Tagged: Evan Gattis

2015 MLB Mock Draft 2.0: BONUS Compensatory Picks

I have decided to add on the last ten picks for the compensatory picks, mainly because I’m on track to break my monthly views record set back in June of 2013. So as a bit of a “thank you” to those of you who have taken the time to read this site, here are the last ten picks of the 2015 mock draft. A side note: Although James Shields has not been signed yet, the mock draft will be done based on the assumption that he will be signed before June.

28. Colorado Rockies

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(First Selection: Daz Cameron, OF, Eagles Landing Christian Academy)

You can’t teach pitching to established major league arms, which presents a problem for the Colorado Rockies. In their atmospheric conditions, humidor or no humidor, the best plan for success is to develop starters and teach them how to pitch in Denver. The Rockies seem to have this figured out as they have a trio of impressive future starters coming through the ranks: Jon Gray, who projects to be an ace, Eddie Butler, a solid second arm, and Kyle Freeland, a pitcher who, as a Colorado native, may already have figured out the nuances of pitching in thin air.

Alex Young of TCU would be an interesting fourth arm. While he doesn’t have teammate Riley Ferrell’s fastball, or Brandon Finnegan’s tools, he does have the feel that allows him to be a more versatile pitcher. Like Ferrell, Young has more experience in the bullpen, but he also has worked in the rotation, and could make a seamless transition during his junior year.

Young’s best asset is his pitch movement, his curve and slider are considered his best weapons, and while he’s reticent to use his changeup, proper development of said pitch, which already has some movement, will allow him to become a four pitch starter.

29. Atlanta Braves

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(First Selection: DJ Stewart, OF, Florida State)

And you thought the Miami Marlins were the king of fire sales.

The Atlanta Braves have all but openly stated that they are building their future after the 2014 fiasco. Having unloaded much of their hitting corps, including their top power source in Evan Gattis, the Braves may want to look at developing another power bat at another position, And while previous selection DJ Stewart looks like a power hitter, he still needs to learn how to be one.

The selection I have in mind for the Braves here is smaller than Gattis, but certainly could match him in terms of power. Chris Shaw an outfielder for Boston College, is likely going to play first base professionally, as that’s his original position.

Much like Florida’s Richie Martin, Shaw needed a year to figure out how to hit collegiately, and when he finally did, he made an impression. After going deep 6 times last season, Shaw feasted on Cape Cod pitching, adding another 9 blasts, good for the league lead. He’s a left handed power hitter, a valuable commodity to have in a major league lineup, and he makes a conscious effort to correct his swing if he gets aggressive.

Shaw’s not a fast runner, and there’s still a question as to why he was in the outfield during his sophomore season, but these concerns can be covered up by his defensive ability as a first baseman. He’d be a solid part of the Braves future lineup, and someone who could help fans forget Gattis in the future.

30. Toronto Blue Jays

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Toronto is often at a disadvantage when it comes to the draft, as their home stadium is less then ideal when it comes to position players. The turf has been known to be a deal breaker for many an athlete, and the Jays have lost many talented players because no one wants to play there. Last season, they lucked out when they nabbed Jeff Hoffman and Max Pentecost, two high level players from college. Hoffman was coming off Tommy John surgery, and Pentecost was coming off an outstanding summer ball and junior season.

The Jays are going to look for a homegrown post-Jose Reyes plan, as two seasons on turf have worn him down, and I estimate he’s good for maybe five more seasons before there are more obvious problems. In this case, the best option is the defensively versatile John Aiello from Germantown Academy.

Aiello is a third baseman primarily, but he’s also capable as a shortstop. His power swing is better utilized when he’s hitting right-handed. Aiello also has the benefit of playing in a northern high school, which allows him to adapt to the cold of Toronto.

If developed as a shortstop properly, Aiello figures to be a 5 hitter in the Jays lineup. Again, the turf issue may cut his career by a couple years, but he may be one of the more underrated prep stars in the draft.

31. New York Yankees

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(First Selection: Phil Bickford, RHP, College of Southern Nevada)

The Yankees need to realize that the perfect balance for a winning team is a mix of developed and bought talent, and while they certainly have the bought part down, they do need to develop another few bats for when their high profile acquisitions do finally wear down. Brett Gardner has been a solid start, but there needs to be more.

Sometimes, when it comes to scouting players, especially for teams like the Yankees, there’s some value in looking in their own backyard. Look at the crosstown rival Mets and their developing prospect Steven Matz, or the Toronto Blue Jays and their prospect Dalton Pompey.

It would be a pretty expansive backyard for the Yankees, as Niskayuna High School outfielder Garrett Whitley is almost 3 hours away from Yankee Stadium, but his talent is undeniable, and with the potential to be the first MLB draft pick in the school’s history, he’s really making a solid case for a first round pick. 

In a way, Whitley is like Gardner, but with more pop. He’s got value in the 9 or 2 spot of a lineup based on his speed, and he has the defensive capability and the arm that allows him to play centerfield for a major league team. The fact that he’s used to playing in the cold weather that comes with the territory of upstate New York makes him even more attractive.

32. San Francisco Giants

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(First Selection: David Thompson, 3B, Miami)

I’d be remiss to not point out the state of the Giants outfield in the future, as both Gregor Blanco and Hunter Pence will be 32 by the end of the 2015 season. While Gary Brown may be part of the future of the Giants outfield, am I supposed to believe that Nori Aoki and Juan Perez will be part of the long term future?

The Giants have many outfield options, both prep and collegiate in the compensatory round, but none offer quite the ceiling like North Carolina’s Skye Bolt. Similar in story to LSU shortstop Alex Bregman, Bolt started his college career quite nicely, showing signs of both power and speed, a rare combination. He slashed ACC pitching, hit 6 home runs, and showed solid patience at the plate.

Bolt regressed slightly this past season, but he still has the potential to be a big time hitter in a major league lineup. The fact that he is a switch hitter will help his value even further. Should he play like he did his freshman year, he could be considered a dark horse top 15 pick.

33. Pittsburgh Pirates

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(First Selection: Nick Plummer, OF, Brother Rice High School)

Gerrit Cole is certainly going to be a solid right-handed rotation arm for years to come, and while the rest of the Pirates homegrown arms, Glasnow, Taillon, and Kingham will come in due time, they will also all be right-handed, and there’s a certain predictability about that which makes drafting a left-handed pitcher that much more important.

Tyler Jay, the Illinois southpaw, was originally mocked to the Nationals, but it’s become all but official that Max Scherzer will sign with the team, forcing them to lose their first round pick, which puts Jay back in the draft pool. I put him here for the exact same reasons. You can find them, albeit with strikethrough text, in my previous post.

34. Kansas City Royals

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(First Selection: Riley Ferrell, LHP, TCU)

Note: Keep in mind, this pick isn’t official yet, but in all likelihood, will happen. Whether or not the team who signs James Shields is one of the ten worst teams or one of the 19 other teams who stand to lose a draft pick, is yet to be seen.

One of the major proponents of the build, not buy, philosophy, the Royals finally saw their long term plan come to fruition by becoming the 2014 AL champions Thanks to a nucleus of well-developed talent, Kansas City could be a legitimate dark horse threat in the AL for years. And to continue that sustained success, the Royals should look to develop more parts. Losing Nori Aoki and Billy Butler, both a key hitter and a key runner, is going to be difficult, and the Royals would love to have a guy who can at least try to replicate both.

Gulf Coast High School outfielder Kyle Tucker may not be as fast as Aoki, and he may not be as powerful as Butler, but if developed properly, he could be an adequate replacement for both of them in about four or five years. The brother of Preston Tucker, an Astros farmhand, Tucker is one of the more gifted hitters in his class. Although he’s somewhat lanky, he still is an excellent hitter, his swing is one of the best, if more unorthodox, in prep ball. Tucker is defensively capable, but while he is a centerfielder now, expect him to move to right field when he turns pro, as he has an arm more suited for the corner positions.

35. Detroit Tigers

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(First Selection: Andrew Suarez, LHP, Miami)

We all knew that Max Scherzer was never going to stay in Detroit, and in all likelihood, neither will David Price. A contingency plan had been in place with Jonathan Crawford and Kevin Ziomek, but Crawford left by way of the Alfredo Simon trade. I know it sounds like I’m talking about replacing Scherzer and Price immediately, but I could not be any further from that sentiment. Rather. it may be time to develop another set of arms for Detroit for the future.

I still think the Tigers should opt for Andrew Suarez, but maybe I should flip him and their hypothetical second selection, Stroudsburg right-hander Mike Nikorak. A classic case of value in a northern prep arm, Nikorak has excellent tools, including a fastball which ranges from low to high 90’s.  Well built, Nikorak really brought attention to himself during the showcase season, when scouts gushed on his pure stuff.

Nikorak is an athlete, having played quarterback in high school, but his focus is strictly on baseball now. Development of his secondary pitches is key for him to establish a reputation as a solid starter, and given Detroit’s handling of pitching these days, Nikorak wouldn’t have much to worry about.

36. Los Angeles Dodgers

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(First Selection: Demi Orimoloye, OF, St. Matthew’s School)

It can’t be expressed how important a bullpen is in Major League baseball. There’s a difference between letting a starter sit because the manager is confident that a reliever can keep the momentum, and forcing said starter to pitch longer because the particular relief corps is weak. And while the Dodgers have one of the best rotations in baseball, not to mention some decent relief pitching from Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen, it wouldn’t hurt to add another solid arm to that mix.

Like AJ Reed (who ended up being drafted as a hitter), Alex Meyer and James Paxton before him, Kentucky pitcher Kyle Cody is considered a high talent. Cody has the ideal pitcher’s body at 6’7″ and 245 pounds, and he uses it as an emphasizer for his mid 90’s fastball. Cody has the potential to work his fastball into the triple digits, should he be used exclusively out of the bullpen, but there will be teams who want to try him in the back end of a major league rotation. Should the Dodgers take him, I see him more of a former than a latter.

37. Baltimore Orioles

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(First Selection: Richie Martin, SS, Florida)

Oriole Park at Camden Yards isn’t exactly the most ideal place for a speedster, but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be one in the Orioles future lineup. While it’s ideal to have a fast slugger in a lineup, sometimes a guy whose primary weapons are his legs may be the perfect solution to adding a degree of dimension to a lineup that’s more power oriented.

Clemson speedster Steven Duggar is considered the fastest collegian, perhaps even the fastest first round prospect this year, depending on if you’re in Kyler Murray’s boat. Duggar’s primary weapon may be speed, but he is fleshed out enough that he can be more than a singles hitter, even if he has shown limited potential on the power front.

Duggar is also a decent defensive player. While situated in a corner spot right now, scouts believe he has the potential to play center field. However, in a park like Camden Yards, perhaps the corner would be the best spot for him.

Duggar would be the perfect future complement to Chris Davis and Adam Jones, and his speed will ad another dimension to the Orioles offense and  will allow them to continue their stronghold of the AL East for years .

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And that is the final part of the 2015 Mock Draft. Stay tuned, as the next one will likely be released in time for MLB.com’s top 100 prospects and team top 20 prospects lists.

Rookie Leaders: Hitters

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With the first quarter of the season in the books, it’s time to check out which rookies are leading which statistical categories, and how this may impact their Rookie of the Year chances. We start off with the hitters.

Hitters: (NL and AL

Games:

NL: 37 (Pete Kozma, Cardinals, and Jedd Gyorko, Padres)

AL: 35 (Conor Gillaspie, White Sox)

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Kozma and Gyorko are the ironmen of the National League rookie class so far, having played 37 games for the Cardinals and Padres, while Gillaspie is only two games behind. The significance of this stat pertains to service time: In order to have a true rookie season, a baseball player must have played at least 45 games. Kozma, Gyorko, and Gillaspie are on their way to breaking that mark.

Interestingly, Kozma and Gillaspie have service time from previous seasons, as Gillaspie made his Major League debut five years ago for the Giants, a mere three months after being drafted out of Wichita State, while Kozma has been in the majors since 2011. Gyorko is the only rookie of the bunch that has no prior experience in the Majors.

At-Bats:

NL: 137 (Gyorko)

AL: 112 (Aaron Hicks, Twins)

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At-Bats also determine if a rookie’s eligibility is expired. 130 AB’s constitutes a rookie season, so there’s no going back for Gyorko. Hicks, on the other hand, could be sent down to the minors right now, and his eligibility would still be intact. And considering his Triple Crown line, especially his average, he might need all the seasoning he can get.

Runs:

NL: 18 (AJ Pollock, Diamondbacks)

AL: 16 (Hicks)

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These are all the times that the player has crossed the plate. Though Hicks has a low enough batting average to question how on earth he’s managed to score that often, we’ll leave it at that.

Hits:

AL: 36 (Gyorko)

NL: 29 (Gillaspie)

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Gyorko was forced into the offense when Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin went down, and in terms of being a solid hitter, he pretty much has nailed it. Gillaspie, who has been in the Majors before, and who has the added challenge of playing in the somewhat tougher junior circuit, has pulled his weight as well.

Doubles:

NL: 14 (Pollock)

AL: 4 (Robbie Grossman, Astros, and Gillaspie)

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There seems to be a common theme among the hitters: The NL Rookies are superior to the AL Rookies. That being said, AJ Pollock, who is known for his hustle, has more than double the doubles of Gillaspie and newcomer Robbie Grossman. Fun fact: Grossman, originally a Pirates minor leaguer, was dealt in the Wandy Rodriguez deal to the Astros.

Triples:

NL: 4 (Adeiny Hechavarria, Marlins)

AL: 1 (Gillaspie and Hicks)

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Adeiny Hechavarria has already been compared to Hanley Ramirez, by Hanley himself no less. It’s no surprise that he’s actually there as a speedster.

Home Runs:

NL: 7 (Evan Gattis, Braves)

AL: 3 (Gillaspie and Hicks)

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For the record, I’m not a Gillaspie or a Hicks homer, they just happen to lead the American League Rookies in these stats. Gattis, on the other hand, had a remarkable April that culminated in him being named the Rookie of the Month. He has essentially put Brian McCann on borrowed time, so it will be interesting to see how far he can go.

RBI

NL: 20 (Gattis)

AL: 15 (Hicks)

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Gattis is no surprise, considering he blew away the competition last month en route to his Award-winning month. Hicks is the surprise, although his experience plays a definite role here.

Walks:

AL: 15 (Hicks)

NL: 13 (Gyorko)

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Strikeouts:

AL: 36 (Hicks)

NL: 34 (Gyorko)

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Patience is a virtue, and a harsh mistress, as evidenced by the leaders of the previous two stats.

Stolen Bases:

NL: 5 (Pollock)

AL: 3 (Hicks)

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It’s a little early to judge, but my guess is that these two could find themselves as leadoff men sometime in the future.

Caught Stealing:

AL: 4 (Grossman)

NL: 2 (Pollock)

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Tells you something about Grossman, Pollock, on the other hand, can be waved off.

Batting Average (More than 50 At-Bats)

NL: .348 (Didi Gregorius, Diamondbacks)

AL: .293 (Gillaspie)

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If Gregorius hadn’t gotten hurt to start the year, we’d be seeing more of him in this post.

On Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, and OPS:

NL: .392/594/.986 (Gregorius)

AL: .355/.444/.799 (Gillaspie)

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Based on these quarterly marks, we can guess that in the NL, it’s a pretty open field in terms of the top hitting rookie, while in the AL, it’s Gillaspie or bust.

Stay tuned for the rookie pitching leaders, coming soon.

Prospects2Pros Rookies of the Month: April

Prospects2Pros acknowledges the end of April by naming the NL and AL Rookies of the month, as determined by the statistical output of both rookies. The top Pitcher and Hitter candidates announced for both leagues are:

American League:

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Conor Gillaspie: Third Baseman, Chicago White Sox: Gillaspie, who was traded from the San Francisco Giants during Spring Training, has a Triple Crown Stat line of .311 with two home runs and four RBI. He is arguably the best hitter who has played more than ten games so far, practically wiping the floor with the next best hitter, Luis Jimenez of the Los Angeles Angels. 

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Nick Tepesch, Starting Pitcher, Rangers. While it is hard to see who prevails in this dogfight, as starters pitch 4-5 times in a month, Tepesch has put his name into consideration for top rookie pitcher at least. Possessing a 2.53 ERA with 2 wins and 14 strikeouts, Tepesch has found his way around up-and coming teams like Seattle and Tampa Bay. Tepesch certainly is no CJ Wilson, but it will be interesting to see how he fares as the season progresses. 

National League:

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Evan Gattis, Catcher, Atlanta Braves: If the Braves didn’t have Brian McCann on the same roster, then Gattis would have already won the job. The catcher with the inspirational story ended April with six home runs, 16 RBI, and a pedestrian .250 average. Gattis actually faced competition in Cardinals outfielder Pete Kozma and Diamondbacks outfielder AJ Pollock, but his April may mean that he’ll be up for a bigger role in the organization. 

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Hyun Jin Ryu, Starting Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers: Ryu, an import from Korea, has really made himself a valued member of the Dodger rotation, especially with Zach Greinke on the DL after the Carlos Quentin incident. Ryu has three wins, a 3.35 ERA, and he leads all rookies with 46 strikeouts. If the rest of the Dodger rotation fails, then Ryu will certainly look like the best signing the team made this offseason.