Top MLB Draft Prospects In Oregon
1. Nick Madrigal, SS/2B, Oregon State (BA Rank: 3)
4YR • 5-8 • 165 • R-R •
Most 5-foot-7 second basemen wouldn’t figure to be top-of-the first round talents if healthy, let alone if they had missed almost two months of their junior season. But Madrigal is far from the ordinary, undersized middle infielder, as he possesses arguably the best hit tool in the 2018 draft class. Northwest area scouts saw just six games of Madrigal (in which he hit over .500 with two home runs) before he went down with a broken left wrist after sliding into home plate during a February game against Ohio State. Fortunately, Madrigal’s track record is a lengthy one, as he played for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team during the summer of 2017 and also hit .303/.342/.376 as an 18-year-old in the West Coast Collegiate League in 2015, with more walks than strikeouts. Many area scouts and scouting directors alike are convinced that Madrigal would be a top-10 selection even if he never came back to the field, given the non-chronic nature of his injury combined with his prolific feel for the barrel. While Madrigal will never be confused for a slugger and likely doesn’t have much more fringe-average power, he makes the most of all the juice he has, with elite bat-to-ball skills that allows him to drive the gaps and use his speed to collect extra-base hits in the form of doubles and triples. He’s not just a hitter, however, as Madrigal possesses plus-plus running ability and matches that skill with savvy baserunning prowess. A potential top-of-the-order hitter, Madrigal also projects as a plus defensive second baseman at the next level. The hands that allow him to hit with such apparent ease also translate to the field, where he is sure-handed and quick around the bag with enough arm strength for the keystone. Arm strength is the one knock on Madrigal—aside from his size—and scouts are split on whether he can be a major league shortstop, as Oregon State teammate Cadyn Grenier’s defense was enough to push Madrigal to second base in 2016. Regardless of which side of the bag teams see him playing in the future, Madrigal seems like a lock to be taken inside of the first ten picks this June and could be a fast-moving college bat at the professional level, thanks to both his baseball skills and professional makeup and work ethic.
2. Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State (BA Rank: 27)
4YR • 6-4 • 205 • L-R •
A big, 6-foot-4, 210-pound outfielder, Larnach has shot up draft boards this season after finally tapping into the big power that he has long possessed. Through 34 games in a Pac-12 environment that tends to temper the long ball, Larnach has hit 11 home runs and 11 doubles with a .336/.452/.680 slash line. He ranks in the top 20 nationally in home runs, home runs per game, RBIs per game and slugging percentage. All that comes after hitting just three home runs through 88 games during his first two seasons with Oregon State. Larnach has made a mechanical change this year, quieting his load and better utilizing the strength in his lower half and letting the ball travel. He’s using his natural strength more effectively this spring and avoiding his previous tendency of reaching out and getting jumpy on his front side. That has allowed him to hit with power to the pull side and to the left-center field gap. With what he’s shown this spring, some area scouts believe he could tap into 25-plus home runs as a pro. Defensively, he’s likely a corner outfielder with below-average speed but enough athleticism to make the routine plays. He has an average arm that is starting to get stronger after elbow surgery a few years back.
3. Cadyn Grenier, SS, Oregon State (BA Rank: 63)
4YR • 5-11 • 180 • R-R •
Perhaps the best defensive shortstop in the class, Grenier took sole ownership of the position in 2017 with Oregon State after switching back and forth between shortstop and second base with Nick Madrigal. Grenier has no plus tools to speak of and is around average across the board, but he does more than enough to stick at shortstop with fantastic instincts, an above-average arm, solid-average range and some of the surest hands in college baseball. There are players who are flashier than Grenier, but no one makes the routine play with his consistency, as Grenier has a way of slowing the game down. Grenier could be a second- or third-round pick on his defensive strengths alone, but he has shown improvements in his offensive game this spring as well. After hitting sub-.300 during his first two seasons with the Beavers, Grenier hit .325/.418/.470 through his first 42 games this spring. While his strikeout and walk rates haven’t changed much, Northwest-area scouts have noticed an increase in quality at-bats and have seen him work the counts more effectively and consistently. Grenier will never have the natural hitting ability of his double-play partner Madrigal, and he has more of a manufactured swing that will likely need to be regularly adjusted and tweaked as he progresses through pro baseball. There’s no real wood bat track record with Grenier either, as he hit .190/.312/.276 in the Cape Cod League in 2016 and .158/.333/.283 with USA Baseball’s College National Team last summer.
4. Matt Mercer, RHP, Oregon (BA Rank: 64)
4YR • 6-2 • 180 • R-R •
After three years in a variety of low-leverage roles, Sandburn has blossomed as Wichita State's closer as a senior in 2018. He willl flash premium velocity as he's touched 96-97 mph this year and he mixes in an average 82-84 mph slider. Sandburn still isn't consistent as his stuff and control vary pretty significantly from outing to outing. He should be a useful senior sign who can fit in a minor league bullpen.
5. Drew Rasmussen, RHP, Oregon State (BA Rank: 173)
4YR • 6-2 • 225 • R-R •
Rasmussen's career at Oregon State has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. An overweight, upper-80s prep righthander before he got to Corvallis, Rasmussen transformed his body with the help of Driveline Baseball and quickly established himself as the staff ace, throwing the only perfect game in Oregon State history as a freshman. Rasmussen then tore his UCL his sophomore year and was sidelined with Tommy John rehab until midway through the 2017 season. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound righthander used his rehab as an opportunity to get stronger, and he came back late last April working 94-97 mph and touching 98 mph with an explosive fastball, showing enough for the Rays to take him with the 31st overall pick. But the Rays didn't sign him after a post-draft physical revealed issues with his first Tommy John surgery. Rasmussen returned to Corvallis and had a second, mostly corrective, surgery with Dodgers team doctor Neal ElAttrache late in 2017. The surgery was successful and by all reports Rasmussen has progressed well in his rehab—even losing some weight—but he has yet to throw a baseball and likely won't start throwing until closer to the draft. When healthy, Rasmussen works in the mid- to upper 90s, with a devastating split-like changeup as his main out-pitch and an average breaking ball as his third pitch. He's a first-rounder in terms of talent, but scouts haven't seen him fully healthy since 2016 and won't be able to see him on a mound before draft day. After two Tommy John surgeries, Rasmussen's landing spot will hinge on how teams view his medical report.
6. Steven Kwan, OF, Oregon State (BA Rank: 262)
4YR • 5-9 • 170 • L-L •
Kwan leads things off in Oregon State’s potent lineup and has proven to be an on-base machine. He is a nightmare for opposing pitchers and is one of the toughest players to strike out in Division I baseball. After striking out around seven percent of the time through his first two seasons with the Beavers, Kwan has cut that rate to 4.8 percent in 2018, striking out just 12 times through his first 199 at-bats. His walk rate has done the exact opposite, shooting from under three percent during his freshman season to over 17 percent through his first 49 games this spring—even more impressive when considering Kwan’s poor power. A rangy center fielder, Kwan has a slap-hitting approach, spraying the ball to all fields and getting on base with above-average speed. While there are questions regarding how his approach will pan out in pro ball, Kwan has hit well over .300 in each of his last two seasons at Oregon State and has a strong track record of hitting in wood-bat leagues. He hit .304/.381/.342 in 26 games in the Cape Cod League last summer. Because of his ability to play above-average defense in center field and his speed, Kwan projects as a fourth outfielder whose bat might be too light to ever make him a regular.
7. Beau Brundage, OF, Portland (BA Rank: 328)
4YR • RS-So. • 6-4 • 190 • L-R •
A plus-plus runner, Brundage has shown tremendous feel for hitting with Portland in 2018, batting .380/.457/.500 and collecting 25 multi-hit games. After going 0-for-3 in the first game of the season, Brundage ran off an 18-game hitting streak and led the Pilots in batting average, runs, doubles, triples and on-base percentage. While the redshirt sophomore has good speed, he still has a lot of work to do in regards to stealing bases. He stole only four bases this spring and was caught eight times, and his career success rate in two seasons is just 44 percent (11-for-25). A 38th-round pick of the Phillies in 2015, Brundage has grown up around the game. His father, Dave Brundage, played 10 seasons in the minor leagues with the Phillies and Mariners and is currently the manager of the Giants’ Triple-A Sacramento River Cats.
8. Jakob Goldfarb, OF/C, Oregon (BA Rank: 360)
4YR • 6-3 • 220 • L-R •
An outfielder/catcher at Oregon, Goldfarb has played more regularly in the outfield and many scouts think that’s where he’ll fit best thanks to athleticism that has allowed him to make several highlight-reel plays. Goldfarb had a solid freshman season with the Ducks before taking a step back as a sophomore and then missing the 2017 season due to a broken foot. Goldfarb has battled a few freak injuries, but when healthy he offers plus power from the left side and a plus arm that plays in right field. Goldfarb changed his approach during his sophomore season, opting for a more narrow stance with a leg kick that had a lot of moving parts. He’s stuck with the approach, smoothing it out this spring and has begun to show more feel to hit. His .311/.400/.503 line in 2018 is the best of his career and Goldfarb has also played well in wood-bat summer leagues in 2015 and 2016. Strikeouts have been an issue with Goldfarb throughout his time in college and will likely continue to hamper him because of the noise in his swing.
New Draft Rules Hurt Players, Limit Scouts, Are Sign Of Coming MiLB Changes
Many in baseball are already discussing the ramifications of a shortened draft and the limitations that come with it.
9. Luke Heimlich, LHP, Oregon State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 6-1 • 197 • L-L •
Heimlich took a huge step forward in 2017 and turned himself into a day one-caliber talent by posting the lowest ERA (0.76) in the nation. As a lefthander with stuff trending in the right direction, Heimlich seemed poised to go early in the draft, but a report from The Oregonian last June revealed that as a 15-year-old, Heimlich pled guilty to molesting his six-year-old niece. In the wake of the news, every major league team removed Heimlich for its draft board and the 6-foot-1, 197-pound lefty went undrafted and unsigned. He returned to Oregon State for his senior season, where Heimlich has won 14 games—the most in the country—and continued to show impressive stuff and pitchability with a 2.49 ERA through 104.2 innings with 139 strikeouts and 21 walks. He throws a fastball in the low 90s that has been up to 94-95 mph at times, a 78-82 mph breaking ball and a low-80s changeup. Heimlich mostly refused to speak to the media during the season and after games, save for a couple of interviews with the New York Times and Sports Illustrated late in the season, but he continued to take the ball every Friday night for the Beavers. Several teams have told their area scouts not to bother submitting reports on Heimlich, and there are plenty of teams who will continue to leave the lefthander off of their draft boards entirely. However, teams do believe that there are a number of clubs that will be willing to draft him this year, despite the concerns with his guilty plea and the inevitable backlash that will come with his selection. On talent alone, he is a day-one prospect, but there's obviously much more to the story than just talent when considering drafting Luke Heimlich.
10. Mike Gretler, 3B, Oregon State (BA Rank: N/A)
11. Jake Mulholland, LHP, Oregon State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • De-So. •
12. Jordan Britton, LHP, Oregon State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Jr. • 6-3 • 207 • L-L •
13. Sam Tweedt, RHP, Oregon State (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • RS-Jr. • 6-3 • 215 • R-R •