2014 MLB Draft Day One Review/Analysis Part 3
Oakland Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman (25), RHP Daniel Gossett (65)
6’2”, 205lb Matt Chapman is the rare product who displays both plate patience and swings for the fences frequently. How is this done? Well, Chapman seems to have his periods where one dominates over the other. His hitting is probably the biggest red flag, as many scouts seem to question whether he can recognize and handle advanced pitches at the major league level. Likely will develop plus power down the road. Plus arm, if not plus plus arm, but his speed will likely keep him at 3B. He’s a high floor/low ceiling guy reminiscent of Chicago Cubs 3B Mike Olt. The A’s had him left as the best remaining player on the board at pick 25, which he almost certainly was not, but Billy Beane has proven to be successful. Chapman might be a potential reliever down the road, as he has topped out at 99 with his fastball on the mound in relief before. The Athletics drafted another potential bullpen arm with Daniel Gossett, although the A’s will give him an opportunity to start. Fastball tops out at 94, but sits in the low 90s. Gossett also has a plus slider and a changeup that needs work. Had a 3.24 K/BB ratio in 2014 for Clemson. Pretty lanky guy, at only 185lbs, so some added weight might help velocity concerns. I like the Gossett pick quite a bit, as he’s going to produce in the major leagues either as a starter or bullpen arm. Above-average to good draft for the A’s.
Boston Red Sox: 3B Michael Chavis (26), RHP Michael Kopech (33), 1B Sam Travis (67)
I love the Michael Chavis selection at pick 26. I gushed over him in the pre-draft writeup, so I’ll just paste it here. “Five tool prep bat. Put up a 1.861 OPS his senior season at Sprayberry, which while low level, backs up scouts analysis on him. Top five hitter in this draft, if not higher, due to his contact and bat speed. Power projects to translate at a major league level. Plus speed, akin to Turner and Harrison. Quick bat. Minor mechanical swing issues that could probably be corrected (hands that don't move, swings a bit late). Very likely to stick at 3B or SS, which is a plus. Apparently willing to catch, but it's not going to happen. Commit to Clemson.” He has yet to sign as of this writing, but I think they can offer enough to get him to Boston. 6’4” Kopech can only top out at 94 with his fastball, which is probably one of the reasons as to why he fell this far. I am not sure if his mechanics are a big knock against him, but he turns his upper body to the right during delivery then throws forward like a spring-loaded toy. I am struggling to think of a comparison, so look one of his videos up. Secondary pitches are a potential plus curve down the road and a changeup. Kopech is a heavy potential guy as he is only a prep arm, but one that could develop into a 2/3 starter if developed properly. Between Chavis and Kopech, I’m not quite sure what the Red Sox plan is on signing both, as they will both likely require an overslot. Indiana University’s Sam Travis isn’t even the best first baseman on his team (‘catcher’ Kyle Schwarber), but was very productive on a very good college baseball team. Travis has potential to hit for slightly above average in the major leagues if he develops the dreaded plate patience. While 12 home runs in a season does not sound like a ton, Travis only played 59 games, and projects to have potential plus power at the big league level. He’s going to be stuck at first base or used as a DH exclusively, as he doesn’t have the speed or arm to play any other position. The Red Sox are going to need a new DH eventually, but I’m not sure Travis is that guy. Very good draft by the Red Sox overall, especially once Chavis signs.
St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Luke Weaver (27), RHP/3B Jack Flaherty (34), RHP Ronnie Williams (68)
Quietly, the St. Louis Cardinals had one of the best drafts of day one, scoring two great pitchers in addition to one with potential in Ronnie Williams. At pick 27, Luke Weaver was the last top college starting arms left in the draft. 6’2”, 180lb Luke Weaver has a fastball that touches 97 and sits at 88-92. Apparently his average fastball velocity has gone down from his junior year to his senior year, which has to be a red flag. Weaver throws a potential plus slider that sits 81-84 along with a changeup which may become above league average. Weaver throws a slow curveball that guys will likely tee off on, so he should at least use it less frequently. Posted great K/BB ratios his sophomore and junior seasons at Florida State due to his great command, which projects to get better. Weaver is a guy like Wacha who the Cardinals will magically turn into a mid-rotation starter who will succeed at the major league level, just wait. 6’4”, 205lb Jack Flaherty is a great selection at pick 34 if he signs, which he has yet to do. When drafting signability plays a role in where an individual gets selected, and that is certainly the case with prep arm Flaherty. At 6’3”, North Carolina commit Flaherty already has a league average fastball that touches 94, but sits 90-92. His second best pitch is his changeup, which is a potential plus pitch, if not already a plus pitch. Other secondary pitches include a slider and curveball, but they are not developed yet at such a young age generally. Could very well play an IF position, as he is the best two-way high school player in the draft. I don’t see him as one of those types who could be average at both. He has great potential at both pitching and hitting. Good hit tool with potential plus power, if it is not already there. Plus speed, but he’s young. Flaherty might be the toughest sign in the draft, as his commit to UNC is pretty strong, so an overslot is without question. Ronnie Williams, also a prep arm, allegedly has a fastball that sits at 96-97. Standing at only 6’0”, Williams is likely to end up as a reliever due to size and lack of good secondary pitches. This was a reach of a pick, as Baseball America had him ranked 171st best prospect in this draft. Overall, the St. Louis Cardinals went home with one of the best drafts on day one.
Texas Rangers: RHP Luis Ortiz (30), SS Ti’quan Forbes (59)
I did write-ups on both previously, as I did not expect Forbes to fall all the way to pick 59. Luis Ortiz: “Despite being a prep arm, Ortiz is physically mature, standing 6'3", 220lbs. Weight might be an issue in the future with him. Fastball tops out at 97, sitting at 92-95. Plus slider sits at 82-85 that just has a great sink to it. Changeup sits a bit slower than the slider. He is another 3/4 arm slot guy. Great command, near the top of all the prep arms this year. Ortiz is oldest of all the prep arms this year at 19. He projects to end up as a 3/4 starter in the majors. Relatively safe pick.” I was very surprised to hear the Cardinals passed on Ortiz after being in on him so heavy for the past few weeks. Love the pick. Ti’quan Forbes: “Despite being 6'4", most scouts have seem to indicate that they believe Ti'quan Forbes can stick at SS. Above average defensively with a plus arm. Another speedster who possesses plus speed already, despite being a prep bat. Projects to fill out, as he's only 175lbs, and possibly develop above league average power. Potential plus hit tool with some mechanical issues on his swing. His second biggest asset, behind his speed, is his incredible plate patience. His plate patience is beyond any other prep bat in this draft. Could turn into a great player at the major league level. Might have to overslot to get him.” Forbes is committed to Ole Miss, but I think it is likely the Rangers overslot him enough and get him signed. Jon Daniels voodoo magic continues with an excellent day one for the Texas Rangers.
Atlanta Braves: 1B/OF Braxton Davidson (32), RHP Garrett Fulenchek (66)
6’3”, 215lb Davidson was not drafted on defensively ability, so that should tell you something about how polished his bat is, despite being in high school. He has a good hit tool at such a young age and may develop potential plus power down the road. Plate discipline isn’t a major concern yet. While some may say he can play the outfield, he’s almost certainly limited to first base, as he doesn’t have the speed or glove for even left field, even though he already has a plus arm. 6’3”, 205 Garrett Fulenchek is a ¾ arm slot guy. He tops out at 94 presently, but it’s expected that his velocity will increase with some mechanical tweaks. Fulenchek’s plus sinker runs 90-94. He also possesses a potential plus slider. It is widely thought that Fulenchek is a reach at the spot, but I think he has real starting lineup potential down the road. Above average day one of the draft for the Atlanta Braves.
New York Yankees: LHP Jacob Lindgren (55)
5’11” Jacob Lindgren is, without a doubt, a reliever. As a reliever for Mississippi State his junior year, Lindgren posted a 16.33 K/9. He has a plus fastball that displays good movement and sits at 93-94. His main secondary pitch, his slider, is plus with plus plus potential that sits in the 82-85 range. His changeup is nothing notable. He twists enough with his delivery to have deceptive stuff. Aside from some slight mechanical issues, I really like this pick. Although the Yankees need starting pitching, you are not likely to find someone who isn’t a project who can start at the 55th pick. Based on what they were working with, this was a fine day one for the Yankees.