MLB Draft Chat: Will Casey Mize Drop Out Of Top 5?
Carlos Collazo: How’s it going everyone? Thanks for joining me for the first draft chat of the 2018 season. I’m planning on having these every other Thursday from here on out until the draft, so buckle up. If you don’t get your question answered here, I apologize, we’ve already got a healthy queue lined up but I’ll try and get through as many as possible. If not, you can always reach me on Twitter @CarlosACollazo where I’m pretty good at getting back to people. Alright, let’s dive in.
Craig (Seattle, WA): Do durability concerns cause Casey Mose to drop out of the top 5?
Carlos Collazo: Hey Craig, this is definitely the biggest question with Casey Mize. The Auburn righthander got off to a strong start this season and struck out seven batters with no walks over six innings vs. Longwood. We wrote in our first-round to-do list that Mize just has to stay healthy and log innings to solidify or improve his draft stock this spring. Read more about that here: https://www.baseballamerica.com/college/2018-top-200-mlb-draft-prospects-first-round-list/
Alan (Rancho Cucamonga): Hiya. I noticed our friend Keith Law is much higher on some of the college bats than BA. Notably Swaggerty, Conine, & Jake McCarthy. Do you see any of the three moving into top 5 pick consideration? Who has the best shot in your humble opinion. Thanks!
Carlos Collazo: Hey Alan. Can't speak specifically to Keith's list as I'm not familiar with his process. I do know that every year we hear about how as the college season progresses the bats will rise if they perform. We're happy with how our top 5 looks, but we acknowledge the fact that a lot can, will and has already changed between January 12 (when we released the top 200) and when the draft arrives this June. We do have Swaggerty, Conine and McCarthy all within the first round or supplemental first round currently. If I had to pick one of the three to jump into that range though I'd go with Swaggerty. I heard some really good things from him after his opening weekend and it sounds like he's making a case to stick in CF at the next level.
Tom (Portland): What is the ceiling draft wise for Trevor Larnach if he keeps playing well this year?
Carlos Collazo: Great timing on this question, Tom, as Larnach probably fits the "bat who performs and jumps up boards" more than any other player at this point. He destroyed everything during the opening weekend. #SmallSampleSize alert, but as of today Larnach is hitting .667/.778/.1583 with three home runs and two doubles. Is that good? I think that's good. We heard that Larnach had gotten stronger over the summer and if this power is real he's going to shoot up a ton. He could play himself into the first round if he keeps this up. Playing for Oregon State, he'll get all the looks he needs from decision-makers as well.
Scott (Detroit): Hi Carlos, Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for baseball junkie like myself. How do you see the 2018 draft class shaping up for the Midwest, particularly my home state of Michigan?
Carlos Collazo: Hey Scott, welcome to the chat! Thanks for joining us and my pleasure, love talking players. The Midwest is extremely interesting this year. I heard from several scouts who were at the PBR Super 60 showcase in Chicago a few weeks ago and it sounded like one of the most talented groups of players the event has seen in years. It's high school heavy for the midwest, but there's a ton of talent to be found. Jarred Kelenic is obviously the headliner here, but Alek Thomas hit well at the event as did Wisconsin product Alex Binelas. Henry Davis has a cannon behind the dish as well. As for Michigan specifically, we don't currently have anyone from the state on our top 200 list, but there are a ton of interesting players. Detroit Country Day High 1B John Malcom has serious power and made our preseason All-America third team, De La Salle Collegiate infielder Bryce Bush has a funky swing but some of the best bat speed in the class, William English is intriguing in the outfield and on the mound and is extremely athletic, Miko Rodriguez has some thump in the bat and a strong arm and Spencer Schwellenbach is an interesting pitcher who wasn't seen much last summer thanks to an injury. That good?
John (Lima): Does Madrigal have a hit tool that's at all comparable to that of Nick Senzel when he was at Tenn?
Carlos Collazo: This one is interesting because these guys are such different players, but if you take a look at our scouting report for Senzel when he was drafted, there are a lot of similarities to what Nick Madrigal is right now, strictly talking about the hit tool and first name. Both line drive, gap-to-gap hitters more than big power hitters. They actually had the exact same home run totals through their first two seasons (5). Senzel hit .332/.426/.508 in three seasons in the SEC while Madrigal has hit .359/.419/.498 through two in the Pac-12 and is off to another strong start this season. Both have had success in summer leagues--Senzel was the MVP of the Cape Cod League the summer before he was drafted while Madrigal hit .303/.342/.376 as an 18-year-old in the West Coast League. Senzel was given the best hit tool of the 2016 college class and Madrigal was given that honor on our preseason best tools list this year. Long story short, yeah I think so. He doesn't have that power projection that Senzel had, but just the hit tool? Sure.
Lilith (Ohio): Could you compare and contrast the top three potential SS in this draft (Turang, Madrigal, de Sedas) to the top three in 2015 (Swanson, Bregman, Rodgers)? Are they close to the same quality or do they fall short?
Carlos Collazo: I could talk about Nick Madrigal for days so we may as well keep it going. Right off the bat I'd say they fall short. As you know, Swanson, Bregman and Rodgers went 1-2-3 in the draft in 2015 and I would be very surprised if that happened in any order with Brice Turang, Madrigal and Nander De Sedas this year. The arms are too good. Still, you could make some interesting comparisons. Swanson was a second baseman at Vanderbilt before proving he could play shortstop his junior year, while Madrigal has played mostly second base with Oregon State thanks to Cadyn Grenier, though I think he can play short at the next level. Both are praised for work ethic, makeup, baseball IQ, etc. I'll have to force the Bregman-Turang comp as obviously the former was a college product and the latter is in high school, but Bregman had an extremely lengthy track record of success when he was drafted while Turang has performed at a high level more than almost anyone in the high school class. Both have gold medals with USA Baseball, Bregman was an LSU product while Turang is committed to the program and both have impact questions offensively but great hit tools. Rodgers and De Sedas are both prep shortstops out of Florida with offensive and defensive skills, plus power potential and questions about range as they develop physically. I do think De Sedas has less polish with the bat than Rodgers did at the time. De Sedas is also a switch hitter and is more of an upbeat, high-energy guy than Rodgers was at the time.
Ryan (Texas): Is Ethan Hankins' shoulder injury serious? How might it affect his draft value.
Carlos Collazo: It's hard to tell at this point as he still has to go through some physical therapy and see how that affects him, but it's definitely good news that he had no tears in the shoulder after getting it checked out. It's obviously concerning and something that every team is going to be watching closely, because now plenty of teams might think there's an outside shot to get him when before there was no chance. Hopefully he comes back healthy in a few weeks with no issues and it's more of a blip on the radar than a serious issue. Time will tell on this one.
Warren (Texas): What 2019 prospects do you think would go in the top two rounds this year if they were eligible?
Carlos Collazo: Hey Warren, you’ve got Bobby Witt Jr. in your state who was the first player I thought of. Florida lefthander Hunter Barco seem like the safest other player for this hypothetical. He opened a ton of eyes at Perfect Game’s tournament in Jupiter last fall.
Ed (San Diego): Do you think there is any shot that Nolan Gorman is there for the Padres at #7?
Carlos Collazo: Hey Ed. Definitely. We’ve got Nolan Gorman at No. 6 right now so if he stays in that range as we expand our rankings and as the season progresses he’s definitely in the conversation. Over the last five years, the Padres have leaned toward high school players and position players in the top five rounds as well, though 3 of the 4 first round picks that scouting director Mark Conner has made since taking over in 2015 have been pitchers and that is the strength of this year’s class.
Andrew (St. Louis): Do you think Detroit will pick the best player available, or choose whoever is willing to sign for the least out of their top 5 for example?
Carlos Collazo: The Tigers haven’t had the first pick of the draft since 1997 so it will be interesting to see what they decide to do with it this year. If I were making the pick I think I’d take whoever my scouting department thought was the best player in the class, but you can get pretty creative with a big draft pool and there’s sense to factoring in signability if there’s not a ton of separation between 1 and 5, especially with a deep class this year and no clearcut, obvious No. 1. The Tigers have been very pitching and college heavy over the past five years and just took Florida’s Alex Faedo with the No. 18 pick last year. It just so happens that Florida’s Brady Singer is our top prospect currently and he makes sense for them on a number of levels, but there are a few college arms who might play into that spot. The Tigers love power arms so Shane McClanahan is interesting as well. This has been a long, rambling answer to basically say I don’t know what they’re going to do. Ha, sorry Andrew.
Dan (East Coast): I have a chance to see Logan Gilbert in the next month or so. What should I be looking out for? Anyone else on the Hatters top 200 pick potential?
Carlos Collazo: First of all, shoutout to the East Coast. Much better than the West Coast, everyone be sure to go tell @KyleAGlaser that on twitter and tell him I sent you. Getting to Gilbert, definitely get out there and see him if you can. He's very good. I actually saw him in his first start of the season last Friday, you can read the full report here (https://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/stetson-wins-opener-ace-righty-logan-gilbert-shakes-off-rust/). Look for a guy who's going to get lots of swings and misses with the fastball in the zone. He's got phenomenal extension and that pitch played up at 90-93 mph and would be even more impressive in the mid 90s, which he's at in midseason form. Other interesting prospects for Stetson are righthanders Jack Perkins and Brooks Wilson. Wilson is going to hit pretty regularly for Stetson as well and has some power in the tank, but his pro future is on the mound.
Elmo (123 Sesame Street, New York City, New York): From everything I read, Kumar Rocker looked like the consensus #1 pick, what has changed since then?
Carlos Collazo: You should read BA a little bit more Elmo! Since the 2018 draft season started in earnest we haven't ever had Rocker in the No. 1 spot, let alone as the consensus No. 1 pick. He was No. 3 on our very first top 10 high school list early last summer behind Brice Turang and Ethan Hankins, then moved to No. 7 on both our top 50 HS and top 100 HS lists. He's currently No. 13 on our overall top 200 list. The stuff is real, and I've heard good things from him early this season in Georgia, but there are questions about command, some evaluators have starter/reliever questions (though I think he's a starter) and he got hit around a bit on the showcase circuit. He has all the talent to pitch up into that range, but hasn't done it as of yet.
Craig (Seattle, WA): Who are some players you think could jump from being relatively unknown into first round or even top 10 consideration like Austin Beck last year?
Eric Bedard (Baltimore, MD): Fangraphs said they think Connor Scott could be this year's Austin Beck. To what extent do you agree?
Carlos Collazo: I'll tackle both of these here. First question, here are a few guys who are fairly well known but outside of the first round right now who I think have a chance to jump up: Mississippi OF Joe Gray, Pennsylvania OF Mike Siani, Florida OF Connor Scott (as Eric mentioned), Illinois OF Alek Thomas. All of those guys are ranked pretty high on our top 200 list right now. Some guys further down who could make jumps: Elijah Cabell, Max Marusak, Korey Holland, Nick Schnell, Vinny Tosti and Brennen Davis. As to the Connor Scott/Austin Beck comps, I haven't heard those specifically but it makes some sense in regards to draft status given their injuries over the summer before the draft. I think Scott has a more polished bat and he'll get the chance to hit against better competition this spring than Beck did last year, but I like Beck's overall tools package and upside more than Scott's at this point. But check out my twitter for a huge homer Scott hit a few days ago.
JP (Tulsa): Which pitcher has the best overall "stuff" in the class? Maybe the overall highest ceiling as well?
Carlos Collazo: Let’s split this up by level. On the college side, I think it’s hard to argue against Shane McClanahan. Mid to upper 90s fastball that was touching 99-100 in his first start as well as a changeup and slider that both could turn out to be plus offerings. On the high school side I’m going with Kumar Rocker who has a similar repertoire: fastball up to 98, a firm changeup with fade that I’ve seen him locate at times as well as a sharp breaking slider. Highest ceiling? Give me one of McClanahan/Logan Gilbert on the college side and Ethan Hankins/Matthew Liberatore on the high school side, though I’d lean towards the first guys I named in each duo.
Frank Mucci (Massachusetts): I've read numerous place where this year's group of high school prospects from the Northeast is the deepest in several years. Any position players that might get drafted in the Top 5 rounds?
Carlos Collazo: I’d have to look into the history of the region a bit more in recent years to give you a more accurate idea of the relative strength of this year’s class, but here are some high school hitters to be aware of: New Hampshire 1B Grant Lavigne (and there would be two N.H. guys, but Bryce Reagan transferred to IMG Academy in Florida) and N.Y. infielder Charles Mack could end up in the top 5 rounds. Connecticut C/3B Patrick Winkel, Mass. SS Logan Bravo, Mass. C Dominic Keegan and N.Y. catcher Henry Davis are a few others who are further out currently but are guys to be aware of. The arms for this specific demographic might come off the board first though with Mike Vasil (Mass.) and Lineras Torres (N.Y.) high up there. Also, lookout for a Torres feature from my good friend and pal Mike Lananna on the site soon. It’s amazing.
Brandon (OK): Will Bohm and Jenista be the first set of college teammates off the board in June?
Carlos Collazo: I’ll go with Nick Madrigal and Casey Mize. They were teammates last summer with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. That counts, right? No? OK. I’ll take Florida arms Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar for this, though Bohm and Jenista with Wichita State would probably be the second-best bet.
Carlos Collazo: Alright everyone, I’m going to step away for a little bit to get some food, but I’ll be back to answer more in about an hour or so. Thanks again for all of your questions, this is a blast.
Not Hudson (The Trail): Do you prefer to go by "New Hudson" or "Carlos" upon handshake introductions, and which prep player in California intrigues you the most?
Carlos Collazo: I’ll answer to either one, and also the Clintern (that’s from working with Clint Longenecker as an intern in 2014). I know you can’t be the real Hudson because they dude never leaves the field. He’s hunting for prospects for the D-Backs. California is down compared to its own lofty standards, but there’s a lot to like. Some interesting arms are Dominic Pipkin, Chandler Champlain, Blake Burzell, Ethan Reed and Patrick Wicklander to name a few. Some position players are Preston Hartsell, Brandon Dieter, Kameron Ojeda, Jake Moberg, Kingston Liniak and Matt McLain. Brice Turang and Cole Winn are the most intriguing for me though.
Jonny (Palo Alto): How good are the three top Stanford guys and where do guy see them going in the draft?
Carlos Collazo: I’m assuming you’re talking about the three we have ranked the highest: No. 46 RHP Tristan Beck, No. 58 LHP Kris Bubic and No. 70 SS Nico Hoerner. Beck is a first round talent if he’s healthy and it sounds like he had an encouraging first start to the season. I picked Bubic as the Pac-12 pitcher of the year in our conference preview (https://www.baseballamerica.com/college/2018-conference-previews-pac-12/#P3DO88cMdE6o2l0f.97) and Hoerner can do pretty much everything though his tools are quieter than guys higher on boards. Really good trio.
JG (Sacto): How confident are teams in Brady Singer's health given his reported failed physical 3 years ago?
Carlos Collazo: I don’t think it’s been reported anywhere that Singer failed his physical. There’s a difference in failing a physical and seeing something in the physical that causes a team to re-evaluate a signing bonus offer. Singer threw 43.2 innings as a reliever his freshman season and then just threw 126 last year. I’m not any more concerned with Singer’s health than any other pitcher.
Carlos Collazo: Hey everyone, back after an afternoon meeting. Sorry for the delays. I’ll power through a few more rapid fire style and then we’ll get out of here.
Dave (Daveville): Are you at all concerned about Brady Singer's changeup? He seems to be a 2-pitch pitcher which kinda screams "bullpen", doesn't it?
Carlos Collazo: It sounds like the changeup has improved.
Miguel (Puerto Rico): Have you seen Montverde HS RHP Saul Gonzalez who is a teammate of De Sedas? How does he compare to other HS RHP in the class? 6-7 235 , 90-93 mph
Carlos Collazo: I saw him at the Florida Diamond Club last summer. Huge frame. He was 85-91 for me during that event and showed some good spin on the CB for an inning before it lost some consistency. Interesting arm. Could improve the delivery and balance a bit and take a step forward.
Jacob (Wilmington, NC): Forget the list. Which one of the following college pitchers has the most upside for you: Blaine Knight, Tristan Beck, Colton Eastman, Tim Cate, Konnor Pilkington, or Sean Hjelle?
Carlos Collazo: I’ve seen these guys less than the high school pitchers to this point, but I’ll take Blaine Knight.
Bobby T (New York, NY): Top Northeast Arms? College & Prep
Carlos Collazo: Time Cate on the college side and Mike Vasil on the high school side.
Terry Miencier (Turlock, CA): What is the difference in best available and best fit? Looking at baseball drafts over the years and this question creeps into every one. Thank you.
Carlos Collazo: Best fit seems to apply more to drafts like the NFL and NBA where players can much quicker have an impact on the team. With MLB obviously you have several years where a prospect will play in the minors and develop. By the time a player is ready the composition of the big league team could look vastly different than when he was drafted. Still, you could have an organizational team need. A good example of this is with the Nationals last year. They went extremely heavy on pitching in the draft because the system was light on arms. I believe nine of their first 10 selections were pitchers. Hope this answers your question.
Big Ern (Illinois): You see Cubs taking a High School bat?
Carlos Collazo: The Cubs have leaned college and pitcher heavy recently, so I’d bet on no, but a lot will depend on what happens with the 23 picks before them.
College Summer Ball Draws To A Close After Unprecedented Season
The college summer ball season is drawing to a close for leagues that were able to play this summer. It provided some normalcy in an unusual summer for many players.
Bryce (Cleveland, OH): Is it just me or does it seem like prospects develop better in college than in the minors out of high school? I feel like none of the top draft eligible college players were viewed as highly in HS as they are now.
Carlos Collazo: That’s part of the reason they got to college in the first place. Some guys need more time to develop or have questions that they can answer when they get to campus. Forrest Whitley, Brendan Rodgers, MacKenzie Gore and Royce Lewis have done just fine developing in pro ball and are ranked very highly on our top 100 MLB prospects list: https://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/top-100-mlb-prospects-2018/#ysc7M1OEkwJkrQ4s.97
Dunt (Chicago): Is Ryan Rolison a high floor or a high ceiling guy or a mix of both? He seems like a prime candidate to go as the top college arm if he keeps this up.
Carlos Collazo: He seems like a solid mix of both. Good sized lefthander with stuff and track record in the SEC and the Cape Cod League. He’s in the mix of the top college arms no doubt.
Larry (FL): Chances of Denaburg, Connor Scott or Anthony Seigler getting to UF?
Carlos Collazo: I’d be shocked if Denaburg made it. I’d be surprised if Connor Scott made it. Seigler probably has a better shot to get there than the other two simply because of the track record with high school catchers, but man I would not want to pass on him if I were making picks. That dude hits wherever he goes and has defensive chops and great makeup and work ethic. At Florida though it would be awesome to see him catch, pitch as a righty and pitch as a lefty. Would be fun. I could see them all getting drafted though, so don’t cross your fingers.
Gregg (Ohio): Nolan Gorman seemed to have trouble hitting breaking balls over the summer, per BA podcasts. Is that issue factored into his current draft status?
Carlos Collazo: It is. I think I mentioned it when talking about his performance with the 18U team during the World Cup in Canada. He had no problems squaring up high-end velocity for power during the showcase circuit, but got into a funk during the World Cup when many international teams just didn’t throw as hard as the American pitchers and had quality off speed offerings. I think teams want to get a better feel for his overall hit tool, but the tournament in Canada was a very small sample and I think he has the hand eye coordination, plate discipline and swing to figure out offspeed at the next level.
Alex (Arizona): How big of a concern is it that Brice Turang never pulls the ball?
Carlos Collazo: I wouldn’t say he never pulls the ball. He’s got an all-fields approach yes, but isn’t that a good thing? A lot of scouts definitely like it. He has the bat speed and the hands to turn on pitches if he needs to. That’s not a concern for me.
Ted (SD): Is Joe Gray's stock rising? What are the chances he get to the Padres second 1st round pick?
Carlos Collazo: I think it was really rising during the fall when his at-bats looked a lot better than during the summer. He’s a guy who just doesn’t get to see elite pitching as often as some of the guys in Florida, Texas and California. I’m big on Joe Gray. Could easily see him getting taken before that by a team that emphasizes tools and athleticism.
Rob (Chicago): Are there any one-in-a-generation type talents out there right now? It doesn't seem like it for the 2018 class, but what about for the 2019, 2020, or even younger.
Carlos Collazo: Not for the 2018 class. Blaze Jordan is a guy who’s making a whole heck of a lot of noise for a guy in the 2021 class. All he does is hit home runs at big events. Could he be that kind of talent? I’m not sure at this point.
Lee (Nashville, Tn): Do you think Hankins, Rocker or Weathers could end up at Vandy.
Carlos Collazo: Not unless something crazy happens.
Al (KY): The Luke Heimlich situation is well documented. What becomes of him? Playing overseas maybe?
Carlos Collazo: Good question and one that I don’t think a lot of teams really know the answer to at this point. I’m glad I’m not the one who has to make a decision.
Steven D. (Virginia): Seems that power bats, especially left-handed power, is the toughest to find and the most sought after by some scouts. How does this draft fare in that area?
Carlos Collazo: You’ve got a handful of those guys in this class with Nolan Gorman, Seth Beer, Griffin Conine, Triston Casas and Greyson Jenista,
Jason (Dallas): Is De Sandas going to rise to top 5?
Carlos Collazo: If he shows some more consistency from the left side he could. Just more feel to hit this spring in Florida could easily push him up there. I like all of his tools, think he has the arm, instincts and glove work to stick at SS. The guy’s only been hitting lefthanded for like two years but hit some bombs from that side in a few home runs derbies this summer. Easy power from both sides and fantastic hands in the box and in the field. I’m in on him.
Alex (California): Are there any players with 80 grade tools? I know Gorman can hit a ball about five hundred feet, Davis and Alexander both throw about a hundred miles per hour, and Edwards never makes an error but I never see 80 grades for their talent.
Carlos Collazo: Yeah personally I would never put an 80 grade on someone. Not yet. I just don’t have that kind of experience. I think people throw out those grades to loosely at this point. Does Gorman have 80 power now? I don’t think so. Have you seen the kind of home runs Judge and Stanton hit? That’s 80 power. Is 100 mph 80 grade velocity anymore? I don’t think so. Go pick a random righty in the Yankees system and odds are he’s touching triple digits regularly. An 80-grade runner might be the easiest to find and that *could* be Max Marusak but I’ve only heard double-plus from scouts so I’m pumping the brakes before I start throwing 80s around. 50 is supposed to be major league average. Not average for a draft class.
Josh (Chicago): Which college player who would be considered a fringe first-round pick or worst now has the best chance of vaulting himself into the top-10 discussion by the end of the college season?
Carlos Collazo: Tristan Beck because of health. If Cadyn Grenier comes out and hits this spring he could pull a Logan Warmoth and push himself into the back of the first. Seth Beer could just mash himself into the first round, but as Teddy Cahill has pointed out before that his profile just doesn’t go in the first round often.
Dan (Augusta, ME): Hey Carlos. What do you think of Kyle Bradish of New Mexico St. ? He had a nice debut this past Friday. Could he be a guy who gets more attention his draft year and ends up becoming a late 1st rounder? Thanks!
Carlos Collazo: He has some elements. That debut was nice. 5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K. He’s got a good fastball and curve. If he can improve the changeup to give himself a legit third pitch and continue to not walk batters (he’s got a 4.84 BB/9 over his first two seasons with New Mexico State) he’ll rise. Not sure how high he could really go at this point.
Carlos Collazo: Well, it’s 5:00 p.m. ET and I’ve actually got some reports to write and also get ready for the second weekend of the college season. Really appreciate all of the questions everyone, thanks for submitting them and if I couldn’t get to yours, feel free to send them to me on Twitter @CarlosACollazo. Be sure to subscribe to Baseball America if you haven’t already and you’ll get all of the inside info I’ll write this season for the draft. You can also (whether you subscribe or not) check out the first episode of the Draft podcast that I started this week. Find that here if you’re a podcast kind of person: https://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/mlb-draft-week-1-podcast-2018/#F2fuZ1aPwCup0xrf.97
Carlos Collazo: I’ll start doing these every week throughout the season leading up to the draft. As far as the next draft chat, that’ll be in two weeks on March 8. Next Thursday I’m bringing back the draft tracker. Those two recurring items will happen every Thursday on an alternating basis. Should be fun. Thanks again everyone!