I’ve received plenty of questions about who just missed being in my mock drafts for the first and supplemental first rounds earlier this week. I’ve purposely kept silent on answering those questions so far, as I want to talk about some of those players in a separate column, which comes now.
Here are a good number of the players that received consideration for my mock draft, along with some information on each. These are in alphabetical order, so don’t draw any conclusions on the order in which they come in the column. Keep an eye on these players, as a lot of them are on their way up.
Drew Cisco, RHP, Wando HS (SC)
Cisco is simply an excellent pitcher. For being so young, he is probably one of the most polished high school pitchers to come along in awhile. He knows what he’s doing on the mound. The reason he’s not higher is that he simply lacks front-line stuff. A number of teams feel that he’s a number four starter at best, despite his plus pitchability. He could easily slide forward a bit, but I think he’s more in line for a mid-second round selection, similar to David Holmberg a year ago.
Todd Cunningham, OF, Jacksonville State
Cunningham has always been seen as a solid college outfielder, and he profiles best as a fringe regular or fourth outfielder. His best attribute is a lack of a glaring weakness, along with a hit tool that was seen as advanced enough to handle good pitching. A good summer on the Cape proved he could handle wood bats, but without much pop. He slumped against fringy pitching over the last few weeks before recovering a little, but the numbers still aren’t good enough for a supplemental first round selection.
Sam Dyson, RHP, South Carolina
I think a bit of a red flag went up when South Carolina chose Blake Cooper over Dyson to be the Friday starter for their team this year, and Dyson has only made that selection look smarter than it did at the beginning of the season. His raw numbers aren’t great, but he’s also been one of the unluckiest pitchers so far, so there’s hope he’ll recover. There’s still the issue of his shoulder and whether it will hold up, making him look more like a second or third rounder.
Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Minooka Community HS (IL)
Scouts are starting to drool over the raw stuff that "Folty" is putting up, as he has consistently improved velocity and breaking stuff over the last two years, making him a real draft prospect after being a fringe draft prospect before last summer. He absolutely exploded after Perfect Game’s Indoor Pitching/Catching Showcase in Iowa late last month, and a lot of scouts will be hot on the trail when the weather heats up in Illinois. However, he’s still raw, and I’d like to see him consistently show that plus stuff before he moves up.
Kevin Jacob, RHP, Georgia Tech
If you’ve been paying attention closely, you’ve noticed that I haven’t put Jacob in any of my mock drafts, even after he pushed his velocity up to the upper-90s last summer in Alaska. That’s for a few reasons, starting with the fact that relievers are very prone to wild swings in draft stock. I knew that much of Jacob’s value would be based on his spring performance. My reason for holding him back now is what I’ve seen in person, including the disappointment in the scouting community. His raw stuff is way down, as he only sits in the low-90s, touching 94, and his command isn’t sharp. With his Boras commitment, he could even be back at Tech next year.
Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Henderson HS (TX)
I hope you’re hearing this name more and more at other draft sites, as this is one of the bigger helium names so far this spring. Jenkins is a tall, lanky, and very athletic pitcher that has simply exploded this spring, which wasn’t necessarily expected. He’s now drawing much more interest, as his raw stuff is better and scouts think he might have what it takes to jump right into pro ball and succeed. He’s still very raw, though, which is why he’s still a second round arm to me.
Barret Loux, RHP, Texas A&M
Notice the spelling of Barret. B-a-r-r-e-t. Spell it right now, because you’ll need to when he’s in the Major Leagues. Loux was someone I identified as a possible helium candidate entering the spring, as his raw stuff is number two starter caliber, but I worried about his durability, as he’s coming off minor elbow surgery last year. He’s answered some questions this year, and I might be underestimating him, as he could easily be a supplemental first round arm in the mold of Garrett Richards.
Kyle Parker, OF, Clemson
Parker has gotten a lot of national interest, mainly because he even brings along the interest of college football fans. Clemson’s quarterback in his down time (yes, I said it), he brings premium athleticism in a class very short on impact college bats. He’s also simply hitting the ball when others aren’t, and he’s on his way up. However, there are still questions about how much he wants to play football in the fall, which will impact his signability, making him miss my mock.
Brian Ragira, OF, Martin HS (TX)
I know Ragira is a favorite in the internet draft community, as he has all the tools to be an impact outfielder. He’s a solid runner, has a plus arm, and has a true middle of the order bat that has projection left for strength and power. However, let me remind you that Ragira has a Stanford commitment. That may not mean much to you, but that’s top of the line when it comes to signing a player away from a college commitment. Unless a team sees him as a surefire first round talent, he could drop like Jake Stewart did last year.
A.J. Vanegas, RHP, Redwood Christian HS (CA)
Vanegas had an up-and-down summer, but I think I oversold him when I put him in the back of my original first round mock and my last mock for the 2010 draft. He has solid stuff and a projectable build, but there’s worry that he won’t be able to maintain plus stuff throughout a full outing. Like Ragira, he also has a Stanford commitment that could be very expensive to buy him away from, and I see him as a solid second round prospect anyway.
Drew Vettleson, OF, Central Kitsap HS (WA)
Vettleson became a bit of a circus show as a switch-pitcher with solid stuff, though he doesn’t profile as a pitcher at the next level. Rather, he has the tools to be an excellent corner outfielder with the arm and range to handle right field. He’s a solid hitter with some projection, but my worry is that he can’t hit for enough power to hold down a corner outfield spot, as he’s more of an average hitter when he’s going right. He almost has to force power, so that makes him a second round prospect to me.
Taijuan Walker, RHP, Yucaipa HS (CA)
This is due simply to rawness, as I still like what I hear about Walker’s projectability and current stuff. He has come out of the gate a little more slowly than the other elite pitching prospects, and a number of scouts have attributed that slow start to the fact that he’s fresh off a basketball season in which he was an excellent performer, as well. Walker offers some of the best upside in this class, but until he starts reaching some consistency, I have him closer to the second round.
Austin Wates, OF/1B, Virginia Tech
Most scouts envision Wates as a toolsy center fielder, but Virginia Tech doesn’t seem to get that message. The Hokies use him everywhere possible, including plenty of first base time, where his athleticism is pretty much wasted. However, Wates does have some of the best overall tools in the college hitting class, which is lacking this year, so he’s moved up a lot, but he needs to prove he can handle center field before I move him higher than the second round.
Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, The Citadel
I think I struck a nerve a couple weeks ago when I pointed out Wojciechowski’s outing against Western Carolina lasted 138 pitches. Aside from the fact that this wasn’t too good for his arm that early in the season, the reason he went so deep is because his stuff is downright devastating this year. He has improved his raw stuff to the point that he’s seen as a possible number two or three starter, but since he doesn’t face top competition, he might suffer in terms of draft stock.
Christian Yelich, 1B, Westlake HS (CA)
Yelich has come out of the gate on fire, and he’s starting to be considered as one of the best first base prospects in this year’s class. He has a good frame, along with power and strength projection, and he’s really squaring balls this spring. Some teams may look at Yelich as a possible left fielder, too, as he’s a solid-average runner with a fringe-average arm, and I could see him as a possible Major League regular with power development. He’s still a second round player to me, but he’s on the rise.