Draft chatter
Musings for the first day

Since I’m about out of time to talk about this draft (and didn’t want to spend a million words on players most likely being drafted ahead of us) here’s the basics:


Top 5 picks: College pitchers Gray and Appel (unless signability happens AGAIN), college 3B/1B Kris Bryant, and prep pitcher Kohl Stewart. They won’t get to us, so I’m not talking about them. Yes, that’s only 4 players.


Everything else is a crapshoot.  I think college 3B/1B Colin Moran is the other top 5 guy, but we’ll see.  If Moran somehow fell to us, party like it’s 1999.  Drafts get weird even up until draft night (see: Correa going first last year) and some team could always draft a lesser talent for under slot cost and try to roll those savings to a later round pick or picks.  Draft strategy creates draft uncertainty, y’all.


And not knowing who rates whom how highly is also a problem.  Here’s my handy temperature guide to draft night tomorrow for how I feel about the whole thing.  How useful that might be is up to you.


Teen hitters:

OF Clint Frazier: very hot (think Eric Davis – yes, I’ve got a huge crush on Frazier).

OF Austin Meadows: warm (southern Saunders-type who may take some extra time, but has lots of tools)

1B Dom Smith: lukewarm (might be an OF, might be a small 1B, might be over-rated)

SS JP Crawford: cool (Jiovanni Mier flashbacks, but has bloodlines I guess. Don’t like Cali shortstops.)

C Reese McGuire: cool (I hate 1st round catchers, especially teens not named Mauer)


College bats:

1B/DH DJ Peterson: hot (Edgar-type but not THAT good, let’s say Billy Butler – so still good)

OF Hunter Renfroe: very warm (Buhner with wheels)

OF Austin Wilson: cool (too many issues for me, too big, not a good enough hitter, etc)

OF Aaron Judge: cool (See: Wilson)


College arms:

RHP Braden Shipley: very warm (probably the best arm that might available to us, unlikely to get to us)

RHP Ryne Stanek: lukewarm (don’t hate him, and we might know how to maximize him, but needs work)

LHP Sean Manaea: cold (but so is everyone now; he’s basically out of the first in these last 2 weeks)


I don’t like any teen arms not named Kohl Stewart in our slot, so I’m not bothering.  LHP Trey Ball should be the only other prep pitching prospect (say that three times fast) who might be on the radar, but let’s skip him, yeah?


So in a nutshell: I’m hoping some people get dumb and let Clint Frazier drop to us, or failing that we get Peterson or Renfroe.  Austin Meadows would be the consolation prize, and Stanek or Dom Smith would be the unfortunate fallout of things not going our way, IMO.  Nothing else on the board blows my skirt up.  :-)


If you have any questions or wanna talk as we go through the first day of the draft, post away.  I'll get some reflections on our second and third day picks up as we go into the weekend, but they'll be post-draft-choices not pre-.  I don't see the need to wax poetic about guys I like in the first few rounds who we have such a slim chance of drafting. If we get one, great, I'll talk about em then.


Happy Draft Eve, everybody!






I'm rooting for Renfroe now.  I like the notion of Zunino and Renfroe providing power bats at C and RF.  Seems more like the natural order of things. 

blissedj's picture

I find interesting that might be around at #12
Dominic Smith
Pure hitter with plus power potential. Knocked for being a bit short and stocky? Doesn't run like a slug, might be an acceptable corner OF or leave him at 1B. If everything breaks right the maybe the best overall hitter in the draft. For some reason I can't stop thinking of Kal Daniels as a comp for this guy. That might sound not very exciting, but Kalvoski was a superb hitter. A bit smaller and stockier as well. 20 years on 6' 1" is the new 5' 11". Look at that age 23 season, 1.046 OPS! Career OPS of 138. What a career he could have had with health and possibly a better attitude. Would love to see the M's picking Smith.
Trey Ball
Tall skinny lefty. Athletic enough to be considered top 5 round selection as a position player. Chris Sale with a smoother delivery. Any left handed starter that can touch mid 90's without major control issues is welcome in my farm system.
J.P. Crawford
Left handed hitting SS? Cool! Happy to take a chance on a B.J. Upton type at #12. B.J. turned out alright at his mid level so far. Could Crawford end up as the ceiling version of B.J. :) ?

GLS's picture

Chris Crawford has variously had us taking Austin Meadows, JP Crawford, and Ryne Stanek. He says Stanek is the pick now, but we'll take Phil Bickford or DJ Peterson (in that order) before him if available. Dominic Smith seems interesting. There aren't that many pure 1B prospects in the minors these days and I've always felt that defense at 1B is undervalued. I have yet to see the Mariners connected to Hunter Renfroe, but of course the M's are notoriously tight lipped about that sort of thing.
The Mariners are stocked enough at the upper levels of the system that they really shouldn't be drafting with the current ML roster in mind. So, best player available, pitcher or hitter, is probably the way to go in round 1. There's no such thing as too much pitching!
If they did decide to overdraft for bonus slot reasons, there's this guy Billy McKinney that's projected to go late in round 1. He seems interesting.

M-Pops's picture

Frazier's batspeed reminds of Hamilton. I hope he falls as far as #12. Can't imagine why he would, though. Fingers crossed!

blissedj's picture

Know next to nothing about Bickford. Looked at your vid link and first thought was he kinda slings it a bit like a right handed Randy Johnson. Not that he's like Randy, just the way he threw reminded a little? Thanks for the link!
I'll put a link to Trey Ball in here. For some reason I just love watching him throw, scan to 45 second mark


His fastball is nice and fast, and very accurate.  That's basically all he's got.  Now, that's what Walker had, and we coached him up into being a monster, so if we think we can make Bickford into part 2 of that equation I get it.  That's also what Beavan had as a teen, FWIW. And Matt Hobgood (who? right...) and plenty of others.
It's just that prep pitchers are the riskiest of all prospect types.  College pitchers have cleared more health hurdles, and almost all bats (either college or prep) are more reliable bets.
I hate drafting prep pitchers highly.  Where we drafted Taijuan is one thing.  At a pick where several hitting talents should still be available is another.
Bickford and Ball are two prep arms who might be good in 5 years, but I don't think either is Kershaw.  If the Ms think one is, they should draft him, and I'll look forward to being proven wrong.
In the meantime I'd avoid that with the 12th pick if possible (and it should be possible).  So I guess if you make me color-code it I'd say I'm lukewarm to both fellas even though they both have several items in the toolbag, with an edge to Ball. 
Excuse me while I go start preparing myself for a prep pitcher to be drafted... ;-)

Lonnie of MC's picture

... is that the Mariners are rather high on Hunter Renfroe. I don't know how high he is sitting on their draft board, but because of the level of competition that he played against at Mississippi State I can see the Mariners maybe having him rated a bit higher than someone like D.J. Peterson, who went up against lesser talent at New Mexico..
If we all agree to keep this a secret, here's baseballamerica.com's scouting report on Renfroe:Primarily a catcher and pitcher in high school, Renfroe intrigued scouts with his top-shelf power and arm strength. The Red Sox drafted him in the 31st round, but Renfroe wanted to go to Mississippi State and wound up there. Mississippi's single-season prep home run king, he arrived in Starkville raw and got just 26 at-bats as a freshman, then batted a modest .252/.328/.374 as a sophomore starter. He's gained confidence and playing time with consecutive summers in the Cal Ripken League, where he hit a league-record 16 home runs last summer, prompting the Bethesda Big Train to retire his jersey. Renfroe has carried that confidence and improvement into the spring; entering May, he was in contention for both the old-school (AVG, HR, RBI) and slash-stats (AVG/OBP/SLG) triple crowns in the Southeastern Conference. He has polished his approach and gets to more of his well above-average raw power, though scouts still expect him to swing and miss plenty as a pro. He's an asset defensively with a powerful arm and above-average speed. The 6-foot-1, 216-pounder fits the right-field profile well if he maintains his improved hitting approach, and he has hit his way into the first round.
I could be very happy if the M's take him at 12. I would also love to see Braden Shipley fall to the M's at 12. I am very high on him and if the M's were to take a pitcher at 12 it would have to be him. Here's a passage from his scouting report that I dig on:Shipley also pitches with a mean streak on the mound and is fearless when it comes to challenging hitters and owning the inner half of the plate.
I love pitchers with stuff AND attitude!
So, in a nutshell, I am hoping for at least one of D.J. Peterson, Hunter Renfroe, or Braden Shipley. to fall to the M's at #12.

GLS's picture

I'm with you Gordon. If they want to draft some projectable arms, do it after the first round. On the other hand, these guys are good at this, and so if they grab him at 12, I'm going to assume they see something special. It happens.


You can choose your own adventure with that tool, see what he did and make your own alternate board.
Has Kohl Stewart being the THIRD teenage arm picked (all the way down to #16), which has to be for signability reasons (he's got a scholarship to Texas A&M to play QB).  IMO there's no way Bickford is better than Stewart, so I assume that's the basis for the fall.
He has Bickford and Ball as two teen pitchers going ahead of us, which I think would be great.  I don't want to draft them and that pushes more picks down to us.  He also has Austin Meadows going ahead of Clint Frazier, and Clint actually getting to us (we don't take him, we take DJ Peterson instead).
I would personally be pretty astonished if several of the things in his mock happen, but drafts are weird things.  I certainly hope the draft falls in such a way that we have our pick out of Frazier, Renfroe, Peterson AND Kohl Stewart.  That'd be spectactular, IMO.
Just gotta get through the work day and to the draft to see how it shakes out.


Right or wrong, I agree with him more than with Law. *laughs*  FYI, this is not an uncommon occurance.  Law and I prospect very differently, and while he has inside connections, I have intuition.  Yeah.  That's the ticket.
Anyway... http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130606&content_id=49792594&vke...
Mayo still has a top-5 of Gray, Appel, Bryant, Kohl Stewart and Moran, which works for me.
He has Frazier going 6th, which I think is both appropriate and a shame, and Meadows also off the board before we draft.
Mayo has us taking Peterson, which is really about what I see too.  Renfroe goes after us, but he too mentions we might go with Bickford.  I would be...underwhelmed with Bickford, which is funny to say about a dude who just struck out 18 guys in a game to get a state title.
Jack was right about Walker, so I would assume if we drafted him that we'd be "right" about Bickford, but there so much that can go wrong on the way to the bigs, and he might need mechanical work to get some better breaking stuff.  That scares me on a high pick.
We'll see soon.


Or he updated again, whichever.  His 4.0 Mock is here: http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9348024/mark-appel-back-no-1-h...
And he's got the same top-5 players as Mayo (and myself, not that that really matters).  Mayo has Gray 1st and Appel 2nd while Law switches that, but either way it's the same group of guys.
He has Peterson going 11th to the Mets, Frazier going the the Padres 13th, and us taking Renfroe 12th.  If the Pads, our hated rivals, would like to switch Renfroe with Frazier I'd be cool with that.  They seem to like Renfroe a lot too.
Anyway.  Lunchtime, and I'm getting VERY impatient for this draft in 5 hours, gotta say...

GLS's picture

...I don't think I would take Jonathan Gray first overall. For me, it's Appel or Bryant with that pick. With Gray, I'm suspicious of the positive test for Adderal and that he basically came out of nowhere this year.


As a sort of high-floor pick you can get SOMETHING out of.  If Appel wants the world as far as signing bonus and Moran would sign for a couple mil less, that's 2 million more for improving later picks who might have signability issues, and Moran is far less likely to throw his arm into the stands than any pitcher.
Draft politics are fun things.  Like how Bickford demanded the moon and several stars to forego college and teams are backing away from him like he's a plague zombie right now, apparently. We'll see if he changes those signals in the next few hours.
I wouldn't be surprised to see someone go "safer" and take a college bat at the top, but there have been a couple of safer picks made that didn't come close to panning out. SS Matt Bush was the safer signability pick the year Verlander went #2.  That was a whoops.  Of course, if the Padres had taken Humber or Niemann instead, that would have been a mistake too.
Just gotta find the right guy.  I'm suspicious of the future success of both Gray and Appel.  I think Hultzen is better than both, FWIW.  I think there are SEVERAL pitchers in that Hultzen draft who will be better than those two guys.  Might be wrong... but this is not the draft I would be trying to add college pitching at 1-1.
It's a great draft to pick 10th in (and at 12th it could be very good for us still if things fall right) but not a great draft for the #1 pick, because the #1 pick isn't much more special than the #6 this year.  Again, IMO.

GLS's picture

I've seen at least one mock draft that has Frazier falling past twelve. Seems like that would be a big mistake.


And when they changed the international draft I brought it up as well (can't remember where, might not have been on this site).  But yeah, it's absolutely an idea worth exploring.  Some people don't like change, but with a fixed cap for spending and rules to mandate that you DO spend within X percent of that cap, and decreasing the amount that winning teams get to spend on draftpicks so they Yankees can't buy all the prospects with their war chest... why keep a rigid draft order?  It's not like the NFL draft, there are 40 rounds of this sucker. Do we really need rounds at all?
It's not a bad proposition.  Now, some players may take less money to go play for the Yankees instead of the hapless Royals.  Can you address that? Potentially.  Should you? Good question.
It's actually a topic I wouldn't mind talking more about, but with the draft over the rest of this week there no way I really have time.
If you wanted to jump off of that article as a starting point and post a guest article here on your ideas on domestic draft changes, GLS, you're more than welcome to do that.  There won't be any trashing. :-) We want MORE interesting topics to discuss, not fewer.
Please feel free!

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