Let’s play a little game.
Personally I’m tired of talking about a few of the guys I’m tracking in the Draft Prospects Tracker. It’s not that they’re bad players. It’s not that they’re boring. It’s just that it’s a waste of time. There are certain players who would be a total waste with the fourth pick. Guys like Mike Leake and Rich Poythress have solid numbers, but they aren’t talented enough to be considered for the number four pick. It’s also doubtful that they’d fall to our next pick at number 49, but that would be nice.
So we’re going to go elimination style, using the Draft Prospects Tracker, to determine some options for the #4 pick. It will be kind of a tournament, or maybe an American Idol style contest. I’m not sure how they run that, but from what I’ve seen, they advance people to the next round. Consider this “Round 1″.
Grant Green - He has a .374 average after Sunday, but 15 errors on the season, and only four homers. The Pirates already have an offense-first shortstop in Jordy Mercer, and he actually has a bit of power. We’ll keep Green around for his bat, but it’s more of an emergency prospect. STATUS: Advance to Round 2
Dustin Ackley - Ackley is in. He’s hitting .405 with 17 homers on the season. He’s playing center field now, and there are rumors he could even play second base. He’s the best hitter in the draft. STATUS: Advance to Round 2
Rich Poythress - Poythress has shown a lot of power this season, but has struggled in May with a .244 average and one homer. He also is strictly a first baseman, which lowers his value a bit. In the recent mock draft Baseball America did, he didn’t even go in the first round (although that didn’t include consolation picks). I’m eliminating him. STATUS: Eliminated
Alex White – White has been up and down this season, but has a 2.60 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in six starts in April and May. He also has a 43:19 K/BB ratio in 45 innings over that span, with no homers allowed. He’s back in consideration for the #4 pick. STATUS: Advance to Round 2
Kyle Gibson - Gibson is the opposite of White. He had a great start to the season, with a 2.63 ERA in February and March, but has a 5.64 ERA in his last eight games. His home run ratio has blown up over that stretch, with eight homers in 52.2 innings, or a 1.4 HR/9 ratio. However, his 61:6 K/BB ratio is still impressive, and is enough to give him a pass. STATUS: Advance to Round 2
Kendal Volz - Volz has talent, but his performance is not deserving of the number four pick. STATUS: Eliminated
Andrew Oliver - SEE: Volz, Kendal. If I’m taking a left hander, it’s going to be Tyler Matzek. STATUS: Eliminated
Mike Leake - Leake has pitched very well this season, with a 13-1 record, and a 1.35 ERA in 106 innings. However, he doesn’t have the talent to justify the number four pick, so despite the stats, I’m going to eliminate him. STATUS: Eliminated
James Paxton - Same story as Volz and Oliver. Would be great if one of these guys dropped to us in the second round. STATUS: Eliminated
Tyler Matzek - He’s the top high school arm in the draft, and the top left hander. I like him as much as any college arm right now. STATUS: Advance to Round 2
Aaron Crow - Strong first Indy league start. If he continues this performance, he’d be a strong selection at #4, possibly as the second best pitcher in the draft aside from Strasburg. STATUS: Advance to Round 2
Tanner Scheppers - Here’s the deal on Scheppers. We’ve heard that he’s throwing 98 MPH, and we’ve heard that he could go as high as #2. First, a minor point, we don’t know if his 98 MPH pitch has any command. As we’ve seen with guys like Tyler Yates, it’s one thing to throw hard, but if you can’t control it, it’s useless. As for the “healthy arm”, that’s not certain. Scheppers was on a pitch count of 75 in his first regular season start. He will have 3-4 more starts before the draft, and will probably remain on a pitch count. Therefore, it will be impossible to get an idea as to the health of his arm. Is his arm actually fine, or is it just something that feels good now due to inactivity, but will flare up in the future? No one knows, and that’s why I’m fine letting someone else take him. STATUS: Eliminated
Shelby Miller - Miller is one of the top high school arms in the draft, and the Pirates are reported to be interested. Unfortunately I can’t find any stats for Miller, which is why I don’t have a profile page. However, we’re going to advance him here. STATUS: Advance to Round 2
Jacob Turner - Same situation as Miller. He’s a top high school arm, and the Pirates like him, but I can’t find any stats. He’ll be advanced as well, with further review in the next round. STATUS: Advance to Round 2
Donovan Tate - He’s considered the top high school position player, but there are concerns that he won’t sign, due to being accepted to UNC for football and baseball. I’m adding him based on talent. STATUS: Advance to Round 2
Round One Results
The following players will advance to the second round (next week):
Next week (5/25) I will cut three players from this list, followed by three more playe
rs on 6/1 (we pick fourth, but we know that Stephen Strasburg will go first, so we’re guaranteed a shot at one of three from the final list). The day before the draft I will rank the three remaining players in order of preference for the #4 pick. I may even include a poll to get your votes on that last part (the poll would go up on 6/1).
I’ll also be planning a live blog on the draft, so be sure to check back for that (I’ll have a pre-registration where you can set a reminder for the event).