I will be breaking down my take on the draft for each team just as I started with Minor League Ball a season ago. Like then, this is a six article series, going East to West for the AL and NL. I will break down four picks for each team with those being:
Best Pick: Likely a Monday selection that I love as a fit and/or upside for the organization.
Reach: A selection I just don’t like, or at least as early as the player was selected.
Sleeper: Likely a Tuesday selection that the team got lower than I would have selected them, providing good value.
Deep Sleeper: This will be a pick often after the 10th round that will likely be signed (most often a college senior) and provide value in the system and potentially become a future big league player. Some will be inside the top 10 rounds depending on how the draft unfolded for that given team.
To see the other lists, use the links below (to be added as the articles post):
Best Pick: Shae Langeliers – C – Baylor – Round 1 – Pick 9 – If you have ever read any of my stuff, you know I love defensive catchers. Langeliers not only might be the best defensive catcher in this draft, he has some real potential with the bat, see his 11 RBI game in the NCAA Regionals. The contact comes and goes, but the raw power is above average and would play well regardless of the position. He will enter pro ball with one of the quicker pop times and stronger arms in all the minors and, while he isn’t quick, his reactions behind the plate are fundamentally sound. Overall, he has a chance to truly be a star.
Reach: Beau Philip – SS – Oregon State – Round 2 – Pick 60 – The only way this pick works out is if he signs enough below slot to be able to sign Tyler Owens (more on him later). Philip is a good enough athlete but I am not sold he stays at short and the bat isn’t enough to play on a corner where the arm would play best. There is almost no power in the bat and he lacks the track record you typically expect from an Oregon State selection. Had they taken him in the fifth round I wouldn’t have flinched, but the second is far too early.
Sleeper: Ricky DeVito – RHP – Seton Hall – Round 8 – Pick 247 – The Big East pitcher of the year two seasons ago, DeVito struggled some this past season, otherwise he may have heard his name on day one. The delivery is, like his junior year production, inconsistent, but the fastball has plenty of life and comes in at 94 when he is on. The change is his best pitch, with varying movement that he can control and quality arm speed, it has the potential to be a plus offering. He also has a curve that is going to be at least average if not a tick above. If the Braves can iron out the delivery DeVito will come through as a great value on day two of the draft.
Deep Sleeper: Tyler Owens – RHP – Trinity Catholic HS (FL) – Round 13 – Pick 199 – The Braves did not select a single college senior until round 29, so they make for a tough “Deep Sleeper” team to recap. Owens has a commitment to Florida which is always a concern, but if the Braves can free up enough money form their earlier selections to sign Owens, this could be a great selection. Owens does not have the traditional size, just 5’10”, but there isn’t as much effort in the delivery as you typically find from a guy his height that can get into the upper-90s. His fastball sits more 93-94 and has a slider that has shown real potential. Overall, this could be a great pick if they can sign him.
Best Pick: J.J. Bleday – OF – Vanderbilt – Round 1 – Pick 4 – I had Bleday ranked fifth just behind CJ Abrams, but I have been less and less hardened on that stance in recent weeks. Bleday has a smooth swing that allows him to hit for average but also really show off his plus raw power. He is a solid fielder but the real shining tool for him on defense is his arm, which is plus. He is more athletic than he is fast but, ultimately, he will settle in as a middle of the order power bat that plays solid defense in right field, which is more than good enough to take with the number four overall pick.
Reach: Nasim Nunez – SS – Collins Hill HS (GA) – Round 2 – Pick 46 – I don’t dislike this pick, in fact I had him going only three spots later in my final mock, but it the Marlins only took four non seniors in the top ten rounds, and three spots early is the biggest “reach” to me. There are no questions about the arm, athleticism, or defense, as he may turn out to be the best defensive shortstop in this class, but the bat can be underwhelming. He is a light swinging switch hitter who is better on the short side of the platoon. That is the knock, which isn’t really much of one as he has a good swing and makes plenty of contact from both sides.
Sleeper: Kameron Misner – OF – Missouri – Competitive Balance A – Pick 30 – Misner didn’t put up the numbers scouts had hoped for in the SEC, but the tools are undeniable. He showed himself well as a guy who has a real shot to stick in center but has more than enough arm to play in right if needed. He can really move on the bases and in the field, but his best tool at the plate is the plus raw power and advanced approach at the plate. Overall, he is a guy that could hit .275 and go 20-20 in his best seasons.
Deep Sleeper: Nic Ready – 3B – Air Force – Round 23 – Pick 681 – I actually had a few options from the Marlins draft here, as I really liked Julian Infante in the 36th round as a guy who has had success in the most competitive college division, but I decided to highlight a guy I was really high on coming in. There was at least one team that gave consideration to Ready in the top 10 rounds and another that had real interest in him just from scouts I spoke to. The service commitment will be interesting to follow, but Ready has pop, has plenty of arm for third and sneaky range, and I actually think he has the athleticism to play second. I have plenty more on him here.
New York Mets
Best Pick: Matthew Allan – RHP – Seminole HS (FL) – Round 3 – Pick 89 – Allan was a guy everyone had as a day one guy, and most in the top half of the first round. After he was still on the board heading into Tuesday, most figured he would be heading to Florida, but the Mets grabbed him with their first pick on day 3 and selected only seniors from there to ensure they could save the money to sign him. Good body with a big fastball, plus curve, and a change that is better than most prep arms while commanding all three pitches, the Mets added an arm that can pitch in the front half of a rotation at some point.
Reach: Brett Baty – 3B – Lake Travis HS (TX) – Round 1 – Pick 12 – I didn’t dislike this pick, but when you go all college seniors (none of which can be considered a reach as they are almost assuredly going to save you money) you have to just pick from the pick you liked least. There were players I liked better here than Baty (Bryson Stott, Jackson Rutledge who both happened to go to NL East rivals) but I don’t dislike the pick.
Sleeper: Jake Mangum – OF – Mississippi State – Round 4 – Pick 118 – This is higher than a college senior is typically selected but, as just mentioned, the Mets needed to go to the college senior well early and often. Mangum is not your typical senior sign, as he is the SEC’s all-time hits leader and has a plus hit tool with elite speed. He uses that speed to make up for his utter lack of power (bottom of the scale) to stretch borderline doubles into sure fire doubles and covers a ton of ground in center. He has a well above average arm in center and could become a back of the lineup bat who stays in the big leagues for a decade.
Deep Sleeper: Antoine Duplantis – OF – LSU – Round 12 – Pick 358 – Duplantis is not dissimilar from Mangum as he is a senior sign with a track record of success in the SEC who has a good hit tool but lacks power. Unlike Mangum, Duplantis isn’t a good enough defender to hold down center, and his arm doesn’t play that well in right.
Best Pick: Bryson Stott – SS – UNLV – Round 1 – Pick 9 – I was actually underwhelmed by Stott’s bat when I saw him in person after seeing many reports having his hit tool as a potential plus, but I loved the glove. He has great instincts, plus range, quick actions, and ridiculous leaping ability. At the plate, he adjusted his approach this season to show he has pop as the big knock was a lack of power, so he struck out more but drove the ball further this season. Regardless, his walks increased and he showed a real smart eye at the plate. I broke him down in much further detail earlier this season.
Reach: Jamari Baylor – SS – Benedictine School (VA) – Round 3 – Pick 91 – The Phillies didn’t have a second-round pick, but there was plenty more talent than Baylor at this selection as I didn’t talk to anyone that had him before round five. He has plus speed and a strong arm, but the instincts and glove likely won’t be enough to keep him at short. His best attribute with the stick is his power, so third may be a good fit for him, as would right field. I am not sure he will ever hit enough for the power to be impactful, but the fact he is JuCo committed likely means the Phillies can get him for under slot.
Sleeper: Erik Miller – LHP – Stanford – Round 4 – Pick 120 – I had Miller firmly as a day one guy, but he slipped to the second round on day two. The knock on him is his ability to command his pitches and repeat his delivery, which may land him as a reliever, but the stuff could make him an impact reliever. He has as good a fastball/slider combo as any lefty in the draft and the change is good enough to sustain him as a starter if the command comes around. If not, he will be the type of guy who will be in the Andrew Miller type role (not saying he will be Miller, but saying the role could be similar) where he is truly used in high leverage spots and is available for multiple innings per outing.
Deep Sleeper: Spencer Van Scoyoc – LHP – University of Central Oklahoma – Round 19 – Pick 570 – First drafted in 2016 by the Blue Jays (also in the 19th round as it turns out), Van Scoyoc went to ASU where he struggled to find the strike zone (something Sun Devils fans might be all too familiar with after watching them this season). He transferred to DII Central Oklahoma ahead of this season and showed more of the same command concerns. What makes him a deep sleeper though is the fact he sits low-to-mid 90s with an easy delivery that could see more velo in time and a breaking ball can get hitters out from both sides of the plate. If the Phillies can iron out his command just enough to not be a liability he can turn into a legitimate bullpen piece.
Best Pick: Jackson Rutledge – RHP – San Jacinto College North – RHP – Round 1 – Pick 17 – Coming into the year, Rutledge was the second ranked JucCo prospect but a good year combined with Carter Stewart departing to Japan made him easily the top JuCo option. He sits into the high 90s and flirts with triple digits with the big fastball and has a slider that is a true plus offering. He adds to that a 12-6 curve and a change that is slowly coming along. The arm action and delivery may be limiting for him and there is a chance he doesn’t stick as a starter, but the stuff could make for a true ace reliever if he has to move to the pen.
Reach: Jackson Cluff – SS – BYU – Round 6 – Pick 183 – This is one of the first picks I really didn’t know anything about when his name was announced. I was not the only one, as he was not on the MLB Pipeline top 200 nor was he on Baseball America’s top 500. Here is what I have gathered in talking to scouts and some other research. Some pop in bat although the bat head is not great. Body suggests a future move off SS to third or a corner outfield. He is also still has two years of eligibility so a return to BYU isn’t out of the question. Not what I would be looking for in round 6 when guys like Pedro Pages, Michael Limoncelli, Ethan Hearn, and Matthew Barefoot were still on the board.
Sleeper: Matt Cronin – LHP – Arkansas – Round 4 – Pick 123 – A guy some thought could go on day one, the Nationals got arguably the best true reliever in the class in round four. His rising fastball gets on hitters even heavier than the mid-90s velocity would suggest, and he breaks off a big time 12-6 curve out of the same high slot as his fastball. The command has been inconsistent but not to the point it should raise any massive concern. The stuff and success in an elite college conference could see him moving quickly, potentially finding himself in AA this summer.
Deep Sleeper: Kevin Strohschein – 1B – Tennessee Tech – Round 21 – Pick 633 – I was not the only one to fall in love with Strohschein’s game a season ago when he led Tennessee Tech to the Super Regionals, but he wound up needing Tommy John but still managed to improve in all three of his slash lines from a season ago. Once thought to be a solid outfield prospect, being announced as a first baseman tells me the Nationals aren’t sold his arm has bounced back enough, but there is real pop in the bat and this is a guy that could truly make a big league roster and potentially even develop into a starting option in time.