2019 MLB Draft Chat With Carlos Collazo (3/14/19)
Another week, another step closer to the MLB Draft. Baseball America draft expert Carlos Collazo will talk this year's draft class at 12 p.m. ET.
Earlier this week, Carlos wrote about a slew of pop-up prospects and regional risers who have caught MLB teams' eyes. We also had a draft notebook, via Justin Coleman, focusing on rising NC State shortstop Will Wilson.
As always, you can see our top 200 draft prospects here. We'll be updating to 300 very, very soon.
2019 MLB Draft Chat (3/14/19)
Carlos Collazo: Hey guys, thanks for stopping by! Love the amount of questions we're getting on the draft at this point in the year with 81 days still to go before the first pick is made. Still time to get your questions in if you haven't yet! Let's get going.
- Do you see Hunter Bishop as a centerfielder or more of a corner guy, and if the latter, how do you grade his throwing arm?
Carlos Collazo: He’s bigger than the conventional center fielder, but he’s a plus runner and I’ve heard he can handle himself well at the position. He makes good reads and will be one of the few legit center fielders at the top of this draft class. Unless the team who drafts him has a vastly different opinion of his defensive abilities, he’ll be a guy who’s put in center field and stays there until he’s forced off the position. The arm sounds solid as well.
- Can Nasim Nunez be a poor man's Lindor? What's missing from the profile at the same stage (remembering that Lindor was not expected to have this much power when drafted).
Carlos Collazo: There are probably a lot of guys that have gotten to more power in this major league environment who weren’t expected to during their draft year. Lindor’s tools across the board sound better just looking at our draft report on him at the time. I can’t speak specifically to what he was like back then, as I was in high school at the time and not covering the draft. Nunez is one of the best defensive shortstops in the class, and that’s where they seem most similar, but he’s quite a bit behind where Lindor was thought to be because of the offense. Still sounds like a Day 1 guy though.
- How do you compare Jackson Rutledge at the same stage to a guy like Nate Pearson. He doesn't seem to throw as hard, but the breaking balls is apparently further along. Is that more or less accurate?
Carlos Collazo: Rutledge does throw around as hard as Pearson during his draft year. And I’ve consistently heard that the slider is a true plus pitch, putting it ahead of what Pearson was working with at the time. Pearson’s plus secondary offering was a changeup. The biggest difference in the two seems to be in their athleticism and strike throwing ability, with Pearson holding the advantage in those categories, though given the draft class Rutledge could easily end up being selected sooner.
Tyler Jennings (Raleigh, NC):
- Keeping an eye on small school arms like George Kirby and Noah Song, who would you expect to be Day 1 picks?
Carlos Collazo: Kirby should definitely be a Day 1 pick and could push himself up into the top half of the first round if he sharpens up the breaking balls a bit. Song has good stuff and is performing once again, but his Naval commitment and senior status make his situation much more difficult to gauge. On talent alone I think he would fit as a late Day 1 pick, but there’s a lot going on there that complicates things.
- Are you hearing any whispers about who Toronto might have been in to scout for the draft? Any chance Bleday or Stott makes it to their pick?
Carlos Collazo: To your first question, Toronto has been scouting everyone, like every other team. Stott could easily go in the top 10 picks at this point so I’ll lean no on him and yes on Bleday. Touched on Stott’s improvement earlier this week if you’re interested (https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/2019-mlb-draft-stock-watch-pop-up-prospects-and-regional-risers/)
Dwayne (Greesnburg, PA):
- Are there any high school catchers that are projected to go high in the draft?
Carlos Collazo: This demographic gets pushed down in the draft, and the 2019 class is less impressive than last year when Anthony Seigler, Bo Naylor and Will Banfield all went on day one. Ethan Hearn, who attends Mobile (Ala.) Christian HS, is the best bet to go high this year as a lefthanded hitting backstop with power potential. I personally like Jonathan French (Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.) more because of his defensive ability, but I seem to be against the industry’s consensus on that one. Those are the two to watch out for though.
- How similar are Hunter Bishop and Kameron Misner? How would you rate their tools?
Carlos Collazo: Fairly similar in the sense that they’re both toolsy college outfielders who have raised their stock significantly early this spring. Based on what I’ve heard from scouts so far I’d say Misner has the more impressive hit tool and power potential, while Bishop is the better runner and profiles better as a center fielder. Misner is more likely to be a corner guy.
- With Al Leiter in the Mets ops department, what are the chances Jack becomes a high priority for them?
Carlos Collazo: Jack is good enough that he’ll be a priority for every team, not just the Mets because of a familial tie. While I’m sure Al would be pumped to have his son in his system, there’s a strong chance that Jack goes between 12-53 this June. He could be the best pure pitcher in the high school class, but the stuff might not be quite big enough to pop at 12. Delbarton (his high school) gets going this weekend though so if he’s taken a big jump we can re-evaluate then.
- Where does Edouard Julien slide in now that he’s draft eligible, and where would Trejyn Fletcher go if he declares himself draft eligible?
Carlos Collazo: Sounds like an early day 2 guy based on his defensive profile and the bat. But I haven’t talked to a ton of people about Julien specifically at this point so that could change as I have more conversations about him. Probably going to have him in the 4th/5th round range on our next update—which is coming soon. Fletcher can’t declare himself eligible, MLB decides that. Still waiting to hear what the official decision is, but at this point I would be a bit surprised if he does become eligible. We’ll see.
Jeffrey (Baltimore MD):
- A name I think should be in the 1.1 conversation but doesn’t get enough pub - Riley Greene. Especially with his start so far- any chance the orioles take him? What’s his ceiling in your opinion draft wise?
Carlos Collazo: The problem for Greene’s 1-1 argument is the lack of supplemental tools. He’s a below-average runner and likely going to be a corner guy. So to take him 1-1 you have to pass up Rutschman (who has a comparable hit tool, plays a premium position and has more track record), Vaughn (who has a better hit tool, more power and more track record) as well as the two HS shortstops who have a much higher ceiling as well. I think Greene is an exceptionally talented player—we have him ranked No. 5 in the class now and that won’t change much on our next update—but that would be an extremely risky call to take him over some of the other guys we’re talking about here in my opinion. You’d have to think his bat and power combo was head and shoulders above those other guys we’re talking about and that would be a tough sell for me.
- Already own Vlad and Bichette. Can draft one more in my 12 team AL only . I usually hate selecting pitchers but will keep an open mind. Whos my pick? Whitley, Luzardo, Mize, Yo. Alveraz, Madrigal, B. Lowe, L. Robert . N. Jones , Vidal Brujan or somebody else? An impact player for 19 or 20 Thank you
Carlos Collazo: Let me direct you to our Top 100 list, which has those players lined up for you, with scouting reports and ETAs. That’s a much better source of information for this question than what I can give you. I do like your strategy of hitters over pitchers though and would still go with a hitter even if there was an arm available ranked slightly higher—for your purposes: https://www.baseballamerica.com/rankings/2019-top-100-prospects/
- When a top draft prospect pitcher faces a top draft prospect hitter, how much will the result effect each player in the eyes of scouts?
Carlos Collazo: The fact that they are matching up will get more eyes in the park on that day for sure, but I think scouts are pretty good about avoiding small samples like this. Performing well or poorly in this scenario is just another of many data points. However, it definitely means more if a hitter is barreling up legit stuff rather than taking advantage of poor competition. So, it does matter, but not to some crazy extent. How’s that for a hedged, half-answer?
- What do you hear about Alex McFarlane up at Habersham Central HS? I heard his velocity growth and movement is impressive.
Carlos Collazo: His stock is up and we’ve also heard he’s been throwing harder. Prior to the season he was a guy who had a lot of good ingredients with athleticism, a projectable frame, a feel for the breaking ball and the change up and life to his fastball. He’s trending in the right direction.
Bill (Los Angeles):
- Is Ryan Kriedler from UCLA someone to watch? Always been toolsy/had ability to play SS, but he’s finally hitting really well. What’s the difference between him and someone like Hunter Bishop?
Carlos Collazo: No doubt. Ryan Kreidler* is trending up. Area scouts love the guy and believe he’s going to move to shortstop at the next level, as he plays mostly 3B with UCLA. He’s got plus arm strength and good accuracy as well and while he is hitting well early this year it sounds like a defense over hit profile. Him and Bishop aren’t similar players, not sure what you’re going for with that comparison.
Vanderbilt Clinches SEC Title, Stanford Starts Strong
Vanderbilt clinched the SEC title and Stanford opened a pivotal series against Oregon State with a win.
- Can you give more information on Keoni Cavaco's hit tool? Is it his least developed tool?
Carlos Collazo: I wrote more about Cavaco earlier this week and mentioned the hit tool specifically. If you missed that, here it is.
- What is Thomas Dillard's likely range? 3rd-5th?
Carlos Collazo: That seems reasonable and is likely where he’s going to land in our 300 update. Some teams will be higher or lower depending on what they think of his future defensive ability. Also wrote about Dillard in the story linked in my last comment if you want more info on him.
College Fan (USA):
- What does Lodolo have to do to get into the Top 15 picks? Is he there already?
Carlos Collazo: He’s probably right in that range right now, though towards the back end of it.
- How much of a Chance is there that Nick quintana goes day 1? Also in what range do you think Cam Cannon will get drafted
Carlos Collazo: I think Quintana is in that back of Day 1 range right now, but I really like him so I might be a bit higher than some people. Still, we’ve gotten some good feedback on him recently from the industry. Waiting on him to start tapping into that power this season.
- Did Parker Caracci hurt himself by coming back for his senior year?
Carlos Collazo: He's a redshirt junior and was drafted in the 37th round last year. Nope.
Dan (East Coast):
- Is UNCW's Greg Jones still in the first round discussion? He's not had a great start to the season
Carlos Collazo: For some teams who are still buying the tools, maybe, but most probably have him outside of that range now. He's not going to rank in the first round on our next update. Has been dealing with some shoulder issues and not playing shortstop. Some legit concerns there, but he's still an 80 runner who might wind up being a plus center fielder down the line.
Alex (White Sox Fan):
- Thanks for chatting with us today. With Rutschman being the likely #1 pick, who do you think the White Sox end up going with at #3? With their history of college bats, would you still bet on Andrew Vaughn being the guy that Sox target? With him being so advanced, he also aligns with the Sox's competitive window opening up in 2020/2021.
Matt (Bay Area):
- Where do you think Andrew Vaughn goes off the board? Through 14 games this spring, he's on a hotter pace than even last year. Do you think he'll be there at #3 for the White Sox? I'm assuming the Sox would be ecstatic taking an extremely advanced college bat to hopefully plug into their lineup by 2021/2022.
Carlos Collazo: What went wrong with the White Sox offseason to have so many fans in hearing looking ahead to the draft??? Vaughn seems like a lock to go 1-3 and Chicago might be fortunate to see him get to them at this point. Go ahead and accelerate that ETA for him, btw. He could be the quickest moving player in this draft class.
- Andrew Vaughan? Apart from the great arm, given that he profiles as 1B only, his value is entirely in his bat. GREAT college hitter, but what can you say about metrics like bat speed? How has he performed in wood bat situations? I see a bit of a RH Mitch Moreland comparison and that doesn't thrill me. Is his ceiling greater than that? Lou Gehrig? (KIDDING!)
Carlos Collazo: A lot going on in this question. Where'd you get the Mitch Moreland comp? Moreland wishes he hit like Vaughn in college. He also had way more questions about his hit tool and approach at the time. Vaughn is the best hitter in the class. His value is tied to his bat, but it's that good. He raked last summer in the Cape Cod League.
- How concerning is Logan Davidson's swing and miss rates? Could it push him out of the first round?
Carlos Collazo: Davidson has, and will continue to be, an enigma for me. The swing and miss is a big concern, but too many teams seem to like his package of tools and potential for him to fall outside of the first round. His clutch performances this year have been pretty fun, too.
- Who goes first? Seth Johnson or Graeme Stinson?
Carlos Collazo: Seth Johnson.
- In regards to your earlier answer about Greene being #5, does it seem like the top 4 has really separated themselves at this point and is there anyone that has a chance to jump into that group? It seems like there isn't really anyone else with the track record of hitting or the premium position that would put them above any of the four.
Carlos Collazo: Bryson Stott, Kameron Misner and Hunter Bishop would be the most obvious candidates. I'd lean towards the first two as well.
- How would you rank the top three Texas Prep arms this year?
Carlos Collazo: Great crop of prep pitchers in the Houston Area. 1. Matthew Thompson 2. J.J. Goss 3. Josh Wolf.
- Have you noticed the Braves paying particularly close attention to any players in this draft class of yet? Also, are you hearing that they may be more inclined to select a position player or two in the first round?
Carlos Collazo: A bit early for specific players to teams at this point, but I'd be surprised if the Braves didn't take a hitter with their first pick.
Roger (Washington DC):
- How close is Maurice Hampton to climbing into upper half of 1st round? What separates him from fellow HS OF Early and Greene at this point?
Carlos Collazo: Hampton just got started recently and homered in his first game. He's looked really good for a while now. Ealy might have the better toolset (speed, raw power, arm) but Hampton seems to have the better offensive approach. Both still have high upside and are probably going to fit closer to each other on our next update. Ealy has some approach issues to iron out and is the bigger risk to pursue football based on what I'm hearing.
Jon Udall (Arizona):
- Fastest player at each level? D1, HS and JUCO?
Carlos Collazo: Greg Jones (D1) and James Beard (HS). Not sure about JUCO.
Carlos Collazo: Alright everyone, that's probably going to have to do it for today. I really love everyone's enthusiasm for the draft given how far away we still are from it. You guys are great. Sorry if I couldn't get to your question(s), but if you want, feel free to throw them at me on Twitter (@CarlosACollazo). Back to calls and writing and finalizing our next Draft ranking update, where we'll expand to 300 players—expect that in the near future!