Today we pickup where we left off last Wednesday, with the second part of our 2016 MLB draft preview. I tried to write the entire thing in emojis, but it didn’t work, and I was told explicitly by Grey that wing dings is never appropriate for print on Razzball. Then again who prints anymore? Seriously where have all the paperboys gone? What are our children to do to learn entrepreneurship? Lemonade stand? Pffft!!! Whatever!!! I can see this is going into a “get off my lawn” type rant…So let’s move along. After reviewing the top 10 prospects in the first installment of the draft preview, this morning we look at the next 15+ prospects that should be on the first round radar. This should take us through the first 30 or so selections. So you know, there’s 30 teams, so that means there’s a player for each team figuratively. I didn’t know math would be involved either….Life hack; use calculators….they work.
Braxton Garrett, LHP (Alabama H.S): There’s been little question so far this spring about who’s been the best “active” lefty in the prep ranks. With Groome on the shelf, Garrett has risen up draft boards. He was impressive at the National High School Invitational tossing a shutout. This generated a lot of buzz amongst scouts and cemented his place in the mid-first round. The Vanderbilt commit possess one of the better curveballs in the 2016 class. He mixes his plus-plus curve, with a plus fastball (that maxes out at 94), and a developing change that completes his arsenal. The ceiling here is a number two starter, and possible borderline ace.
Ian Anderson, RHP (New York H.S): High ceiling prep arm from the northeast in the model of the Rockies Mike Nikorak from 2015. He features a fastball that touches 95, he mixes that with a developing slider, and an average change. Looks like a risk/reward type target in dynasty leagues.
Alex Kirilloff, OF (Penn H.S): Where’s Malicious Phenom? MP is one of my favorite Shitz stiks! Who are the Shitz stiks? That’s the Ralph fan club. It’s like my answer to Beyoncé’s Beyhive. (Time to pause and reflect on my delusions of grandeur) Any the freaking who, Kirilloff could potentially be the best prep hitter in the draft. He has mammoth raw power, that he showcased at the Perfect Game All-American Classic home run derby. (That’s a freaking mouthful!!!) When he messed around and won the whole damn thaaang… He shows the ability to control the barrel and make good contact. The lefty bat should end up going just outside the top 10, but he’s one of the more intriguing fantasy prospects in the draft.
Josh Lowe, 3B (Georgia H.S): Lowe is an intriguing prospect as both a hitter and pitcher. With many scouts labeling him the best Georgia prep arm since Zack Wheeler. Regardless, he will be drafted to play 3rd base. The best corner infield prospect in the draft, Lowe brings a balanced skill set with a above average hit tool, projectable raw power, and plus speed. He looks to have the defensive chops to stick at third, though has the ability to play centerfield too.
Joey Wentz, LHP (Kansas H.S): A big high school lefty with a 60 grade fastball that touches 95. He pairs the heater with two developing offspeed offerings in a curve and a change. Both offspeed offerings look like they could develop into plus pitches. He pairs good stuff with desirable attributes like a clean delivery, athleticism, and a competitive makeup. The ceiling is a top 2 starter.
Buddy Reed, OF (University of Florida): A switch hitting college speedster, looks like a prototypical leadoff hitter. He mixes 70 grade speed with an above average hit tool, and single digit homer power. Any what little power he does show is from the right side. Kinda sounds like Billy Burns, right? His off the charts athleticism and tools make him a first round level talent.
Jordan Sheffield, RHP (Vanderbilt): Brother of “Shhhh It’s” Justus Sheffield, the Cleveland Indians lefty farmhand. Neither of whom are related to MLB great Gary Sheffield. Jordan is the ace of the Vanderbilt staff, with a nasty three pitch repertoire consisting of a 70 grade heater, a plus slider, and an above average change. He looks to have the K/9 upside needed to make him fantasy relevant. Put the other Sheffield brother on your radar.
Forrest Whitley, RHP (Texas H.S): If you haven’t figured it out yet, this draft’s first few rounds will be defined by the development of the prep pitchers. Whitley is another of the dozen or so high school pitchers that will go in the top 50 picks. I’m not sure what Whitley’s mother was feeding him, but whatever it was it looks to be either some sort of black magic, or something from the bowels of Victor Conte’s loins. As the Texas righthander went from a high school freshman under 6 feet, with a fastball in the 70’s, to a 6’7 behemoth that can touch 97 on the gun. Whitley mixes a plus plus fastball with a plus curve, a plus change, and an average slider. He’s a high ceiling prep arm, with a good mix of size and stuff.
Zack Collins, C (University of Miami): The annual hitting catcher with questions about his ability to stick behind the plate long term. Let’s call him the Schwarberra of this draft. Why Schwarberra? Because he could go two ways, Schwarber and get moved out or Berra and stick behind the plate forever. As for fantasy relevancy, the bat has 20 homer pop and the advanced approach and patience to make him an OBP league threat.
Connor Jones, RHP (Virginia): The ace of the defending national champions, Jones looks like an unexciting, but refined college arm. He’s not going to develop into a high end fantasy pitcher, but more a nice 4 or 5th starter to round out your ratios. In deeper dynasty formats (16 or more teams) those are valuable pieces.
Bryan Reynolds, OF (Vanderbilt): What’s a draft list without a Vandy hitter right? Reynolds has been a standout since his freshman year, when he helped the Commodores win the national championship while hitting .338. He followed that up with a strong 2015, and has been solid so far in 2016, hitting .324 and leading the team with 10 homers. He’s a lot like a switch hitting Blake Rutherford, in that he lacks one high end tool, but possesses an above average set of tools across the board. The big difference is the ceiling is lower with Reynolds than Rutherford, but floor might be higher. Either way I like Reynolds track record and pedigree. It also helps that Vandy is on TV enough that I’m familiar with their players. In fact, I think he could turn into one of the better hitters in this year’s first round.
Nolan Jones, 3B (Penn H.S.): A 6’4 corner infielder from (near) the fighting city of Philadelphia, Jones is the second Penn prep bat with first round written all over him. He features a refined hit tool and approach, as well as excellent raw power. He’s a high school shortstop, but most see him playing 3rd, 2nd, or left in the pros.
Will Craig, 3B (Wake Forest): The best college corner bat outside of Nick Senzel. The reigning ACC player of the year is once again chasing the league’s triple crown. His bad body/dad body, and hitting ability have drawn Billy Butler comparisons. Many feel that if he had a more athletic build he’d go within the first 5 picks in the draft. Maybe these scouts are unaware of the “anti-body shaming” movement. I’m willing to ignore the moobs and focus on the bat, but I’m a chubby chaser. Seriously I love BBW smut. Those girls work hard.
Drew Mendoza, 3B (Florida H.S): A high school shortstop that projects as a 3rd baseman at the next level. His frame and knack for making strong contact has led many scouts to believe he could develop into a power hitting corner infielder. He has a strong commitment to Florida State and there have been some whispers he could spurn a pro team in favor of the Seminoles.
Taylor Trammell, OF (Georgia H.S): A super athletic prep outfielder, Trammell was a two sport standout in high school winning the Georgia class A offensive player of the year award this fall for his play on the gridiron. As is, he brings one plus tool to the table, speed. Which grades a 70 on the 80 scale. Due to splitting time between football and baseball, his hitting is still very raw. Will be a nice pick for a patient dynasty owner in first year player drafts.
Cal Quantrill, RHP (Stanford): As a life long Red Sox fan the name Paul Quantrill sends shivers down my spine. In fact next to the word mediocrity is a picture of old “Quilly”. Seriously Cal’s father turned ERA’s in the high fours and low fives into an art form. I’m exaggerating, 14 MLB seasons and a sub-4 career ERA (mostly in the steroid era) is anything to sneeze at. Cal is yet to pitch this season as he finishes his rehab from Tommy John surgery last spring. So there’s some question as to what you’re getting. Pre-surgery, Quantrill featured an excellent four pitch arsenal with the ability to locate. How he looks upon returning could dictate how the first round plays out.
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