10 Names For Draft Day

In past drafts there are definite tiers of players, often headlined by a true first overall pick who projects as a can’t miss beast.  The 2014 MLB draft offers a little less of that flash at the top, but what it does have is incredible depth, especially among prep pitchers.  I am going to kick off our draft coverage by looking at 10 guys who appear near the top of many boards.  Given the volatility of the draft this year, these names could shuffle many times over the next month plus.

Carlos Rodon (NC State):  Rodon came into the Year as the near consensus 1:1 pick.  He has been very inconsistent so far this year.  The fastball has been anywhere from fringe average to plus and the command has been all over the place.  The slider is still an incredibly nasty pitch, and the changeup has flashed potential.  When he is not on he looks more like a 2/3, but when it is all clicking he is a no-shit monster on the mound. Likely Outcome: Top 3

Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic HS):  At 6′ 3″ 210lbs Aiken has the size you want in a frontline starter.  He backs that up with a fastball that sits mid 90s that can touch 97.  The secondary pitches have plus or better potential as well.  Aiken will also show polish beyond his years (he will be 17 on draft day), that has some scouts thinking he could move very quickly for a HS pitcher.  Likely Outcome: Top 3

Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina):  If Rodon came in has 1:1 then Hoffman was 1:1B to start the year.  Much like Rodon Hoffman has also shown plenty of inconsistency this spring.  The fastball will sit in the mid-90s and curveball is a huge weapon with plus plus potential.  Hoffman offers more athleticism and potential growth than some of the other top college arms, so there could still be more in the arm.  After 16 strikeout performance, Hoffman has been shut down for a couple of starts, which could affect his draft stock if he is close on some boards.  Likely Outcome: Top 5

Tyler Kolek (Shepherd HS): Kolek has all of the raw materials you want for a potential ace with a workhorse frame (6′ 5″ 250), an elite fastball up to 100, and a hammer breaking ball.  He will also show a sharp slider with good potential.  Make many HS arms the changeup is in its infancy, and his control will need a lot of work.  The history of top prep RHP is poor, so Kolek will need to beat a bit of history if he is going to meet his potential.  Likely Outcome: Top 5

Alex Jackson (Rancho Bernardo HS):   JAckson is the consensus top hitter in the class though this is still plenty of debate where his final position is.  He moves well and has a plus arm so a team could look to keep behind the plate or move him to third or right field.  If he does move off catcher it knocks his value slightly, but not too much.  At the plate he bring the potential for a plus hit/plus power combination which would play to a first division profile anywhere on the diamond.  Likely Outcome: Top 7

Tyler Beede (Vanderbilt): Beede’s first few  outings of the year had him rocketing up boards, but control problems have caused him to start to drop back down.  Beede has all the raw stuff you could want with 3 plus pitches and a fastball that touches a bit more.  If a team thinks they can iron out his delivery then he could turn into a draft day steal.  Likely Outcome: Top 10

Grant Holmes (Conway High School):  Holmes a prep RHP, has been slowly sneaking up boards this spring.  Even as a HSer he offers almost no future projection.  However, he does offer a fastball that can touch 100 and sit plus plus, and a pair of secondary pitches that have plus potential (curveball possibly more).  He lacks the elite look of some of the other big time HS arms, but he can match them in stuff and ceiling.  Likely Outcome: Top 10

Nick Gordon (Olympia HS):  Tom Gordon’s other son, Nick is a true shortstop that offers the potential for a plus hit and plus run combination.  He has the potential to be a plus defender at SS with a rocket arm that was in the low-90s off the mound last summer.  He lacks the one offensive tool to make you go wow, but guys who can hit and play shortstop should be enough to make you go wow.  Likely Outcome: Top 12

Bradley Zimmer (San Francisco): The younger brother of 2012 5th overall pick Kyle Zimmer, Bradley is the best college hitter in the draft.  His only plus tool might be his arm, but the other 4 tools could play as above average.  If he can stick in center field it is a really intriguing package of tools.  The fall back is a plus defensive right fielder who could be a true 5 tool hitter.  Likely Outcome: Top 12

Luis Ortiz (Sanger HS):  A forearm issue caused Ortiz to drop down boards early in the season.  Like Holmes he lacks a lot of projection you expect from a HSer.  He makes up for it with a plus fastball-slider combination, and a good feel for pitching and the changeup could come along quickly.  Ortiz’s control profile could give him the best chance of reaching his ceiling of the non-Aiken HS pitchers.  Likely Outcome: Top 15

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

61 thoughts on “10 Names For Draft Day

  1. The Phillies have to take best player available. That being said, Alex Jackson is the player I want at 7.

    1. I agree. If they get him, imagine a nucleus of Franco/Jackson/Crawford. That is something that I would love to watch.

    2. The Cubs cannot afford to pass on Jackson with pick #4. There isn’t a uy in their system with remotely the snow ball’s chance in Haades of a being a first line major league catcher

      Not that they won’t ignore him anyway: that’s why they are the Cubbies. Look for them to take Kolek or Hoffman, which ever one th4 White Sox leave on the board.

      1. The Cubs don’t have a Catching prospect, but they’ve got some monster hitting prospects around the diamond that they could get by with a replacement level Catcher, potentially. Their system is really, really weak on Pitching, so I’d be surprised if they didn’t take a Pitcher.

  2. I think the Phillies should take a pitcher , that being said if the best player available is not a pitcher I would be ok with that to

  3. At 7 I want a pitcher. Someone who has a high ceiling. We desperately need a bright spot in our pharm system in terms of pitching and this draft has it. Thankfully we seem to pick pitcher in the even year drafts, so good for us.

  4. The top 7 players on my draft board are pitchers Brady Aiken, Tyler Kolek, Carlos Rodon, Tyler Beede, Jeff Hoffman, Aaron Nola and C/OF Alex Jackson. Since we pick 7th, at least one them will still be there when the Phillies are up. Get one of those 7 and I’ll be happy.

    1. Leave Nola off and add Grant Holmes. Nola has lower volecity and thrives on control. He’s maxed out. Holmes has lower project ability but his stuff is there. Almost like Dylan Bundy was 3 years ago. Throws mid to high 90’s fast ball with a potential plus curve. His stuff is almost there and better raw talent wide than Nola.

      1. if these are your criteria, then you take Freeland long before Holmes. Same “stuff” ou seem to give priority, only two, three years closer to CBP….at least.

      2. Bundy had a plus change up and cutter already. Holmes has a flat 94 mph fastball with no plane or movement. The breaking ball is plus, but the change up is only a feel pitch at this point. Bundy was light years more advanced as a highschool senior than Holmes.

  5. Matt, maybe you purposely left him off, but don’t forget about Michael Gettys, a really toolsy player with a ton of upside. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Phillies pick him at #7

      1. I’m not saying he’s top 10 material, i’m just pointing out that he has tantalizing tools with plus plus bat speed and in the past, the Phillies haven’t been afraid to reach for a player like that

    1. Purposefully left him off. I haven’t heard of the Phillies on him and he is not near the Top 10 right now. THe hit tool isn’t there and the Phillies are dumb enough to take him at 7. I get the feeling that if they are going hitter they will take Gordon and then say that they can trade him or Crawford for a pitcher later rather than reach for a guy.

          1. Yeah. I didn’t know much about him and I wanted to hear another person’s take on him.

  6. Gettys is a plus defender but I’ve heard questions about his hit tool. This is just what I’ve read on other sites. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the next month.

  7. Man i really wish we had pick 6 instead of pick 7. I really want 1 of the big 5 SP’s Rondon, Hoffman, Kolek, Aiken, Beede or the top hitter Alex Jackson but being at pick 7 i fear we will miss out on all of them. i hope they don’t do something stupid and draft J.Gatewood great power but cant hit remind you of someone? Cough Larry Greene Cough.

  8. With a few field players likely to be chosen within the first 6, the likelihood of one of those pitchers being available at #7 is great.

    I agree that pitching in our system is woefully inadequate, and I reiterate that a pitchers would be a necessary and excellent choice. And, hopefully a college guy who could reach the Bigs after only two seasons in the minors.

    The choices mentioned above seem good but in the 5-6 weeks before the draft in June the list could expand or contract…and sure to elevate one or two others. If the draft is showing a large pool of worthy players, I hope the concentration by our team is on pitching to gain at least 6 of them within the first ten rounds.

    As for “the best player available”…I’ve countered that with my own viewpoint: in the draft, the first 15 or so of those available are so close to each other that it is difficult to say that this one or that one is better, etc. My view is that NEED is and should be a large part of the choices.

    The players being so close, it seems to take one “first among equals” would be smart and dictated by necessity…here, pitching.

    Consider: last season we were choosing at #16 and picked a SS…which filled a glaring need because that position was bare for the future…….with Quinn being questioned on his abilities for the position. It would be hard to convince me that this wasn’t a choice to fill a need.

    Get ‘er done!

    1. Crawford was best player available by a large margin, he was 11 on my board and I thought it was 15 player draft, and when the Royals grabbed Dozier Crawford fell. The Phillies have been on Crawford for a while. They scouted him heavily when they took Watson out of the same school

    2. Need ought NOT be a primary consideration in making a first or second round selection. If the team is maximizing its potential return it will,be taking a HS kid as indicated by the results of the first 50 years of the draft. And except for the truly rarfe phenom like Trout, even a Buxton is likely to take four years to make The Show. Not even Nostrome knew what hole(s) the Medieval Knights were going to have to fill four years ahead of time.

      And it is equally rare for a team to not have need for both position players and pitcing help in the future. The most likely success in projecting player needs and surplus is a quantity of promising arms; means that, hopefully, you will have trade material to pursue what is needed four years down the line.

  9. The thing is, we could go outside the box here. If we like a guy who figures to go in the back half of the first round, and he agrees to take a mill or so below slot for pick 7, that could be the play. Especially if we perceive a gap between the first six and what comes next.

    1. But you also have to have someone in mind who you know will fall to #48 or #82 who will make that worth your while. Otherwise you’re saving money you can’t use on premium talent, which is a waste of the high pick.

      Here’s a for instance where I’ll plug in some numbers just for the sake of seeing how it works – if you know Tyler Beede is not going to sign unless he gets $3.5M (a guess), and no one ahead of or behind the Phils will give him that, and you like him enough to make him the offer, and you can also get a guy you really like from the 29-31 range and sign for 29-31 range bonus at #7, you can probably scrape the money together pretty easily.

      Pick 7 – Signs for $1.7M (approximate slot for picks #29-31)
      Pick 48 (Beede) – Signs for $3.5M
      You’re over slot by ~$750k, and assuming you’re willing to go over your bonus pool by 5%, which Philly was willing to do to a lesser extent last year for a much lesser talent that you’ll find from a guy you think is in the #29-31 range, you’re really only over slot by ~$405k. – Figure that number could be bigger if the club doesn’t want to pay the 50% tax on all or part of the $345k worth of the overage.

      You can then sign a trio of college seniors in rounds 8-10 for around $25k, like the club did last year, you save about $325k right there.

      Then you pay pick #82, or any Top 7 round pick, just about $80k under slot or more, depending on the total overage tax money the club will pay.

      That’s a lot of moving parts, but it’s all predicated on actually wanting Beede for the big money, and knowing you can get him and another guy you really like and make your top two rounds stronger than they would be if you took Beede or someone else at #7 and paid him, then took whoever is available at #48.

      This kind of thing was done successfully by the Astros when they picked Carlos Correa a couple years ago, and the club netted a top 15 guy in Lance McCullers at #41 and Rio Ruiz for about #20 slot money from the fourth round. Now, the amount you can save from taking a #6-#7 type guy from #1 is as much as the Phils’ #7 is worth this year, so the return will be diminished.

      Not that you don’t know all that. Maybe you do. But I got rolling and wanted to see it through. So there it is.

  10. Based on his mild underperformance this year is there any chance Carlos Rodon falls?!?! It’s a dream scenario, but I would love to see that happen.

      1. Agree there.
        Besides signability, why else would someone of his talents fall…perhaps a shoulder/elbow issue..who knows.
        The kid Wash. Nat’s signed a few years ago…Giolito (sp) fell due to an injury concern.

  11. Not a draft expert but how does the blue chip talent stack up agasint the last couple of years?

    1. The pitching at the top is pretty plentiful this year. The fourth highest picked pitcher last year, Trey Ball, might be the equivalent of the sixth or seventh best guy this year, IMO.

  12. Not sure how you argue against best player available. It takes a HS player 4-5 years on average to develop a little less for a college player maybe. Kind of tough to predict needs that far out.

  13. “but when it is all clicking he is a no-shit monster on the mound”……..Really Matt? Up until now I thought you were a decent wannabe journalist who kind of knew what he was talking about when it came to baseball. You know the lingo, and the numbers and all, but you fell into that category of believing that only the players that signed for at least $100K were worthy of ever becoming anything in the organization……and then you wrote what you wrote in the quote above??? Totally unprofessional. Kids get on here and follow players and have to read crap like that! Serious? You need to go back to work at McDonald’s and get yourself a life if you’re going to resort to using that kind of language on a blog that a lot of people read every day. Unbelievable.

  14. Did you mean to say Rodon was a no-hit monster? I mean I’m sure he doesn’t take any crap from anyone when he’s on the mound, but the sentence struck me as possibly a typo…

  15. So both Callis and Mayo have Nick Gordon as the Phillies pick. Mayo has Beede going as #8. I can’t imagine the Phillies going Gordon if Beede is available at 7.

    1. If the Phillies don’t think they can fix Beede’s command issues, then he is a stay away. If the Phillies look at Gordon and think he is going to be an elite SS, that might be both a safer pick and a higher value pick.

    2. I for one would have no issue with taking another SS. As Mayo said “you can never have too many shortstops”.

    3. anonymous if its Gordon or Jackson who would you take?? I like what I am reading on Jackson bat potential, but he might have to move his position.

  16. I’m all for taking the best player available and would still do it but the only non pitcher I could see the Phils taking at 7 is Jackson. That would prob. mean the top 6 picks are pitchers. At that point, the top
    hitter in the draft may be bette than the 7 th best pitcher. Otherwise, I see the Phils letting 1 of the big arms fall to them and take him.

  17. Hey Matt, if you’re going to delete the comment I was responding to can you delete my response too? The way it looks right now, it appears I’m responding to Gregg, which obviously isn’t the case.

  18. I was looking through a BA from a few months ago. In there, they highlight the top 100 college draft eligible players. Of the top 34 players listed, players 4, 5, and 6 (Beede, Nola, Weaver) were all picks of the Jays in 2011 (rounds 1, 22, and 19 respectively). Player 23 on the list – Andew Suarez, was the Jays 9th round pick that year.

    IMAGINE the grief we would give the Phillies FO is we replaced Blue Jays in the above with Phillies.

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