Results tagged ‘ MLB Draft ’

Bonus Reds prospects: Nos. 21-25

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I hope it’s true because I’m about to rip Jim Callis off.

Over the past couple of weeks, Jim has been unveiling his extra prospects, Nos. 21-25, for the 10 teams that were his responsibility on the Team Top 20 lists on Prospect Watch. If you’ve missed them, head to Callis’ Corner right now. They’re well worth the read.

After seeing his work, I figured it was high time that I got on board and did the same thing with my lists. So, with a tip of the cap to Jim, we’ll kick things off with the Cincinnati Reds and work my way through my other teams alphabetically (Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Rays).

21. Taylor Sparks, 3B: Sparks was ranked No. 56 on our Draft Top 200 and ended up being taken in the second round, No. 58 overall. Which means, of course, that we nailed his ranking. Sparks is a big, strong right-handed hitter with some ability to hit for average and power. He also has the defensive chops to stick at the hot corner. He’s making his pro debut in the rookie-level Pioneer League.


22. Wyatt Strahan, RHP: This USC right-hander was ranked No. 105 on that top 200 list and went No. 94 overall, in the third round. He served as his school’s Friday night starter in 2014 and he was a pretty good one. He  uses a solid sinking fastball that can touch the mid-90s along with an outstanding curve. He shows good feel for his changeup as well. As long as that keeps coming and he refines his command, his size and stuff point to a future in the middle of a rotation.

23. Seth Mejias-Brean, 3B: Taken in the 8th round of the 2012 Draft out of the University of Arizona, Mejias-Brean earned a promotion to Double-A this year after putting up very good numbers in the California League. Yes, that’s a hitting-friendly place, but he’s shown an ability to hit for average with an advanced approach at the plate since being drafted. He’s been more of a contact guy than a power guy, which leads to the question about whether he can profile as a big league regular at an infield corner.

24. Kyle Waldrop, OF: The 2010 12th rounder out of high school also has reached Double-A Pensacola this season. He’s putting up career numbers, but again, some of that is Cal League driven. Still, Waldrop is showing the ability to hit for average and some power while displaying some improved plate discipline skills. He’s played a lot of right field, but some think left is his ultimate destination. The good news is his bat might get him to the big leagues at that spot.

25. Aristides Aquino, OF: It’s been a slow climb for Aquino, the Dominican corner outfielder the Reds signed in January 2011, as he’s yet to reach full-season ball. He’s also only 20, and it pays to be patient with young international signees. He showed signs of progress last year in the rookie-level Arizona League and that’s carried over this season in the Pioneer League. He has a ton of power potential, which should continue to show up more consistently in games as he moves along (though he’s made strides there this year). He has a strong arm and fits the profile of the prototypical right fielder very well. Continue to be patient Reds fans; the payoff could be huge.


The White Sox and Carlos Rodon

As of this writing, our Draft signing tracker has a total of 26 of the 34 first-round picks from the 2014 Draft as having signed or agreed to terms. We have bonus figures for seven of the top 10 picks.

The top pick still unsigned is Carlos Rodon. The NC State star went to the Chicago White Sox at No. 3. While it’s not surprising he didn’t sign immediately — it’s not uncommon for a player advised by Boras Corp to wait, especially one who was considered a potential No. 1 overall pick — it’s clear the White Sox aren’t thrilled with how things have developed. Or not developed.


Assistant general manager Buddy Bell was recently quoted as saying (On

“I’m sort of old school on this, that it is what it is. You want to get started sooner than later. You are losing out. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this. But I just think the sooner you sign and with his ability and how I see him, this kid is going to be in the big leagues soon. It just seems to me if money is the issue, he’s going to make a helluva lot more getting it started than not. This kid is a tough, big, solid big leaguer. I just hope he gets in going sooner than later.”

Waiting until the July 18 deadline may not seem like the end of the world. He could still get out and pitch for a while — that’s the biggest benefit of the earlier deadline. But the delay in signing has likely cost the southpaw the potential for a big league callup this year. He hasn’t thrown since May 16, so to get him ready for big league action isn’t likely to happen at this point.

Don’t think the White Sox would do it? Remember what they did with Chris Sale. Rodon could have, if he had signed earlier, been shortened up in a bullpen role for the short-term (returning to starting in 2015). There’s little question his fastball-slider combination could get at least lefties out in shorter stints right now at the highest level.

Even if all the White Sox did is offer the slot value bonus of just over $5.7 million, it seems like there’s little wiggle room at this point. The White Sox have signed nine of their 10 picks from the first 10 rounds for a total of $3,402,600. They have saved $385,600 of their overall pool money. Pick value for the No. 3 overall selection was $5,721,500. That means the White Sox could offer Rodon $6,107,100 and not incur any penalty of any sort. They can go over that amount, up to five percent over their total pool of $9,509,700, and they would just have to pay a fine, but not forfeit a pick in the 2015 Draft. That brings the total potential bonus up to around $6.5 million.

In the end, Rodon will likely sign, but it might not be until close to the deadline.

Day 3 at Tournament of Stars

Thursday was the second day of games at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars (Friday is reserved for a second workout/evaluation day). Some highlights from yesterday’s games, according to scouts in attendance:



Xavier Legrant (Phillip O Berry Academy of Tech, NC) homered. He’s been swinging bat well (4-for-9 in 2 games).  The athletic infielder has also shown good defense at second base. He’s got good speed as well (ran a 6.69 60 on Tuesday).

Reggie Pruitt (Kennesaw Mountain HS, GA) continues to impress, especially with his speed. He had stole three bases on Wednesday. On Thursday, he only went 1-for-5, but played a very good center field for the Pride team, the only 2-0 squad in the event. He’s a little raw with the bat, but he has tools to work with there.

Chris Chatfield (Spoto HS, FL) continues to stand out. The outfielder homered on Wednesday and doubled on Thursday. He has the kind of athletic body scouts love and he’s really swinging the bat well.

Daz Cameron (Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, GA) came in as perhaps the top prospect at TOS and he hasn’t disappointed. He has three hits over two games, including a triple on Thursday, flashing all of the tools that have made him “a guy” from the outset.


Matthew McGarry (Menlo HS, Calif.) went three shutout innings for the Free team on Thursday, allowing just one hit. He was 90-93 mph iwth his fastball and showed glimpses of a good breaking ball and changeup.

Chris Andristsos (The Woodlands, TX) squared off against McGarry, starting for the Stripes. He also went three innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out three. He was up to 92 mph with his fastball.

Austin Smith (Park Vista HS, FL) tossed two shutout innings for the Stars on Thursday, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out one. He was also up to 92 mph. His secondary stuff needs work, but at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, he has the size teams like and is athletic on the mound.

Stephen Kolek (Shepherd HS, TX), the younger brother of No. 2 overall pick Tyler Kolek, is already making a name for himself. He threw two perfect innings for the Pride, striking out two. He doesn’t throw as hard as his brother, but was 88-90 mph (He’s thrown harder in the past) on Thursday. He also showed a good curve/changeup combination, giving him the makings of a very nice three-pitch mix.

Nolan Kingham (Sierra Vista HS, NV), is another younger brother, this time of Pirates prospect Nick Kingham. He actually threw on Wednesday and while he gave up a pair of runs, he was up to 90 mph and at 6-foot-4, 180 lbs, screams projection.

Riley Thompson (Christian Academy of Louisville, KY) gave up three runs in 2 1/3 IP, but he did strike out four on Thursday. He was up to 93 mph with his fastball


What to make of Jacob Gatewood

Is there any Draft prospect in this year’s class tougher to figure out than Jacob Gatewood (Michael Gettys fans, you’ll just have to wait)?

It’s been tough to figure out where the NoCal high school shortstop will go when considering mock drafts (I had him going No. 22 overall in my first projection of the opening round). While it’s still very unclear if that’s the right spot for him, I have been getting more and more feedback that Gatewood belongs in that neck of the woods, with interest coming from the mid-first round on down.

“I think you would have to consider him [in that area],” one cross-checker said. “I think he’s right around there.  I think he’s still going to go towards the end of the first round. I’d feel comfortable taking him in that area.”

There are a couple of things to consider about Gatewood before trying to pass any kind of final judgement about his future. The first is that people were probably a little too over-zealous in their praise and that expectations were too high after the summer. If he had been thought of as a mid-to-late first round pick all along, there wouldn’t be talk about him sliding, etc. (Call it a market adjustment).

Gatewood has a playoff game on Tuesday, giving scouts another look in a pressure situation as the Draft rapidly approaches. And there are sure to be private workouts, which can really help a player like Gatewood.

It’s also important to recall other hitters who had similar concerns, i.e., the swing and miss in their game and what it meant in terms of them reaching their power potential. Some examples:

Joey Gallo. Gallo and Gatewood aren’t great comps, because Gatewood is more athletic, but there were the same issues being voiced by scouts when the now-Rangers prospect was a high school Draft prospect  in 2012. He ended up going in the supplemental first round (No. 39 overall) as a result. Sure he struck out 172 times in 2013, his first full season, but he also topped the Minors with 40 homers. He’s doing it again this year (18 homers) and he’s also hitting .342 in the Class A Advanced Carolina League. He’s, that’s right, making adjustments at the plate.

Kris Bryant. Yup, that Kris Bryant. When he was coming out of high school, there were all sorts of questions asked about his hit tool. He was an all-or-nothing type with tremendous pop, but holes in his swing. The question was: Would he be the Kris Bryant we all see now? Teams weren’t sure enough to really go after him. Three years later, he’s one of the top offensive prospects in the game.

Giancarlo Stanton. He was Mike back in 2007, a multi-sport athlete who every team in the first round overlooked. What it came down to was the work a scout with the Marlins did to really know what Stanton was all about.

“Stanton wasn’t really anything out of high school. That Marlins scout was on that one and was relentless. He did not relent since Area Codes. Everyone who tried to catch on to that late, he knew the makeup, that he wanted to play. Someone will have to know that about this kid.”

That’s what the key will be for Gatewood, for one team to know him well enough and feel comfortable that he’ll be able to make adjustments. Baseball has been full of guys like this who have become superstars. And a fair share have gone the other way.

But could Gatewood be Stanton? Absolutely. And the team that thinks he will be — and has done the exhaustive homework about his makeup, his approach, his process — is the one that will take him before the first round is over.













Some Draft tidbits — pitching, pitching, pitching

This time of year, information starts coming in fast and furious regarding the 2014 Draft class. I’ll try to update everyone as I get good intel in.

Today, it’s all about pitching. Here’s what I’ve been hearing the last day or two:

  • Hawaii high school lefty Kodi Medeiros (Ranked No. 24 on the Draft Top 100 currently) made his final start of the season on Wednesday, a tough 2-0 playoff loss to St. Louis HS in the quarterfinals. But Medeiros was impressive, up to 95 mph with his fastball and showing his outstanding slider. He maintained his velocity throughout his 119-pitch performance with a lot of scouts in attendance.
  • He was bested by St. Louis HS right-hander Jordan Yamamoto. Yamamoto isn’t on the same level, Draft-prospect wise, as Medeiros, but he certainly helped his stock in this duel. He tossed a complete-game shutout, a two-hitter that needed 100 pitches to finish. He was at 92-93 mph all game and had outstanding control. He’ll likely be in the Top 200 we unveil closer to the end of the month.
  • Questions about Luis Ortiz’s (Ranked No. 33) health may have been answered on Thursday. The NoCal high schooler had missed time with a forearm issue, but appears to be 100 percent now. On Thursday, he threw a two-hit shutout, striking out 11 and walking none. He was 93-97  mph with his fastball and maintained that velocity throughout.
  • One of the wild cards in the first round is TCU left-hander Brandon Finnegan (No. 11). He missed time with shoulder stiffness and teams want to see if he’s healthy before making a call on him. If healthy, he’s a top 10 pick candidate. If not… who knows? He made his second start since missing time on Thursday. The results weren’t great — 3 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K — but scouts were pleased with how he threw. His velocity was fine; he just wasn’t sharp as he continues to shake off the rust. He’ll get a conference tournament start and a likely regional appearance to further convince teams he’s good to go.
  • Hartford lefty Sean Newcomb had a rare Friday morning start today. The early start didn’t seem to bother the southpaw, ranked No. 14. Through his first seven innings, he allowed one run (on a play that should’ve been an error), walking one and striking out eight while getting his fastball up to 95 mph (sat at 92-94 throughout) against Stony Brook. Nothing was hit hard and he was commanding his fastball very well. Among those in attendance: Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, for whatever that’s worth

Draft update: Dylan Cease to miss NHSI

Dylan Cease, ranked No. 26 on’s Draft Top 50 list from this past fall, was slated to be among the highlights at the 2014 National High School Invitational. Instead, an elbow issue will force him to be able to only watch the action as his Milton High School team returns to th NHSI for the second straight year.

Cease, owner of one of the better fastballs in the class that regularly touches the upper-90s, is resting his powerful right arm for a month after dealing with a sore elbow. Cease said that he first felt discomfort in a start with game-time temperatures of around 30 degrees.

“I got to the fifth inning and it started feeling sore,” Cease said. “I should’ve rested for two weeks, but I tried to work through it. It’s still sore, so now I’m going to give it a month.”

Cease will receive an injection and will hope that rest and rehab will do the trick. He had just gotten MRI results back and was told there was no ligament damage, allowing the Vanderbilt commit to breathe a sigh of relief.

“I don’t need surgery,” Cease said. “I was just happy to hear that. I’ll get the shot and see what it does and we’ll go from there.”

Cease has tried to remain optimistic about the prognosis, and the MRI results certainly helped. But he admitted the tension over the condition of his right elbow had gotten to him a bit.

“It is kind of stressful,” Cease said. “People act like it’s armaggeddon, like I’m going to have to have my arm cut off. But I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”


If all goes well with this course of action, Cease could return to the mound with enough time to show scouts that he’s fully recovered and ready to go.

College roundup — weekend #1

The college baseball season got underway last weekend and even though weather wreaked some havoc, there were enough names from our Draft Top 50 (from the fall) who did get to play. A quick rundown of who did what over the weekend, in order of where they are ranked on the Top 50 (hopefully this will become a regular feature):

1. Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC State: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, L vs. Canisius

2. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina: 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, ND vs. James Madison

4. Trea Turner, SS, NC State: 3-4, SB vs. Canisius

6. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W @ Long Beach State

11. Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, W vs. New Orleans

14. Kyle Schwarber, C, Indiana: 3-for-15, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K @ Texas Tech

15. Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia: 5-for-11, 5 R, 3 RBI, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 BB, 2 K @ Hughes Brothers Challenge

17. Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford: Did not play

19. Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco: 6-for-12, 3 R, 2 2B, 1 SB, 2 BB, 1 K @ UC Riverside

20. Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State: 8-for-13, 4 R, 2 RBI, 3 2B, 2 BB vs. Middle Tenn. State

21. Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 13 K, W vs. Jacksonville

22. Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV: 7.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, W vs. Central Michigan

23. Luke Weaver, RHP, Florda St.: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W vs. Niagara

24. Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, W @ Lipscomb

27. Michael Cederoth, RHP, San Diego St.: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, L @ San Jose St.

28. Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon St.:  5-for-10, 5 R, 8 RBIs, 1 2B, 4 BB @Husker Classic

30. Matt Chapman, 3B, Fullerton:  4-for-13, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 2B vs. Washington St.

33. Nick Burdi, RHP, Louisville:  1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, W @Homewood Suites Tournament

36. Dylan Davis, OF, Oregon St.: 4-for-12, 1 R, 5 RBI, 1 @B, 2 BB, 3 K @Husker Classic

45. J.D. Davis, OF/RHP , Fullerton:  5-13, 4 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR; 1 IP ,1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, W, vs. Washington St.

Some feedback from scouts:

  • Two mentioned Erick Fedde’s performance against Central Michigan as being impressive (and thought Jordan Foley from Central Michigan was pretty good, though he’s more of a 2nd-3rd round type).
  • While Luke Weaver’s numbers looked good agaist Niagara, one scout thought he was just so-so. Weaver pitched at 90-91 with a short slider and a decent changeup.

A few early 2014 Draft notes

Yes, you heard me. You might be reading this while looking out at snow and ice, but not only are pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, but the amateur season has started in some of the warm weather areas.

Over the past week or so, I’ve been starting to get some info from scouts who are already hitting the road and making sure they’re seeing as many players as they can between now and the Draft. And I’ll try to relay any pertinent information when I can, hopefully in a slightly  more timely fashion. But I do have reports on early outings from a pair of intriguing high school arms.


Sean Reid-Foley, ranked No. 31 in the Draft Top 50 we released last fall, made his first outing recently in Florida at his Sandalwood High School’s kickoff tournament. The right-hander wasn’t really sharp, but that’s not so surprising given how early it is. For his first outing of the year, he was still fairly efficient, throwing his fastball 90-94 mph while also using an 82-87 mph slider and 82-85 mph changeup throughout his three innings.

Heading way out west, Kodi Medeiros also got a lot of early attention for his first outing. Several scouting directors made the trip out to Hawaii (who wouldn’t?) to watch the lefty ranked No. 25 on that Top 50). He didn’t disappoint, striking out seven in 2 2/3 innings. His fastball sat in the 92-94 mph range with good arm side life and his slider was really tough to hit, a 79-81 sweeping breaking ball.

Obviously, it’s early and there’s much, much more to come. But I thought this might whet the appetites of the Draft fans out there.

Let the summer commence!

As 2013 Draft picks are signing left and right, it’s time to start looking at the Draft class of 2014. And there are plenty of places to look. As I mentioned in my story about the Class of ’14 and the summer schedule, it’s already beginning. The Perfect Game National Showcase starts today in Minneapolis and scouts are flocking to the Twin Cities to check out the annual kickoff event of the summer for the high schoolers.

At the same time (well, yesterday), the college summer season is underway, with the Cape Cod League starting on Wednesday. I’ll try to update regularly here on how the summer is looking. In Wednesday’s openers, it appeared the pitching was ahead of the hitting on the Cape. Some highlights:

  • Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV: 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
  • Kyle Kubat, LHP, Nebraska: 6 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K
  • Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
  • Andrew McGee, LHP, Monmouth: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
  • Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K

That’s just a smattering, obviously. But it was a good day for lefties. Much, much more to come.

The Draft wild card that is Sean Manaea

We’re winding down here, with less than a week before the Draft. As always, I’m efforting to figure out who goes where. Some may call it a fool’s errand, but so be it.

Perhaps the one player making it the most difficult to figure out the first round is Sean Manaea. Once thought to be a potential No. 1 pick, the big, hard-throwing lefty struggled for much of this season, a hip flexor the biggest issue. Given his health issues, he has a big question mark around his name right now, making figuring out a mock draft really tough. You’ll see I put him 19th (Cardinals), but that’s not based on any solid information. I just felt someone would roll the dice on Manaea and St. Louis hasn’t shied away from taking college pitching that slides to them later in the round.

It’s all going to depend on the medical reports. There was a little talk of shoulder stiffness coming from when Manaea was supposed to start in his conference tournament, but was scratched after three warmup pitches. I don’t know if the medical report will have information on the shoulder — it’s extremely possible that whatever shoulder discomfort he felt was because of trying to overcompensate for the hip.

See? A lot of questions to be answered. One thing I can tell you is that whoever takes Manaea should not expect a discount. I’m guessing that the Manaea camp will feel it’s a temporary issue and teams should plan accordingly. Manaea was a guy who was a top of the Draft arm before the hip got in the way, that feeling goes.

Teams will take a look at the medical report, once they get it (if they haven’t done so already). If they see that it’s a non-permanent hip thing, and there are no issues with the elbow or shoulder, then they might be willing to roll the dice and take the big lefty. When healthy, stuff-wise, he belonged in conversations at the top of the Draft.

Buyer beware? Or at least buyer, be aware. Just because Sean Manaea drops does not mean he’s going to sign for that pick value (Pick No. 19, by the way, is $2,055,800).

I’m hoping to get a better sense of what might happen with the lefty as teams get a look at that all-important medical report.

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