Draft Prospect Watch: New Rankings From Baseball America

On Thursday, Baseball America put out a new top 100 draft ranking and they had some interesting placements. It’s obviously still early, with the draft starting in a little less than three months, so things can change a lot. With regard to the two picks of the Pirates in the first round and competitive balance round, BA has Georgia right-hander Robert Tyler ranked 22nd, and another right-handed pitcher named Mike Shawaryn from Maryland ranked 41st. While this list from BA isn’t a mock draft, I thought it would be good to take a look at these two pitchers, so you can get a feel for the type of talent available in these two spots.

Here is an in depth scouting report from a recent outing of Tyler. It’s from Adam McInturff from Baseball Prospectus, and some of you should be warned in advance that he goes heavy with the scout-speak. Tyler has good size at 6’4″, 225 and one of the best fastballs in this draft class. As a starter, he sits 92-95 with sink. He has decent command and average secondary pitches. The problem with Tyler is that he is a risky pick, missing time three years in a row. MLB Pipeline notes that he has trouble repeating his delivery, so he could end up as a bullpen arm. Unlike most highly ranked college pitchers, there is a big difference between his floor and ceiling. In his first three starts, Tyler gave up three runs over 17 innings. He has allowed just eight hits and three walks, while picking up 28 strikeouts.

Shawaryn is listed as 6’3″, 210 pounds. He’s a safer pick than Tyler, without the high upside. This season he has given up just eight hits in 17.1 innings, leading to a .140 BAA. He has only issued four walks, though there have been some issues with command, which is unusual for him. Shawaryn has thrown four wild pitches and hit three batters, and that has helped lead to eight runs allowed already. When he’s on, he has strong command of a low-90’s fastball and a slider with good break. He also has a change-up, which is at least average, giving him a nice three-pitch mix that should get him through the minors rather quick.

Aside from giving us two more players to follow early on, the list from BA may have taken a player off our watch list, and it was someone who fit the Pirates’ recent mold of athletic players with strong contact skills. In the early rankings, Tennessee’s Nick Senzel was anywhere from a possible 10th-15th overall pick for some people, to someone who ranked in the mid-20’s for others, even going in the 30’s from one source. That made him a strong target and someone who we have been focusing on early. In their updated list, BA has Senzel jumping all the way to #2, ahead of a small group of players who consistently rank top ten from everyone. With that kind of jump at this point, it makes it tough to continue to follow him, so for now, I’ll watch his rankings from other sources and if he falls, we will pick up coverage of him again.

On the flip side, Kyle Funkhouser from Louisville dropped all the way down to 60th on their list. In their pre-season(college only) top 100, he was sixth, so that is quite a fall in a short time, but it is deserved. His results have been very poor, with command issues and a drop in velocity. For now, Funkhouser will remain in our draft coverage because his last start was his best. If he shows an uptick in his velocity and turns things around, then he would still be a solid choice for the 41st pick of the Pirates. At this point last year as a junior, Funkhouser was a possible top ten pick for some people. His poor finish dropped him down in the draft and after being take with the 35th overall pick, he decided not to sign so he could return to college for his senior year.

Links and Notes

** Jeff Ellis from Scout.com has an article where he shows recent trends in the draft class. Among the players mentioned are college pitchers Matt Krook and Logan Shore, both of whom have been covered here early on. He also mentions Mike Shawaryn as a player trending down. While he did rank #41 for BA above, he was rated higher by some sources earlier in the year, so their placement could be an indication of him dropping off a little. If his command returns to form, he won’t continue to trend downward.

** D1 Baseball has some notes from early this week on college players to watch. They mention Matt Krook, Alec Hansen and catcher Logan Ice, who has a great name and could be a possible second round pick. Also named is someone who we could eventually add to our coverage, Kyle Lewis from Mercer. He has been lights out early in the season, though it comes with a disclaimer that he’s facing lesser competition. Mercer did play well in the Cape Cod league over the summer, so scouts have been impressed by him already. He plays center field and has at least average tools across the board, which has him ranked 8th overall right now by BA and MLB Pipeline. If he does drop at all, he would be a very intriguing pick at the 22nd spot, but for right now that seems unlikely.

** The 3rd Man In has an article on Winthrop lefty Matt Crohan worth checking out. He is one of the top college lefties, though he might rank a little too low to be considered for either of the top two picks of the Pirates. The link includes a video of Crohan.