Draft Preview: Comp Round and Later
Cherrypicking through some options
CAVEAT: I’ve never been one to feel embarrassed about my love for baseball. I don’t feel it’s “silly” that I spend so much time thinking about it. I’ve always been of the opinion that the things that we give ourselves to whole-heartedly, give our attention and our care to, those things are valuable in and of themselves, be they gardening, piano playing, craftmaking, cooking or motorcycle maintenance. They bring out our positive-facing selves, our productive selves, they provide direction and inspire learning, and they connect us to others. But today I’m not feeling all that connected. In the face of such overwhelming anguish around us, such ongoing and persistent pain that brings us back eternally to the same place over and over and over again, things feel pretty shattered to me. There is so much wrong that I can’t see any way of putting right. That I don’t believe will ever be put right if I’m being honest. I don’t even know what the potential mechanisms could be that might start to put some of these things right. Everything seems hopeless. But we must act as if we have hope I suppose. Act as if you had faith and faith will be given to you. Caring for others demands our devotion too, first and foremost, in whatever ways we can do so, big or small. I don’t know if those of you reading share my sentiments, my fears, or my concerns, but I needed to state them up front before I launch into the acts of the day, just so you’d know the place that I’m coming from — the state I’m writing in. I’m not sure if I should even be writing today. But I will, I turn to baseball, hoping that like Walt Whitman said, it may repair our losses and be a blessing to us and not a cowardly turning away. Though it’s not easy to feel that way today.
“First: listen” has always been a useful piece of advice for me in my life. If you want to skip my writings and just read, and more importantly, listen to this piece, that would probably be a good idea too. Let’s all listen more and better.
More Draft Preview!
I’ll also go ahead and repeat my other caveat (I’m FULL of caveats!) from the previous draft post, that trying to predict the shape of the board once you’re into the 2nd or later rounds is an act of futility even in normal drafts, and as this one is anything but normal, players could well be popping up or sliding down in ways that seem strange and bizarre to us. [As an aside, I’m reading Future Value right now (which I highly recommend) and deep into the chapter on the draft and some of the stories of drafts past reinforce how much luck and happenstance plays the major hand in these things. How brilliant would Houston look coming away from 2012 with a class headed by Max Fried instead of Carlos Correa? Almost happened!]
With that said, let me just do a little pick and choosing of some guys who appeal to me who might be available at the Giants Comp Round picks of 67 and 68 and then some later round types I like.
#67/68 The Shortstops
This time I will not defer my love of athletic SS, but put them right up front! Yes, everybody! I have an obsessive love of SS. Deal with it! And specifically, if the Giants went in a different direction back at the 49th pick (where a number of excellent pitching value lay in wait) there’s a trio of guys who could be around at this point who would be wonderful to pick up.
Anthony Servideo, SS, Ole Miss U, 21.5 years old
Freddy Zamora, SS, UMiami, 21.6 years old
Yohandy Morales, SS/3b, Braddock High School (FL), 18.7 years old
Now I must admit that one of these things is not like the other. Servideo and Zamora are both outstanding college defenders who have just started to show signs of growth on offense. Morales is…not that. Zamora, in particular, could be a value here as he’d almost surely be a first round pick were it not for the knee injury he suffered that ended his year in February. Zamora was well known as a slick fielding SS out of high school and he entered this year as possibly the top defensive SS in the college class (or just behind Arizona’s Alika Williams, who likely will go in the 1st round). But he started tapping into some power before his year was prematurely ended. He has the tools to be a standout major league SS and if the fringe average power comes around it’s an enticing package overall. The ACL injury makes his ultimate draft position hard to predict as teams might be scared off by the impact to his quickness, or they might pursue the first round potential.
Servideo isn’t Zamora’s equal as a pure SS, but he brings a valuable versatility to recommend him as he’d moved around the diamond his first two seasons in deference to teammate, 2019 2nd round pick Grae Kessinger. This year he showed he was still up to 6-spot, and his experience playing 2b, RF, and CF in the past will certainly recommend him to noted versatility-ophile Farhan Zaidi. In addition to proving his defensive bonafides in 2019, Servideo also took a leap with his bat, adding a big leg kick (who doesn’t these days?) to help unlock some power. If all that’s not enough, the left-handed swinging Servideo is also a high-motor type, loud, brash, cocky and fun. Add in more walks (24) than Ks (16) in his abbreviated Junior season (good for a .575 OBP) and you have something like an ideal Zaidi player. This is really one to watch for the Giants I think. One knock in his portfolio, however, was an extremely rough summer at the Cape, where he hit just .149.
Yohandy Morales, on the other hand, is really nobody’s SS — he’s already 6’4” and probably not done growing. He’s also a question mark offensively with a raw approach and a weird swing. So what’s the appeal? He already has big power and he could turn into a physical monster. He might also turn into a physical monster who’s a BP hero and a gametime dud. With big arm strength to go with the power, there’s more than a touch of Chris Dominguez here, but if you can develop the bat there’s also top prospect potential.
And before I leave the shortstops, there is a wild card to discuss here as well.
Harold Coll, SS, Georgia Premier Academy (GA), 18.9 years old
If you listened to Brian Recca back on Pod-One, you heard him sing rapturous praises for Coll who has packed on muscle and added strength to a package that already included speed and plus defense. There are elements here that remind one of a fellow Georgia prep SS, Jalen Miller. Coll is athletic, very fast, has the defense and arm to stick at SS (though Baseball America notes some scouts feel the game speeds up on him), and has been suddenly showing pop in the bat. His social media has shown him hitting 101 exit velocity off the tee.
The problem with trying to figure out where Coll could be had is that reviews of him are so mixed you wonder if outlets are looking at the same person. While Brian pushed Coll all the way up to 55 on his list, and the Prospects Live mock saw him go off the board at 63, virtually none of the professional outlets seems that bullish on him. FanGraphs are by far the highest on him of the major outlets at 82. BA has Coll all the way down at 365, while MLB’s list (which goes to 200) doesn’t rank him at all. With a strong commitment to North Carolina and that kind of split decision on where he belongs, one wonders if Harold doesn’t make it to Raleigh next fall.
#67/68 The Pitchers
Markevian Hence, RHP, Watson Chapel High School (AK), 17.9 years old
Alejandro Rosario, RHP, Miami Christian High School (FL), 18.4 years old
Logan Allen, LHP, Florida International, 21.8 years old
Zach McCambley, RHP, Coastal Carolina, 21.1 years old
This draft is so stocked with various sorts of pitchers — safe pitchers, risky pitchers, classic molds, command and control types, upside plays — that I could go on listing dudes forever here. And if you listen to tomorrow’s podcast you’ll hear a few more names I’m not touching on. But this is a reasonable quartet to focus on for the comp picks. Two high school kids with risk and upside, two college arms with more track record and safer projection.
Lefty Logan Allen is probably the least likely to make it here as he’s a phylum that will no doubt push up the board. Obviously this is NOT the San Diego Padres’ Logan Allen. This version comes from Florida International University. Allen belongs to the polished strike-thrower mold of left-handed pitching. If you’re thinking Andrew Suarez with less of a medical history you’re on the right path. Allen dominated Florida high school competition with an amazing 126 to 9(!) strikeout to walk ratio, and he’s kept right on rolling in college. He was particularly strong on the Cape last summer and followed that up with double digit strikeout games in three of his four starts this spring. There’s no standout pitch here and the fastball sits in the 91-93 range, but he throws strikes to all quadrants with a mixture of pitches and is relatively safe bet to move through the minors to a big league career despite the low ceiling.
McCambley’s trajectory, on the other hand, is that of a late riser. His fastball has gotten steadily better and harder throughout his college career, and was at its best on the Cape where he struck out 24 in 20 IP. He now sits in the mid-90s and in a relief or hybrid role he can get it up to 97. That’s complimented by a hard curve with big spin rates. He might not be a starter in the long-run but with two premium pitches he can be an impact arm in relief or some sort of swingman role (who knows what Farhan’s mad plans are for the pitching staff?).
If you read my post on the Prospects Live mock draft experience, you’ve already seen my love for Alejandro Rosario. A slender 6’0” kid, he doesn’t have a classic starter’s build, but he pairs electric arm speed that gets his fastball up to 97 already with a plus feel for a changeup and a promising slider. In starts the fastball works more in the 93-95 range currently. He was a standout performer on Team USA last summer, but some scouts worry that batters see his pitches well and he doesn’t miss bats quite as much as the stuff would suggest.
Markevian Hence — draftable for the name alone — is one of the younger pitchers in the high school class and his super skinny frame gives him good projection. Hence is another pitcher who is climbing thanks to the read outs on his spin rates. And unusually, Hence distinctly throws both a slider and a curve — and both are impressive with their own consistent shape and action. He also shows some feel for a changeup. Unlike Rosario, Hence’s fastball sits in the low 90s but with a loose arm and room to grow there’s good reason to believe that he’s going to grow into more. This is an exciting mix overall and Giants fans should be happy to see him join the organization.
Zach DeLoach, OF, Texas A&M, 21.9 years old
David Calabrese, OF, St. Elizabeth Catholic High School (Ontario), 17.7 years old
Isaiah Greene, OF, Corona High School (CA), 18.8 years old
Hey, we can’t ignore the OF entirely, can we? DeLoach won the Cape Cod batting title with a tremendous all-around performance hitting .353/.428/.541 with five home runs and eight stolen bases for Falmouth. The CF is more known for his speed but he shows an all around game. He struggled in his first two years at A&M so coming off the Cape he really needed a full Junior year to establish himself. He was off to a tremendous start in non-conference play but lost the chance to push himself up boards in the SEC. In the games he did manage to play this spring he had six home runs and six stolen bases while working 14 walks against just three strikeouts.
Brian Recca has connected Calabrese to the Giants, possibly as early as the second round. If you read the Baseball America story above, you’ll see he stood out at the Future Stars series at Fenway Park and likely made himself some good money there. He’s a double plus runner whose speed plays well in the OF and on the bases and at Fenway he showed a solid feel for hitting from the left-hand side. A small, slight kid, he’s more gazelle than bull so the power might not ever be more than fringe average, but he’s a twitchy athlete who can barrel the ball and run like hell which isn’t bad to have around. He’s also one of the youngest players in the draft which is something that teams relying on data-models tend to value highly on the hitting side.
Greene is another left-handed OF with speed though many scouts think he might end up being a left fielder due to his weak arm and questionable routes. But there are no doubts about his left-handed swing which draws comparisons to guys like Garret Anderson and Michael Brantley. He catches up to premium velocity with a smooth, sweet, simple swing (alliteration!) Unlike Calabrese, Greene is one of the older high school kids in the class which could knock him down to later rounds.
Luke Little, LHP, San Jacinto JC (TX), 19.7 years old
Conner Phillips, RHP, McLennan JC (TX), 19.1 years old
Landon Knack, RHP, East Tennessee State, 22.9 years old
Adam Seminaris, LHP, Long Beach St., 21.7 years old
Sam Weatherly, LHP, Clemson, 21.1 years old
Dane Acker, RHP, University of Oklahoma, 21.2 years old
Oh guess what? There’s even MORE pitchers to look forward to in this draft!
I’ve held off long enough from gushing about my love for Luke Little. I personally wouldn’t be upset to see him taken with one of the comp picks though most folks have him as a third round talent. The lefty from San Jac is the hardest thrower in this class and getting harder all the time. Little is almost certainly a reliever in the making — his history of wildness and lack of full repertoire tend that direction — but triple digits from the left side and a workable slider will play in any role. ROG WANT!
Sam Weatherly is similarly a loud two-pitch lefty who might also move to the pen. His fastball isn’t Little-like explosive, but he pitches with it in the mid 90s and pairs it with a true impact breaking ball (variously called a slider or a curve). Seminaris, on the other hand, is a classic “feel” lefty with a well-rounded four-pitch repertoire. None of his pitches are plus, though the change is a solid out pitch. He brings a funky, cross-fire delivery that has a lot of deception to it, allowing the pedestrian stuff to play up, particularly against lefties. Plus, you should always have a Dirtbag in your draft class!
From the right-hand side, Landon Knack is the premier Senior in this class and one of the fastest risers before the spring season ended. The East Tennessee starter suddenly metamorphized from a classic command-and-control righty who fills up the strikezone, to a power pitcher who was bumping 98 this spring and holding 95 deep into outings. The sudden transformation of his fastball might make him a candidate to transition to the pen and just air it out, or teams might be interested in seeing if he can mix the best from his Freshman/Sophomore version with the velocity of his Junior version and create an impressive starter mix.
Conner Phillips is another Texas JC kid with a power repertoire. Like Little he saw a velocity spike this year and now shows a mid-90s fastball with a lot of run on it. That pairs well with a power slider that scouts think can get to plus. He also shows a curve and a change that are less consistent. So again, there’s the option of a power reliever if the full package doesn’t come together as a starter.
Caden Grice, OF/LHP, Riverside High School (SC), 18.0 years old
Zach Britton, OF, Louisville, 21.8 years old
Zavier Warren, C/SS, Central Michigan, 21.4 years old
Grice is a two-way prospect whose size is a big selling point whichever way teams go. His current stuff from the left-side isn’t all that impressive, but at 6’5” with a lot of frame to fill out most scouts think it will come with time. But teams might not be willing to give him that development time on the mound after watching his BP sessions this spring. Grice showed huge power from the left-hand side with a max effort and max loft swing that generated awe inspiring shots. Basically, if you’re thinking about Joey Gallo in that description you’re on the right track. The problem comes when he tries to hit live pitching — there’s a wide variety of opinions on whether he’ll make enough contact for the power to play. As with Yohandy Morales, the team that pops him is betting their development team can turn that raw material into refined goods with time.
Britton, teammate of 2019 Giants’ draftees Logan Wyatt and Tyler Fitzgerald, is a bat-first LF who makes a lot of loud contact from the left side. He’s mostly shown doubles power in college but there are those who think that some simple swing adjustments can unlock some over-the-fence potential. It’s not crazy to think of him as a slightly slower version of Vanderbilt U-era Mike Yastrzemski.
Has there ever been a more Zaidi-friendly player that Zavier Warren? Dude is a Catcher/Shortshop! And not like Buster Posey was a Catcher/Shortshop, but a real one! Well, maybe not a real real one at the top level, but enough to fill in! He also played 3b on the Cape and has seen time at 1b and the OF at Central Michigan (as a sidenote, the fact that he’s a Chippewah has a personal resonance for me due to past associations but that’s probably neither here nor there for you ). Warren is a “more than the sum of his parts” type player who brings no standout tools but seems to provide value in all facets of the game. He had a standout summer on the Cape and provides an extremely intriguing utility player package.
Of course, this is a small sampling of all the many many players who might be Giants a week from now — or the many more who will be on the Undrafted Free Agent market the week after that, scrambling for their $20k pittance (I’ll try to get a post on those guys up after the draft). I would expect in the 5th round teams will all look to cut underslot deals, leveraging the difference between 5th round slot money and the $20,000 maximum for UDFA to get the cheapest signs they can.
There are tons of great resources out there to help you prepare for next Wednesday and Thursday, but I’ll direct you to my draft expert Brian who has a great resource for you here as well the industry leader Baseball America’s draft database here. Who do YOU want to see the Giants take in from the draft? Let me know in the comments section.
I’ll be on twitter during the draft and afterwards. Join me there!
On this Day in History
Reader Kevin O’Brien correctly identified the great 2009 San Jose team who rocked Stockton 6-1 with Thomas Neal hitting his 8th HR. Ah, the days of “Neal is Real.” Sigh.
Name the team and the year:
Von Schell, 1b
2005: Marcus Sanders’ triple drove in the game winner and Brian Wilson came on to nail down a 5-4 victory with his 9th save of the year. Wilson, who had fallen to the 24th round when he underwent TJ surgery just prior to the draft, was in his second season in the Sally. His first had gone poorly as he struggled to retire anybody in his initial post-surgery action (I saw some truly Tin Cup level hard to watch days on the mound in Hagerstown that year for Brian). But moved to the closer role in 2005, Wilson was a revelation. He had allowed just 2 ER on the season through the first two months of the season. His dominance of the Sally would last one more month (and just 1 more earned run) before on July 3 he was moved all the way up to AA. He’d finish the year in AAA and on the precipice of a major league debut.
2008: Travis Ishikawa drove in four runs with a double and a tie-breaking two run homer to lead the Connecticut Defenders to a 5-3 win over Trenton. To say it had been a slow climb for the highly-touted youngster would be quite an understatement. Ishikawa had spent two complete seasons in Salem-Keizer, most of two seasons in Hagerstown, and was now in his third year in AA Connecticut. Despite a rather bizarre promotion to the majors in 2006, Ishikawa had been inching his way up the ladder, not leaping. But he was starting to get the hang of it. He would HR in each of the three games in this series, kick-starting a June which saw him hit .351/.409/.654 and earn his way up to AAA. By mid-August he’d be back in San Francisco. And this time he’d stay awhile.
2012: What a difference a year makes! On this date, Gary Brown homered in both 2011 and 2012 — but the speedster was halfway through two very different campaigns. His three-hit, six-RBI game in 2011 pushed his season average up to .368 with a .974 OPS. He’d have 14 HRs, 61 XBH, and 53 SB in that amazing season, earning so much faith from the organization that GM Brian Sabean famously offered up RHP Zack Wheeler instead of Brown in the Carlos Beltrán deal. But his leadoff HR on this date in 2012 was just his second on the year, and pushed his average up to an uninspiring .243 (and his OPS to .642). He’d been caught stealing in 6 of his past 7 attempts and was floundering in nearly every aspect of his game in a AA season that could only be considered a development faceplant. Worse yet, the talk had already begun of his reluctance, or inability, to change his idiosyncratic batting mechanics. Though he’d rebound somewhat in the second half in Richmond, a disastrous .231/.286/.375 season in Fresno the next year would bring an end to his prospect shine. His big league career would last just seven at bats in September of 2014.
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