I was going to open this post with my favorite Future quote, but then I remembered that I don’t know what Future is saying ever. That’s okay, I just like humming along to the words anyway. Seriously, I think that’s Future’s appeal, you can hum to the words! Brave new world, ladies and gents! So why are we here? I know why I’m here, you should figure that out on your own. In the meantime read along, as I follow up my post from this past Wednesday updating y’all on the performances of the players taken in the first round of this year’s MLB draft. On Wednesday I’ll round out the series, with my later round draft sleepers. I’ll try and figure out what Future is saying between now and then. Today we’ll look at picks 17-34, and touch on a handful of players I like from the Competitive Balance Round. I mean I could have done the whole draft, but I don’t have time to write 2,000,000 words. I’m too busy watching minor league baseball, and trying to figure out what Future is saying.
Forrest Whitley, Greeneville (Astros) RHP: The righty giant was plucked from the Astros own backyard, when they selected him with the 17th overall pick. So far he’s been inconsistent in proball, struggling at times in the GCL and Appy league.
Blake Rutherford, Pulaski (Yankees) OF: Yes, Pulaski is by far the best town name in all of Minor League baseball. It’s the perfect bush league name to use when threatening to send someone to the middle of nowhere. “Keep messing with me and I’ll send you to Pulaski!” Any the who, Rutherford the second Cali prep hitter selected in this year’s draft, was not to long ago considered a better prospect than top overall choice Mickey Moniak. So far he’s struggled in the GCL, and raked in the Appy league. At Pulaski, Rutherford has slashed .382/.440/.618 with 2 homers in 100 plate appearances. One of the highest upside players from this year’s crop.
Justin Dunn, Brooklyn (Mets) RHP: Between Szapucki, Harol Gonzalez, and Dunn, the Cyclones rotation is one to behold. We’re 24 innings into Dunn’s pro career, and he’s been exactly what scouts envisioned; a righty with electric stuff, and inconsistent command. Though none of his warts have materialized in underwhelming production. Quite the opposite in fact, as his numbers have been impressive (1.50 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, and 3.4 Bb/9). Take that with a grain of salt as its short season A ball.
Gavin Lux, Arizona (Dodgers) SS: The first middle infidel in this year’s draft, is a solid but unexciting prospect. I much prefer Delvin Perez, but that’s not to say that Lux doesn’t possess potential as a fantasy player. He’s been solid in the rookie level Arizona league slashing .277/.365/.386, but has flashed little power or speed. Scouts seem to think he could grow into a 15 home run hitter, but scouts also thought Alex Gordon would make the hall of fame.
TJ Zeuch, Vancouver (Blue Jays) RHP: A 6’7 giant, that features a four pitch arsenal led by his 97 MPH fastball. Zeuch has looked solid, but unspectacular in his 26 pro innings. So far it doesn’t look like there’s a ton of K upside, as he sports a 8.3 K/9, but the control has been excellent, as he’s walking batters at minuscule 1.7 Bb/9 clip.
Delvin Perez, GCL (Cardinals) SS: A few weeks after the draft following Kyle Lewis’ injury, and before Senzel really broke out, I kicked around the idea of ranking Perez as the draft’s top fantasy prospect. You’ll be pleased to know, I’ve since changed my mind. Not because Perez has been bad, but because others have passed him. Enough about that. Perez is raw, and that’s obvious when watching him. He possesses plus speed and contact ability, but the power is far off and may never come. Maybe he needs to get another one of those “drinks” from his friend so he won’t “lose weight”.
Hudson Sanchez, Tri-City (Padres) SS: Many viewed Sanchez as the biggest reach of the first round, but so far he’s exceeded expectations, as he’s slashed .297/.342/.388 across rookie ball and lo-A.
Eric Lauer, Tri-City (Padres) LHP: A polished high floor lefty, has flashed some better than expected swing and miss stuff through his first 25 pro innings. With a K/9 of 11.5, the Kent State product looks like a future big leaguer albeit one with limited upside.
Zack Burdi, Charlotte (White Sox) RHP: Looks like it only took Zack a couple of months to lap his older brother Nick’s career. That’s not saying much though. The future bullpen ace is already in AAA, and has shown the ability to miss bats in bunches (13.1 K/9), something he was known for at Louisville. The numbers are pretty good across the board actually, particularly when you consider 27 of his career 33 innings have come in AA and AAA. I wouldn’t even be shocked if he threw a few innings for the Southsiders in September.
Cody Sedlock, Aberdeen (Orioles) RHP: Solid results so far in the New York-Penn League. Through 24 innings Sedlock has an ERA of 3.38, a 1.08 WHIP, and a K/9 of 9.4. He profiles as a groundball pitcher with swing and miss ability. Or in other words exactly what I look for in spec pitchers. Sedlock is the second converted pen arm from Illinois in as many years, as Tyler Jay did the same a year prior. We can only hope Sedlock looks as good this time next year as Jay has. Hopefully the O’s don’t botch this one too.
Dane Dunning, Auburn (Nationals) RHP: Converted reliever from national powerhouse Florida, like seemingly all of these college arms, he’s pitched well in the lower levels of the minors. I’m bored, someone pitch poorly so I can rip them. The swing and miss stuff he flashed in the GCL has disappeared in the NYPL, not a shocking development. Dunning projects as a back of the rotation arm.
Cole Ragans, Arizona (Rangers) LHP: Okay, so I got my wish, a first round player getting worked in his first season. He’s a prep arm through, so I wouldn’t write him off yet. If he’s still getting lit up in the AZL two years from now, then we can write him off. So far the young lefty is getting punchouts (9.0), but is getting killed on the walks (7.2). This is a bad sign considering the scouting reports talk about Ragans pitchability and polish over pure stuff.
Anthony Kay, Mets LHP: When your comps start and end with “Poor man’s Mark Buehrle” I tend to get the burning sensation in my nether regions of blah….Why would a poor man want a Mark Buehrle anyway? Does he have soup? Kay’s yet to pitch this season due to elbow worries. Is he jumping up your draft boards yet?
Will Smith, Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers) C: Wait there’s two of these guys? A better real life prospect than fantasy prospect, Smith’s bat has been solid, though unspectacular so far. He’s already reached hi-A Rancho for what it’s worth. Oh yeah nothing…. Wait? How many Will Smith’s are there in California now? That’s reason enough to stay on the East Coast.
Dakota Hudson, Palm Beach (Cardinals) RHP: One of my favorite picks of the first round, Hudson when it’s all said and done might be one of the top 5 arms to come out of this draft. A tall righty with a funky crouching windup, Hudson has pitched convincingly across two levels of the low minors. Another fast mover, he’s already reached hi-A Palm Beach of the Florida State League. So far he’s using his mid 90’s fastball and plus-plus slider/cutter to strikeout batters at a high rate. Dropping a real funky K/9 of 13.8, granted it’s only been 10 innings, and he’s had some serious control issues since touching the FSL.
Taylor Trammell, Billings (Reds) OF: One of the best fantasy prospects in the draft, Trammell is a raw athletic type with plus-plus speed and untapped power. One of the most exciting players of a top notch Reds draft class. At Billings of the rookie level Pioneer League, Trammell has looked great slashing .303/.376/.414 with 22 steals and a homer in 53 games. The speed is already a weapon, and he’s hit well for someone who was considered raw with the bat.
Jordan Sheffield, Great Lakes (Dodgers) RHP: Brother of recently acquired Yankees farmhand Justus, Jordan was a star at Vanderbilt. 6 starts into his pro career Sheffield has been okay, getting punchouts but struggling with walks.
Joey Wentz, Danville (Braves) LHP: One of the biggest steals of the first 40 picks, Wentz is a high upside lefty who’s shown well for a prep arm in his first stint in proball. The swing and miss stuff is as good as advertised with a 11.1 K/9 through 39 innings.