Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

The NFL draft is fast approaching.  It starts on April 25 and goes through the 27th.  However, I am blogging about the MLB First Player Entry Draft.  It’s not till June, but I thought I would look into a few players that may be there when the Twins pick.

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Byron Buxton

The Twins pick 4th overall, which is a bonus for having a terrible season.  They were actually worse the year before and picked 2nd overall and landed the best player in the draft, Byron Buxton.  The Twins minor league system is loaded with high upside outfielders; however, that didn’t stop them from drafting Buxton…and it shouldn’t have.

Buxton is currently playing for Low Class A Cedar Rapids Kernals and is hitting .500 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers and 2 stolen bases.  Buxton possess true 5-tool abilities and I anticipate a fast rise thru the minor league system.

It’s also fairly well known the Twins lack the high level starting pitching in the minors.  However, they have done a lot to address that in last years draft (JO Berrios – I love this kid) and trades of MLB OF’s Denard Span for Alex Meyer and Ben Revere for Trevor May.  I think conventional wisdom would say the Twins should look at drafting the best available pitcher with the 4th overall pick.  However, I don’t agree.

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Clint Frazier

I believe in best player available at all times.  In this case, the best player in the draft this year is Clint Frazier.  A right-handed hitting high school outfielder from Loganville, GA.  Clint hit 24 homers last season in 114 at bats.  He’s built very similar to LA Angels OF Mike Trout and has the same tools, across the board, as Trout.  That’s not to say he will become Trout 2.0.  But the skills and tools are there.  In fact, his hand speed is about as fast as I have ever seen and he generates a ton of power.

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Austin Meadows

The next best player in the draft, again this is my opinion, is a high school rival of Frazier and that is Austin Meadows.  Austin is a left-handed hitting OF that is taller more rangy than Frazier.  A lot of scouts have Meadows ahead of Frazier.  Probably because his combination of size (6’3” and over 200 pounds) and speed.  He gets compared to Josh Hamilton quite often.  Hopefully not because he’s a drug addict and/or alcoholic.

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Mark Appel

In the third spot.  I have right-handed pitcher from Stanford, Mark Appel.  Appel has been near the top of the draft projections for two years now.  Many called him the best player in the last years draft; however, he dropped to the Pirates at pick 8 because of what he was demanding for a signing bonus.  Appel did not sign and went back to Stanford for his senior year.

Regardless of signing demands, he should go top 5 this year as he remains one of the best amateur players in baseball.  Appel has the ability to dial up his fastball to the mid to upper 90’s.  He also throws an excellent circle change and a tight slider.  He has all the makings as a number one starter in the league and I would envision him seeing little minor league experience once he signs.

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Jonathan Gray

My fourth player has major helium.  He’s rising faster than any other prospect.  You have to take pause in these players and really study them.  Jonathan Gray, right-handed pitcher from the Oklahoma Sooners.  He’s got a large build.  He’s 6’5” and 245 pounds with a frame to match Roger Clemens and he can apparently bring it like Clemens as well.  Over the years, his velocity has increased…over and over.  He now is topping out at over 100 miles per hour and sits between 96-98 consistently.  He also has a plus-plus Slider/Curve that he uses a lot because it’s so good.  As it stands right now, I would have him ranked 4th with a chance to climb closer to the top.

So, to recap my top four players:

  1. Clint Frazier
  2. Austin Meadows
  3. Mark Appel
  4. Jonathan Gray

Here is the draft order for the first four picks, with my first mock draft

  1. Houston Astros: Jonathan Gray – last year the Astros passed on Appel, a Houston native, for Puerto Rican Short Stop, Carlos Correa.  I don’t believe they pass on a high upside arm again.  However, Appel’s “advisor” (Boras) will continue to scare them away.  Gray is my guess for the number one overall pick
  2. Chicago Cubs: Mark Appel – Theo Epstein, the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs, isn’t afraid of dealing with Boras.  He did so with several player when he was the GM for the Red Sox.  The Cubs will jump at the chance to get a future Ace.
  3. Colorado Rockies: Austin Meadows – I believe the Rockies pick Meadows with the envision of a Josh Hamilton clone mashing in the thin Rocky Mountain air.
  4. Minnesota Twins: Clint Frazier – The Twins draft another high school OF and a player I believe is the best in the draft with the most upside.

As you see, my mock is the exact opposite order of how I rank the top four players.  Part of that has to do with the makeup of the other teams and what I believe their needs and tendencies are.  And, good starting pitching is a premium in baseball.

There are a few other players that could slip into the top four, such as: Sean Manaea (left-handed pitcher), Ryne Stanek (right-handed pitcher) and Kris Bryant (3rd baseman).  But as of now, and it’s still early, these are the four top players available in the MLB draft.

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