So we've come to the end of our preparations and the results are in.
Over at Minor League Ball (SB Nation's prospect site) we've been conducting a MLB shadow draft featuring all 30 teams. After 4 rounds, all the players have been picked and we can dive into results.
Think we got a very good class.
I think Renfroe will be an awesome power bat, and
Jagielo could be a great overall player.
Eades offers really good stuff and out of college won't need much polish time.
Ward is the real risk here as there are signability concerns and he's raw, but in the 4th round we more than love the risk.
First Round (#8)
Hunter Renfroe OF Mississippi State
What the scouts say:
Primarily a catcher and pitcher in high school, Renfroe intrigued scouts with his top-shelf power and arm strength. The Red Sox drafted him in the 31st round, but Renfroe wanted to go to Mississippi State and wound up there. Mississippi's single-season prep home run king, he arrived in Starkville raw and got just 26 at-bats as a freshman, then batted a modest .252/.328/.374 as a sophomore starter. He's gained confidence and playing time with consecutive summers in the Cal Ripken League, where he hit a league-record 16 home runs last summer, prompting the Bethesda Big Train to retire his jersey. Renfroe has carried that confidence and improvement into the spring; entering May, he was in contention for both the old-school (AVG, HR, RBI) and slash-stats (AVG/OBP/SLG) triple crowns in the Southeastern Conference. He has polished his approach and gets to more of his well above-average raw power, though scouts still expect him to swing and miss plenty as a pro. He's an asset defensively with a powerful arm and above-average speed. The 6-foot-1, 216-pounder fits the right-field profile well if he maintains his improved hitting approach, and he has hit his way into the first round.
Renfroe packs a big punch at the dish. He has massive power. He has quick wrists and a short powerful swing. He sells out for power most of the time but in his summer league runs, it has paid off. He was named Cal Ripken League MVP in both 2011 and 2012. He hit ..395 with a .581 SLG in 2011, followed by a .366 mark with an .866 SLG in 2012.
Renfroe is a player that is far from a known commodity but the potential of having the ceiling of a power-hitting catcher (or right fielder) with two plus tools is intriguing. On the other hand, the possibility that he won't hit enough for the power to play is a serious risk here. This spring could make or break his draft status. While I tend to think the power is real, it's hard to know if it will play against better velocity. I believe in him and think he should be one of the top hitters in the draft as long as he doesn't replicate his first two collegiate seasons.
Comp Lottery Pick (#34)
Eric Jagielo 3B Notre Dame
What the scouts say:
- Bat speed and power stand out
- Quick, smooth swing
- Plus raw power
- Solid approach at the plate
- Has played 1B, 3B, LF, and CF at Notre Dame
- May profile best to a corner outfield spot
- Above average arm
Going forward I could see Jagielo going in the backend of the 1st round. Teams always love a quick rising power college bat especially from the left hand side. He certainly has plus power and with that a good amount of swing and miss. But don’t let that fool you he does have a good approach at the plate. He’s been actually very good on that end of things so far in 2013 with only 10Ks to go with his 8BB and 4HBP leading to a .462 OBP. He’s got a good arm over at 3B so it’s not that which is of concern again it’s his range and footwork that people are concerned about. He’s played CF LF 3B and 1B for the Irish and while some believe he’d be more suited for a Corner OF spot in the pros I again would provide him a shot to stick at 3B which I fully believe he’s more then capable of handling at the next level.
If I was in charge of a draft and needed a power bat who could provide assumingly quick production Jagielo would come straight to mind once the likes of Kris Bryant and Colin Moran are off the board. Obviously Moran hasn’t shown the power so far this season but he’s arguably the best pure hitter in College ball. If Jagielo can keep up the current production as well as the solid OBP and such he has a very good shot at moving well up everyones boards. With a bat who could quite honestly provide 30-35HR+ at the MLB level in my opinion why wouldn’t he?
Second Round (#46)
Ryan Eades RHP LSU
Eades doesn't pitch Fridays like most potential college first-round picks, but that's more a testament to sophomore righthander Aaron Nola, a potential top 10 pick in 2014. Scouts are watching to see if Eades loses steam down the stretch as he did last season, and they've been watching Eades for a while. He was hitting 94 mph as a 16-year-old, then injured his shoulder when he was a prep junior. He had labrum surgery and missed his senior season but has been healthy all three years at Louisiana State. He has an athletic 6-foot-3, 198-pound frame and looks the part of a frontline starter, running his four-seamer up to 90-95 mph and adding a two-seamer this year to get more early-count contact. He's honed his breaking ball into a power curveball that scrapes the low 80s, and has improved his changeup under the tutelage of pitching coach Alan Dunn, a longtime pro pitching coach. Eades grades out better than he's performed, though he has improved his strikeout rate from 6.0 strikeouts per nine innings to 8 K/9 IP as a junior. Eades tends to miss armside and high when he leaks out on his front side or gets fatigued, but his strong work ethic has reduced that in 2013. He slots into the 20-40 range on most teams' draft boards but could go higher with a strong finish.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 198 lbs., Eades earns much higher grades for his skills than his college performance. He runs his four-seam fastball anywhere from 91-95 mph and will sit a touch below that with the two-seamer. On any given day his upper-70s downer curveball or low-80s changeup will look like his top secondary offering. The changeup is more refined and Eades seems to trust it more, throwing it in any count and to both righties and lefties. His delivery features a high leg kick and very good extension, meaning he releases the ball well out in front of his body like a taller pitcher. Eades throws strikes and draws rave reviews for his work ethic, which helped him come back from the labrum surgery. He’s been perfectly healthy since then, but did get fatigued and fade down the stretch in each of the last two seasons.
Third Round (#82)
Dylan Covey RHP San Diego University
When Dylan Covey was drafted in 2010, he was seen as a potential front-line starter with two present plus pitches in the form of a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a curveball that was graded by some as a future 70. He showed a changeup which was early in its development but showed promise. When he didn't sign with Milwaukee, who picked him 14th overall, many predicted that he would be a potential top 5 selection whenever he came out of college.
Covey is a thick, 6'2" right hander with a three pitch arsenal. His best pitch is a plus curveball, which has a sharp 12-6 break and is a dominating offering when he commands it. He also possesses a great heater, which can touch 95-96 MPH and generally sits around 93 MPH. His fastball command has left something to be desired in college- he flashes promising command but is prone to letting pitches get away from him. His changeup is far behind his other two pitches, but he has feel for it and isn't afraid to work it in. He has good mound presence and shows good pitchability.
Covey throws from a high 3/4 arm slot with fast and loose arm action. He repeats his mechanics very well and his delivery doesn't forecast future arm trouble. However, his plant leg comes down incredibly stiff, and you can see his knee bend under the pressure of his follow-through. The stiff front leg has been part of his mechanics since high school and it is surprising that the USD coaches have not had him correct it, as I would worry about knee trouble and command issues that could be side affects of the leg action.
As largely a two-pitch pitcher with command issues and velocity, it's easy to picture Covey as a relief pitcher should things not work out for him in the rotation. His stuff would play up in the bullpen though, and if relegated to that role he could likely be a setup man.
Even though he remains somewhat unrefined, Covey still has the upside of a #2 starter. His velocity, plus breaking ball, mound presence and sturdy frame are all traits that teams covet, and if he improves his changeup and is able to develop more consistent command, he can mow down hitters.
Projected Draft Round
Covey likely won't go as high as he did in 2010, and if he can't find consistency in 2013 it's possible he could slip to the 2nd or third round, but given the quality of his stuff and his pedigree he seems likely to go off the board within the first 50 selections.
Fourth Round (#114)
Drew Ward SS/3B Leeney HS, OK
Ward successfully lobbied Major League Baseball to make him eligible for the 2013 draft after his third year of high school, with the last step being graduating from Leedey High on May 17 (and thus exhausting his athletic eligibility). Scouts have had a difficult time evaluating him because they didn't bear down on him last summer, thinking he wouldn't enter the draft until 2014, and because his level of competition among Oklahoma Class B high schools (six levels below the top level, 6A) is so poor. He suffers in comparison to the last player to go into the draft after what would have been his third high school year: Bryce Harper, who passed GED tests and went to junior college to become eligible for the 2010 draft. But to be fair, almost any teenager would. Ward's best tool is his lefthanded power, and scouts who like him think it could make him a second-round pick. Skeptics think he generates his pop more with strength than bat speed and see him as more of a one-trick pony. There's also a difference of opinion on where the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder will fit in pro ball. Currently a shortstop with a strong arm, he's a below-average runner and athlete. The best-case scenario is that he can stick at third base, but some scouts believe he'll be limited to first base. He'd have an intriguing ceiling as a catcher if a team moved him behind the plate. Ward has committed to Oklahoma, though it's hard to imagine him turning down pro ball after working so hard to become draft-eligible.
In high school Ward is a shortstop. He also goes to a school with hardly enough players to field a team. This won't continue as a pro. He may work at third base for a while in the minors, but I think his footwork lends to first more than the hot corner in the long run. I like his quick release. He has a strong arm and he is nimble enough to work at third for now. If he could stay there, it would be an asset, but I don't know that he can past the low minors. It will depend on his range.
Ward is a huge kid. He has a leveraged swing that can get long but creates a lot of power. He has a high leg kick that could cause some issues with timing good off-speed pitches and high-end velocity. He is very fluid at the plate but I think he could get out of sync with all the moving parts between his hands and legs. I have a feeling that this will get changed in pro ball fairly quickly.
Ward is a tough case to crack. He has dominated inferior competition for several years now and held his own in showcases. He could be a guy who is a prototypical first baseman with .280 average and 25 home runs, but then again he may struggle to make contact.
I know many people like comps and I'll give you one from last years' draft: Joey Gallo. Gallo sells out for more power but the physicality and the tools are similar.
I see Ward as an early second round type, maybe supplemental round but I would not be shocked to see him go as high as the mid-teens for someone who loves the power potential.