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June 6, 2014

Round One Analysis

Part Two

by Nick J. Faleris

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Below is part two of my look at the first round selections from last night, covering the second half of the first round (part one covering picks 1 through 17). In-depth scouting notes and video of the various players can be found in my Positional Preview Series.

Series Links: Catcher | Middle Infield | Corner Infield | Center Field | Corner Outfielder | Right-Handed Pitcher | Left-Handed Pitcher

First Round (picks 1 through 34)

18. Washington Nationals

Erick Fedde | RHP | UNLV

Height/Weight: 6-foot-4/170 pounds

B/T: R/R

Draft Day Age: 21y 3m

Scouting Video: Video 1

Slot Value: $2.1 MM
My Valuation: $1.45 MM

Analysis: As was the case with East Carolina Friday night ace Jeff Hoffman, Fedde underwent Tommy John surgery in May causing his draft stock to slip. The Nationals don’t shy away from arm injuries (and in fact utilized their second pick of the day on another arm with a TJ procedure under his belt), and Fedde has a power fastball-slider combo that could prove to be excellent value at this point provided he returns at full strength.

It’s difficult to know whether the Nats saved a substantial amount of money on Day One, as Fedde could go for a slight discount or right around slot, depending on how badly he wants to get under contract and begin rehabbing with the organization. Should provide at least a little savings, which Washington could roll over into an overslot selection early on Day Two.

Other Day One Picks:
2:57 Andrew Suarez (LHP, Miami)

19. Cincinnati Reds

Nick Howard | RHP | Virginia

Height/Weight: 6-foot-3/215 pounds

B/T: R/R
Draft Day Age: 21y 2m

Scouting Video: Video 1

Slot Value: $2.1 MM
My Valuation: $1.35 MM

Analysis: Howard was a shutdown closer for top ranked Virginia this spring and has the tools to move quickly to the majors if the Reds keep him in that role. He also has the arsenal and body to try his hand in a rotation, where he’d likely progress a little more slowly as he builds up innings.

The Reds have a little bit of money to play with thanks to a second pick towards the end of Round 1, and could work the pool to set themselves up for an overslot signing at some point on Day Two. There are potential savings with their second rounder, UC Irvine third bagger Taylor Sparks, who had a disappointing spring from a performance standpoint but comes with good athleticism and some pop.

Other Day One Picks:
1:29 Alex Blandino (3B, Stanford)
2:58 Taylor Sparks (3B, UC Irvine)

20.Tampa Bay Rays

Casey Gillaspie | 1B | Wichita State

Height/Weight: 6-foot-4/238 pounds

B/T: S/L

Draft Day Age: 21y 4m

Scouting Video: Video 1

Slot Value: $2.0 MM
My Valuation: $1.2 MM

Analysis: While my valuation shows this as an underslot selection, Gillaspie isn’t likely to provide much savings thanks to one of the best statistical springs in a thin crop of collegiate bats. Gillaspie slashed .389/.520/.682 with 15 homers while drawing 58 walks to just 28 strikeouts. He has a bit of a metal bat swing, lacking premium bat speed and relying on his upper-body, rather than his trunk and core, to generate his pop, but his approach should help him to make adjustments and find his pitches at the next level (even if it comes with some added swing and miss).

The Rays did a nice job grabbing an upside power arm in Cam Varga with their second round pick, likely utilizing their comp pick 12 slots later to provide the requisite savings to buy Varga out of his UNC commitment. Tampa tends to work a balanced approach without to much pool restructuring, and is likely to play their board and look for value around slot as they move through Day Two.

Other Day One Picks:
2:60 Cameron Varga (RHP, Cincinnati Hills (Cincinnati, OH))
CB B:72 Brent Honeywell (RHP, Walters State)

21. Cleveland Indians

Bradley Zimmer | OF | San Francisco

Height/Weight: 6-foot-4/185 pounds

B/T: L/R

Draft Day Age: 21y 6m

Scouting Video: Video 1

Slot Value: $2.0 MM
My Valuation: $1.75 MM

Analysis: Zimmer upped his stock with a strong start the spring and maintained that bump by giving teams reason to believe he could stick in center field long term, in spite of a broad and projectable frame with room for added mass. His contact game isn’t as strong with wood as it played with metal at San Francisco, but he has a chance to hit for some average. Because his swing isn’t driven by strength/leverage, there is a chance the mass-to-come as the body matures will not result in a further manifestation of power in the box. He may be a tweener, but if things click the Indians get a center fielder with a plus arm that can hit for a little average and occasional pop.

The Indians had a chance to make use of their extra pool allotment in going after Vandy commit Justus Sheffield with their second pick, rounding out a balanced Day One with an upside college bat and projectable high school arm. The Indians aren’t afraid to roll the dice on upside prep arms, particularly out of the Midwest, giving them some interesting options on Day Two.

Other Day One Picks:
1:31 Justus Sheffield (LHP, Tullahoma (Tullahoma, TN))
CB A:38 Mike Papi (OF, Virginia)
2:61 Grant Hockin (RHP Damien (La Verne, CA))

22. Los Angeles Dodgers

Grant Holmes | RHP | Conway (Conway, SC) | Commit: Florida

Height/Weight: 6-foot-1 | 195 pounds

B/T: L/R

Draft Day Age: 18y 2m

Scouting Video: Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3

Slot Value: $2.00 MM
My Valuation: $3.25 MM

Analysis: A potential top ten talent, Holmes represents excellent value for the Dodgers as an advanced high school arm with some of the best power stuff in the class. There isn’t much in the way of projection, but there doesn’t have to be considering the present quality of the arsenal, including a plus power breaker that can reach the mid-80s and a fastball that reached into the upper-90s earlier this spring.

The Dodgers went with two quality high school arms on Day One, and will likely have to find some savings somewhere in the top ten rounds to make sure they have the jingle to keep Holmes and second rounder Alex Verdugo (LHP/OF, Sahuaro (Phoenix, AZ)) from Florida and Arizona State, respectively.

Other Day One Picks:
2:62 Alex Verdugo (LHP/OF, Sahuaro (Phoenix, AZ))

23. Detroit Tigers

Derek Hill | OF | Elk Grove (Elk Grove, CA) | Commit: Oregon

Height/Weight: 6-foot-2/175 pounds

B/T: R/R

Draft Day Age: 18y 5m

Scouting Video: Video 1 | Video 2

Slot Value: $1.9 MM
My Valuation: $2.7 MM

Analysis: You’re doing okay for yourself when you land the top outfielder in the draft class with the 23rd overall selection. Hill is an elite defender with plus-plus speed and solid arm strength, giving him a chance to be a top tier defender up-the-middle at the highest level. He’s already begun to hang mass on his projectable frame and could boast an average or better hit tool to go with 20 homerun power when all is said and done.

The Tigers are often linked to college power arms, and after grabbing hard throwing Spencer Turnbull (RHP, Alabama) in the second round they are likely to continue down that road at least for the early stages of Day Two. Hill is an impact talent with an advanced feel for the game and could prove to be one of the bigger Day One steals when we look back.

Other Day One Picks:
2:63 Spencer Turnbull (RHP, Alabama)

24. Pittsburgh Pirates

Cole Tucker | SS | Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, AZ) | Commit: Arizona

Height/Weight: 6-foot-3/175 pounds

B/T: S/R
Draft Day Age: 17y 11m
Scouting Video: Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3

Slot Value: $1.9 MM
My Valuation: $0.75 MM

Analysis: Tucker is the first real surprise pick of the day, with a present skill set that traditionally fits in the second to third round. There is lots of athleticism, high energy actions, and physical projection helping the profile, and the Arizona commit helped himself as much as anyone during the USA Baseball National High School Invitational this spring where the switch hitter put on solid offensive displays while showing clean actions up-the-middle.

The Pirates went with another slight reach in the comp round in Connor Joe (OF, San Diego) as a solid bat that hasn’t yet figured out how to tap into its power potential in-game, and limited defensive value in an outfield corner. The pick of the day for the Bucs came in the form of Mitch Keller, who was the top prep arm in the Midwest and likely requires a chunk of the savings earned with the first two selections in order to keep him away from Chapel Hill. The Pirates know how to work a draft board and should continue to balance upside and safer value throughout Day Two.

Other Day One Picks:
CB A:39 Connor Joe (OF, San Diego)
2:64 Mitch Keller (RHP, Xavier (Cedar Rapids, IA))

25. Oakland Athletics

Matt Chapman | 3B/RHP | Cal State Fullerton

Height/Weight: 6-foot-1/195 pounds

B/T: R/R

Draft Day Age: 21y 1m

Scouting Video: Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3 | Video 4

Slot Value: $1.9 MM
My Valuation: $0.350 MM

Analysis: Chapman fell down my board this spring thanks to a disappointing spring from a production standpoint. The swing path isn’t clean, making it unlikely he hits for a high average, and he has yet to find a way to tap into his plus raw power. The arm strength is elite and he handles himself well around the bag, so there is value in the profile even if the bat never fully emerges.

The Athletics were one of the most successful teams in last year’s draft in determining signability and making upside selections when high leverage opportunities arose. The went safer on Day One, so perhaps they are lining up some higher upside selections on Day Two.

Other Day One Picks:
2:65 Daniel Gossett (RHP, Clemson)

26. Boston Red Sox

Michael Chavis | 3B/2B | Sprayberry (Marietta, GA) | Commit: Clemson

Height/Weight: 5-foot-10/195 pounds

B/T: R/R

Draft Day Age: 18y 10m

Scouting Video: Video 1

Slot Value: $1.9 MM
My Valuation: $3.0 MM

Analysis: Chavis might be the best hit tool in the entire draft class, as he shows a preternatural feel for the barrel, allowing him to consistently produced loud, hard contact. There is some charge in the wood and he is much more athletic than you might expect to look at him, capable of providing average or better defense at third or second, with solid arm strength.

The Red Sox had perhaps my favorite Day One, grabbing one of the best values in the draft with Chavis and following it up with even more value in Michael Kopech (RHP, Mt. Pleasant (Mt. Pleasant, TX)) and an advanced collegiate hit tool in Sam Travis (1B, Indiana). They may need a little extra money to sign Kopech and Chavis, so they may need a little savings on Day Two in order to get back to a clean slate. Boston knows how to leverage their pool, so I’d expect at least one more overslot grab at some point on Day Two or early on Day Three.

Other Day One Picks:
1:33 Michael Kopech (RHP, Mt. Pleasant (Mt. Pleasant, TX))
2:67 Sam Travis (1B, Indiana)

27. St. Louis Cardinals

Luke Weaver | RHP | Florida State

Height/Weight: 6-foot-2/170 pounds

B/T: R/R

Draft Day Age: 20y 10m

Scouting Video: Video 1

Slot Value: $1.8 MM
My Valuation: $1.25 MM

Analysis: Weaver fits the Cardinals mold of a command/control collegiate arm with an advanced feel for his off-speed offering. Weaver was inconsistent at times, but should thrive in the Cardinals dev system, with a chance to emerge as a solid back-end arm. He should come with some savings, which will likely go directly to their second first round selection, Jack Flaherty (RHP, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, CA)).

Flaherty is rumored to be asking for mid-first round money, and the Cardinals added another potential money-saver with their last pick of the day in senior sign Andrew Morales (RHP, UC Irvine). How creative St. Louis gets on Day Two will likely be determined by how much they need in the bank for Flaherty.

Other Day One Picks:
1:34 Jack Flaherty (RHP, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, CA))
2:68 Ronnie Williams (RHP, American (Hialeah, FL))
CB B:71 Andrew Morales (RHP, UC Irvine)

28. Kansas City Royals

Foster Griffin | LHP | The First Academy (Orlando, FL) | Commit: Mississippi

Height/Weight: 6-foot-5/190 pounds

B/T: R/L

Draft Day Age: 18y 10m

Scouting Video: Video 1

Slot Value: $1.8 MM
My Valuation: $1.5 MM

Analysis: The Royals stick with lefties but balance the frame-based risk of their first selection at 17 overall, Brandon Finnegan (LHP, Texas Christian), with a projectable prep arm in Ole Miss commit Foster Griffin. Griffin took a big step forward with his change-up this spring in addition to several starts showcasing velocity bumps into the mid-90s. There’s a chance for the profile to breakout in short order, and the Royals would obviously love for that to happen in their system, and not in Oxford. He’s generally considered signable in this range and offers solid value.

The Royals put together a collection of picks with nice balance on Day One, including projectable arms and a big power upside bat in the surprisingly athletic backstop, Louisiana prep star Chase Vallot (C, St. Thomas More (Lafayette, LA)). There’s a chance they might need some extra money to get all the prep talents signed-up, but they have a nice pool off of which to work, and will likely maintain a balanced approach to Day Two.

Other Day One Picks:
1:17 Brandon Finnegan (LHP, Texas Christian)
CB A: 40 Chase Vallot (C, St. Thomas More (Lafayette, LA))
2:56 Scott Blewett (RHP, Baker (Baldwinsville, NY))

29. Cincinnati Reds

Alex Blandino | 3B/2B | Stanford

Height/Weight: 6-foot/190 pounds

B/T: L/R

Draft Day Age: 21y 7m

Scouting Video: Video 1 | Video 2

Slot Value: $1.8 MM
My Valuation: $1.9 MM

Analysis: Blandino enjoyed a loud summer on the Cape, which helped to keep his draft stock up in spite of a slightly disappointing spring at Stanford, from a production standpoint. He ran into some tough luck in the form of a .297 BABIP in spite of regular hard contact, and the hit tool projects to solid average or better at the next level). There’s a little pop in the barrel and he is a good athlete that will get a chance to hold down shortstop to start his pro career.

The Reds went college heavy on Day One and seemed to be playing their board, with the potential exception of Taylor Sparks (3B, UC Irvine) who might come at a slight discount. I would expect more of the same on Day Two, with plenty of slot value available through early Day 2, and they could save money in rounds six through ten if they want to make a run at an overslot play somewhere in rounds three through five.

Other Day One Picks:
1:19 Nick Howard (RHP, Virginia)
2:58 Taylor Sparks (3B, UC Irvine)

30. Texas Rangers

Luis Ortiz | RHP | Sanger (Sanger, CA) | Commit: Fresno State

Height/Weight: 6-foot-2/190 pounds

B/T: R/R

Draft Day Age: 18y 4m

Scouting Video: Video 1 | Video 2

Slot Value: $1.75 MM
My Valuation: $1.85 MM

Analysis: Ortiz fit well for me in this range and represents big upside with some medical risks. Ortiz had some elbow issues earlier in the spring but returned to action showing the same power stuff he had on display prior to his time off. His fastball and slider are both potential plus offerings, and he has a nice track record of performance against top competition on the showcase circuit.

To no one’s surprise the Rangers were locked in on upside, grabbing two of the best values on the day in Ortiz and Ole Miss commit Ti’quan Forbes (SS, Columbia (Columbia, MS)). I’d expect them to play the board, but play it aggressively towards prep talents early on Day Two with a shift over to the college ranks moving into the mid- to late-single digit rounds. The org does a good job of leveraging their pool, so there could be another overslot grab or two along the way.

Other Day One Picks:
2:59 Ti’quan Forbes (SS, Columbia (Columbia, MS))

31. Cleveland Indians

Justus Sheffield | LHP | Tullahoma (Tullahoma, TN)) | Commit: Vanderbilt

Height/Weight: 6-foot-1/180 pounds

B/T: L/L

Draft Day Age: 18y 1m

Scouting Video: Video 1

Slot Value: $1.7 MM
My Valuation: $1.5 MM

Analysis: The Tribe pair a college outfield bat with an advanced lefty prep arm by popping Justus, a Vandy commit, with their second selection of the day. Sheffield shows an impressive four pitch mix with a fastball that will touch the mid-90s and a high level of comfort across the arsenal. He was considered signable, but not inexpensive, so the Indians may need to clear some money along the way to close the deal.

The Indians showed good balance on Day One and should be entering Day Two with a clean slate as to pool allotment commitments, giving them a chance to take a couple more stabs at high level talent that happens to slip. They work the Midwest as well as anyone and are likely to find some value in that region throughout the next eight rounds.

Other Day One Picks:
1:21 Brad Zimmer (OF, San Franciso)
CB A:38 Mike Papi (OF, Virginia)
2:61 Grant Hockin (Damien (La Verne, CA))

32. Atlanta Braves

Braxton Davidson | 1B/OF | TC Roberson (Asheville, NC) | Commit: North Carolina

Height/Weight: 6-foot-3/215 pounds

B/T: L/R

Draft Day Age: 17y 11m

Scouting Video: Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3

Slot Value: $1.7 MM
My Valuation: $2.7 MM

Analysis: The Braves grab perhaps the highest ceilinged hit/power combination in the class, with Davidson potentially projecting to plus hit/plus power with further refinement. He shows big leverage in his swing with a clean plan that produces natural loft in carry. The power plays to all fields and he showed very well last summer on the showcase circuit, with some inconsistencies in production sprouting up this spring. A UNC commit, he could require above-slot money, but the Braves would not have popped him here were they not confident in their ability to seal the deal.

The Braves continued with upside picks on Day One, grabbing Garrett Fulenchek (RHP, Howe (Howe, TX)) in the second round, giving them two potential tough signs with first division impact potential. It’s likely the Braves will need to save some money on Day Two, which means playing their board and looking for value, perhaps popping one or two players a round early to clear the savings for Davidson and/or Fulenchek.

Other Day One Picks:
2:66 Garrett Fulenchek (RHP, Hoe (Howe, TX))

33. Boston Red Sox

Michael Kopech | RHP | Mt. Pleasant (Mt. Pleasant, TX) | Commit: Arizona

Height/Weight: 6-foot-4/195 pounds

B/T: R/R

Draft Day Age: 18y 1m

Scouting Video: Video 1 | Video 2

Slot Value: $1.7 MM
My Valuation: $2.2 MM

Analysis: Kopech provides loud now stuff and projection, combining for breakout potential that is difficult to match. His fastball registered as high as 98 mph this spring, but inconsistencies in his mechanics regularly drove that velo down into the 88 to 92 mph range. He’ll need to tighten his mechanics and smooth out the arm action some in order to fully tap into his potential, which could be that of a #2 starter with three plus or better offerings in his hard slider, fastball, and promising and deceptive change-up. He’ll also drop a curve with shape distinct from the slider, serving to change the hitter’s eye level and disrupt timing.

The Red Sox did an excellent job maximizing two high leverage picks up top and balancing those selections with an advanced college bat in Indiana’s Sam Travis. The Red Sox may need some savings on Day Two to close the deal with Kopech and Chavis, but will as always continue to search for value, with a chance for another overslot grab on Day Two or Day Three.

Other Day One Picks:
1:26 Michael Chavis (3B/2B, Sprayberry (Marietta, GA))
2:67 Sam Travis (1B, Indiana)

34. St. Louis Cardinals

Jack Flaherty | RHP/3B | Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, CA) | Commit: North Carolina

Height/Weight: 6-foot-3/190 pounds

B/T: R/R

Draft Day Age: 18y 8m

Scouting Video: Video 1

Slot Value: $1.7 MM
My Valuation: $1 MM

Analysis: Flaherty entered the spring with scouts focusing on his potential in the field and with the bat, but his smooth mechanics and arm action, as well as his advanced feel for four pitches, won scouts over in short order. He fits the Cardinals M.O. well, providing athleticism with a malleable motion that should take well to instruction and tweaking. He’s a good candidate to see an uptick in stuff, but is rumored to have early- to mid-first round bonus demands, which accounts for the Cardinals’s more conservative selections elsewhere on Day One.

The ultimate bonuses meted out by the Cards may make it look like Day One was essentially about grabbing Flaherty. But that undersells the quality of the profiles across the board, and in particular the impressive nature in which they fit into the Cardinals developmental scheme. St. Louis excels at finding amateur talent that they believe will work will in their system and take to their brand of instruction, and at least on the surface each of the Day One targets fit the bill. As noted above, the degree to which St. Louis can get creative on Day Two will likely be determined by how much they need in the bank for Flaherty.

Other Day One Picks:
1:27 Luke Weaver (RHP, Florida State)
2:68 Ronnie Williams (RHP, American (Hialeah, FL))
CB B:71 Andrew Morales (RHP, UC Irvine)

Nick J. Faleris is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here

2 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

TGT969

The Pirates are being killed here over their early choices. Not only the fans but
the media including our our main websites are not happy. Biggest complaint:
CHEEP

Jun 09, 2014 11:26 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Nick Faleris
BP staff

I think folks need to see what it takes to sign Keller and Supak before they complain about the Bucs being "cheap". I'd be surprised if they don't utilize their pool allotment effectively over the draft class.

Jun 09, 2014 13:51 PM
 
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