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February 18, 2014

Draft Ten Pack

Feb. 18, 2014

by Nick J. Faleris and BP Prospect Staff


Last Friday marked the beginning of the baseball season for the vast majority of collegiate programs (junior colleges have been in action since Feb. 1st), and it was an eventful opening weekend for a number of high-interest USA Collegiate National Team alums. The draft’s presumptive leader for 1-1 honors, Carlos Rodon, (LHP, NC State), had a less-than-stellar opener, while a quartet of his Team USA rotation-mates found varying levels of success in their respective starts. Down in the Sunshine State, high school ball is underway and we have notes on five arms and their early season starts.

Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC State
Scouting Video
It was a disappointing start all around for NC State ace Rodon. After weather-related issues bumped State’s opener from Friday in Southern California to Sunday in Raleigh, the lefty took the mound without his usual overpowering arsenal. Rodon sat as low as 89-90 mph and generally 90-92, several ticks shy of his usual comfort zone, while struggling to command the pitch to his typical ability. His power breaker, normally the go-to pitch in his repertoire, was unresponsive, and with his fastball velocity down Canisius was able to succeed with a choke-and-poke approach, taking advantage of Rodon’s bouts of wildness and a flat NC State defense. The final line was a ho-hum six innings pitched, four hits, three runs (one earned), and one walk allowed, with six strikeouts and three batsmen hit by pitches. While Sunday’s performance was less than ideal, Rodon’s track record, and the fact that he has more than three months’ worth of starts before draft day, lessen the blow for evaluators. He gets Appalachian State next weekend. –Nick J. Faleris

Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Scouting Video
Beede enters the season as one of the top right-handed pitching prospects in the 2014 draft. It's a deep crop and while he's near the top as the season begins, the former first-round pick will face heavy competition for the top half of the first round. Beede's arm is fast and loose with a clean arm action, allowing him to work comfortably in the low-mid-90s throughout his starts and occasionally reach a bit higher. He features a hammer curveball that flashes plus and a changeup with average to above average potential. In his opening day start at Long Beach State his command and secondary stuff were both inconsistent, particularly in the early going. But he made adjustments and found the release point on his curveball and was able to be efficient in his later innings, getting through five innings while allowing just an unearned run. If he improves command and consistency as the season progresses he has a chance to come off the board in the first 10 picks. While that is not a foregone conclusion, going by physical capacity Beede is among the elite prospects in the 2014 class. Viewed in a vacuum, Beede looked like a mid-late first rounder in a rusty first start of the year. But given his track record, ceiling and clean bill of health, he is likely to go higher come June, with a profile similar to that of Kevin Gausman in 2012. –Todd Gold

Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU
Scouting Video
The diminutive lefty ran roughshod over an overmatched Jacksonville squad this weekend, racking up 13 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings while allowing three hits and three walks. Finnegan boasts mid-90s velocity that he can carry late into starts, and Friday was no exception as he worked the heater well to the quadrants and kept the Jacksonville bats off balance throughout. His slider has grown into a legit plus weapon with good plane and arm-slot deception, capable of drawing swings and misses as well as freezing opponent hitters as a drop-in pitch. The changeup, likewise, comes with deception at its best, and there is a grade or so bump somewhere in there for Finnegan to tease out as he learns to soften the offering. TCU has the Kleberg Bank College Classic on the docket next weekend, with Finnegan drawing BYU in the opener. –Nick J. Faleris

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Related Content:  Draft,  Prospects,  Carlos Rodon

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