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2014 MLB Draft: National League West Analysis

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Trea Turner
Trea Turner

Arizona Diamondbacks
1-16) Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy, FL
2-54) Cody Reed, LHP, Ardmore HS, Ardmore, AL
CB-69) Marcus Wilson, OF, Serra HS, Los Angeles, CA
CB-70) Isan Diaz, SS, Springfield Central HS, MA
3-89) Matt Railey, OF, North Florida ChristianHS
4-120) Brent Jones, RHP, Cornell
Upside-oriented early picks followed by a shift to the college ranks. Touissaint may have the highest upside of any pitcher in the draft but will need considerable development work, nevertheless a very worthy choice at 16th overall. Reed also has a high ceiling with a fastball up to 95 MPH, though scouts have some concerns about the 260 pounds he carries on his body as well as his command. Wilson is the very essence of a raw toolsy outfielder, with a chance to be a star or an A-ball flameout. Diaz is unusually polished for a cold-weather prep, although his tools will limit him to second base. Railey isn’t as toolsy as Wilson but is a more polished hitter and represents great value in the third round. Ivy Leaguer Jones can get up to 95 MPH but is understandably a bit raw for a college pitcher, needing to improve his secondary pitches. Middle and late round picks were college focused, with seventh rounder Tyler Humphreys (3B, St. John’s River SC) and eighth rounder Grant Heyman (OF, College of Southern Nevada) having substantial upside. Heyman in particular could be quite good, having shown power, speed, and good hitting skills in a wooden-bat college league. Unsignable: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, 20th round.

Colorado Rockies
1-8) Kyle Freeland, LHP, University of Evansville
CB-35) Forrest Wall, 2B, Orangewood Christian HS, FL
2-48) Ryan Castellani, RHP, Brody Jesuit Prep HS, AZ
3-82) Sam Howard, LHP, Georgia Southern University
4-113) Wes Rogers, OF, Spartanburg Methodist
Diverse early picks. Freeland is a home-town guy and the Rockies are obviously OK with his medical reports after some late draft concerns about his elbow history. His combination of command and stuff should move him through the system quickly. Wall was one of the top hitters available in the high school ranks with an advanced bat that should provide batting average, OBP, and decent power. Shoulder trouble limits him to second base but that’s OK. Castellani has three solid pitches and a nice 6-4, 195 pound build. He didn’t get as much attention as some late risers but scouts have been watching him for years and there may have just been some press fatigue with him. Howard is a classic strike-thrower from the college ranks with three decent pitches who can be a good inning eater. Rogers is skinny (6-4, 175), fast, and might develop some power. Later picks focused on the college ranks with Drew Weeks (7th round, OF, North Florida), Harrison Musgrave (8th round, LHP, West Virginia) Andrew Rohrbach (9th round, RHP, Long Beach State) and Richard Prigatano (11th round, OF, Long Beach State) representing a nice run of value. Sleeper: Sam Bumpers, SS, Lamar University, 22nd round.

Los Angeles Dodgers
1-22) Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, Conway, SC
2-62) Alex Verdugo, OF-LHP, Sahuaro HS, AZ
3-98) John Richy, RHP, UNLV
4-129) Jeff Brigham, RHP, University of Washington
Holmes fits the Dodgers mold perfectly: a strong-bodied right-hander clocked in the mid-90s (sometimes higher) who already has a good breaking ball. He could easily have gone 10 slots higher than this. Verdugo is interesting: scouts prefer him as a pitcher but he wants to hit and the Dodgers will oblige him. He does have power and if hitting doesn’t work out he can always return to the mound later.
Richy benefitted from all the attention paid to injured teammate Erick Fedde. Richy doesn’t have Fedde’s stuff but is no slouch himself and posted a 113/24 K/BB in 121 innings this year. Brigham is a Tommy John survivor who is a good value as a college senior due to his 92-97 MPH sinking fastball. Later picks were centered on college ranks with Stanford enigma A.J. Vanegas checking in as an 11th round senior after spending most of his amateur career as a potential first rounder. Sleeper: Clint Freeman, 1B-OF, East Tennessee State has a strong bat and could be a nice senior bargain.

San Diego Padres
1-13) Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State University
2-51) Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS, GA
3-86) Zech Lemond, RHP, Rice University
4-117) Nick Torres, OF, Cal Poly
Intrigue with the top group. Trea Turner was one of the best college players available this year. His combination of speed and on-base ability should make him a top of the order force; scouts wonder about how the power will play and he needs to sharpen his defense, but there’s no question that the tools are there. Gettys is of great interest: his tools are outstanding and on physicality alone he should have been a first round pick, but his swing-and-miss issues are serious enough for scouts to downgrade him substantially despite the athleticism. He could be a star, or a flop, but in the second round he’s a fine choice given the upside. Lemond throws hard and had the talent and performance metrics to go higher, but he was worked hard by Rice and the history of Owls pitchers who have their arms turn to dust a year or two after being drafted is a scary precedent. Torres has a chance to hit for both power and average. Subsequent choices were college-oriented with Nick Vilter (9th round, SS, Cal Riverside), Yale Rosen (11th round, OF, Washington State) and senior OBP machine Joey Epperson (13th round, OF-INF, UC Santa Barbara) standing out as values.

Personally, I’m not a fan of wasting picks on non-baseball players like Johnny Manziel, especially since you can still find something of interest in the 28th round. It’s a waste and I’d rather use that on someone who can be an actual organization player, say some college senior who deserves a chance to play and maybe won’t now because of stunts like that. Unsignable: Cobi Johnson, 35th round.

San Francisco Giants
1-14) Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
2-52) Aramis Garcia, C, Florida International University
3-87) Dylan Davis, OF, Oregon State University
4-118) Logan Webb, RHP, Rocklin HS, CA
Beede has a great arm but is still relatively raw as Vanderbilt products go, so I think being picked by the Giants with their expertise in pitching development is the perfect slot for him. He could develop into a Matt Cain-like workhorse. Garcia is a fine college choice in the second round, featuring a strong power bat and improving defensive work. Davis has a great arm and could make a fine pitcher if the Giants don’t unlock his power properly, though he performed well with a top program. Webb was unknown six months ago but suddenly started throwing 92-95 MPH this spring; again, the Giants are a good fit for him. College guys fill out the later rounds, with hard-throwing Sam Coonrod (5th round, RHP, Southern Illinois), Skyler Ewing (6th round, 1B-C, Rice), Austin Slater (8th round, OF, Stanford), and Benton Moss (15th round, RHP, North Carolina) being solid choices. Sleeper: speedy Richard Amion (19th round, OF, Alabama State) stole 86 bases in three years in the SWAC and can draw walks, too.