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2016 MLB Draft: National League East Review

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Justin Dunn
Justin Dunn

NATIONAL LEAGUE EASTERN DIVISION

ATLANTA BRAVES
1) Ian Anderson, RHP, Clifton Park, New York
1-C) Joey Wentz, LHP, Prairie Village, Kansas
2) Kyle Muller, LHP, Dallas, Texas
2-C) Brett Cumberland, C, University of California
3) Drew Harrington, LHP, University of Louisville
4) Bryse Wilson, RHP, Hillsborough, North Carolina
COMMENT:
The Braves hit the risky high school pitching demographic hard at the top, bringing in Anderson’s three quality pitches, Wentz’s 6-5 athleticism and erratic velocity, and Muller’s superhero body and 90 MPH fastball. Both Wentz and Muller can hit, too, testifying to their physical upside. Cumberland can hit for power but his defense draws mixed reviews at best. Harrington will get to the majors before the high school arms, most probably as a reliever, while Wilson offers more upside and physicality but is not as developed a pitcher as the guys ahead of him. College picks dominate from that point, with the exception of 11th rounder Matt Rowland, RHP from high school in Marietta, Georgia, who has already signed overslot for $400,000 and bears watching with a low-90s fastball and good slider.

MIAMI MARLINS
1) Braxton Garrett, LHP, Florence, Alabama
3) Thomas Jones, OF, Laurens, South Carolina
4) Sean Reynolds, OF, Redondo Beach, California
5) Sam Perez, RHP, Missouri State University
COMMENT:
This Marlins draft also focuses on prep upside at the top but with less margin for error than the Braves due to fewer picks. Garrett is a solid choice as high school arms go, with a 90+ fastball, a killer curve, and easy delivery. Jones and Reynolds are toolsy but raw, Jones featuring great makeup, speed, arm strength, and power potential but a lot of holes in his approach. Reynolds is more of a power hitter but also has a bat that will need patience and refinement. College picks dominate from this point, necessary to make the budget work. Good defenders and potential relievers were emphasized. SLEEPER: 16th round University of Kentucky strike-thrower Dustin Beggs. Overall, lots of potential at the top of this class but high bust possibilities as well.


NEW YORK METS
1) Justin Dunn, RHP, Boston College
1) Anthony Kay, LHP, University of Connecticut
2) Peter Alonso, 1B, University of Florida
3) Blake Tiberi, 3B, University of Louisville
4) Michael Paez, SS, Coastal Carolina
COMMENT:
Obviously a heavy college orientation early. Dunn was a fast-riser this spring with his arm strength, athleticism, and rapidly improved pitchability. The Mets drafted Kay out of high school but got their man with his 93-95 MPH fastball and strong change-up this time. Alonso and Tiberi have strong track records as college hitters but don’t offer much defensive projection. Paez has pop but will wind up at second base, perhaps in combination with fifth rounder Colby Woodmansee, Arizona State shortstop who has some pop and a decent glove. 8th round LHP Placido Torres was a statistical dominator out of Tusculum, already signed for $10,000, perhaps opening bonus space for more expensive preps like RHP Cameron Planck (11th round) or RHP Matt Cleveland (12th round).


PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
1) Mickey Moniak, OF, Carlsbad, California
2) Kevin Gowdy, RHP, Santa Barbara, California
3) Cole Stobbe, SS, Omaha, Nebraska
4) Jo Jo Romero, LHP, Yavapai Junior College
COMMENT:
The Phillies go for impact upside early, taking polished and athletic outfielder Mickey Moniak with the first overall pick, hoping his Steve Finley/Christian Yelich comparisons work out. Fellow UCLA commit Gowdy has a low-90s heater with a good curveball and advanced pitchability for a high school arm. Midwest area sources like Stobbe’s cold-weather bat but it is unclear where he will end up defensively as his tools really don’t fit at shortstop. Romero is very athletic, can hit 94, but needs a better breaking ball. College picks dominated from the fifth round on, necessary to make the money work. A small college sleeper is Julian Garcia, 10th round pick from Metro State University in Colorado with low-90s heat and a plus curve.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
1) Carter Kieboom, SS, Marietta, Georiga
1) Dane Dunning, RHP, University of Florida
2) Sheldon Neuse, 3B, University of Oklahoma
3) Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Parkland, Florida
4) Nick Banks, OF, Texas A&M
COMMENT:
The Nationals go with an offensive upside hitter in Carter Kieboom, whose brother Spencer already plays in the Washington farm system. Carter is a very advanced high school hitter with good plate discipline and enough power potential to play third base if he can’t stay at shortstop long-term. Dunning was often overlooked on the pitching-rich Florida staff but would have been the Friday night starter for many programs due to his low-90s fastball and solid assortment of secondaries. Neuse isn’t the toolsiest guy around but has a good arm and had an excellent season offensively. Nick Banks was a possible first round pick but a subpar junior year, possibly caused by a back injury, hampered his stock. If he rebounds he could be a bargain. The Nationals often draft and rehab injured pitchers and Luzardo is their project this year. He was a first round talent until needing Tommy John surgery. College picks were the subsequent focus, with 7th rounder Jake Noll from Florida Gulf Coat being a very impressive hitter with an unclear position, a typical sleeper profile.