For Day Two of the 2014 draft, we’ll highlight some of the most intriguing picks in each round.
• The third round started with eight straight college players, before the Blue Jays popped Virginia prep lefty Nick Wells with the No. 83 pick. The highest-profile high school players in the round were up-the-middle players, such as shortstops Milton Ramos (No. 84, Mets) and Josh Morgan (No. 95, Rangers), and catcher Jakson Reetz (No. 93, Nationals). The Diamondbacks got one of the better prep bats available in outfielder Matthew Railey, a Tallahassee, Fla., product who was committed to hometown Florida State. Railey has a compact, mature frame and present strength with many scouts believing he has a good chance to hit. He’s likely to go out as a center fielder but is more of an above-average runner than a burner.
• Two of the top college catchers went off the board, with the Cubs taking Virginia Tech’s Mark Zagunis at pick No. 78, while the Tigers took South Carolina’s Grayson Greiner at No. 99. Zagunis is more athletic and runs better than most college catchers, and while his defense needs some polish, he’s shown toughness. He hit just two home runs this spring but hit 14 in his two previous seasons. Greiner is the latest high-profile college catcher the Tigers have drafted in recent years, joining Bryan Holaday (TCU, 2010) and James McCann (Arkansas, 2011). Like them, Greiner is more defensive than offensive at this point but he led South Carolina with eight home runs and 13 doubles as a junior. The Tigers have a strong affinity for Southeastern Conference players and took Alabama’s Spencer Turnbull in the second round.
• The Rays drafted a player who missed making the BA 500 but should have been a part of it in lefthander Brock Burke out of Evergreen (Colo.) High. Burke pitched at Area Code Games and stands 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, fitting the tall, projectable Colorado mold. He still has projection to his fastball and has hit as high as 92 mph on radar guns but generally sits in the upper 80s. An Oregon commit, Burke lacks present control, not to mention command, as he averaged nearly 7 walks per nine this spring. He needs to get stronger to repeat his delivery, and he opens up early and misses to his arm side frequently. Burke’s breaking ball has depth and scouts project it to be average, and he’s flashed a changeup as well.
• High-profile collegians started off the round. Some scouts thought 2B/OF Brian Anderson (Marlins, No. 76) was the best position-player prospect in the Southeastern Conference starting the year. He hit .328/.401/.498 with a career-best seven home runs but saw his walk/strikeout ratio go backwards. The White Sox went for a pitcher for the third straight selection with Oregon State lefty Jace Fry, the Pacific-12 Conference’s pitcher of the year. He’s a sinker-slider southpaw whose velocity continued to improve this year as he got more removed from Tommy John surgery.
• The Red Sox (at 103) made righthander Jake Cosart, the younger brother of Astros righthander Jarred Cosart, the second junior-college player drafted. Cosart entered the spring as the consensus top JC prospect in the country with a fastball that flashes 98 mph. He’s athletic and loose at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds. Two picks later, the Marlins took another Florida JC product in lefthander Michael Mader, with a supplemental third-rounder.