lead me to them taking the best available player remaining on the board. I'd expect them to go for an outfielder with one of their first picks, which come back-to-back at #28 and #29. As for an outfielder, the talent isn't that outstanding at the outset of the draft, so I'd lean towards upside middle infielders like Carter Kieboom, whose brother in the Nats' system, and Mendoza, who has some links to the Nats. Pitchers, I'd go with Robert Tyler, who has loads of velocity and past arm injuries, and Alec Hansen, who hasn't been able to find the strike zone, but would have been viewed as a top-five pick before the college season started.

Q: Any big Vegas players you see for this year's draft?

- Mike in Vegas (@mk9577)

Do you see [teams] having some interest in Nick Quintana maybe in round two or three?

- (@hallofan)

Las Vegas has been producing a high load of talent lately, not limited to star talents, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant. This year, it's loaded with three prep talents from three different schools highlight the Vegas load. Jack Little (Bishop Gorman) and Zach Trageton (Faith Lutheran) are a pair of right-handed pitchers who have been in the 90's, but both seem to be headed for college as opposed to pro ball. Mikey York is another talent out of Southern Nevada JC in Henderson, just outside of Vegas, who works in the mid 90's with potential for a plus slider and changeup. He also has major league blood lines with his dad being a two-year MLB veteran. York seems to be a fit in the fourth to ninth round of the draft.

Quintana is the best talent out of Southern Nevada this year, from a school that's produced a nice amount of pro talent at Arbor View. He's one of those prep talents teams would love to have, particularly in the second or third round (see secondary question). His bat speed is the biggest tool, but the two big knocks are how often he'll miss against pro pitchers, that he doesn't have much speed on the paths, and that he's a second baseman in the future with a strong arm. There's some risk, but the kid is definitely talented enough to make it in pro ball and potentially be a nice average major league infielder.

Q: Jeff Ellis wrote about how he was worried that A.J. Puk wasn't dominating the competition. Do you have the same concerns?

- Aaron the Less (@aldwinning)

Jeff is one of, if not the most knowledgeable draft analyst around. With that said, I disagree with him saying Puk hasn't dominated competition. He struck out 11.6 per nine and held bats to a .195 average (.280 average for balls in play), in the toughest conference in the country.

Puk features some of the best stuff in the draft and would be one of the only guys who would have maybe gone in the top 10 of last year's draft from this upcoming one. I wouldn't be surprised if Philadelphia nabs him with the first overall pick, and I believe that would be a consensus opinion.

Q: Can you tell me anything about Michigan outfielder Corey Bruder?

- Dave Holmes (@daveholmes35)

I can tell you plenty about him, Dave. Bruder had a pretty solid season at Michigan, holding down a .910 OPS, and was a unanimous decision for the All-Big Ten First-Team. There are a few red flags of course, along with the positives. He has a bit of hack-like swing, and gets a little long in his extension. He has cut his strikeout rate by a large margin, down towards 15% which is where you like to see college hitters.

He has grown a lot as a player and as a young man. That said, he's still only around 170-180 pounds which is well below what you'd like to see a soon-to-be professional hitter who doesn't have premier speed or on-base abilities. Teams will be fine with taking him in the mid-teen rounds due to him being a senior sign and save quite a bit of money in attaining him. He'll get a fair shot at pro ball which is where players can either excel or decline at a rapid rate.


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