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June 14, 2017

Prospectus Feature

MLB Draft Day 3: Gut-Feel Guys

by Steve Givarz


While scouts can’t always explain the reasoning behind their “gut-feel” guys, something stood out about them. Athleticism, size, power, makeup, rawness. Some will admit that they don’t even get long looks at some of these players. The signing scout behind Trevor Rosenthal only saw him throw one inning.

“The Cardinals gave each scout three “gut feel” stickers to use, and those would help guide late-round decisions. Aaron Looper pressed one of his onto Rosenthal’s magnet and spoke passionately about what he saw in that one inning. Rosenthal featured a fastball that sizzled in the 90s, and he also displayed indicators the Cardinals valued: athletic ability, agility from his past as a shortstop, obvious arm strength and a low-mileage arm.”

With that said, here are my gut-feel guys for the 2017 draft.

Evan Marquardt, RHP, R-So., Ball State University (Muncie, IN)
Marquardt, who I profiled here in March, has a lot going for him, but he has a lot going against him as well. Let’s start with the positives. His fastball could be a plus offering, he shows quality feel for a breaking ball with hard action and depth, and he has good size (6-foot-6, 260 pounds) with good athleticism for his size. There are a fair amount of negatives though. He doesn’t have a collegiate track record (threw 59 IP this year, 13 IP the year prior), doesn’t throw a lot of strikes, and, while he started strong in my viewing, he wore down as the season progressed and finished with 40 walks. But hitters didn’t hit him that hard, allowing only 11 XBH in an offensive league (and home park). There are warts, but there are good building blocks to work with.

Trent Autry, RHP, R-Fr. Florence-Darlington Tech (Florence, SC) (JUCO)
I first saw Autry, not surprisingly, while going to see someone else. I drove to Palatka, FL to see Pearson McMahan (profiled here) and noticed they were playing Florence-Darlington Tech. I knew one of their coaches from a prior event and called him, as well as their head coach to discuss their squad. The first player he mentioned to me was Autry, a player who transferred over from another JUCO, who would take the bump in their first game. Suffice to say, Autry has been put on notice. He finished the year with 115 strikeouts in 75 innings (10th in the nation) and led Florence to the JUCO World Series. While not an ideal size (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) his fastball could be an above-average offering which features cut life, and a hard SL in the 84-85 range. It was a trip well worth taking, and while he could go back for another season at JUCO, he could be a flier on Day 3.

Raudy Martinez, OF, So., Polk State College (Lakeland, FL) (JUCO)
While somewhat of a reach, the main thing I am banking on is size, athleticism, and raw power. The concern with Martinez is that there is a lot of swing and miss, in what is a poor pitching league. But I am reminded of a player the Reds have in their organization, Narciso Crook. A 21st rounder in 2013 out of JUCO, he had the tools, but lacked feel for the game and had a lot of swing and miss. While it hasn’t panned out for Crook yet (he is still only 21, and shows all those tools), Raudy is a similar play. He has plus raw power, athleticism, size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), and is an above-average runner. While he might not be able to play CF on a daily basis in pro ball, he can handle either OF corner. I have him as a pure lottery ticket, one that, if he hits, he looks like an everyday regular.

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