BA article on 4 HS pitchers staring Aiken. Griffen is an interesting second round guy. Good read. Link here:
Kiley McDaniel at Scout.com posted a thorough analysis of top prep prospects, highlighted with more positive words for Brady Aiken. Here is a snippet:
"The early word coming out of Aiken's couple short outings since that scrimmage is that he is indeed sitting a little lower, mostly 90-95 but hitting 97 mph again. His above average curveball that varied all summer with his arm speed is now plus while his changeup is still above average and he's expected to show the same above average command as the spring continues. That full package of everything above average with athleticism, a 6'3/210 frame and two plus pitches from the left side is a 2/3 starter; advanced versions of that at age 17 (Aiken will be 17.81 on draft day) never get out of the top 10."
As of right now it appears Aiken is moving quickly up the prospect rankings and the Twins will surely give him strong consideration come draft day considering they have spent a good deal of time scouting him the past couple years.
A subscription is required to read the article but it may be worth it as Kiley is well connected within the scouting community and will be posting many more articles as the draft nears.
Here's the Patrick Mooney article on the Cubs targets at 4.
It doesn't give deep analysis, but it does give some insight into who the Cubs are looking at and who they wouldn't let fall past them. He sheds some light on why they seem to be connect to Beede so strongly and he also reminds people that it was this time last year when Gray and Bryant started to rise.
I'm start to think Hoffman falling to the Twins at 5 is more likely than Kolek at this point.
Christopher Crawford wrote a new article today about how Derek Fisher's injury could change the draft. Like Fisher last year Austin Wilson started as a possible top 10 guy but slipped because of injury/poor performance. Austin was selected by the DBacks with the 49th pick. Crawford suggests Mike papi, michael conforto, and a personal favorite Bradley Zimmer could pass him. Here is what one scout had to say:
"I think if you're looking at direct competition, Conforto and Papi are the guys that make the most sense," an AL East crosschecker said. "Zimmer had already passed Fisher to me because I think he's going to be a quality corner outfielder, something that [Fisher] was never going to become. But Conforto, Papi and Fisher all have similar skill-sets, guys who are going to make their money with the bat from the left side and you think can give you .280 seasons with 15-20 homers, maybe a little more.
"Obviously it'll depend on how he looks when he's back on the field, but right now I think Conforto is clearly ahead of Fisher, and it wouldn't shock me at all if Papi went ahead of him, too."
Crawford also goes on to identify Sean Newcomb, Matt Imhof, and Kyle Freeman as potential small school first round arms.
Great article with a lot of great info. Here is the insider link:
If Hoffman falls and is available at 5 it will be more a result of a poor spring combined with overall rocky collegiate record and less due to the performance of others. If this is the case I'd feel much more comfortable taking a player on the rise. Here is hoping Hoffman improves his consistency the rest of the way and proves his spurts of excellence can be maintained.
Keith Law Insider piece - MLB Draft Top 50
Some notes: Aiken (1), Rodon (3) and Hoffman (6) have all moved based on early spring results. Weaver is at #11. Gatewood (19) and Turner (20) lower than expected. The Twins like Mac Marshall, and he's listed at 38.
How does Law view Gettys' stock? If we feel his bat will project well he could be another option. This draft seems loaded in pitching but we don't hear much about the bats with the exception of a couple near the top.
It does seem like the hitters aren't getting much love so far. I wonder how much of that has to do with needing a much larger sample size when analyzing a hit tool. It seems like it is easier to make snap judgments about pitchers, particularly with regard to velocity and "stuff". I'm guessing that the hitters will start to build some buzz after a month or two of games.
Keith Law March 21st draft question from chat:
Are there any other evaluators in the industry who are questioning Rodon at #1? - and if so, what would it take for the Astros to consider someone else there? They seem locked into Rodon - it would be quite the bold move to pick anyone else there it seems.
Klaw (1:03 PM)
I haven't found anyone - area guy, cross-checker, director - who's arguing that Rodon is worthy of 1-1 this year, and I don't think the Astros are remotely "locked into" Rodon.
How much does Aiken's age play into your decision to rank him number one? He is much younger than Kolek, Jackson, and Gatewood.
Klaw (1:05 PM)
It doesn't really matter for a pitcher - age is a bigger variable for position players, although I think the extent to which it matters is up for debate at this point. Byron Buxton was about 18.5 at the draft, and no one is questioning whether he was that good of a prospect.
I see 7 out of the top 10 prospects are high schoolers and 8 out of the top 10 are pitchers. Is this just how the distribution fell this time or is it a reflection on how you view higher upsides being more valuable than lower ceiling/surer things?
Klaw (1:10 PM)
That's the draft class this year - very pitching-heavy.
So Rodon has suddenly lost his stuff? What about SSS and the fact that he always improves as the season wears on?
Klaw (1:14 PM)
SSS applies to statistics. People who try to apply that to scouting looks are suffering from two simultaneous failures of comprehension. As for Rodon, he hasn't "suddenly lost his stuff;" he's not throwing as hard, his slider is down from an 80 to a 70 or 60, and his command has never been great. When your stuff is dominant, scouts will overlook the lack of height, the maintenance body, the back issues in the past. When your fastball is average, that other stuff matters more.
How does Aiken change the top tier? Aiken in Tier 1 and Beede, Kolek, Rodon in Tier 2?
Klaw (1:19 PM)
I'm not thinking in terms of tiers at this point. There isn't a huge dropoff between any two of the players you mentioned, however.
Is Michael Kopech a first rounder? I know his velocity has been up and down but he's been as high as 98. Good 6'3 frame and his wing span is pretty unreal(like ubaldo). Also have you checked out the new War On Drugs record? It's a great listen.
Klaw (1:23 PM)
No one seems to think he'll hold 98 - he's not as physical as the Kolek/Holmes group, and the delivery isn't as good. Kopech could certainly be a first-rounder, but I wouldn't be surprised if he went late first to end of the second.
Has there been any indication or talk that Rodon is injured?
Klaw (1:25 PM)
Not that I have heard. The one guy where there's injury talk is Dylan Cease - he's on the shelf right now, but it's not clear how serious the elbow issue is, so I ranked him more or less where he'd be when healthy and figured we'll let the situation sort itself out over the next few weeks.
How much of a concern is Grant Homes' size?
Klaw (1:26 PM)
None for me. 6'1" is tall enough, and his body is fine - he's built well enough to be durable.
Will the Astros and Cubs be more likely to go after college pitching to align with prospects already coming up?
Klaw (1:40 PM)
Pretty sure both will go BPA (best player available) - but for the Cubs in particular that seems like it'll almost certainly be a college arm.
You say teams should draft best player available but do any teams not do that?
Klaw (1:42 PM)
As a general practice, no. Those questions typically come from fans who know the NFL/NBA drafts well, but are just learning about the MLB draft, which isn't just a different species ... it might as well be in its own phylum.
Is Kolek just that good, or his opposition that bad, or both?
Klaw (1:43 PM)
Are there any top 5-10 talents in the draft that can be picked up by the manaea strategy this year? (Injured and concern about ability)
Klaw (1:50 PM)
Fisher isn't a top 5-10 talent but is probably a top 15-20 talent and is now hurt. Cease could be that kind of guy too, but the Vanderbilt commitment might trump MLB dollars.
I like how you suddenly like Finnegan now that he is mowing people down. I thought short pitchers were always bad?
Klaw (1:52 PM)
I like how you fabricated an explanation for the kind of rankings change that happens every year in the draft. The percentage of scouts who told me last fall they thought Finnegan was a starter was a lot lower than the percentage who tell me that now. And height matters a lot more for RHP than LHP in the draft
Re: the earlier discussion on Rodon, a general question (I've asked before, but didn't get answered): so how many times do you need to scout a player before you feel that you can get an accurate assessment on him? Seems like you'd want to avoid passing judgment based on what could be an off day or two, but I'm wondering what the right number of views would be. Thanks.
Klaw (2:05 PM)
Because I can't see guys as many times as an area scout would, I make a lot of phone calls, I watch video, and I try to see as many elite guys that I can. Trying to avoid exactly what you're getting at - killing a guy for one bad look.
For full chat here. He answers questions about Hicks/Gibson:
Jim Callis take on Rodon:
We put Rodon atop our Draft rankings in December, and he's still the favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Astros. After he dominated Cuba last summer while with Team USA, scouts expected Rodon to do the same vs. lesser college competition this spring. Instead, he has been good but not great: 2-3 with a 2.45 ERA through five starts, with a 42/11 K/BB ratio and a .208 opponent average in 36 2/3 innings.
Rodon's command and consistency have fluctuated, so he hasn't lived up to the better-than-David Price talk. But he's still a strong-bodied lefty with a pair of plus-plus pitches in his fastball and slider, and I still like him as much as I did before the season. There's no reason Rodon can't become a No. 1 starter in the Majors.
Teddy Cahill's article on a few draft prospects:
Mayo's take on early draft injuries and other draft prospects:
Here's a scouting question. Its becoming clear how extension is a key component of the equation time = distance / velocity,
where Time is a better measure of the real velocity of a pitch as perceived by the batter.
What are scout doing to measure extension?
I see Rodon this yeat becoming the Mark Appel of two years ago.
I really hope the Twins get a shot at him.
Both Beede and Rodon were shelled tonight and clearly had control problems. Nola didn't have his usual control but still picked up a W and Finnegan continued to mow 'em down:
ip h r er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np Carlos Rodon L,2-4 4.2 6 8 0 4 8 2 0 2 0 22 28 2 3 116 Tyler Beede L,4-2 2.2 6 11 5 5 2 1 0 1 0 16 23 1 4 82 Aaron Nola W,5-0 6.2 2 0 0 4 8 0 0 1 0 20 25 8 2 117 Brandon Finnegan W,4-2 7 3 0 0 2 10 0 0 0 0 24 26 8 3 105
It's really crazy to see Rodon pitching as not great/poor by expectation's standards as he has been. This is a kid that was nearly unhittable for two seasons. You worry that there might be an injury involved. I could certainly see him betting on himself if he drops in the draft, but at the same time, I would mortgage the rest of my draft to have a shot at him. He's not far from the majors. He might not have the ceiling that Kershaw does (or the guys in the draft that are getting that comp ceiling), but you can't dispute what he's done over the last two seasons and in his time with the National team.
Draft the kid. Sign the kid. Give him a break. And pray to God that you're not getting another Matt Purke.
One thing that stands out is the consistent high pitch counts for Rodon. Coming in to his junior year he already had 250 collegiate innings under his belt. With a high walk rate and a tendency to go deeper in to counts gunning for a strikeout one has to consider the impact this wear and tear is having on a young arm who relies so heavily on a slider as his out pitch. I've also read multiple places that his slider doesn't have the bite it once did. Surely teams will put him through rigorous tests but it seems plausible some at the top will shy away, especially if they value the ability to better control pitch counts for HS arms. It may be more of a sign of how strong the HS pitching class is but the old adage of a college pitcher being a safer pick over a HS arm seems to be fading.