Continuing with the requested summaries for the 2015 Minor League Ball MLB Community Mock Draft, we move to the American League Central division.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
1-8) Tyler Jay, LHP, University of Illinois
4-112) Casey Hughston, OF, University of Alabama
COMMENT: The White Sox are handicapped by lack of second and third round picks this year. The mock scouting director addressed this by grabbing home-state lefty Tyler Jay, a reliever in college though most scouts project him as a starter long-term. He is a candidate to go first overall so getting him here is nice. Hughston is a bit raw as college prospects go but is athletic and has considerable upside. The White Sox have shown interest in those types in the past, so overall this looks realistic.
1-17) Michael Matuella, RHP, Duke University
CRA-42) Alex Young, LHP, TCU
2-59) Josh Staumont, RHP, Azusa Pacific
3-93) Michael Freeman, LHP, Oklahoma State
4-134) Isaiah White, OF, North Carolina HS
COMMENT: If Matuella comes back from Tommy John surgery properly he’s a sound selection at 17th. That’s a significant if of course, so the Tribe balanced that with a pair of very polished college lefties in Alex Young and Oklahoma State senior Michael Freeman. In reality Freeman could come at a significant discount given his senior status and lack of blazing stuff. Staumont is somewhat raw for a college pitcher but the arm strength is excellent. White is a five-tool talent who is raw but has the physical ability to be a big league regular if he can refine the tools.
1-22) Ashe Russell, RHP, Indiana HS
CRA-34) Kevin Newman, SS, University of Arizona
2-65) Christin Stewart, OF, University of Tennessee
3-99) Rhett Wiseman, OF, Vanderbilt
4-130) Tyler Ferguson, RHP, Vanderbilt
COMMENT: Russell has been rumored as high as 10th overall so getting him at 22 could be a coup. The Tigers then switch to college players with advanced hitter and fielder Kevin Newman and hitting standouts Stewart and Wiseman, both proven successes against top flight college competition. Ferguson has excellent stuff but is very raw for a college pitcher and will need lots of refinement. Overall this does look like something the Tigers would do.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
1-21) Nick Plummer, OF, Michigan HS
CRA-33) D.J. Stewart, OF, Florida State
2-64) Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Cal State Fullerton
3-98) Marquise Doherty, OF, Missouri HS
4-129) Jeff Harding, RHP, Chipola JC
COMMENT: Plummer is a legit first round pick with a polished bat from the left side. He’ll need more time than Stewart, a power/patience hitter with a great resume. Doherty provides local flavor and excellent tools but his price tag to keep him from college at Missouri may be steep. Eshelman is one of the best command pitchers in recent college baseball history. Harding is short (listed 5-11 but probably more 5-9) but has an excellent arm, 93-96 MPH. There’s diversity here.
1-6) Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt
2-73) Nicholas Shumpert, SS, Colorado HS
3-80) Austin Allen, C, Florida Tech
4-110) Ryan Kellogg, LHP, Arizona State
COMMENT: I ran this draft.
My strategy was based to a great extent on the fact that the Twins lack a second round pick this year thanks to the Ervin Santana free agent fiasco. The comp balance pick at 73 makes up for that to some extent, but 73 isn’t as good as the low 40s. In the first round, I wanted either Bregman or Fulmer, whichever one fell to me, and in this case it was Fulmer. I think he’s a starter and could be a genuine ace; he is my favorite pitcher in the draft so it was a no-brainer to pick him.
At 73 I wanted a position player with high upside and Shumpert seems like a good fit. He was getting first round buzz three months ago but seems to be a victim of prospect fatigue; he’s certainly had an excellent spring (hitting .600 with 33 steals) and has some power to go with the speed and many sources still love him even if he’s fallen down the lists for some reason. I suppose he could be a signability risk but I’d load up rounds 5-10 with seniors if necessary to get him the money he wants.
Austin Allen is a left-handed power hitter from Florida Tech, likely the best prospect in Division II this year. He has legit sock, sound plate discipline, and a chance to stay behind the plate. This might be an overdraft by a round or two but perhaps he could go with a slightly below slot bonus to free up any necessary funds for Shumpert.
At 110, Ryan Kellogg from Arizona State is a fairly boring choice, a polished lefty. I loved him coming out of high school in Canada three years ago but while his college career was successful, he never gained the velocity that scouts felt could be in there give his 6-5, 225 pound size. Still, he’s proven against top-level competition and it would not surprise me if he did pick up a little more oomph eventually. Or so I tell myself.