No. 6 Draft Pick Update 03/11/14

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== A Trea for Six? ==

I had been working on a No. 6 draft pick update, when the Minor League Ball blog came out with its first mock draft of the year.  So good timing.

Not surprisingly to those who read our February 6 post, they project North Carolina State shortstop Trea Turner to be headed to Seattle.

The math is fairly simple.

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There are three college pitchers who have excellent stuff and should be ready to go quickly.

  • LHP Carlos Rodon, also of N.C. State, has been the consensus No. 1 for quite some time.
  • RHP Jeff Hoffman of East Carolina has been gaining ground and is emerging as a consensus No. 2
  • And RHP Tyler Beede of Vanderbilt has been making his case to join them.  Beede is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA and 11.9 K/9 in the first month of the college season.

It looks like it would be quite an upset if all three didn’t go in the top five.

But if a couple of those teams have other ideas, one of them could fall to Seattle — most likely Beede.

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Then there are the high school arms.  This year’s crop is drawing comparisons to the 2011 draft, in which Jose Fernandez was picked out of high school and was already a Cy Young contender; Archie Bradley is the No. 5 overall prospect per MLB.com; and Dylan Bundy is not far back at No. 20.

This year the trio with the most buzz is:

  • RHP Tyler Kolek, the proverbial “Texas fireballer,” who is, well, a fireballer from Texas
  • California LHP Brady Aiken, who won the championship game of last fall’s 18-and-Under World Cup with 10 strikeouts in 7.0 IP vs. Team Japan
  • And RHP Touki Toussaint, a Haitian-born Floridian who only took up baseball four years ago, and throws mid-90s with an excellent curve  — yes, sounds like a Taijuan Walker clone

===

Mathematically, one of the above six will be available to the Mariners.  But if all the college arms are taken, keep in mind that the M’s have no history of drafting high school pitchers that high, and No. 6 might be a “reach” for any of the prep arms anyway.

But chances are good, at this point, that one of the five teams ahead of Seattle will snag Kolek.

===

All of which means the M’s might have their pick of position players, or close to it.

Turner is considered easily the best college position player.  He’s a shortstop, which is hardly a position of need (and none of the current crop is moving to second base for a decade or so), but he brings “game-changing” speed, which is not the case with Brad Miller, Nick Franklin or Chris Taylor (though none of those three is a “basepath-clogger” either).

In his first 15 games, Turner has struck out just twice, though he also has only one extra-base hit.  His line is .357/.433/.375.

Maybe the only other college hitter who could make it all the way up to Seattle’s spot is Virginia OF Derek Fisher, a talented “toolsy” guy whose performance hasn’t lived up to potential in his first two college seasons.  If he gets hot (he’s .333/.393/.451 in his first 14 games), he could rise very quickly.

That leaves high school position players, and the two considered most likely to go as high as No. 6 are a pair of Californians:

  • power hitter Alex Jackson is a catcher now but uncertain to remain there as a pro, but many have him projected in the top five; and
  • 6-foot-5 shortstop Jacob Gatewood, who seems likely to end up at third base, but has a lot of power

One other name to throw out is Nick Gordon, son of Tom “Flash” Gordon, the former MLB closer, and younger brother of Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon.  He’s a speedy LH-hitting shortstop from the same high school that Brad Miller attended.  He could rise up the board as the season progresses.

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5 thoughts on “No. 6 Draft Pick Update 03/11/14

  1. Love the breakout, Jim. Trea Turner scares the pants offa me though. People keep throwing around the term “game changing speed” and I’ll grant you that he’s fast… but can he hit? Billy Hamilton is the fastest dude on the bases I’ve seen in a couple decades, but now that he’s at AAA opposing teams are making him suffer, and he can’t use all that speed like he did at the lower levels, before he saw the craftier pitchers with the better breaking balls.

    I just don’t see Turner as significantly better than Chris Taylor (38/43 in steals in pro ball last year, lots of walks, plays good D at short, etc) and Taylor is already blocked by Miller and Franklin, and Cano’s not going anywhere to allow another kid into the infield. I know Turner put up some crazy .370/.450/.550 like last year, but his BABIP was like .400 – and while speed helps you keep a high BABIP (because you can leg out those grounders a la Ichiro) I’m not sure he hits the ball enough to warrant Ichiro-like BABIP expectations.

    I still want Michael Gettys, a HS OF. He runs like the wind, swings like he’s chopping down the beanstalk, and generally has The Look of a 5-tool deadly presence in CF. Trout-like, to make a comparison he’ll never reach, but his batspeed is incredible and his hand-eye ain’t bad. He’s also got “game changing” speed, btw, and I like his swing more than Turner’s as well as his upside. He’s raw and relies on that batspeed a little too much, but he’s one of a few teen bats worth a look.

    In fact, this is another year I’d probably look HARD at the prep hitters if one gets down to us. Last year I liked Frazier and Meadows quite a bit even though my choice was DJ Peterson – this year’s teen hitters are comparable or better than that duo. I think Gettys, Jackson and Gatewood will probably all go top 10, and of the three I like Gettys best at the moment.

  2. I smell a pitcher coming our way at 6… if Touki was taller, I think he would be an automatic for Mac, but I am guessing Aiken as a Hultzen re-dux.

  3. I am late to the party but… Another name to throw out there is local boy Michael Conforto. Lefty OF with a great batting approach and eye, and the power to back it up. Power aplenty, but still a nice high average and a nose for RBI (He set a Pac-12 record as a FRESHMAN). Plenty of speed and a very good corner defender. Laser of an arm (has thrown out may base runners in college career), and from all accounts a great guy and teammate.

    I am not sure why he doesn’t get more pub, but he is one of the top hitters in college baseball… Maybe #6 is to high to take him, but I would LOVE to see the M’s pick him in the first couple rounds!

    Minor League Ball has him going #25 to the A’s and has this to say, “Conforto has a big bat. He is a good hitter, has big power and that’s it. He doesn’t profile defensively, so he’s likely a 1B but when you have a bat, you’ll have a shot.”

    I don’t really understand the comment. He seems to contradict himself saying he has power and that’s it, but then calls him a good hitter. Conforto is NOT just a power guy… he is just a plain great hitter. Like I said he hits for average, draws a bizallion walks and strike out less than you would expect for a power hitter (23 BB and only 6 Ks so far this year in 18 games, yes that is more than one walk a game…). And then the part about having to switch to 1B is just not, well pardon the pun, defensible. Conforto has just as many highlights a year for his fabulous catches and laser throws home as he does for his majesty home runs! Take it from a guy who has actual sat in the stands and watched him play. Michael could play at either corner OF spot and be a TOP DEFENDER there, and could probably even pull off CF in a pinch. He actually came to the beavs as a 3B so he may even be able to pull that off, but I have never seen him there. The only reason Pat Casey plays him in LF is becuase th 100 mph hour arm of Dylan Davis plays RF and he doesn’t want to overuse Conforto by putting the pressure on him in center.

    Some Highlights:

    A shoestring catch and thrown out at home defensive play to WIN THE CIVIL WAR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k22Bfy1OhNI
    A better angle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBIpwkXxEpE

    Another couple highlights against the ducks, about 30 seconds in Conforto hits one of the longest Home runs I have ever seen, a gran salami at that (Tyler Smith also breifly in the vid): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWAQlpY-lg4

    A nice diving catch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mHCEWsmhyI

    Another couple of nice catches, including one in the CWS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yePiNGM0IVg

    Another Grand Slam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK6eZLE5F7A

    The CWS catch again in more detail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ_71mtvQco

    Uh Oh…. I think I am talking myself into Conforto at #6… 🙂 🙂 🙂

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