I explained yesterday that I’m out of town and extremely drunk, possibly scoring in the 80s (likely not) on a lush golf course in the trashy state of Ohio. Therefore, I’m going to be saving week 10’s Minor Accomplishments post for this coming Wednesday. Instead, today I’ll grace you with the final installment of our feature on draft prospects. We’ll get back to our usual schedule next weekend. Same as yesterday, J.B. Gilpin will be filling in for me in the comments, but I should be back at some point this evening to address questions.
The Rays received a compensatory round one selection after losing B.J. Upton to free agency, and they used it — the 29th overall pick — to draft Ryne Stanek out of the University of Arkansas. Stanek fits the ideal starting pitcher profile — at 6-4, 190, he looks the part, and he features an impressive brand of pure stuff. The fastball is the most advanced offering at the moment, sitting mid-90s with great late sink, and touching elite velocity when needed. The slider flashes plus potential, but it’ll need some seasoning in minor league ball. He also mixes in a change and a curve, but scouts anticipate a heavy FB/SL repertoire, which leads some to wonder if his skill set will be best utilized in the late innings. Stanek isn’t going to be the quickest moving college arm — he needs to work on sequencing and command and pitching approach in general. But his tools profile is impressive, and as soon as things begin to click for him, he’ll push toward Tampa in a hurry.
Moran was drafted sixth overall on Thursday to the Miami Marlins. The third baseman out of University of North Carolina was widely considered the safest bat in this year’s crop of talent. Safe, though, doesn’t always translate into high-impact. With a polished skill set at the dish, Moran figures to tear through the minors with haste. He’s a patient hitter with an advanced approach, and when he gets his pitch, he barrels it. He’s almost a lock to offer quality numbers in the AVG and OBP departments, but reports on his power potential are mixed, and it seems most likely — at least early in his career — that he’ll be more of a doubles guy than an over-the-wall masher. The Marlins can feel free to be as aggressive as they’d like with Moran, who should be ready for the upper levels by year’s end.
Marco Gonzalez | LHP, Cardinals
With the 19th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, the Cardinals selected Michael Wacha out of Texas A&M. Wacha featured many attractive tools at the time, but his main attraction was the changeup, which was graded by most as the best in the 2012 class. Well, St. Louis was at it again on Thursday, selecting Marco Gonzalez out of Gonzaga with the 19th overall pick. Like Wacha, Gonzalez features a filthy changeup, the best in this year’s draft pool. His size and fastball aren’t quite so impressive as Wacha’s, but the secondary stuff, and the change in particular, are weapons that would play above average at the highest level almost immediately. Gonzalez’s low-90s fastball is the only thing holding him back from projecting like a high-impact starting pitcher, but if he can spot it well, he’ll do quite well given the off-speed stuff. As it stands, it’s difficult to tab Gonzalez as a high-impact, high-ceiling guy, but he’s certainly a safe bet to reach the bigs as a quality mid-rotation arm.