Checking in on the Top Draft Prospects: Week 9 Doug Gray April 19, 2017 30 Comments The Draft update is late this week for a few reasons that I won’t bore you with. Let’s jump right into how some of the top prospects performed over the last week plus. The Pitchers J.B. Bukauskas | RHP | North Carolina On Friday against NC State JB Bukauskas had a bit of a “down” game for himself, allowing one run in 7.0 innings with two walks and six strikeouts. On the season he’s now posted a 1.40 ERA through 58.0 innings with 15 walks and 81 strikeouts. Alex Faedo | RHP | Florida On Thursday Alex Faeso took on Vanderbilt and held them to two earned runs in 6.0 innings. Unfortunately the defense did him no favors as he was charged with four unearned runs as well. He would walk just one batter and strike out seven in the game. He was reportedly sitting 91-94 MPH, topping out at 95 on the day. Hunter Greene | RHP | Notre Dame HS (CA) Hunter Greene is the player that most expect to be the #1 player in the draft and there have been rumors swirling for a week plus now that he’s done pitching for the year, and not because of an injury. The idea is to protect his arm and avoid any injuries before the draft. The LA Times suggests he could be done, though Baseball America’s Hudson Belinsky suggests that he may not be shut down from pitching for the year. Alex Lange | RHP | LSU On Thursday against Ole Miss Alex Lange put together one of the better starts of his season, tossing 7.0 shutout innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. That lowered his ERA to 3.27 on the year in 52.1 innings where he has 17 walks and 69 strikeouts. Hitters have been able to do a little damage when they’ve made contact this year, hitting .245 against him with 49 hits on the season. Brendan McKay | LHP | Louisville Another start for the left handed Brendan McKay and another gem. Last week he took on Georgia Tech and allowed one hit in 8.0 shutout innings with two walks and eight strikeouts. Statistically he’s arguably been the best pitcher in college this season. He’s posted a 1.19 ERA in eight starts. Over 53.0 innings he’s allowed 31 hits, 12 walks and struck out 76 batters. The Hitters Jord0n Adell | OF | Ballard HS (KY) Perhaps the best power hitter from the prep class, Jordon Adell has hit 13 home runs this season in 55 at-bats. He’s slugging 1.345 in his senior season to go with a .527 average. Three different times this year he’s hit multiple home runs in a game. Austin Beck | OF | North Davidson HS (NC) John Sickels wrote about Austin Beck on Tuesday, and if you haven’t seen some video, or read the comparisons to Mike Trout, maybe go read the article. Beck’s high school doesn’t upload their game stats anywhere, so it’s tougher to find up-to-date information on him from that point of view. A local article noted that he hit his 7th home run of the year this week. Jeren Kendall | OF | Vanderbilt It was an interesting week for Jeren Kendall. The outfielder went 7-18 with a home run, which is good. But he also struck out six more times and didn’t walk. He’s hitting .309/.380/.586 with 11 home runs. But he’s got 18 walks and 49 strikeouts on the year. That ratio is a real concern, especially at the top of the draft. Royce Lewis | SS | JSerra HS (CA) The shortstop is among the top players in the country and updates have been sporadic on him, but I was able to get up-to-date season stats on him this week. He’s hitting .408 (20-49) this year and slugging .735 with five doubles, a triple and three home runs. Brendan McKay | 1B | Louisville After a tough week at the plate, McKay rebounded well with multiple hit games in two of his four games. He went 5-13 on the week with a home run and four walks. On the season he is hitting .398/.523/.673 on the season with 30 walks and 17 strikeouts in 149 plate appearances. 30 Responses Jasonp April 19, 2017 I love these high school bats. Would be happy with any of the three. I like who we drafted last year but I am a lot more excited about this year’s draft. Ben April 19, 2017 I hope the Reds are aware of Austin Beck. It’s good to know there are two big time prospects (Hunter Greene) on top of the draft. Brian April 19, 2017 They are aware. I work with Austin’s mother. Simon Cowell April 19, 2017 If Hunter Greene is being shut down to protect his arm I’d have to say that the Reds should absolutely pass on him. He is already in the coddling process before even reaching 100 innings pitched? If that is the case then the Reds should look elsewhere considering the number of pitchers that they already have on roster with delicate arms. There are plenty of quality pitchers out there that aren’t having to shutdown before the draft. Nate Adams April 19, 2017 100 innings for a high schooler? that is a lot. if he pitched the entire year, including summer ball 100 innings would still be a higher number than most The Duke April 19, 2017 Except Greene has only thrown 28 IP this year Wes April 19, 2017 Yeah I’m over all pitchers at 2. You got to be atleast a strausburg to risk it. I think Greene will be there at 2 and reds pass on him. I got faith in reds management. I just hope the guy they want is there at 2. KyWilson1 April 19, 2017 With Adell, the talent is evident, but KY high school baseball isnt the strongest. He has worked hard on his game though and his ceiling is enormous. All the hype with Beck is strange to me if hes not out producing Adell and Adell is the better athlete. With that said, any of the Adell/Lewis/Beck would be my pick. The Duke April 20, 2017 What I’ve read is that to most scouts high school stats essentially mean nothing. They’ll take more from 10 at bats against elite competition at showcases more seriously than 30 games against other high schools where most of the pitchers won’t even pitch in college. High school bats are about the hardest thing to scout as it is so subjective. High school arms are much easier to measure things like velo, how much the breaking ball breaks, if it’s good looking changeup, etc.. Wes April 20, 2017 I heard that too but results surely say otherwise. The first High school bats seem to be panning out compared to pitching at either level is a complete crap shoot- impossible to predict! KyWilson1 April 20, 2017 I get that, but Beck didn’t even play on show case circuit so how are his high school at bats separating him from Adell’s? Adell is the best athlete in the class and he is destroying his high school competition. Baseball America had a great article about him-http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/jo-adell-works-turn-dreams-reality-mlb-draft/#C8dvpJBkCLDtoXq1.97 The Duke April 20, 2017 I don’t think there is that much of a difference between Beck and Adell, but Beck does face overall better competition in NC than Adell does in KY. In the larger scouting sense, there are less questions about Beck’s hit tool, but that goes back to live scouting that we aren’t privy to. KyWilson1 April 20, 2017 I don’t really know what kind of competition Beck is facing, but I would assume Lewis is facing the best of the 3. Louisville and Lexington both produce some good baseball teams every year so at least Adell is playing the best available competition. I do agree with your assessment that if Lewis has the equal hit tool and can stick at SS he is the best pick. I just hope the Reds take 1-3 HS hitters that have separated themselves. I wouldn’t touch Kendall in the top 15. fromcubawithluv April 19, 2017 If Greene is being shut down, it’s probably because he is going 1.1 No way he gets shut down if he still has something to gain or prove. If he is available at 1.2 and the Reds don’t take him, I’ll be annoyed. kevin zook April 20, 2017 Just don’t want Kendall.. hope for HS bat, not sure our reds,.. take one that high though. The Duke April 20, 2017 I’ve been saying Adam Haseley is a better college bat than Jeren Kendall for a while, and yesterday BA had an article up saying I’m not the only one thinking that anymore. http://www.baseballamerica.com/college/strikeout-rate-presents-contrast-between-adam-haseley-jeren-kendall-mlb-draft/ Arnold Ziffle April 20, 2017 Shhhhhh! Keep it down. We want Haseley to be on the board at #32 with the Reds second pick. Getting Haseley at #32 would be like getting Friedl after the draft last year. Thru 40 games, Haseley is at .407/.508/.693 with 150 AB’s, 61 H, 49 R, 36 RBI, 8 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 9/13 SB, and only 2 E’s on defense. Haseley’s teammate, 1B Pavin Smith, who is a projected mid to late 1st round pick, has one very interesting stat in his stat line of .365/.435/.628. His BB/K ratio is 22/5. 5 K’s in 40 G’s. Haseley’s is 31 BB’s to 14 K’s. The Duke April 20, 2017 Not a chance in hell Haseley lasts to 32. If a yahoo like me can see this, the pros don’t need a guy on a message board to point it out for them. End of the day, I think Haseley goes top 10. Arnold Ziffle April 20, 2017 I know, it is certainly looking that way. If they are lucky and can snag Robert before June 12 (Day 1 of draft), then an OF at either 2, 32, or 38 is probably a long shot. Norwood Nate April 20, 2017 There are others I’m not sold on, but Kendall is the only one I’d stay away from like I was Superman and he was kryptonite. The Duke April 20, 2017 I don’t think your stats on Royce Lewis are right. He had 3 HR just this week at the National Classic (2 in game 2, 1 in game 3), and I know he had at least 2 this year before that. Fromcubawithluv April 21, 2017 Do you know what dates the “national classic” was? Jserra seems to be reporting consistently right now, but there are a few gaps on the calendar earlier in the season. The Duke April 21, 2017 4/10-4/13. JSerra lost in the finals. In game 2 Lewis had 2 HR, and then another HR in game 3. I never found a full box score, but found this out through various people reporting what happened on Twitter. fromcubawithluv April 21, 2017 I found the tournament. He hit 2 hr in that tournament not 3, and I could only find 1 other hr. Unless they did not report a few games earlier in the year, Doug has the stats correct or very close to it. The Duke April 20, 2017 I’m not a big fan of players shutting it down to protect their draft status, but it’s hard to argue with the logic when Greene is emerging as a consensus top prospect in the draft. He has an ideal pitchers frame at right around 6’4″ and already over 200 lbs, plus plus athelticsm, already sitting in the mid 90’s and touching triple digits, and his curveball has been more consistent this year. Bukauskas hasn’t been quite the same since beaning that guy in the head, or it may just be a little bit of midseason fatigue. He’s still showing the plus pitches, just needs to keep that mental focus. I haven’t been able to see his past few starts, so I’d like to see how he is looking this weekend if I get the chance. Amongst Lewis, Beck, and Adell, the big question is the hit tool. If Lewis’ hit tool is legitimately ahead of Beck and Adell and Lewis can stick as a SS, then he’d be the pick. If the hit tool is even and he ends up a CF long term, then the edge goes to Beck and Adell with their power. It’s a tough call, especially when we don’t get to see these kids live like the actual scouts get too. I really hope the Reds don’t go McKay at #2. He’ll be a solid MLB player, easily the highest floor in the draft, but I don’t want the Reds drafting for a high floor with the #2 pick. That was an added bonus with Senzel, but Senzel had the clear best hit tool in the draft last year to me, which made him a great choice. I wouldn’t be opposed to a pick like Adam Haseley if he can sign for $4.5-$5 million vs one of the high school kids wanting $6-$6.5 million. He has great plate discipline, one of the best hit tools in the college class, has shown more power this year, a plus arm in CF, plenty of range in CF to stick there to go with good instincts, and has produced against elite college pitchers like Bukauskas and McKay. My draft board at the moment would be: Hunter Greene Austin Beck Royce Lewis JB Bukauskas Adam Haseley Jordon Adell Alex Faedo Brendan McKay Not a ton of separation between 2-8, so a guy willing to take a deal to save slot money may factor in here. If it can push a guy like Mackenzie Gore, Jordon Adell, or DL Hall down to 32 with a $4 million bonus demand, it’d be a coup for the Reds. JBrashaber April 20, 2017 Anyone know what the consensus is on what the Twins management wants to do with their pick, or historically what they have done? I think it has been discussed before, but I could not find any discussion of it. Duke I am like you, take the top talent available at your pick, and at the #2 pick you really should be factoring in who has a really high ceiling as well. I agree on skipping on McKay; definite first round talent, but not #2 overall talent right now. At this point in time, I do not think the Reds can go wrong with any of the following (no order): Greene (somewhat concerned if he is being shut down, but my guess is that he will pitch for certain teams like Cal Quantrill did), Lewis, Beck, or Haseley. If the Reds have done their due diligence and believe Bukauskas’ smaller build and effort in his delivery won’t affect him in the long-term, I am also glad to take him at #2 due to his mostly impressive stuff against quality college competition. Still lots of baseball to be played, and I always love seeing how opinions change on players as more data becomes available. I love reading everyone’s insights on the site, as this has always been my favorite part of the site. Here’s wishing Reds scouts and the front office best of luck with their efforts leading up to June 12-14. Doug Gray April 20, 2017 I think that generally, everyone thinks they are taking Hunter Greene. The Duke April 20, 2017 Reading Twins message boards is fun. They still feel the burn from Kohl Stewart, it has their fan base spooked on another high school pitcher. The Duke April 20, 2017 The latest BA mock draft has the Reds selecting Hunter Greene after Brendan McKay goes #1 http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/baseball-america-prospect-report-april-20/#5J2FHLWk72qoT2oJ.97 Bill April 21, 2017 If they planned to use McKay as a starting pitcher and DH a few times a week, I could really see the Twins excited about the value McKay would bring.