Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Recapping My Picks from MinorLeagueBall's Community Mock Draft

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in the Community Mock Draft at minorleagueball.com with accomplished prospect writers Nick Melotte of Today's Knuckleball, Benjamin Chase of Tomahawk Take, and of course the outstanding John Sickels. This was my first time participating in a draft of these sorts, with easily the smartest group of people I could have possibly gone up against. Acting as the Mock GM of the Houston Astros, I held picks #17, 61, 97, and 127 in this four round draft. In this piece below, I will break down and analyze each of my picks. Final results of the entire draft can be found here.

1-17 RHP T.J. Zeuch, University of Pittsburgh
Zeuch was on top of my board as the top college pitcher in the draft. While A.J. Puk deservedly gets more hype with his elite velocity, Zeuch has the most complete package. Standing at 6'7'', he is a big power arm who can throw a hard sinking fastball in the mid-90's that gets both whiffs (9.56 K/9) and grounders (76.4% GB rate). He has two breaking balls, both above average and usable in any count, as well as a promising changeup. Combined with his clean mechanics, arm speed, workhorse frame, and solid command (2.45 BB/9), it's a wonder why he doesn't rank higher on most draft boards and mocks. With my favorite prep target Forrest Whitley off the board, it made my decision to nab Zeuch a no-brainer.

2-61 LHP Ben Bowden, Vanderbilt University
I was really holding out that prep lefty Kyle Muller or Clemson catcher Chris Okey would fall to this pick, but there was no chance of that happening drafting against this group of opponents. All my other second round targets were long shots to fall too (Jeffries, Burnes, Kay, Rizzo, Kieboom) and were off the board. I was left between Reggie Lawson and Logan Ice, as well as third round target Ben Bowden, but as I realized there was no chance Bowden would fall to #97 I picked him up here. The big lefty has been Vanderbilt's closer this season, with great success, but he started 5 pre-conference games as well. Usually relying on his fastball and breaking ball, both potentially plus pitches, he also uses a changeup and cutter when he starts, although both are still developing. He definitely has the ability to start but can be fast-tracked to the bigs as a reliever. Upside is a #3 starter, floor is at least a big league set-up man. May be a reach based on most boards, but I see the big lefty as a value pick at 61.

3-97 RHP Reggie Lawson, Victor Valley HS (California)
After taking two pitchers, a righty and a lefty, I was looking for a bat here, but with my targets Lucas Erceg and Logan Ice both taken,  I ended up going with Lawson, a prep arm with signability concerns and had an injury-riddled spring that caused him to fall down boards. Because both players I took earlier were college arms, I figured that I could save some money to sign Lawson. He has one of the easiest deliveries in the class, mechanics advanced for a prep arm. His curveball and changeup both showed promise before, but backed up due to an oblique injury. When he rebounds from his injury, I believe that his breaking balls will come back to form, and with his command of his 90-94 mph fastball, the Arizona State commit should develop quickly for a high school pitcher.

4-121 SS Colby Woodmansee, Arizona State
Had to draft a hitter after picking three pitchers, and Woodmansee, who was my main fourth round target and highest hitter left on my board just so happened to be available. Middle infielders with power don't grow on trees, and Woodmansee has the pop to hit 10-15 HR's annually in the majors, if not more. After playing for Team USA last summer, he had a subpar spring, batting just .265 in the weak Pac-12, but his pedigree and potential was too much to pass up for me. If he had been taken, I would have gone with other Pac-12 players, USC catcher Jeremy Martinez or Stanford second baseman Tommy Edman.

If the real life Astros ended up actually drafting these four and be able to sign all of them, I would be ecstatic. Some interesting things to note in this community mock draft: personally I am not high on Virginia catcher Matt Thaiss, but John Sickels took him at 1-15 so he must be good. Dakota Mekkes was taken at 2-45, but a convincing argument by commenter ctcyawni convinced me that this was a great value pick. Connor Jones and Bryan Reynolds, both first round talents, fell to the compensation round, guess Minor League Ball isn't the place for boring, safe college guys. Max Guzman, mystery prospect to me, was taken with the last pick. He apparently has 80-grade raw power, so he should be a fun follow. Overall, it was a fun learning experience to pick up opinions and information on draft prospects from various intelligent baseball fans, and I enjoyed the challenge.

No comments:

Post a Comment