Tonight we finish up our excursion to an alternate universe where high school players drafted in 2013 didn't sign and went to college instead, making them eligible for the 2016 draft. Where would they stand today?
Part One is Here.
Part Two is Here.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: J.P. Crawford, a shortstop from Lakewood, California, was Philadelphia's first round choice in 2013, 15th overall. Committed to the University of Southern California, he has emerged as one of the top prospects in baseball with a good balance of offensive and defensive skills. He would have been excellent in college and would certainly be a first round pick again, and probably sooner than the 15th slot he earned in high school.
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: Austin Meadows, an outfielder from Loganville, Georgia, was drafted by the Pirates in the first round, 9th overall. Like Crawford, Meadows has played very well in pro ball (while fighting some injuries) and is one of the top outfield prospects around. If he had honored his Clemson University commitment, Meadows (again like Crawford) would have been excellent in college and would go early again in the '16 draft.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: The top Cardinals prep was left-hander Rob Kaminsky, drafted from high school in Montvale, New Jersey, drafted in the compensation round. He was committed to the University of North Carolina. Traded to the Indians last summer for Brandon Moss, Kaminsky has been lights-out in pro ball, posting a 2.22 ERA with a 190/73 K/BB in 227 innings. This would translate very well to the college ranks and his combination of stuff and performance would most likely move him from the comp round into the regular first round.
SAN DIEGO PADRES: The first Padres prep was third baseman Dustin Peterson out of high school in Gilbert, Arizona, drafted in the second round. Committed to Arizona State, Peterson was supposed to have an advanced bat but has been disappointing in pro ball, hitting just .249/.300/.353 through 1130 at-bats, with much less power than anticipated. Traded to the Braves in the Justin Upton deal, he is now an outfielder, reducing his value further. Although the metal bat would have masked some of the disappointment, the defensive switch by itself would lower his stock to some extent. He could still go in a single-digit round but not as high.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: The Giants drafted shortstop Christian Arroyo in the first round, 26th overall, from Brooksville, Florida. Arroyo has performed very well in pro ball, hitting .304/.344/.459 against older competition in the California League last year. If he had attended the University of Florida, he would no doubt have emerged as one of the top college hitters available and would go in the first round again.
SEATTLE MARINERS: From Maple Ridge, British Columbia, slugging outfielder Tyler O'Neill was drafted in the third round and passed up his commitment to Oregon State University. O'Neill crushed 32 homers in the California League last year while hitting .260/.316/.558 overall with 29 walks and 137 strikeouts. Certainly the power would play in college and the metal bat might mask some of his contact concerns. He would have a good chance to improve his draft status by at least a round.
TAMPA BAY RAYS: Rays first round draft pick Nick Ciuffo, a catcher from Lexington, South Carolina, passed up the University of South Carolina Gamecocks to sign with Tampa. The bat has been disappointing (.249/.281/.324 through 707 at-bats) but he is deadly against baserunners (45% caught stealing). Assuming a similar profile in college, he would still be a single-digit draft pick due to his defense but would not be likely to go in the first round again.
TEXAS RANGERS: The top Texas Rangers draft pick from the prep ranks was Travis Demeritte, a shortstop from Winder, Georgia, drafted in the compensation round. If he had joined Ciuffo and honored his South Carolina commitment, Demeritte would stand out for his power/speed combination, pure athleticism, and raw hitting approach. In pro ball he's hit .231/.336/.432 through 732 at-bats with 34 homers and 21 steals. He also has an 80-game PED suspension on his resume. Assuming some sort of parallel disciplinary suspension in college, he would still be of great interest to teams due to his tools but the rawness and off-field issue could keep him from going in the comp round again.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: The Blue Jays drafted California prep Phil Bickford in real life but he didn't sign and was eventually drafted and signed by the Giants in 2015. Their second round pick was Clinton Hollon, right-hander from high school in Versailles, Kentucky. Committed to the University of Kentucky, Hollon has been effective at the lower levels (3.32 ERA in 76 innings, 60/28 K/BB) and many observers think he is a breakout candidate. He is currently suspended for amphetamine use. Hollon would have been quite effective in college and would be an early single digit pick again, depending on the exact nature of any parallel off-field difficulty.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS: Third baseman Drew Ward was drafted in the third round from Leedey, Oklahoma. A University of Oklahoma signee, Ward has raw power from the left side but hasn't tapped it in pro ball that often yet, hitting .264/.346/.387 through 989 at-bats. This would look better in the college context and scouts would still be attracted to his strength, but even with some stat inflation he would likely stay in the same general area of the draft, or a little lower, due to a rough glove at third base.