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2020 MLB Draft Prospects Chat (5/7/20)

Carlos Collazo: Hey guys, thanks for stopping by to chat about the draft once again. These have been fun. In case you've missed it, we recently rolled out more reports for the BA 500 and are up to 250. If you haven't started draft prepping, this as good a place as any.

Carlos Collazo: Also, JJ reported a story just yesterday on draft decisions being expected soon and why MLB will need to figure out how to prevent bonus circumvention. That piece is here.

Carlos Collazo: With those links out of the way, let’s dive into it.

Andrew (Alberta):

    Are teams starting to be connected to certain players? (excluding the top 2) If so, who are a few that you've heard.

Carlos Collazo: I’m hoping things will start to unravel a bit when we get full draft details. I have been asking around lately and it’s still much quieter on that front than it would typically be at this point.

CD (Columbus):

    Where do you see Dingler and Lonsway going in the draft?? Also who are the SF giants linked with at #13?

Carlos Collazo: I could see Dingler getting into the back of the first round. I could see Lonsway going in the second to a team that thinks he can start. If no one jumps him there the third round makes a lot of sense.

Jeff (Canada):

    Does Pat Bailey become more or less valuable with robot umpires?

Carlos Collazo: A lot of his value is tied to his defensive ability behind the plate, so I would guess that his value is hurt, not helped, by robot umps. However, even with robo umps implemented blocking, throwing and calling a game are still going to be important skills so the degree of that value is hard to say for sure. I’m very curious how robo umps will affect the sort of catchers teams employ behind the dish but even without framing value, I think the bar for defense will still be reasonably high. There will certainly be some exceptions if you get a big thumper behind the dish, but no pitcher wants to throw to a guy with stone hands behind the plate. Perhaps the bar does get lowered enough so that we get some decent hitting catchers in the league again.

Pat (Canada):

    I've heard conflicting reports about Max Meyers slider, some say it is good, others say plus plus. Can you give me the low down on the slider and whether or not you think he can be a successful starter with a great fastball and slider but average changeup.

Carlos Collazo: Over the entire year I’ve spent reporting on this class it’s close to unanimously seen as a plus-plus slider and one of the best sliders that scouts have seen in recent years. I think it’s quite a bit better than “good” thanks to the velocity, spin, depth and manipulation and control he’s shown of the pitch. I do think he can be a successful starter. He has elite pure stuff, solid control and is a pretty exceptional athlete. While he hasn’t thrown a changeup much (because what college coach is ever going to call a changeup with a guy who throws in the upper 90s with a 90 mph slider) it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Meyer got into pro ball and figured out a respectable change when he actually had a reason to throw one.

Jack (Dallas):

    Fantasy question here... Is Erick Pena worth trading a top 15 draft pick?

Carlos Collazo: I’m newer to the fantasy space, but might be able to help you out a bit if I had more details on your league like how many prospects you can have on your minor league roster. We have Pena ranked as the No. 10 on our Hot 100 so if you have a pretty deep league and think the pick has a chance to be top 10 I think that could be fair… I would also recommend following up with Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) on Twitter. He’s our resident fantasy expert and could help you out more than me.

Keith (California):

    Any update on Abel, Kelley or Bitsko? Normally we have reports of how their stuff has looked this time of year. Do we have any information on how they have looked in bullpens etc?

Carlos Collazo: Abel has shown better stuff in bullpens this year than he showed last summer. Kelley has looked largely the same as last summer and Bitsko is more of an unknown. I would guess most teams are going more off of what he showed last summer, which was pretty electric.

Will (LA):

    What grade would you throw on Kjerstad's hit tool? He's been receiving quite a bit of hype lately, but his hit tool seems concerning to me.

Max (Canada):

    Does Heston Kjerstad strikeouts trouble you? Videos I've seen of him seem to indicate he has pretty good plate coverage to hit enough to take advantage of his power.

Carlos Collazo: A few Kjerstad questions here. I think you could put a future plus on him and be fine. His track record is among the best in this year’s class, he’s always hit for average and power, but yes the strikeouts are the biggest concern for me in his profile moving forward, as I’ve said before. He has done enough and has hit for enough power that it wouldn’t be close to a deal-breaker for me though. I really like his bat.

Greg (Canada):

    I've read recent reports on Jordan Walker about his body going in the wrong direction since last summer, which has dropped him in pre draft rankings. When you hear of this about a prospect is this not something that can be corrected with better diet and exercise.

Carlos Collazo: Walker has gone up on our board, not down. We had him ranked at No. 47 to start and now he’s up to No. 34. As to your general question about fixing diet and working out—sure that’s possible but scouts definitely pay attention to how a player looks and what sort of frame they are going to be dealing with in the future. That stuff does matter. I don’t have any huge concerns with Walker’s frame moving forward, he was never going to be a middle of the diamond guy.

Fred (MI):

    I know you don’t always answer these types of questions but I’ll give it a shot! What are the Tigers needs in the draft? Or will the go best available? If you could you give a few names for pick 38, 62 and 73? Thank you. Keep up the great work I love my BA subscription!!

Carlos Collazo: Kyle and Josh have actually been rolling out great primers on each team’s farm system as we get closer to the draft. I would check that one out here.

Carlos Collazo: They should absolutely draft BPA with the first pick, but that could wind up filling a weak spot for them at the same time. As always for name for later picks, just check out the BA 500 and look at the names that are in that range.

Carlos Collazo: And thank you for subscribing! Glad you’re enjoying it. You guys allow us to do everything we do. So thank you very much.

Austin (MI):

    Hey Carlos! Love the chats! If the draft is only 5 rounds will BA do a 5 round mock draft? Lol just a fun idea!

Carlos Collazo: It is a fun idea but I believe those sort of mocks have exceptionally little value to offer readers. We would be picking names off our board and throwing them randomly to teams. It would be more misleading than anything IMO.

Joe (Toronto):

    Some of the mocks I have seen have both blaze jordan and Dylan crews falling out of the first round, prior to the Coronavirus both seemed like locks to be 1st round choices, what happened to there stock to see them plummet down draft boards?

Carlos Collazo: I don’t think we’ve ever had Crews or Jordan mocked in the first round this year. They both underperformed last summer and have riskier right-right corner profiles in a very deep draft class. I personally like both of their bats though. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see both get to school, mash and become first round picks in the future.

Justin (Tucson, AZ):

    How does Vanderbilt’s Spencer Jones compare to this years top first basemen of Torkelson and Sabato?

Carlos Collazo: He’s not very similar to them at all. He is a two-way player with impressive athleticism for a guy who’s 6-foot-7 and runs pretty well. I loved his upside on the mound out of high school, but he had an elbow injury that cut his senior season short and he also got more time as a hitter than on the mound with Vandy this spring. Very excited to see how he develops there, but I don’t see a similar player to Torkelson or Sabato. He doesn’t have that sort of power. Spencer Jones is something of a baseball unicorn though. Fun one.

Andrew (Alberta):

    What do see as Petey Halpin's ceiling?

Carlos Collazo: The bat could be good enough to make him an everyday guy and he has a chance to stick in center field so there’s some reasonable upside with him if he does stick at the position. A lighter hitting top of the order bat who can play all three outfield positions but might be best in a corner? Solid all-around but without a ton of power? That seems fair if we’re talking ceiling.

Greg (Miami):

    Do you think one of the top 2 bats will be available to the Marlins at 3? If not, do you think they go with a pitcher or the next best bat? Thanks!

Carlos Collazo: More guessing at this point but I expect both bats to be gone in some order 1-2 and then I would think Lacy is the obvious choice for pick No. 3. Just educated guess work for now..

Zack (Portland):

    Of the first round pitchers this year, which guys have the most life/movement on their fastballs?

Carlos Collazo: Garrett Crochet and JT Ginn would be my picks for that specific category. If Nate Savino was still in this class he would be the prep guy I pointed to. Mlodzinski has a heavy fastball with a lot of sink, so he's worth a mention as well.

Matt (Las Vegas):

    I know this draft was originally viewed as a deep draft class, has this perception changed at all with the shortened season?

Carlos Collazo: Not at all. There were more players than expected showing the sort of stuff to be late first, second or third round types. It is an exceptionally deep class and by far the deepest one I’ve covered with BA. Granted, that’s not saying a ton since this is only my fourth draft, but everyone in the industry praises the depth as well. Makes it even more disappointing that the draft is going to be the shortest ever.

Will (LA):

    Will you be putting grades on the tools of the top draft prospects? What grades would you give Tork, Martin, Hancock and Lacy?

Carlos Collazo: We’re currently working on our draft preview issue which will have future tools grades for many of the top prospects, so yes we are putting grades on those guys. That should be available online as well. But for the guys you mentioned I’ve got it like this:

Tork: 70 HIT, 80 POW, 40 RUN, 55 DEF, 50 ARM

Martin: 70 HIT, 55 POW, 60 RUN, 55 DEF, 45 ARM

Lacy: 60 FB, 55 CB, 60 SL, 60 CH, 55 CTL

Hancock: 60 FB, 50 CB, 55 SL, 60 CH, 60 CTL

James (Chicago):

    If we end up with only five rounds, should we expect Senior signings to fill out the draft.

Carlos Collazo: I wouldn’t expect many at all in the draft, but a good amount of undrafted signees after the rounds are completed. If that’s what you meant by the question then yes.

Ryan (California):

    Is there any chance a guy like Tork could go directly to the mlb this year if there is no minor league season?

Carlos Collazo: Nope.

Scott (El Paso,Texas):

    I know I am getting ahead of myself, but who do you feel are the top 5 prospects for the 2021 draft? Thank you for the chat and hope you are well!!

Carlos Collazo: I don’t know that I have a clear top five, but some combination of Kumar Rocker, Jack Leiter, Brady House, Matt McLain, Adrian Del Castillo, Luke Leto and Colton Cowser seem to be the right names at this point. I’m excited to start diving into that draft class more in the future. Hopefully this summer doesn’t ruin their evaluations too much... Also you're not getting ahead of yourself! That's the right mentality.

Pete (Iowa):

    How are teams evaluating JT Ginn? Is it possible teams are less worried about the injury given the shutdown?

Carlos Collazo: I’m not following that logic. I don’t know how the shutdown would affect his health status at all. Most teams really like him but most also see him as risky because of the injury and his eligible-sophomore status.

Lloyd (Lakewood):

    No. College season, maybe no minor league season, and barely a half season of MLB if at all. Just pack it in, and wait for ‘21.

Carlos Collazo: Go ahead and buy MLB The Show to placate yourself. I actually got it after being persuaded by a friend. Game is tough. No baseball is miserable though, here’s to hoping we get as much as possible.

Austin (Austin, TX):

    Can you please put scouting grades on the pitches/control for the top 3 prep arms (Kelley, Abel, Bitsko)?

Carlos Collazo: Kelley: 70 FB, 50 SL, 60 CH, 60 CTL

Abel: 60 FB, 50 CB, 60 SL, 60 CTL

Bitsko: 60 FB, 60 CB, 45 CH, 50 CTL

Josh (Torrence):

    Where does Parker Chavers go in the draft?

Carlos Collazo: He’s a wildcard. I love the toolset but the injury and the fact that he now won’t get into any games makes him tough to figure out. He has solid power, speed and arm strength so if a team thinks he’s a center fielder and isn’t too concerned about his injury he fits on talent in the second IMO. That’s probably the high point.

Evan (Seattle):

    Any chance Max Meyer goes before Emerson Hancock, or is a pretty clear cut top 5 at this point?

Carlos Collazo: After seeing players like Brady Singer and Matthew Liberatore fall in the 2018 draft I would never say never. And this year things could get weird with teams hunting for underslot deals as well. Saving a million bucks in the top 10 is super valuable for teams and could be even more so this year. We see the top five talent as pretty clear cut but the money games mean things don’t always go that way.

Ryan (California):

    Which guys from this class will be the quickest to the mlb?

Carlos Collazo: Torkelson is probably the favorite here. But all of the top five could be pretty quick-moving. Outside of that I think Burl Carraway could be used in a major league pen very soon if he gets a bit more consistent with his strikes. I know history says not to bet on those guys but when I saw him at UNC this spring he looked like a major league reliever. So that’s my deeper pick.

James W. (McHenry, IL):

    Seeing as the 2020 draft class is one of the deeper draft classes in recent memory. Who were some of your favorite players that got ranked outside the Top 100?

Carlos Collazo: This is a fun one. RHP Koen Moreno (N.C.) has long been one of my favorite prep arms. Watching him on the mound is fun and every time I saw him I think he got better. Would have loved to see him this spring. Western Michigan OF Blake Dunn gets more and more exciting the more I talk with scouts and dig into him. I love the toolset, I love the body, I love the athleticism, I love the speed. Give me all the upside. Those two jump out to me right away. Another guy who is fascinating is LHP Grayson Hitt (Tenn.). I saw him once last summer, but he was a helium guy this spring who could have been ranked higher with a full senior season. There are some shades of Blake Walston with him as a projectable, lanky, lefthander with above-average curveball potential and a high-level football background. Walston’s control was considerably better, but Hitt is intriguing.

RT (NC):

    This may be near impossible to really determine since scouting is dead right now and no one is improving stock or losing it. That said, who has best chance of exceeding his ranking (Grayson Rodriguez, Keoni Cavaco, etc.) and be picked higher than most people might think? And who is/are leading candidates to slide (Matthew Allan types)

Carlos Collazo: I think the best bet to go higher than his ranking is a college pitcher. I know I've talked about this before, but this year it has been very tough to line up that specific demographic. There are so many guys who are really good and were off to strong starts. If you talk to 10 different crosscheckers you could get all sorts of different orders for the second and third tier college arms. So if guys like RHP Zack McCambley or LHP Nick Swiney or LHP Clayton Beeter or RHP Kyle Nicolas or any number of other college arms went pretty high I don't know that I would be shocked. That demographic in particular is the one I would go with. The sliding guys would just be high schoolers in general because of the limit to rounds and the high price point of those players. A lot are going to get squeezed out.

Mark (Toronto):

    If the season ran normally, which players (outside the current BA top 10), would have had strongest chance to play themselves into top 5 consideration?

Carlos Collazo: Crochet is the guy I point to all the time. Him and Max Meyer are good candidates for this. Zac Veen is already right outside of the that and if he kept popping off might have been more of a consensus guy in that range. If either of Heston Kjerstad or Patrick Bailey went bonkers they could have as well potentially. But the current top five is already pretty good.

Tyler (DC):

    Is there a bigger no brainer than Cole Wilcox to the Nationals in the first? Fits all the draft tendencies that BA has outlined. Big college power pitcher with some risk. Any others that could fit here?

Carlos Collazo: I think Ginn fits what they've done in the past more than even Wilcox does. But who's to say they keep doing that this year.

Carlos Collazo: Alright everyone that's going to have to wrap it up for today. Thank you as always for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours maybe it'll make next week's mailbag. I had a fun time doing that a few weeks ago so I think we'll make it a recurring feature. And of course you can find me on Twitter (@CarlosACollazo) as well. Back to writing reports! Hope you all are staying safe and sane out there.

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