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2019 MLB Draft Chat: Discussing Our Latest Rankings (3/21/19)

Image credit: Bobby Witt Jr. (Photo by Stacy Jo Grant)

It’s been a busy week for our draft coverage!

We dropped our updated BA 300 draft rankings on Wednesday followed by a full first-round mock draft today. So naturally, it’s time to delve even deeper.

Carlos Collazo: Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by to chat about the Draft. We rolled out our updated and expanded top 300 draft rankings yesterday and a first-round mock draft today. So check those out if you haven’t already and if you have, let’s get right to it. Still time to throw me any questions if you have them!

Tyler Jennings (Raleigh, NC): 

    Hi Carlos, got two questions for you this time. First question, could Nick Lodolo be a top ten candidate? I saw he’s 12th to the Mets on your mock today, and I do see him going to the Braves or Giants, but I want to hear your opinion. Also, will you be attending the NHSI event?

Carlos Collazo: Hey Tyler, thanks for chatting! First, I could certainly see Lodolo going in the back half of the top 10. I would be a little surprised if the Braves went for a college pitcher this year at nine but have could see him somewhere in the back of the top 10 if he keeps pitching the way he has so far this season. As for the NHSI, yes. That event gets started in two weeks and is always a must-see for us here at Baseball America. The USA Baseball complex is just a few minutes down the street from the BA office, so missing that would be a real crime on our parts. Last year Jordyn Adams made himself a first round pick at this event. Maybe we’ll get another big-time riser this year. Either way, the talent will be great.

Kevin (Toronto): 

    I see Dasan Brown has moved up big in your rankings. His speed, raw tools and age have to be very appealing to an organization. Facing professionals while with Team Canada could move him up boards? One of the younger athletes in this draft. Thanks in advance for your thoughts

Carlos Collazo: Yep, I’m still hoping to get some more clarity on Brown as more teams get eyes on him this week and throughout the next few months as the Junior National team plays against pro clubs in Florida. But he’s got an exciting raw toolset as you mentioned with impressive athleticism and speed. I think there are only three players younger than him on our Top 300 list. If he looks good with the bat over the next few weeks he could definitely move up higher.

Tiffythetitan (Oakland, CA): 

    So, Jung to the SF Giants in the latest mock…is that because others have jumped in front of him? What would be another choice at #10? (it will be interesting to see if the new regimes draft strategy differs much from the old regime…)

Carlos Collazo: Yep, mostly because of some of the guys who have risen around him, but I put Jung in that slot because most teams still think of him as a top 10 player and love his hitting ability. Take your pick at any of the players who are ranked around that spot at this point… Agreed on your point about the regime change as well.

Aaron (Atlanta): 

    Why is Jaxx Groshans still so low in your rankings?

Carlos Collazo: Groshans has hit very well this season, but he’s a guy that I asked about specifically and got feedback that he shouldn’t be super high at this point because of some of the defensive questions that teams have with him. If he keeps hitting like this during conference play he’ll rise I would imagine.

Brian Davis (Salinas, CA): 

    How much does defense play into player rankings? I see some players that are ranked quite high because of a hot bat but no mention of their issues with defense and high number of errors. Honestly, just curious. No dog in the fight. Just like following college baseball and the draft.

Carlos Collazo: Everything matters about the player. We take hitting, power, defense, throwing, running, makeup, track record, mechanics, etc. into account, as do all the scouts we talk to. For some players, like Andrew Vaughn, the bat is so good that it more than makes up for any defensive concerns. It’s all about how a player could profile at the next level, given their offensive impact at a position they are likely to play. Or something along those lines. I’m certainly not all-knowing, but that’s how I would try to describe it. It would be easier if you had a few specific names in mind than talking about this in general. Hope that helped clear it up some.

Steve (Orlando): 

    Will there be a good hitter available for the Tigers at 5? They have pitching coming but need hitters.

Carlos Collazo: Yes. They should have several to choose from there if that’s the route they want to go at No. 5. We mocked a pretty good hitter to them today.

Doug (Chicago): 

    How does this year’s class stack up to 2018 so far?

Carlos Collazo: I’d say the talent throughout the top 15 or so matches 2018. The depth of the class falls off a lot quicker than last year’s group did, though.

Erick (Lake Charles): 

    Other than Daniel Espino, what prep pitcher has the best fastball in the class?

Carlos Collazo: This is a good one! I like how you framed it as well because Espino 100% has the top heater for me and most others. We actually polled scouting directors before the season for our All-America teams and in that they also voted for best tools. According to them, it goes 1. Daniel Espino 2. Brennan Malone 3. Matthew Allan. I have no reason to argue with any of that.

Dan (Md): 

    Can Greg Jones still get into the first round? What does he have to show?

Carlos Collazo: He *could* because we’ve still got a lot of season left, but the early signs have not been encouraging for him. Most importantly, he’s been dealing with a shoulder issue and hasn’t played shortstop consistently, instead DHing for a large part of the season, though he is back there now. He’s walking more and striking out less, but he’s still hitting just .284 and doesn’t have much track record of hitting at a high level in college—if at all. There’s plenty of speed to get excited about but there are also plenty of legitimate question marks as well.

DR (USA): 

    George Kirby had a rough outing last week. If he struggles in conference, could he tumble out of the top 50?

Carlos Collazo: Yeah… definitely not great giving up nine hits and six runs in four frames. Fortunately he has some pretty good history built up already and seems like one of the safer pitchers in the class, if not the most high-upside. I think he would have to really struggle to fall that far and I don’t see it happening, (especially given the pitching in this year’s class) but he will be expected to put up numbers in the CAA.

GIANTS FAN (The Philippines): 

    Hello Carlos! Hunter Barco looks better at the start of this year compared to 2018. Plenty of strikes and I see some Sean Manaea traits. Can he push towards the top of the HS pitchinf class if he keeps this up?

Carlos Collazo: Can’t speak to the Sean Manaea comp, but he has done really well for himself early this spring. He’s added some good strength, the fastball is holding velo better than last summer, the arm slot is up higher. All great signs, and he has established himself as the top prep lefty in the class if not the top prep pitcher. But that also has to do with some struggles of the other highly-ranked HS lefties out of the gate. Either way, encouraging start for him.

tim (815): 

    It seems like catchers are obscenely deep this season. Or am I wrong?

Carlos Collazo: I would not classify this class as deep at the catching position. There are a few really good catchers at the top in Adley Rutschman and Shea Langeliers, but outside of them it falls off steeply. Ethan Hearn and Jonathan French are the best of the rest for us at this point, but we only have four catchers in the top 100. That doesn’t seem deep to me, and I don’t think we’re going to get three prep backstops drafted on day one this year like 2018. There are some interesting college catchers who are mashing early this year, but many of those guys have real questions about their defensive ability.

Riley (Texas): 

    I know Abrams and Witt are better prospects overall, but what does Bryson Stott do better than them? Is there anything concerning about his increased number of strikeouts this year or is that just due to him hitting for more power and being more selective?

Carlos Collazo: The biggest separator would be his track record of hitting, and increasingly, his track record of hitting with impact. I have not gotten anyone who’s concerned with his strikeouts at this point. Most teams would probably be perfectly happy with that trade off for the increased power he’s shown.

Riley (Texas): 

    Obviously we are a couple of years away from these guys but what do you think about some of the younger High schoolers like Blaze Jordan and Braylon Bishop?

Carlos Collazo: Hard to speak about these guys too much, just because I haven’t seen them a ton, but Bill Mitchell had a glowing report about Bishop from January. Blaze Jordan obviously has some crazy power. I’d also throw in Brady House’s name to this list of 2021 guys to get excited about. He’s got some ridiculous tools.

Pat (KC): 

    Is Vaughn to the royals based on anything other then you see him as the 2nd best talent? His profile doesn’t seem very royals (although I am sure his proximity to the majors is attractive to the “quick rebuild”)

Carlos Collazo: Yep that’s exactly it. After having conversations the past few weeks many upper level decision makers think that Rutschman and Vaughn are kind of in a tier of their own at this point. If that’s the case, it makes sense to give the Royals Vaughn at No. 2. And if they are committed to a quick rebuild, it makes sense to take the player who might move quickest to the majors and is the best hitter in the class. We’ll see what happens when we get closer though. The mocks at this point are written in pencil, not pen.

Nelson (Katy): 

    What round do you think Josh Wolf will go in?

Carlos Collazo: I’ll say second. That’s in line with where he’s ranked for us at the moment.

AJ (Durham): 

    I noticed you don’t have JJ Bleday in today’s mock. I was under the impression he had some helium this year. What deficiencies/questions are keeping him out of the 1st round?

Carlos Collazo: This is a great call. When putting together the mock I had penciled in Bleday to the Braves at 21, but then saw I still had Malone on the board and pivoted to a HS pitcher for them because I couldn’t resist and had already given them a college outfielder. After that, Bleday should have gone off the board quickly but I never did make that happen. So, there are no questions with him, and I do expect him to be a first rounder. Good catch, and my apologies!

Chris (Berkeley): 

    I was out at Cal this weekend to see Andrew Vaughn and the Golden Bears and all I kept hearing was buzz on Cal commit Kyren Paris. Apparently, there is a lot of noise about him flying up boards. Any chance the A’s could grab the local stud with their 1st round pick at #29 or will he be gone by then?

Carlos Collazo: We’ve also heard good things about Paris early, and he did move up our rankings. Sounds like he’s gotten a bit stronger and is hitting balls hard. He’s the youngest player on the 300 and has shown a lot of impressive skills, with good defensive ability, impressive hand-eye coordination and a lot to project on. 29 seems a little steep to me at this point though.

Josh (Wheaton, IL): 

    The knock on Hunter Bishop in the past (besides converting his raw power to game power, which he has done this year) is the hit tool. Where did you grade that coming into the season? And how much has that grade improved by his spring thus far?

Doc (Atlanta): 

    After years of being a toolshed who lacked in-game feel, Hunter Bishop is playing like his hair is on fire. Is this surge really real? Has he finally turned the proverbial corner?

Alan (RC): 

    Hunter Bishop sure has some helium doesn’t he? 2 more HR’s last night. One an absolute bomb. How does he compare tools-wise to Kameron Misner? Any chance he would be considered by the White Sox at number 3?

Carlos Collazo: Lots of Hunter Bishop questions, unsurprisingly. He’s been very good. The hit tool now is basically completely different from what it was a year ago, as he’s simplified his setup at the plate and quieted some of his movements.You can see that in the numbers and you’ll see that if you look at old video as well. It’s a real adjustment, no scout I’ve talked to thinks it’s some sort of early-season, small sample fluke. He compares pretty well tools-wise to Misner, though No. 3 might be a bit high.

Carlos Collazo: Alright everyone, thanks going to do it for today. Thanks for all of your questions as always, and if there’s something I didn’t get to that you’re still itching for me to respond to, you can find me on Twitter. Hopefully I mocked a player to your favorite team that excites you, and if not it’s fine because I’m probably wrong anyways! There’s also a ton of non-draft stuff on the site that you should check out if you haven’t, including Teddy Cahill’s first projected Field of 64, spring training reports from both J.J. Cooper (on Patrick Murphy) and Josh Norris (on Brady Singer), and Ben Badler’s International Reviews continue to be rolled out as well.

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