Keith Law has updated his top 100 draft prospects list(Insiders) and there are some names that have really moved up and down the list. The Pirates have the 19th and the 32nd overall picks in the first round, so we will concentrate on those first, then take a look at the names that he has lower and higher than most. There are some surprising drops as you will see at the end.
This isn’t a mock draft, which means we are talking about who Law considers the 19th best player available. He actually has some guesses as to where guys could end up at the top of the class in this article. I will tell you ahead of time that there isn’t a prediction for the Pirates.
With that in mind, Law has Duke righty Mike Matuella ranked #19 on his new list. Matuella has the ability to be a top starter in the pros, but he comes with a big injury risk and the fact that he won’t pitch anytime soon due to Tommy John surgery last month. He has also missed development time with a back injury, forearm strain and a lat strain, so a team is really gambling on his health if they pick him near the top.
In the 32nd spot, Law has prep shortstop Kyler Murray. Scouts think he has a strong chance to stick at shortstop in the pros and his arm is above average. He has a scholarship to Texas A&M as a quarterback, so not only does that show how good his arm is, it also means he will need to be bought out of that deal, which may not come cheap.
Murray makes excellent contact at the plate and he can run as well as anyone in the draft class, but he likely won’t hit for power. Since he plays two sports full-time, he is considered raw, so a team will have to decide just how good his upside is before deciding to pick him early enough to be able to afford his bonus. Murray was born four days after Cole Tucker, so he is actually a little old for the draft class.
UPDATE 12:45 PM: Having said all that, this came out from Murray today, so scratch that ranking. That would move Kep Brown up to #32, a tall right-handed hitting prep first baseman from South Carolina. He’s a power-hitter, with some holes in his swing due to his 6’5″ frame and long swing. He is an average runner/defender.
Opting out of the MLB draft. Looking forward to continuing my football and baseball career at Texas A&M University.
See ya down the road!
— Kyler Murray (@TheKylerMurray) May 6, 2015
One player has really moved up to the point he is now rated closer to the Pirates first pick. Law has Ke’Bryan Hayes ranked #23, which is by far the highest I’ve seen him(#38 was the previous high). I haven’t even mentioned him here before today due to that fact. He is an above average defender at third base, which shouldn’t be too surprising considering his dad is Charlie Hayes, who spent 14 years at the position in the Majors, including a brief stop in Pittsburgh during the 1996 season.
The younger Hayes is still considered raw at the plate because he is a big, strong kid, but he doesn’t put the ball over the fence too often. Law believes the power is there though, due to the hard contact he makes and his feel for hitting. I’ve doubled up on the Hayes coverage for you, posting a video of him below and adding this link from Prospect Pipeline, which has a more recent video worth checking out.
For the players that Law has dropping, there are two names that we have talked about often here. The reason you hear the names D.J. Stewart and Richie Martin here a lot, is because everyone has had them around the 20-40 area all season. Even recent rankings had them in that range, so it was a bit odd to check the list and not see them anywhere in the top 50. Law has Stewart ranked #69, while Martin comes in five spots lower.
Stewart has some of the best power in this draft class and he has a solid approach at the plate. The reason he isn’t ranked higher normally, is that he isn’t the most athletic player, so he profiles as a corner outfielder that will probably end up at first base. He has the bat for those positions and it would be hard to see him dropping into early third round range.
Martin is a shortstop with solid defense, who gets on base at a decent clip and can steal a lot of bases. This draft class is loaded at the top with shortstops, but you don’t usually see someone that can hit a little(albeit with no power) while stealing bases and he will stick at shortstop. It’s usually either a good bat, or a good glove. Like Stewart, I can’t imagine he is around that late. Assuming for a second that he is around though, the Pirates pick 62nd overall in the second round, so he would be a great pick at that spot.
Other surprises on the downside are Phil Bickford at #39. This isn’t as bad as the others, but Bickford was a top ten pick just two years ago and he is dominating the competition this year at Southern Nevada. It’s not the best schedule for strength of opponent, but Bickford has looked good in the videos I’ve seen and his command has been exceptional this year. I don’t think he goes this low, as he would be a tough pass for the Pirates seven picks higher.
Some other quick ones of note:
Law has prep righty Dakota Chalmers down in the #42 spot and he is someone that has been mentioned recently for the Pirates first pick.
He has Brady Aiken #26 after he underwent Tommy John surgery, which came after he had issues last year. Aiken went #1 in last year’s draft, but the Astros didn’t like the results of his physical and it seems like they made the right choice to lower his bonus, though they still did make him a strong offer.
Vanderbilt starter Carson Fulmer is #44, yet some believe he could be off the board before the Pirates pick. Another college player Law seems very low on.
Beau Burrows and Justin Hooper are ranked #47 and #52 respectively. If you remember those names, they were the lead pitchers in our draft prospect preview for prep pitchers. Both are talented lefties that have not lived up to the hype. While they have dropped(both were top ten early) for others as well, this is the lowest I’ve seen both of them.
Luken Baker, who throws 95 MPH by day, and is a power-hitting first baseman by night, is rated #64 by Law. That is double where he was when we talked about him just days ago, when he went to the Pirates with their second pick in a new mock draft.