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MLB Draft 2015: National League East draft analysis

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David Thompson
David Thompson
Joel Auerbach, Getty Images

NATIONAL LEAGUE EASTERN DIVISION 2015 MLB DRAFT REVIEWS

ATLANTA BRAVES
1-14) Kolby Allard, LHP, California HS
2-28) Mike Soroka, RHP, Canada HS
CA-41) Austin Riley, 3B, Mississippi HS
2-54) Lucas Herbert, C, California HS
CB-75) A.J. Minter, LHP, Texas A&M
3-89) Anthony Guardado, RHP, California HS
4-120) Josh Graham, RHP, Oregon
5-150) Ryan Clark, RHP, UNC-Greensboro

COMMENT: With multiple early picks the Braves could make a real splash and they did with this group. Allard might be the best high school pitcher in the draft and could have gone 10 spots higher if not for a back problem. He’s a coup at 14 provided health doesn’t interfere. Soroka is Canadian but was shooting up draft boards late due to his low-90s heat and projectable body. Riley is a two-way player, a prospect as both a hitter and pitcher due to his athleticism and arm strength. Plenty of upside either way. Herbert is an excellent gloveman and made good strides with the bat this spring. Minter is a budget choice; he’s polished but down for Tommy John currently. Guardado was a popup arm getting buzz as high as the second round at one point. College picks predominated from that point, with RHP Grayson Jones (11th round) and LHP Chase Johnson-Mullins (13h) standing out for junior college upside. Overall, this looks great on paper but we’ll see how the preps look in five years.


MIAMI MARLINS
1-12) Josh Naylor, C, Canada HS
2-50) Brett Lilek, LHP, Arizona State
3-85) Isaiah White, OF, North Carolina HS
4-116) Cody Poteet, RHP, UCLA
5-146) Justin Jacombe, LHP, UC Santa Barbara

COMMENT: One of the biggest surprises in the draft was Naylor, drafted about 40 spots sooner than expected. His power is exceptional and the scarcity of that kind of talent right now drove his stock up. If they have a below-slot deal in place it could free up money to sign high-ceiling later-round signability questions like Chris Paddack (RHP, Texas HS, 8th round) and Justin Cohen (C, Florida HS, 6th round). White has plus speed and some pop potential, while Poteet and Jacombe are polished collegians who could help patch a major league staff as role pitchers within two years. Deep sleepers: Giovanny Alfonzo, SS, 21st round from University of Tampa, and Gunnar Kines, LHP, 36th round from Mount Olive University. Ultimately the class could rise or fall based on if the Marlins are right about Naylor’s power at higher levels.


NEW YORK METS
2-53) Desmond Lindsay, OF, Florida HS
3-88) Max Wotell, LHP, North Carolina HS
4-119) David Thompson, 3B, University of Miami-FL
5-149) Thomas Szapucki, LHP, Florida HS

COMMENT: Like the other New York team, the Mets draft brought some ???? reactions from fans. Lindsay is tooled up like few preps and has excellent bat speed with power potential, but missed much of the spring with a significant hamstring injury. He could be a nice value here but reports are mixed on how polished he may or may not be. Wotell is projectable in the low 90s and should be signable away from the University of Arizona this high. Fourth round pick David Thompson, in my view, could be one of the steals of the draft. He has outstanding power and pure hitting skills to match, but his college career was slowed by serious shoulder problems. He may wind up at first base but he could also become one of the best hitters in the entire 2015 class. If that happens no one will care about the glove. Szapucki can hit the mid-90s but needs some polish with the secondary pitches. Late round picks of interest include Kevin Kaczmarski out of Evansville, OF, ninth round, who is an older prospect with an excellent hitting track record. I don’t know if 17th round LHP Sixto Torres is signable that low, but he’s a big kid with substantial arm strength and sleeper potential if they can sign him.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
1-10) Cornelius Randolph, SS, Georgia HS
2-48) Scott Kingery, 2B, Arizona
3-83) Lucas Williams, SS, California HS
4-114) Kyle Martin, 1B, South Carolina
5-144) Bailey Falter, LHP, California HS

COMMENT: Hitting is the emphasis early here, with a nice balance between an ultra-advanced high school hitter (Randolph), two strong college performers (Kingery, Martin), and an obscure prep (Williams) who has top-flight physical tools (speed, power potential) but was an anticipated to go to college by many and received little pre-draft notice. Likewise Falter, another guy with no press but who impressed Phillies California area scouts. He’s said to be very projectable. College picks abounded by this point, with possible good values standing out in RHP Luke Leftwich (7th round, Wofford), 3B-2B Josh Tobias (10th round, Florida), and OF Reggie Wilson (32nd round, Oklahoma City University) who stole 20 bases and showed some pop in college despite a 5-9 frame.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
2-58) Andrew Stevenson, OF, LSU
2-69) Blake Perkins, OF, Arizona HS
3-103) Rhett Wiseman, OF, Vanderbilt
4-134) Mariano Rivera Jr, RHP, Iona
5-164) Taylor Hearn, LHP, Oklahoma Baptist

COMMENT: They didn’t have a pick in the first round but the Nationals made good use of what they had here. Stevenson is an overdraft in the second round; he’s fast and polished but projects as a fourth outfielder. However, if he does sign underslot that will free up money for Perkins, who has speed, strike zone judgment, a chance for power, and an Arizona State scholarship that will have to be bought out. Perkins is the upside guy here. Wiseman is a seasoned college performer with slightly above average tools but an excellent track record. Rivera is more than just a nepotism pick thanks to improved velocity and sharper secondary pitches. Hearn is the sleeper: he is raw, but he can also hit 95 MPH and has a lean, athletic frame that could thrive in the pro game. College choices were the subsequent emphasis, with David Kerian (1B, Illinois, 9th round), Andrew Lee (RHP, Tennessee, 11th round), Max Schrock (2B, 13th round, South Carolina) and John Clay Reeves (C, Rice, 20th round) well-known to college baseball fans.