Fifth-Round Thoughts

• The fifth round started off with a couple interesting up-the-middle college players. The Astros took outfielder Andrew Aplin from Arizona State. Aplin was regarded as one of the best defensive center fielders on the West Coast. The defensive ability comes more from above-average instincts instead of pure tools. Aplin has good bat control but profiles best as a fourth outfielder.

Two picks later, the Mariners took Virginia shortstop Chris Taylor at pick No. 161. Taylor is a solid defensive shortstop and has some speed, but there are questions about how much he’ll hit, as well. If he signs, Taylor will join fellow Cavaliers Danny Hultzen, John Hicks and Steven Proscia, whom the Mariners took in last year’s draft.

• A pair of interesting junior college pitchers went in the fifth round. The Pirates took Bellevue (Wash.) JC righthander Adrian Sampson, who throws his fastball in the low 90s, topping out at 94 and mixing in an above-average curveball.

The Indians—who are in the middle of putting together a very interesting draft class—went with Western Nevada JC righthander Dylan Baker. Baker grew up in Alaska, spent last year at Tacoma (Wash.) CC and dominated this year for the Wildcats, using mostly a fastball in the 90-95 mph range and a hard slurve.

• Some big velocity guys went off the board in the fifth round, but all the pitchers come with serious question marks. The Cubs chose Texas high school lefthander Anthony Prieto, who was up to 97 in the fall, but he’s just 5-foot-11 and missed time this spring with an elbow injury.

JC of the Canyons (Calif.) righthander Cory Jones went to the Cardinals and has also touched 97 mph, but his breaking ball is inconsistent and his fastball command is spotty at best.

Oklahoma righthander Damien Magnifico has shown the biggest numbers of all, touching triple digits with regularity this spring. But his fastball is straight, he already has screws in his elbow after a stress fracture and he didn’t dominate hitters this spring, even with the crazy velocity.

• The best hitters picked in the fifth round would be Baylor first baseman Max Muncy (Athletics), Texas-Arlington outfielder Preston Beck (Rangers), Arizona second baseman Robert Refsnyder (Yankees) and Centralia (Wash.) High outfielder Andrew Pullin (Phillies). Beck rated highly on the BA 500.