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2014 MLB Draft: National League East Analysis

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Aaron Nola
Aaron Nola
Stacy Revere, Getty Images

Atlanta Braves
1-32) Braxton Davidson, OF-1B, TC Roberson HS, NC
2-66) Garrett Fulencheck, RHP, Howe HS, TX
3-102) Max Povse, RHP, UNC-Greensboro
4-133) Chad Sobotka, RHP, University of South Carolina-Upstate
The Braves snagged a power bat early then switched to pitching with a Southern flavor. Davidson has one of the best home run bats in the draft and controls the strike zone as well. Fulenchek was a fast-riser with a low-90s fastball and projection for more. Povse is 6-8 with a 90+ fastball but needs work with his secondary pitches. Sobotka missed the spring with a back injury but is another tall (6-7) hard-thrower (95) when healthy. Fifth round LHP Chris Diaz from the Miami Hurricanes is extremely polished and can advance quickly. College picks dominated from this point, with Luke Dykstra (2B, 7th round, California HS) being the notable exception. His bloodlines help him play above his tools. 80-grade name: Wigberto Nevarez, C from Lubbock Christian, 20th round. He hit .384/.453/.638 with 10 homers and, hey, Wigberto.

Miami Marlins
1-2) Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, Texas
CB-36) Blake Anderson, C, West Lauderdale HS, MS
2-43) Justin Twine, SS, Falls City HS, TX
3-76) Brian Anderson, 2B, University of Arkansas
SUP-105) Michael Mader, LHP, Chipola JC
4-107) Brian Schales, SS, Edison HS, CA
All upside with the early choices. The scouting department won the battle with ownership and took Kolek’s 100 MPH fastball over Carlos Rodon’s Cuban heritage. Blake Anderson is well-regarded as a defensive catcher but doubts exist about his bat and some clubs didn’t have him in their top 100. Twine is a fast-twitch athlete who was a football and track star: like Anderson he has lots of tools, but his bat was questioned by several sources. Brian Anderson is no relation to Blake and is quite the opposite player, having a strong offensive skill set and a college track record but doubts about his long-term position. Mader has a 90-94 MPH fastball but needs sharper control. The Marlins kept going with the upside picks, with toolsy outfielders Casey Soltis ( 5th round, California HS) and Anfernee Seymour (7th round, Florida HS) standing out. The fast riser could be senior Ben Wetzler (9th round, Oregon State, LHP) but most of this class will need lots of development time.

New York Mets
1-10) Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
3-84) Milton Ramos, SS, American Heritage HS, FL
4-115) Eudor Garcia-Pacheco, 3B, El Paso CC
5-145) Josh Prevost, RHP, Seton Hall
You couldn’t find two more opposite players at the top of a draft than Conforto and Ramos. Conforto has excellent power and a polished approach but is limited defensively, while Ramos is a stellar defender but may not hit much. Garcia-Pacheco returns back to the power theme, though his position is in question long-term. Prevost is a 6-8 senior with a good feel for his craft and great stats to back it up: 1.62 ERA, 111/20 K/BB in 116 innings, just 64 hits. College choices were the balance from here on out, with Dash Winningham (8th round, 1B, Florida HS) being the main exception with a youthful power bat. Unsignable: Keaton McKinney, 28th round, Iowa HS.

Philadelphia Phillies
1-7) Aaron Nola, RHP, Louisiana State University
2-47) Matt Imhof, LHP, Cal Poly
3-81) Aaron Brown, OF, Pepperdine University
4-112) Chris Oliver, RHP, University of Arkansas
A switch from Philadelphia’s frequent emphasis on raw upside. Nola has exceptional pitchability and is far from a soft-tosser with an above-average fastball, a full assortment of secondaries, and superb command. Imhof is a 6-5 lefty with a low-90s fastball and a good slider. Brown is a prospect as both a left-handed starter in the low-90s and as a power-hitting outfielder. Oliver is a second-round talent who fell to the fourth after shaking up his reputation with a pre-draft DUI. He could be a bargain if he has his head on straight. Fifth rounder Rhys Hoskins (1B, Sacramento State) has defensive limitations but is another productive power bat. Sixth-rounder Brandon Liebrandt from Florida State is just like his dad: a polished lefty with great pitchability. The rest of the draft was just as college heavy but they picked productive choices, including the David Eckstein-like Drew Stankiewicz (11th round, Arizona State), 14th round slugger Chase Harris (OF, New Mexico) and third baseman Damek Tomnscha (3B, Auburn, 17th round) who has power and a great arm.

Washington Nationals
1-18) Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV
2-57) Andrew Suarez, LHP, University of Miami-FL
3-93) Jakson Reetz, C, Norris HS, NE
4-124) Robbie Dickey, RHP, Blinn College (TX)
The Nationals aren’t afraid to draft injured pitchers and take a gamble on the rehab, so Tommy John subject Erick Fedde was a logical choice. He was a top ten guy if healthy. Suarez is one of the most polished college lefties available this year, up to 95 with three good secondary pitches, though he has a history of shoulder trouble. Reetz is an upside choice with the potential to be above-average as both a hitter and pitcher. Dickey hits 97 on his best days but will also drop down to 88 and had some arm problems this spring. College picks filled out the rest of the class, with strike-throwing senior RHP Drew Van Orden (5th round, Duke) and power bat Austin Byler (9th round, Nevada) potential fast-movers. 15th round pick Ryan Ripken (Indian River CC, 1B) has genetics on his side but hit just one homer in 42 games this year, albeit with a .321 average. Talented but likely unsignable: Evan Skoug, 34th round, Illinois HS.