A reader recently asked for an early take on the 2015 MLB first round draft picks. That seems like a reasonable topic and one we will expand into the compensation rounds. If people like this feature, we can do the second round too.
We'll start with the hitters, and we will include what we originally wrote about them back in June, in italics.
Grades listed here are a starting point if I write the 2016 book. Yes, that is still undecided.
COMPENSATION ROUND A
30) New York Yankees (David Robertson) Kyle Holder, SS, San Diego: Junior, hits left, batted .348/.418/.482 this year, 19/19 BB/K in 224 at-bats. Despite those numbers his offensive projection at higher levels is considered just so-so due to lack of power, however he could exceed that expectation. Glove is very impressive. RESULTS: Hit .213/.272/.253 with 17 walks, 34 strikeouts in 225 at-bats in the New York-Penn League. As expected he played well defensively but extreme lack of power was a big hindrance in first pro exposure. Too soon to give up of course but he'll need to show more with the bat. Thinking Grade C+ at this point.
31) San Francisco Giants (Pablo Sandoval): Chris Shaw, 1B, Boston College: Junior, lefty hitter, missed much of season with broken hamate, hit .319/.411/.611 when healthy. No question about his power, but injury probably kept him out of the pure first round, though not by much obviously. Reasonable pick if you are wanting offensive upside. RESULTS: Hit .287/.360/.551 with 12 homers, 19 walks, 41 strikeouts in 178 at-bats in the Northwest League. Very much as expected thus far with loads of power and it doesn't look like the broken hamate had any lingering effect. Should move quickly. B- or B.
32) Pittsburgh Pirates (Russell Martin) Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Condordia Lutheran HS, Tomball, Texas: Hits right, son of former major leaguer Charlie Hayes, Tennessee commit but this is early enough to pass college. Line drive hitter hasn’t fully tapped power but that may come, should stick at third base with arm strength and polish. I like him a lot, this is a very good pick by the Pirates. RESULTS: Hit .333/.434/.375 with 22 walks, 24 strikeouts in 144 at-bats in the Gulf Coast League. Overmatched after moving up to NY-P (.220/.320/.244) but it was just 12 games and hardly unexpected given his age. Excellent reviews on his glove, makes contact and can hit for average presently, power hasn't developed yet but I think it will come eventually. Somewhere in the Grade B/B- area at present.
34) Detroit Tigers (Max Scherzer) Christin Stewart, OF, University of Tennessee: Junior, hits left, batted .311/.443/.633 with 15 homers, 28/38 BB/K in 177 at-bats. Excellent left-side power, approach can be aggressive but few college hitters are as dangerous, however defense is limited and lowered stock outside of pure first round. I think this is an impressive bat and no one is going to care about the fielding in four years. RESULTS: Hit .285/.372/.508 with 10 homers, 26 walks, 68 strikeouts in 256 at-bats at three levels, finishing strong in Low-A. Covered in more detail here; a very successful debut obviously and he should come quickly. Minimum Grade B-.
36) Baltimore Orioles (Nelson Cruz): Ryan Mountcastle, 3B-OF, Hagerty HS, Winter Springs, Florida: Hits right, Central Florida commit, strong offensive track record with speed, physical projectability at 6-4, 180, currently a shortstop but projected as third baseman or outfielder. Mixed opinions about future power but Mountcastle is quite intriguing. RESULTS: Hit .313/.349/.411 with nine walks, 36 strikeouts in 163 at-bats in GCL, moved up to NY-P and had problems (.212/.206/.303) but it was just 10 games and as with Hayes he was young for the competition. Played shortstop mostly and wasn't terrible but it still seems like he'll wind up elsewhere eventually. Stole 10 bases; in general he played like the optimists expected but power and position still in question. B-/C+?
COMPETITIVE BALANCE ROUND A
37) Houston Astros Daz Cameron,OF, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, McDonough, Georgia: Hits right, Mike Cameron’s son, Florida State commit, could be similar to his father. Glove ahead of the bat at this point, but there is odd disagreement about exactly how good he can be. Some see a multi-tooled star, others see "merely" a solid player. Reportedly floating large bonus demands but if the money works out, getting him at 37 is a steal. The bonus pool from multiple picks will help. RESULTS: Hit combined .251/.353/.309 with 24 steals, 25 walks, 49 strikeouts in 175 at-bats between GCL and Appalachian Leagues. Good reviews for speed and defense, drew some walks but no power yet and whiff rate rather high. Overall not much of a surprise, showed the expected strengths and weaknesses. Tentative B-.
38) Colorado Rockies: Tyler Nevin, 3B, Poway HS, California: Hits right, son of former major leaguer Phil Nevin, UCLA commit, has natural tools for third base including raw power, arm strength, general defensive ability/mobility, career a little behind schedule due to Tommy John surgery in 2013 but has recovered. I like this choice for the Rockies; Nevin could be excellent. RESULTS: Hit .265/.368/.386 with 29 walks, 42 strikeouts in 189 at-bats in the Pioneer League. Needs polish on defense and hasn't tapped power yet, more than two and a half years younger than Pioneer League competition. I still like his upside. B-? High-ceiling C+?
41) Atlanta Braves: Austin Riley, 3B, DeSoto Central HS, Southhaven, Mississippi: Two-way prospect committed to Mississippi State, power hitter with a strong arm, should be signable here. RESULTS: Hit .304/.389/.544 with 12 homers, 26 walks, 65 strikeouts in 217 at-bats between GCL and Appy. Needs work with the glove and will have to watch contact issues but has the tools to be prototype third baseman, power production already highly impressive, overall a very strong debut from a player who did not receive as much pre-draft hype as his talent warranted. At least a B- right now.