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2014 Minor League Ball Community Mock Draft: NL Central Summary

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Nick Burdi
Nick Burdi
USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO CUBS
4) Tyler Kolek, RHP, Texas HS
45) Jacob Bukauskas, RHP, Virginia HS
78) Austin Gomber, LHP, Florida Atlantic University
109) A.J. Vanegas, RHP, Stanford University
SUMMARY: The goal here is obviously pitching and this fills the need. Kolek has an amazing arm although his unique profile raises risk of course. However, the polish of Gomber and the experienced college senior Vanegas add some balance to that. The big signability risk is Bukauskas, who has the talent to go 20 spots higher but is going to be very tough, if not impossible, to sign. I suppose if he doesn’t sign you can just pocket the pick for next year. Even without him, a Kolek/Gomber/Vanegas adds good pitching depth to the system.

CINCINNATI REDS
19) Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
29) Nick Burdi, RHP, University of Louisville
58) Milton Ramos, SS, Florida HS
94) Eric Skogland, LHP, Central Florida
125) Ian Rice, C, Chipola JC
SUMMARY: I took this over when the SD didn’t show up. This was all seat-of-the-pants but with some idea of what the Reds might do in real life given their past draft patterns. Hoffman at 19 was too good to pass up and I’d have to assume he would sign here. Burdi is a potential steal at 29…how many 100 MPH fastballs are there available at that point, and he would look awfully good in the pen. Ramos has a good glove and is a line drive hitter, plus the Reds are short of infield prospects. Skogland is probably going to go in the comp round in real life and impossible to pass up here…not sure why he dropped so much. Rice is a sleeper type, overlooked from the JC ranks, but he has power, draws walks, and greatly improved his defense recently.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS
12) Jacob Gatewood, 3B, California HS
41) Joe Gatto, RHP, New Jersey HS
50) Keaton McKinney, RHP, Iowa HS
85) Jeren Kendall, OF, Wisconsin HS
116) Kel Johnson, OF, Georgia home schooler
SUMMARY: Gutsy choices, the kind of draft that makes or breaks a farm system. Gatewood could be a superstar or an A-ball flameout or anything in between. Gatto and McKinney are solid cold-weather high school pitchers, with low-mileage arms but firm college commitments to North Carolina and Arkansas that could require above-slot money to avoid. You could probably sign the top three guys, but both Kendall (Vanderbilt) and Johnson (Georgia Tech) would be more difficult in those slots and I don’t know if you could save enough money with college seniors in subsequent rounds to pull it off. A future lineup with Gatewood, Kendall, and Johnson would have a very high offensive ceiling but could take six years to develop. Talent-wise, this is a very intriguing group, but under the current rules it would put a scouting director’s job on the line: it would be seen either a work of genius or a firing offense, with little in between.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

24) T'Quan Forbes, SS, Mississippi HS
64) Austin DeCarr, RHP, Salisbury Prep
73) Brian Anderson, 2B, University of Arkansas
100) Andrew Suarez, LHP, University of Miami-Florida
131) Ryan Castellani, RHP, Arizona HS
SUMMARY: A weird class due to circumstances: the Pirates SD disappeared after selecting Forbes. I made a quick decision to draft DeCarr, then MLBPP took over for the subsequent picks. How did it turn out? We end up with a rather-raw-but-high-ceiling prep with the tools to play anywhere in Forbes, a big hard-throwing reasonably fresh arm in DeCarr, a pair of polished college talents who could move quickly in Anderson and Suarez, followed by a 6-5 right-hander with an Arizona State commitment but enough talent to go 60 spots higher in a year with a weaker pitching crop. Overall it turned out to be pretty balanced.

The Pirates have the 39th pick in the draft now following today's trade of Bryan Morris to the Marlins. The Marlins choice yesterday was California high school outfielder Marcus Wilson, a very raw outfielder who is similar to Forbes in the sense of having great tools. A Forbes/Wilson combination would be very interesting but with high bust potential.


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

27) Michael Gettys, OF, Georgia HS
34) (for Carlos Beltran):  Michael Kopech, RHP, Texas HS
68) Grayson Greiner, C, South Carolina
71) Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP, Kansas HS
104) Zech Lemond, RHP, Rice University
135) Slade Heggen, C, Montana HS
SUMMARY: Gettys has elite tools but perhaps some prospect fatigue has moved him down a little from where he was expected to be pre-season. Kopech would be a candidate to go 20 spots higher than that in some draft classes, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he winds up going higher than this anyway. Same goes for Greiner, who given the relative lack of hitting talent this year could wind up much higher. BMdO could be a steal there if healthy. Heggen is highly athletic but rather raw as you’d expect from a Montana prep. He would probably be hard to sign for slot money away from the University of Oregon. Lemond can be overpowering and is a good value at 104, if his arm doesn’t fall off like many Rice pitchers. There’s considerable risk in this group but a lot of upside too.