2019 MLB Draft Prospects Chat With Carlos Collazo (5/23/19)
Carlos Collazo: Hey guys, thanks for stopping by to chat draft! We've only got 11 days to go (yikes this flew by quickly) before the Orioles take Adley Rutschman with the first pick of the draft. In that time we're finishing up our scouting reports for the BA 500, making calls for mocks and last-minute draft dope and we'll also be rolling out state lists next week. Super busy time of year, but happy to take your questions for a little bit! Let's get to it.
- What prospect has surprised you the most throughout the draft process?
Carlos Collazo: Hey Joe and shoutout Bull City! Hope you get a chance to watch some of the ACC Tournament this week. I love this question. There are a number of good candidates, like Kody Hoese and Hunter Bishop who have really mashed and shot up boards, but probably my favorite is New Hanover HS lefty Blake Walston. I heard about him very early on in the process and was told to just keep an eye on him because he’s an athletic, projectable left-hander, but at the time assumed he was going to be someone in the mix much later than where we currently have him ranked—No.41. The advanced strike throwing ability that he’s shown this spring is extremely impressive and I expect his stuff to continue improving as he develops.
- How high is Corbin Carroll’s ceiling? We know about his speed and concerns about his size. But is he a plus defender at center field? Will he be able to hit for power? Thanks!
Carlos Collazo: If Carroll hits and taps into the solid-average power that some scouts think he has there’s no reason that he couldn’t be an All-Star type player at the next level. He is a plus defender in center field, and we recently had him on our best tools list as such, but really the only knock on his game is his size. He does everything else really well and I’m particularly impressed with his plate discipline and patience in the box. If he’s hitting for a high average, getting on base, playing a plus center field and taking advantage of the juiced major league balls… that’s a very valuable player. We’ll have to see what his offensive game looks like at the next level of course, but I have really come away impressed with Carroll every time I’ve gotten to see him in person.
Tyler Jennings (Raleigh, NC):
- Hi Carlos, been a while, hope you're doing well. I have two questions for you. Could there be a chance that Gunnar Henderson and/or Maurice Hampton sneak into the Top 20 come June 3rd? Also, would you think Cavaco in the middle of the first round could be a reach for some teams? Thanks!
Carlos Collazo: How’s it going Tyler! Doing great, hope you are as well! 1) I think one of those guys could sneak into the top 20 but I would be surprised if both of them do at this point. Sounds like Henderson has a little more helium in that range at the moment. 2) Cavaco is definitely a name that has been talked about in the teens in the past and a few teams are certainly enamored with his tools. If one of those teams buys into the bat and the signability isn’t crazy then why not? Things could go all sorts of directions in the middle of the first round given the class and a few teams with multiple picks.
- How would you individually rate the chances of Jack Leiter, Spencer Jones, Anthony Volpe, and Trejyn Fletcher making it to Vanderbilt?
Carlos Collazo: Spencer Jones almost seems like a lock thanks to his injury this season but I guess you never know. After that I'd order them like this (most likely to least likely to make it to campus): Jack Leiter, Trejyn Fletcher, Anthony Volpe.
Eli (Milwaukee, WI):
- It seems like there are a lot of super athletic, raw, high schoolers that can stay at shortstop that are young for this draft that are also ranked outside of the first/comp area this year. Guys like Matthew Lugo, Yordis Valdes, etc. Do you have a favorite of this group?
Carlos Collazo: Let's say I add Nasim Nunez, Anthony Volpe, Kyren Paris, Christian Cairo to this group. They are all super exciting, but I'll go with Nunez or Volpe, personally. Nunez is super fun to watch play the position and has some game-changing speed, while Volpe is as reliable as they come and I saw him really swing the bat at the NHSI in Cary.
- Last year teams seem to have missed out on Nolan Gorman and Nico Hoerner. Are there any guys you think in the first round that are a bit underrated and should get more top 15 considerations?
Carlos Collazo: While I understand the history of players his age in the first round, I think sometimes people go too far criticizing Brett Baty for his age. He’s an extremely special bat and since you brought up Gorman, has been comped to him this spring, though they have two different styles of play and body types. I really like Jack Leiter as a pitching prospect, he does everything you want to see from a prep arm and might be the best pure pitcher in the class. If he was a few inches taller I’m sure we’d be talking about him in a different light—though he’s already talked about in the top group of prep arms. But every year you’re going to have players who pan out and do better than what was expected at draft time. Just the nature of the beast.
- When mock? Give mock.
Carlos Collazo: Tomorrow mock.
Drew (Neosho, MO):
- The Royals love Witt according to reports but who are the dark horses for number 2?
Carlos Collazo: The same names that are always mentioned in the top six: so Bleday, Abrams, Vaughn, Greene. Witt's still the overwhelming favorite at No. 2 though.
- So I know defensively there are differences (3B vs 1B) but as a hitter, how does Vaughn compare to Bryant when he was coming out of college? Who is the closest profile as a hitter that you can remember scouting to Vaughn? Thanks!
Carlos Collazo: Very well I’d say. Vaughn has posted similar offensive numbers to Bryant against better competition. We’ve had multiple scouts this spring comp the two as hitters, though by all accounts Vaughn’s feel for the strike zone is superior, while the power is probably close to the same. While Bryant has better defensive value as you mentioned, Vaughn doesn’t have the strikeout concerns that Bryant had coming out of college. Bryant whiffed 16 percent of the time with San Diego and then spent a summer in the Cape where he struck out more than 30 percent, while Vaughn has close to a 10 percent whiff rate with Cal and a 17 percent whiff rate in a smaller sample on the Cape. I’ve only been doing this for two and a half years, but Vaughn is the best hitter I’ve seen in that short time.
- What are you hearing about Evansville's Adam Lukas? Big arm, been pretty up and down this spring. Does he project as a starter or bullpen?
Carlos Collazo: A big arm who can get in the mid to upper 90s with a fastball but he’s got real strike throwing issues. That and the delivery would have me say bullpen is more likely.
Joe (Denver, CO):
- Any Pirates rumblings? I heard earlier in the process they were scouting both HS/College infielders and were tied quite a bit to Henderson. Is he an underslot candidate? Does he have too much helium that he could be out of the question when the Pirates pick? Do they draft for need? There is a dearth of pitching in the system after the Archer trade.. do they target a Priester? Are there clear targets for overslot options at 1.37? Thanks, sorry for the triple header.
Carlos Collazo: We’ll have more for you in the mock draft tomorrow on this, orry for the copout here. But in general don’t draft for need in the first round. Just take who you think is the best player on the board. Figure out organizational needs later.
Tiffythetitan (Oakland, CA):
- I can't help but question the motives for players like Carter Stewart based on how things have played out over the last two years. Is there any fire in the belly? Is he pitching for the money or for the love of the game? I don't blame him but if I was a scouting director, this is the type of player I'd want to pass on. How unfair is my POV in scouting circles?
Carlos Collazo: Yeah, I think this is completely unfair to Carter Stewart. You don’t know his personal motivation, so how can you criticize it? The draft is designed to cap how much these players get paid and if he can make more money elsewhere and wants to go to Japan and play, why not? Sports is the only industry where people act like making more money is somehow a bad thing. Of course he wants to play well and play at the highest level, but the difference in money that has been reported is significant, as JJ has outlined on the site. I wouldn’t rush to judge other people’s decisions or use this to question how much he loves baseball. Carter is a good kid. I hope nothing but the best for him wherever he’s playing and look forward to seeing how his career unfolds.
Tiffythetitan (Oakland, CA):
- Hi, if Zaidi and crew (forgot new Scouting Directors name) were looking to draft a position player to fit Oracle Park (formerly AT&T) at #10 in the draft...what player would best fit that profile? And what is that profile? Giants former regime did not fair too poorly with their Top 10 picks over the last few years. I hope the new regime doesn't overthink this pick with too much number crunching. ;)
Carlos Collazo: As I’ve said before it’ll be interesting to see what the new group does. I don’t think there’s a specific profile of player that fits best for the stadium, if that’s your question. Just take the best hitter available on the board if you are picking there. At that range it sounds like Hunter Bishop, Bryson Stott, Shea Langeliers, Corbin Carroll or Brett Baty will be the best options if you want a position player. Michael Holmes is the Director of Amateur Scouting.
- Hi Carlos, how close in Manoah to Lodolo and could you see a team picking Manoah over Lodolo?
Carlos Collazo: If you saw our updated rankings you’d see they are fairly close. I can definitely see some teams preferring Manoah’s stuff to Lodolo’s package, but I still expect Lodolo to get off the board before Manoah. Lodolo's last few starts have been very strong and he out-pitched Manoah in a big matchup in early May. Better chance to start long-term and some projection still to dream on.
Jerry DiPoto (Brooklyn):
- Who have you heard most connected to my team at #20? I need answers!
Carlos Collazo: Lots of Mariners questions in the chat. Again, we'll have more info in tomorrow's mock, but there are a number of college hitters that could start to go off the board around there that make sense for the Mariners. Will Wilson, Michael Busch, Logan Davidson, maybe Josh Jung gets down there.
- Opinion seems pretty divided on where Baty might go. I've seen people discuss him going anywhere between 10th overall and 20th overall. Where do you see him falling to? Also, do you see teams curbing some of these traditional biases (age, height, etc.) anytime soon?
Carlos Collazo: Well, Nick Madrigal just got $6,411,400 in last year's draft, so maybe the bias against height is already going away, with some of the numbers smaller guys are putting up in the majors and how the ball is traveling there. As for age, some teams are more concerned about it than others. For some it almost sounds like it's a deal-breaker, whereas other teams will use age more as a tie-breaker with two comparable talents. We've talked about the bias against R-R first baseman around the office as well, so it'll be interesting to see where Vaughn and Spencer Torkelson (2020) end up going in the draft and how they do after the fact. That range you suggested for Baty sounds right, I think I've referenced it in previous mocks. And there's an outside shot he sneaks into the top 10 though I wouldn't say it's likely, necessarily.
- Do you have an idea of who the Jays have zoned in on for their first round pick this year? Carroll? Baty? Manoah? Rutledge? Or will it be someone further down the board like Groshans in 2018? Thanks
Carlos Collazo: I think there's a group of around 8-10 players they are really bearing down on. After the top 7-8 players get off the board this class really opens up a bit and Toronto is in a spot where a number of guys are all close, talent-wise. All of the names you mentioned are players they've been doing their homework on and could make sense at 11. I would add Bryson Stott and Zach Thompson to that list as well. Groshans paid off nicely in 2018 and they caught some people off guard (including me), but it might be tougher to go underslot and try and slide a guy this year with Arizona in between their picks with four of their own.
- Hi Carlos! Thanks for doing this. I haven't heard much about Jaxx Groshans despite him having a good season, hitting decently well at the cape code league, and playing a premium position at Catcher. What are the reports on him and where do you see him going? Any chance the Jays take him in the later rounds so they have both the Groshans brothers?
Carlos Collazo: I mentioned this on twitter the other day (@CarlosACollazo for the subtle plug) but I think teams are split on his ability to catch, though he has risen boards this spring that's to a great hitting season. See him more as a day two guy though. Maybe early day two to someone who likes his defense.
Drew (Neosho, MO):
- Who are some guys you think could be available in the CBA and early 2nd? Maybe drop for signability or bonus demands?
Carlos Collazo: Think prep pitchers (JJ Goss, Kendall Williams, Daniel Espino, Hunter Barco, Blake Walston maybe) and guys with some exciting tools but maybe who are more risky like a Rece Hinds, Keoni Cavaco or Nasin Nunez. Those seem like the right names right now.
- If you had to peg a quick moving back of the bullpen reliever out of this draft, who would it be? Also, do you see any conversion candidates this year that could be moved from a college bullpen to a starter as a pro?
Carlos Collazo: I think Missouri LHP T.J. Sikkema could be that guy if a team wanted him in a reliever role, though I do think someone might give him a chance to start. Matt Cronin, Zack Hess and Ryne Nelson are other bullpen arms, but I think the reliever that moves quickly to the big leagues is more rare than most assume. FSU's J.C. Flowers is a reliever and a two-way guy there, but he's got the athleticism to start and might be able to handle that role if he's exclusively pitching. A bit further down the board.
- Are there any guys who have broken out this season and kinda came out of now where but now they’re on the map?
Carlos Collazo: Keoni Cavaco, Kody Hoese, Josh Wolf to a lesser extent, Trejyn Fletcher in the sense that he reclassified so I don't know if you count that one. Yordys Valdes in Florida. Scouts knew about Blake Walston but I feel like most would be surprised with where he's at right now compared to a year ago after not being on the showcase circuit much. Maybe you could say the same thing about Andrew Dalquist in Southern California as well. James Beard is another guy who scouts were very aware of, but he's taken a big jump with his play this spring. All those guys are top 101—Beard being 101 for us at the moment.
Rich (Waxhaw, NC):
- If you were AJ Preller and you were looking for an underslot guy at 6, who would you go for that would allow you to overpay later in the draft?
Carlos Collazo: I would not go underslot at six if I was in that spot, I would take whoever didn't get drafted 1-5 of the Rutschman/Vaughn/Bleday/Witt/Abrams/Greene group. Those are the best talents in the class. I'm just taking the best guy and worrying about the next pick when it comes.
William (Ithaca, NY):
- I've heard concerns about Riley Greene's swing translating to the minors. Are those concerns legitimate?
Carlos Collazo: I have not heard any of those concerns. He's one of the best hitters in the high school class and maybe the best. I wouldn't put stock in those rumors.
Carlos Collazo: OK guys, that's going to have to do it for me. Still have plenty of draft reports to write. Sorry if I couldn't get to your questions, though I think many of them will be answered to some extent in tomorrow's new mock. Thanks for stopping by!