But first, someone about whom there has been very little buzz: Xavier Nady.
Maybe because he hasn’t been an MLB regular since 2008?
Maybe because it’s hard to get excited about someone released by the Padres with a .238 OBP?
He might be an upgrade from Cole Gillespie.
He might be.
I guess the thing is that he hit LHP in the minors pretty well last year, so why not?
No downside risk.
There’s been some revised draft buzz, and thus new “buzzees” for the Mariners at No. 6 — at least a couple of which I have not touched on much before in this space.
Jeff Hoffman of East Carolina is out for the year to have TJ surgery on his elbow, and Tyler Beede of Vanderbilt has had some struggles of late, causing a couple of other pitchers to rise into top-10 buzz. Unlike Beede, LSU’s Aaron Nola is still considered a prime possibility at No. 6.
First, Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
Luckily, there is an excellent game report from Baseball America on an April outing by Freeland.
It makes him sound like Cliff Lee — dominating while throwing strikes with “plus-plus command.”
He can’t be that good or he’d be talked about higher than No. 6. The “concerns about his delivery” phrase at the end may be a tip-off. Drafting great young starters doesn’t help much if they’re injured, I believe we’ve discovered.
Here’s a video from last week’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament (there’s also a video with the article linked to above):
Second, Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
Newcomb may be even more intriguing than Freeland. He’s bigger (6-5,240) and throws harder. He was recruited as a tight end/defensive end by Division I football schools but chose baseball, in which he was only heavily recruited by Hartford (whose only notable baseball alum is Jeff Bagwell).
He didn’t start throwing in the 90s until college, but now reportedly throws mid-90s with ease. Here’s a Baseball America feature from March.
Whereas Freeland is more of a complete package, Newcomb is probably more raw. He’s played against lower-level college competition, and his secondary pitches are in need of more polish.
Which is probably why he won’t go in the top 5. But Freeland and Newcomb (along with Nola) are looking like the best bets among those highly likely to be around at No. 6.
- reports are that the M’s have heavily scouted Newcomb;
- I’m not a mechanics expert, but Newcomb does look more fluid than Freeland to my eye; and
- we know scouting director Tom McNamara loves to find underrated guys in the northeast.
Again, the BA article has a video, but here’s another one.