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MLB Draft 2015: National League West draft analysis

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Alex Young
Alex Young
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports


1-1) Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt
2-43) Alex Young, LHP, TCU
3-76) Taylor Clarke, RHP, College of Charleston
4-106) Breckin Williams, RHP, Missouri
5-136) Ryan Burr, RHP, Arizona State

COMMENT: The question: how would the new front office handle the draft? The answer: with a strong college emphasis. Swanson was the obvious choice at 1-1 with his mixture of tools and skills. Young and Clarke were top-notch statistical performers in college with decent-enough stuff. Williams and Burr should be fast-moving bullpen types. Other picks of interest include toolsy catcher Francis Christy (7th round, Palomar College), toolsy shortstop Kal Simmons (8th round, Kennesaw State), slugging first baseman Austin Byler (11th round, Nevada) and hard-throwing Wesley Rodriguez (12th round, New York HS), the first prep player taken by the Dbacks. There’s clearly a strong sabermetric bent there.

1-3) Brendan Rodgers, SS, Florida HS
1-27) Mike Nikorak,RHP, Pennsylvania HS
CB-38) Tyler Nevin, 3B, California HS
2-44) Peter Lambert, RHP, California HS
3-77) Javier Medina, RHP, Arizona HS
4-107) David Hill, RHP, University of San Diego
5-137) Parker French, RHP, University of Texas

COMMENT: After strong rumors that they would focus on pitching, the Rockies went with the generally assumed top player on the board with Brendan Rodgers. Comp round third baseman Tyler Nevin has outstanding bloodlines and another quality prep bat, but otherwise pitching did turn out to be the focus.Nikorak was rumored as high as sixth overall so getting him at 27 is a coup. Lambert is very polished for a prep arm, while Medina is more on the raw side. Hill and French are advanced college pitchers who should be solid inning-eating types, along with sixth round finesse lefty Jack Wynkoop out of South Carolina. College players were the main subsequent focus, with potential sleeper bats Sam Hilliard (15th round, OF, Wichita State), Collin Ferguson (17th round, 1B, St. Mary’s), and Chris Keck (18th round, 3B, UCLA) making a nice run of lefty hitters with potential in the teen rounds.

1-24) Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt
1-35) Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville
2-67) Mitch Hansen, OF, Texas HS
CB-74) Josh Sborz, RHP, Virginia
3-101) Phil Pfeifer, LHP, Vanderbilt
4-132) Willie Calhoun, 2B, Yavapai College
5-162) Brendon Davis, SS, California HS

COMMENT: The Dodgers should be happy with this: both Buehler and Funkhouser were top ten candidates in the months leading up to the draft, so although both had some inconsistency this spring, getting both of them should be real value. Sborz and Pfeifer could provide relatively quick bullpen help. Hansen will have to be bought out of Stanford but under slightly different circumstances could also have been a first round pick. Nobody knows what Calhoun’s best position will be, but even if he can’t handle second base they should find a slot for a bat that slammed 31 homers this spring. Lean/lanky Davis could be a signability risk via Cal State Fullerton. Other picks of interest include slugging 1B Edwin Rios (6th round, Florida International), projectable prep Imani Abdullah (RHP, 11th round, California HS), and excellent defensive catcher Garrett Kennedy (14th round, Miami Hurricanes).

2-51) Austin Smith, RHP, Florida HS
3-86) Jacob Nix, RHP, IMG Academy
4-117) Austin Allen, C, Florida Tech
5-147) Josh Magee, OF, Louisiana HS
6-177) Jordan Guerrero, RHP, Polk State College

COMMENT: No first round pick is a handicap but I think the Padres dealt with it well. Smith can hit 95 with little effort and shows good potential with his secondaries. Nix was in late first round consideration for some teams and has the stuff and build of a number two starter if everything comes together. Allen has a potent left-side power bat but questions about his defense, while Guerrero was one of the hardest throwers from the JC ranks. Magee is a speedster who hit over .500 this spring and has already signed. College seniors Trevor Megill (7th round, RHP, Loyola Marymount) and Jerry Keel (9th round, LHP, Cal State Northridge) should provide good budget value. The rest of the class was college-oriented with a strong sabermetric feel.

1-18) Phil Bickford, RHP, College of Southern Nevada
1-31) Chris Shaw, 1B, Boston College
2-61) Andrew Suarez, LHP, Miami-Florida
3-95) Jalen Miller, SS, Georgia HS
4-126) Mac Marshall, LHP, Chipola JC
5-156) Ronnie Jebavy, OF, Middle Tennessee State

COMMENT: Bickford has one of the best fastballs in the draft and could be a dominator in pro ball too with a bit more refinement of the secondaries. The Giants seem like a good organization for him. Shaw’s power bat was one of the best home run sources available, while Hurricanes ace Andrew Suarez could reach the majors very quickly as a fourth starter type. Subsequent picks were diverse: Miller could have gone much sooner with his combination of tools and skills, Marshall could become a number three starter, and Jebavy showed power and speed in college (.359/.408/.531, 24 steals). Sixth round pick Steve Duggar (OF, Clemson) could be a fine fourth outfielder, while seventh round choice Jose Vizcaino Jr (3B, Santa Clara) has a potent power bat, being nothing like his father. Two college senior arms with long track records could reach the majors very quickly, Grant Watson out of UCLA (LHP, 16th round) and Ryan Halstead out of Indiana (RHP, 21st round).