The recent reviews of the early results from the 2015 MLB Draft, first and second rounds, have proven quite popular. We'll keep it going through at least the fourth round, beginning here with the third round hitters. The quick draft day commentary is in italics.
80) Twins: Travis Blankenhorn, 3B, Pennsylvania HS: Intriguing line drive hitter with good showcase circuit track record. RESULTS: Hit .244/.321/.347 with 18 walks, 43 strikeouts in 193 at-bats between Gulf Coast and Appalachian Leagues. Solid all-around athlete who should be able to handle third base with more experience. Did not hit as well as anticipated but it's early.
81) Red Sox: Austin Rei, C, University of Washington: Impressive fielder and looks like he can hit too, good value. RESULTS: Very disappointing after glowing reviews late in college season, hit just .179/.285/.295 11 walks, 39 strikeouts in 112 at-bats in New York-Penn League. Glove had excellent reputation in college but not in the NY-P, both throwing and receiving were worse than reputed. Too early to write him off given past reputation but something went wrong here.
83) Phillies: Lucas Williams, SS, California HS. RESULTS: Decent debut, hit .288/.400/.331 with nine steals in the Gulf Coast League, showed decent plate discipline and third base defense. Lacks power at this point but runs well. He was fairly obscure before the draft but the early results are promising.
84) Reds: Hit .312/.400/.403 in the Pioneer League but went just 4-for-35 (.114) after moving up to Midwest League. Pre-draft polish on top of solid tools helped him at Billings but wasn't enough at Dayton. Has a chance to stay at shortstop, will have to rely on OBP, not power, as a hitter.
85) Marlins: Speester, quite raw but with upside, East Carolina commit.
RESULTS: Hit .294/.321/.381 with 13 steals in 13 attempts in the GCL, wheels work well in center field too. Big question is strike zone judgment: drew three walks against 44 strikeouts in 126 at-bats, caution flag going forward.
87) Rays: Brandon Lowe, 2B, University of Maryland: Polished hitter from the left side, could rise quickly. RESULTS: Signed but didn't play in pro ball due to broken fibula.
93) Indians Mark Mathias, 2B, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: Limited to second base but he can hit. RESULTS: Good debut, hit .282/.382/.408 in the NY-P, 35/36 BB/K in 245 at-bats, very reliable defense at second base. Outplayed many players with more press from bigger schools.
94) Mariners: Braden Bishop, OF, University of Washington: Fast, excellent glove, but hitting not terrific at this point. RESULTS: Hit .320/.367/.393 in the Northwest League, stole 13 in 16 attempts but with a weak 5/33 BB/K in 219 at-bats. Played very well with the glove. Basically this is very much as expected; he's fast and can field, but will the bat hold up at higher levels? Still an open question.
95) Giants: Jalen Miller, SS, Georgia HS: Impressive glove with a chance to hit for average, speed. RESULTS: Hit .218/.292/.259 with 11 steals in 13 attempts, 17/42 BB/K in 174 at-bats. Defense was worse than expected, showed good speed but not much with the bat at this point. Overslot bonus at $1,100,000, so this needs to improve. Plenty of time to do that at age 18.
96) Pirates: Lefty bat, solid across the board, has pop, sophomore. RESULTS: Hit .224/.267/.311 with 13 walks, 71 strikeouts in 219 at-bats. Pro pitching exposed exploitable pull tendency, more advanced pitching will be a big challenge. High upside if he can resolve over-aggressive approach.
98) Royals: Hits left, has speed and some power potential, good arm too.
RESULTS: Hit .342 in 10 games in the Appalachian League, leading to quick promotion. That was tougher: .260/.319/.355 with 14 walks, 28 strikeouts in 169 at-bats in Low-A. Zero steals and not much power but was making a huge leap in competition almost directly from Conference USA to full-season ball and wasn't totally overmatched.
100) Cardinals: Harrison Bader, OF, Florida: Another guy with multiple tools, skills, has power and good glove. RESULTS: Outstanding debut, hit .311/.368/.523 with 11 homers, 17 steals between NY-P and Low-A. More details here. Very impressive thus far, tools and skills both present.
103) Nationals: Rhett Wiseman, OF, Vanderbilt: Another guy with across-the-board talents, some pop, polished, hits left. RESULTS: Hit .248/.307/.376 with 18 walks, 52 strikeouts in 210 at-bats in the NY-P. I think he can do better than this and felt he was equal to Bader pre-draft, which looks incorrect right now.