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MLB Draft 2015: American League Central draft analysis

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Christin Stewart
Christin Stewart
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MLB Draft 2015: American League Central Division draft analysis

CHICAGO WHITE SOX
1-8) Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt
4-112) Zack Erwin, LHP, Clemson
5-142) Jordan Stephens, RHP, Rice
6-172) Corey Zangari, 1B, Oklahoma HS
7-202) Blake Hickman, RHP, University of Iowa

COMMENT: With no second or third round choices the White Sox really need to get the first pick right and I think they did that here with the selection of Vanderbilt ace Carson Fulmer. His stuff is exceptional, as is his track record, and while some teams see him as a reliever due to his high-energy style, the White Sox aren’t afraid to make bets on pitchers with non-traditional approaches provided they have the stuff, which Fulmer does. Erwin is a solid college polish-oriented lefty who could be a fourth starter. Stephens is a Tommy John survivor with low-90s heat and an outstanding curve who should move quickly. Hickman, a Chicago native, is a former catcher and raw with his secondary pitches on the mound, though his upside is high. Zangari is a power hitter with a strong throwing arm and an unclear position. College choices dominate later rounds with Seby Zavala (C, San Diego State, 12th round) and slugger Sikes Orvis (1B, Mississippi, 17th round) standing out as offensive sleepers.

CLEVELAND INDIANS
1-17) Brady Aiken, LHP, IMG Academy
CA-42) Triston McKenzie, RHP, Florida HS
2-59) Juan Hillman, LHP, Florida HS
3-93) Mark Mathias, 2B, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
4-124) Tyler Krieger, 2B, Clemson
5-154) Ka’Ai Tom, OF, Kentucky

COMMENT: Very bold at the top with the enigmatic Aiken and two top-quality high school arms. The Indians must be Ok with Aiken’s medical reports and if he comes back as they expect he could be a number one starter. Hillman is exceptionally polished for a prep arm and has seen his velocity increase. Hillman is similar to Justus Sheffield, drafted by the Indians last year in the first round. McKenzie is highly projectable and should be buyable away from Vanderbilt in that slot. The focus then turned to college hitting primarily with role player upside, though the sixth round pick Jonas Wyatt, a prep pitcher from California, is a notable exception. If the Indians have the right read on Aiken’s health and McKenzie’s monetary demands, this looks outstanding.


DETROIT TIGERS
1-22) Beau Burrows,RHP,Texas HS
1-34) Christin Stewart, OF, Tennessee
2-65) Tyler Alexander, LHP,Texas Christian
3-99) Drew Smith, RHP, Dallas Baptist
4-130) Kade Scivicque, C, LSU
5-160) Cam Gibson, OF, Michigan State

COMMENT: The upside guy is Burrows, one of the hardest throwers in the prep draft class and a guy who generally fits the Tigers mold, although he’s 6-0 and they often prefer larger pitchers. Alexander is a successful finesse arm that could be a slight overdraft, but Smith throws extremely hard. Scivicque was one of the top seniors on the board, solid with both bat and glove, while Gibson provides some family bloodlines to go with his excellent speed but questionable power. Stewart is a strong power hitter with a doubtful glove but his bat fits here on merit. The Tigers stayed with the general college theme, with Missouri State ace Matt Hall in the sixth round someone to watch closely. More family ties: Tyler Servais, C from Princeton in the 27th round, and Ryan Castellanos, RHP from Nova Southeastern in the 25th round.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
1-21) Ashe Russell, RHP, Indiana HS
1-33) Nolan Watson, RHP, Indiana HS
2-64) Josh Staumont, RHP, Azusa Pacific University
3-98) Anderson Miller, OF, Western Kentucky
4-129) Garrett Davila, LHP, North Carolina HS
5-159) Roman Collins, OF, Florida Atlantic

COMMENT: Impressive takeaway for the American League champs. Russell and hometown competitor Watson were two of the very best high school arms in the class, both capable of developing into number two starters though it will take some time of course. Staumont has a first-round arm but his command issues could move him to the bullpen. Davila is not as physical as the three right-handers but has enough on the ball to become a back-end starter. Miller and Collins are college outfielders with athleticism and broad tools. Sixth round TCU outfielder Cody Jones is a switch-hitting senior with speed and a reputation for clutch play. The remainder of the class was college-oriented, though outfielder Marquise Doherty in the 15th round is a major exception. He’s probably not signable there but his tools are excellent.


MINNESOTA TWINS
1-6) Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois
CB-73) Kyle Cody, RHP, Kentucky
3-80) Travis Blankenhorn, 3B, Pennsylvania HS
4-110) Trey Cabbage, 3B, Tennessee HS
5-140) Alex Robinson, LHP, Maryland

COMMENT: Jay might be the best overall pitcher in the college class so getting him at sixth is a coup, provided that they are successful in turning him from a reliever into a starter. He’s got the pitches; we’ll have to see about the stamina. Cody has an outstanding arm but command problems kept him out of the first round, though at 73 he represents good upside value. Blankenhorn and Cabbage are similar: athletic left-handed hitters with the some polish to their bats and the tools to play third base or perhaps the outfield. Robinson is a fire-balling lefty who could have been a first-rounder with better control. Other interesting picks include Kolton Kendrick (Louisiana HS, 1B, 8th round) who has enormous power but is otherwise raw, and LaMonte Wade (Maryland, OF, 9th round) who has gotten exposure during the college season for his line drive bat and clean swing. If he can add some strength he could be a solid hitter, though perhaps a tweener. Dalton Pompey’s brother Tristan in the 31st round probably isn’t signable in that spot from the University of Kentucky.