With the minor league teams all releasing their rosters on Monday afternoon, it pushed back the Draft Update to today. Let’s jump into things and see how some of the notable 2016 Major League Baseball draft prospects performed in the last week.

Jason Groome | LHP (HS – NJ)

Groome was expected to start last week, but the game was rained out. He will take the mound later today in his 2016 debut.

AJ Puk | LHP Florida

It was both a good and a bad week for AJ Puk. The lefty struck out 67% of the batters he faced last week, but he only faced three batters. He had to be pulled from the game with back spasms just one pitch into the second inning of the game.

Nick Senzel | 3B Tennessee

It was a huge week for the Tennesse third baseman. He went 2-2 with a walk and two home runs on March 29th. On April 1st-3rd he would go 7-13 against Kenucky with a double, finishing the week by going 10-17 with three extra-base hits. He’s now hitting .384/.504/.646 with 18 extra-base hits, 24 walks and 12 strikeouts on the season.

Kyle Lewis | OF Mercer

It was a bit of an off week for Kyle Lewis, who went 5-15 with only one extra-base hit. For a lot of players that would be a nice week, but Lewis is hitting .426 with 12 home runs this season. He’s also added nine doubles, 33 walks and 17 strikeouts as he’s made a good argument as the being the best hitter in the country in 2016.

Blake Rutherford | OF (HS – CA)

The outfielder was named the MVP of a national tournament and hit a game-winning home run last week.

Corey Ray | OF Louisville

It was a big week for Ray, who went 7-18 last week. Among those seven hits were a double and two home runs. He also walked three times and had four strikeouts, while stealing a base.

It’s a short update this week as I’ve spent almost all of my non-essential Reds related writing time fighting through a serious technology problem at home that hasn’t exactly gone well (literally over 13 hours spent trying to fix the problem since Sunday evening and I’ve made some, but very little progress).

Baseball America did release their first mock draft last week and it has the Reds selecting Nick Senzel out of Tennessee. Be sure to go check that out to see where some of the other players fall on the list.

24 Responses

  1. Fish

    Still hoping for Kyle Lewis, although I was listening to MLB on XM and one of the people on there mentioned that the Phillies are unlikely to pick Groome. Part of me would love that scenario but the other part wonders if not with the #2 pick when the reds ever pick up an impact bat?

    • The Duke

      If Groome is there, take him. I’m not convinced on any of these bats being on a level with Schwarber or Bryant. A lot of good bats, but I’m not sure if any of them are great bats. If he’s there take Groome at 2 and then look at bats with 35 and 43.

  2. The Duke

    Riley Pint pitched last night. Went into the fifth inning before he hit his pitch count

    4+ IP
    72 pitches
    0 R
    2 H
    4 BB
    6 K

    Hit 99 on the gun 3 times in the first, sat 95-97 throughout. Had a good curve, but I didn’t hear anything about the changeup in this outing as of yet. From the description of it, it sounds like he was working on the curve.

  3. Cam

    I watched every inning of UT-UK this weekend (Senzel actually had 5 doubles over the weekend). Easy to tell why a lot of people like him. He wore out the gaps, especially right center. Looks the part, but still has some room to project. I can see why people like Hudson Bellinsky at BA are banking on that game power showing up. If it does, he could be an impact player.

    • Doug Gray

      Tennessee is one of the few schools that doesn’t have game logs, so I had to manually go back and try to count up his stats. And, as noted, I’m having some real technology problems right now, which means I don’t even have excel working to keep track of things. Their box scores are also a mess – I hate them. But yeah, I’m really coming around on the idea that Nick Senzel is the premiere bat in this draft, then it’s Kyle Lewis and then everyone else (at least from the college group).

      • Cam

        I’d still put Corey Ray on the fringes of that discussion, but I agree with that assessment.

      • The Duke

        I’m starting to be sold on Senzel as well. Great plate discipline, and the swing is very pretty. His results seem to be heating up with the weather. The one wrinkle is that with Suarez at 3B he might get pushed to RF, which lowers his value some.

        College box scores may be a mess, but it’s far easier than finding high school results. Twitter finally came through on finding Pint’s results from yesterday, along with a couple opinions.

      • Jasonp

        I like Suarez a lot but if we take that 3rd baseman (Senzel) it might not effect us a whole lot. If it takes the new guy 2 years for him to be ready we would only have Suarez under control for one more year. If he takes 3 years he just moves into Suarez’s spot.

        I also still wonder about Suarez at spots other then 3rd. Suarez looks like a decent to good hitter already while we still have to see what Peraza and Blandino can do against MLB pitchers. It is always possible if one of those two fails to hit Suarez could be moved back to SS or try 2nd base.

      • Alan Horn

        I am not sold on Senzel having enough power for a corner infielder. He has shown very little thus far at the college level. I do like other things with his stats such as his SO to walk rate.

      • Doug Gray

        If you wanted to say that he hasn’t shown enough home run power, I’d buy into that argument. But he’s slugging .646 this season with 18 extra-base hits (out of 38 total hits in 99 at-bats). He’s hitting for all kinds of power this season.

      • Alan Horn

        Home run power is what I was referring to. He does have 4 HRs thus far this season, but is that HR power for real? Is it enough to invest the 2nd overall draft pick on? l don’t know. It is too early to tell. Before we make the draft choice we will have the advantage of looking at all of them for a full season. I have noticed over the years that the actual top draft picks often differ greatly from the various mock drafts.

  4. RobL

    I really believe BA has info that the Reds are high on Senzel. I mean, nobody had him close to #2, and when BA slotted him their in their rankings, he hadn’t even hit a homer yet. I think a Reds scout told them they believe he can handle third and they think he is the best college bat.

    • Cam

      I suppose that’s possible. He’s been high on scouts’ radar since he crushed it on the Cape over the summer. If he showed more in-game home run power, he’d be the consensus top bat. I think it’s a matter of finding people willing to take a gamble on that showing up. And from what I saw in a three game sample, he’s not the next Brooks Robinson but he can adequately handle third.

  5. fromcubawithluv

    meant to post this here so I’m reposting.

    Hey Doug,

    I am curious about one thing. Comparing Senzel to Ray: How far apart are the bats at this point? I agree with Senzel grading out higher mostly due to double the walk rate. But how much higher is he? Ray has faced better competition and hit for more power. Is that difference enough to have Senzel clearly over Ray with Ray having significantly more defensive value and base running value over Senzel? Any thoughts on the comparison would be appreciated. I think we are definitely going to end up with a college bat in this draft.

    • The Duke

      Ray is very hot/cold out seems. More athleticism and less skill than Senzel from what I’ve seen. Not all scouts are sold on Ray sticking in CF despite elite athleticism and speed. That’s a warning sign to me.

    • RobL

      Ray had two big questions coming into the season, could he play CF and does he K too much. I think his defensive home is in the eye of the beholder. I believe Duke pointed out that he hasn’t played CF much this season. It doesn’t mean he can’t, just that there is not really any new info. And while he has cut down his K rate, it does appear that there is some swing and miss to him.

      Senzel seems to have had two questions as well, defensive home and in game power. There have been a few reports out that have supported the thought that he can handle third. As for the other, scouts still are projecting the power to come, and he has turned things up lately.

      So Ray has a lower hit tool than Senzel. And if Ray is not a CF, than Senzel has more defensive value at 3B. Scouts probably rate their power evenly, although Ray has shown much more in game. Ray is much faster, but Senzel won’t clog the bases.

      I think it comes down to projection. If you project Ray in CF, then you probably rate him higher. Most seem to agree that the power is there for Senzel, and he can play third. And Senzel probably has the highest rated hit tool in the class.

      The Reds have seen plenty of people with poor hit tools and it never works out. I am not saying Ray is that bad. But a high K rate leads to low batting average and low on-base percentage. The name of the game is hit it hard.

      • Road Ranger

        If I remember correctly, wasn’t Ray moved to leadoff position this year for Louisville from the #3 spot? You may to take that into account, especially the first half of their season. Lewis and Sensel seem to have the most advanced bats. Give an early nod to Lewis and his power right now. The Reds need bats, so either will be a good addition.
        A Winker>Ervin>Bruce OF for 2017, and
        a Lewis>Ervin>Winker OF in 2018 and beyond.

      • fromcubawithluv

        At least right now, the k rate is nearly the same and again, Ray has had tougher competition. Senzel’s walk rate is double Ray’s at the moment is the big kicker. Honestly though, Ray has as good of a chance of being an average CF than Senzel of being an average 3B, IMO. I don’t know, the more I look at this the less I am excited about either one of these guys. I’m worried Senzel will be an average hitter and be stuck at 1B. I’m worried Ray may struggle to hit for average and won’t walk enough. Just want a Kris Bryant with this high of a pick. Wishful thinking.

  6. The Duke

    I currently have my ever changing big board as such for the #2 pick:

    Jason Groome
    Nick Senzel
    Riley Pint
    Blake Rutherford
    Kyle Lewis
    Corey Ray
    AJ Puk
    Mickey Moniak
    Dakota Hudson

    • Road Ranger

      Ever changing is right. I’ll go with
      OF Kyle Lewis (Coll.)
      3B Nick Sensel (Coll.)
      OF Blake Rutherford (HS)
      SS Delvin Perez (HS)
      LHP Riley Pint (HS)
      LHP Jason Groome (HS)
      OF Corey Ray (Coll.)
      Of William Benson (HS)

  7. The Duke

    Groome had 10 K’s through 4 IP, was 91-93 in the first, ended 86-89. Worth noting it’s his first start of the year and it’s very cold in Jersey today. The curveball was described as straight nasty with 1-7 movement at 76-79 mph. Changed locations in the zone and pinpointed it all along the bottom of the plate. Haven’t seen a final line yet, but I did ask the BA guy who was there on Twitter. We’ll see if he responds.

  8. Hoyce

    Prob impossible to answer, but do u see anyone of these guys falling to the reds at pick 35? Ala daz Cameron??
    I just hope they pick BA and not for need

    • The Duke

      I haven’t heard of any gossip yet of guys demanding a certain number like Daz did, but it’s still a long couple of months until the draft.