American League Draft Recap

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Below is a collection of notes on each American League team’s draft class. We’ve tried to touch briefly on the players each club selected through the first five rounds or so, with observations on players selected after that at our discretion. Generally, these are the prospects we think both (a) have a chance to appear on a team prospect list sometime in the near future and also (b) are likely to sign. The number in parentheses after each player’s name is the round in which he was drafted.

For more details on many of these players, consult THE BOARD, which has tool grades, links to video, and various information about the players.

Baltimore Orioles
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Every year, a few of the high-school pitchers sitting in the 88-92 range the summer before their draft year have a huge uptick in stuff over the winter. This year, Baltimore first-rounder Grayson Rodriguez (1) was one of them, and he can really spin a breaking ball… Teams offered Oregon State SS Cadyn Grenier (2) seven figures coming out of high school but couldn’t quite cut a deal. His bat hasn’t developed as hoped in college, but he does have at least average raw power, is a plus-plus runner, and can play short… Arkansas righty Blaine Knight (3) was draft-eligible last year. He sits 91-93, will flash a plus slider, and could be a No. 4/5 starter… Prep lefty Drew Rom (4) has feel for three pitches and will touch 93… Iowa OF Rob Neustrom (5) is a corner-only guy with great control of the strike zone and above-average raw power… UCF RHP J.J. Montgomery (7) worked 92-96 this spring with an average changeup and fringey slider… UNC C Cody Roberts (11) is just an okay hitter but has a howitzer and is solid behind the plate… UCSB SS Clay Fisher (12) looked like a second-round pick last spring before multiple injuries sidetracked him and sapped his athleticism, hopefully just temporarily.

Boston Red Sox
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High-school 3B Triston Casas (1) is more athletic than the typical first-base-only high-school prospect and has huge raw power already, with room on the body for more… New Jersey prep OF Nick Decker (2) also has power and a plus arm, but his frame is maxed out… TCU closer Durbin Feltman (3) could rocket through the minors. He’s up to 98 with a good three-pitch mix… Kentucky C Kole Cottam (4) is good enough to stay behind the plate and has above-average raw power… UCF righty Thad Ward (5) touches 96 with life and flashes a plus slider… Dallas Baptist senior Devlin Granberg (6) has above-average raw power and is a good athlete who needs a swing rework… Ohio HS 3B Nick Northcut (11) has above-average power and a maxed out frame but hit all last summer against good pitching… Texas RHP Chase Shugart (12) and Kentucky RHP Chris Machamer (16) are both relief types who work 92-95 with an above-average curveball.

Chicago White Sox
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We had identical grades on Nick Madrigal (1) and Casey Mize, so you could argue Chicago got the best player in the draft if Mize’s sophomore injuries scare you… Oklahoma OF Steele Walker (2) has solid-average power from the left side but really gets to it in games. He could post goofy numbers in the Pioneer League if the logjam of outfielders ahead of him keeps him beneath Low-A this summer… Mississippi State LHP Konnor Pilkington (3) has average stuff and has generated swings and misses in the SEC… Prep INF Lency Delgado (4) fits at third base or maybe even first in pro ball. He has easy plus raw power but is unrefined at the plate… Cabrera Weaver (7) is a high-school OF from Georgia. He’s a plus plus runner, has good hand-eye coordination, and has room on his frame for another 30 pounds or so… Relief-only RHP Jason Bilous (13) touches 100 and has shown a plus slider but really struggled at times in a starting role this spring… Indiana RHP Jonathan Stiever (5), USF LHP Andrew Perez (8), Azusa Pacific RHP Isaiah Carranza (12), and Illinois RHP Luke Shilling (15) are all relief types who were regularly in the mid-90s this spring.

Cleveland Indians
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This class is exciting. Noah Naylor (1) has a chance to hit for power while either catching or playing third base… Ethan Hankins‘ (comp 1) breaking stuff wasn’t as crisp this spring as it was last summer, but the arm strength is still there, so he may bounce back… Lenny Torres (CBA) is a fresh, northeastern arm who is very young for the class, has electric arm acceleration, and has flashed a starter’s mix at times… Nick Sandlin (2) has ridiculous numbers. Some of it is a mirage because college hitters struggle with submariners like Sandlin, but his stuff is just as good as many of the college pitchers who went in rounds two and three. Towson SS Richie Palacios (3) is a 65 runner who can put the bat on the ball… Oregon St OF Steven Kwan (5) has catalytic qualities and good baseball instincts along with a crazy BB/K ratio… HS INF Raynel Delgado (6) is a switch-hitter with a pretty swing from each side but ordinary tools… South Carolina RHP Cody Morris (7) works 92-95 and has a chance to start, but has TJ in his past… Mercer RHP Robert Broom (10) is another low-slot righty that may move quickly… Liberty RHP Jack DeGroat (11) is rehabbing TJ but has a chance to be a late-inning option… LSU OF Antoine Duplantis (19) is a plus runner and defender.

Detroit Tigers
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Casey Mize (1) was the top player on our board and could move quickly. Georgia HS OF Parker Meadows (2) is a tooled-up high schooler with a questionable bat… Texas 2B Kody Clemens (3) started hitting for huge power this year after doing almost nothing as an underclassman, and he’s okay at second base… California high-schooler Kingston Liniak (4) is a hit-first corner outfield prospect with room on his frame… Louisville LHP Adam Wolf (5) competes with a fringe fastball but above-average cutter and has a chance to be a back-end guy… Whitworth College RHP Hugh Smith (6) is a 6-foot-10 guy who touches 98 but needs to work on the rest of it… Seattle LHP Tarik Skubal (9) is an interesting buy-low option in round No. 9. His command was bad this year as he returned from TJ, but he’ll touch 95 and can spin a curveball… Avery Tuck (17) was a famous high schooler who blew up at a single showcase his junior year and has struggled to hit and stay at one school since then.

Houston Astros
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Clemson OF Seth Beer (1) presents little to no defensive value but has enough raw power to clear the DH-only bar if he hits enough… Washington HS RHP Jayson Schroeder (2) hit 95 this spring and has a power breaking ball but needs some delivery work to avoid being a reliever… Maine SS Jeremy Pena (3) is one of the better college defenders in the class and has a pretty swing that he’s used to beat up on small-school pitching…Cal Poly CF Alex McKenna (4) can hit, but teams are split as to whether he can play center field and he isn’t patient enough right now… Arizona RHP Cody Deason (5) was Arizona’s Friday night starter. He sits in the low 90s and has a 55 curveball. His delivery and command point to the bullpen, but he could be a good one if his fastball ticks up in short bursts… R.J. Freure (6) out of Pitt has a similar profile, as does Austin Hansen (8) from Oklahoma… Houston also took two college catchers from Arizona in the defensive-minded Cesar Salazar (7, U of A) and bat-first Lyle Lin (29, ASU). SS Michael Wielansky (18) put up gaudy numbers in D3 and has some real tools that could turn him into a solid utility type.

Kansas City Royals
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Kansas City’s draft was packed with good value college prospects. Brady Singer (1) could move quickly as a league-average starter, perhaps a bit more… Jackson Kowar (comp 1) and Daniel Lynch (comp 1), whose stuff was way up this year, could too… Kris Bubic (CBA) is a deception/changeup guy whose command backed up this year while his velo improved a bit… Jonathan Bowlan (2) throws a mid-90s sinker and has a shot to start… Kyle Isbel (3) is a hit-first college bat with enough game power to be a second-division corner guy if he can’t stay in center… Arkansas OF Eric Cole (4) is a grinder with average tools… Mercer LHP Austin Cox (5) has power stuff that fits best in the pen…  Zach Haake (6) has big stuff for a few outs then falls apart, so he’s probably a pro reliever but might be a very good one…  FSU LF Jackson Lueck (8) has shown offensive flashes his whole career but hasn’t put it all together yet… With Kansas City’s sizable bonus pool, they might get some interesting Day 3 arms signed, including R.J. Dabovic (18) whose stuff ticked into the mid-90s late this spring and the very projectable Elijah Pleasants (36)… Chapman RHP Christian Cosby (14) is a fresh-armed D3 pitcher up to 96 mph.

Los Angeles Angels
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Jordyn Adams (1) is one of the draft’s more exciting talents. He could’ve gone in the top-five picks if he’d played baseball only, but he also might not have become so dynamic an athlete… Alabama HS INF Jeremiah Jackson (2) has a well-rounded offensive profile and should stay on the infield, though the industry is split on where he ends up playing defense… Texas A&M Corpus Christi RHP Aaron Hernandez (3) has big, unharnessed stuff… So does Kyle Bradish (4), though his velocity has been more inconsistent than Hernandez’s this spring, and he was used heavily in the conference tournament… Michigan HS righty William English (5) is one of the better on-mound athletes in the draft and wants to try playing both ways. Sounds like the Angels will let him try for a while with an eye toward full-time pitching down the road… Cristian Reyes (21) was born in 1994 and touches 98. Eric thinks he’s been pitching in this league in Miami, but we have no idea how the Angels found him there. Connor Higgins (30) is a lefty from Arizona State who was up to 96 as an underclassman and desperately needs to improve his flexibility.

Minnesota Twins
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We are very high on Trevor Larnach (1) and his raw power. He was good value toward the back of round one… Catcher Ryan Jeffers (2) has 55 raw power and a chance to stay behind the plate… CF DaShawn Keirsey (4) is a toolsy college lottery ticket with injury questions because of a collision with an outfield wall… Florida State righty Cole Sands (5) had some second-round buzz before dealing with arm trouble shortly before the draft. He’s had a few injuries just this year… Charles Mack (6) is a bat-first high-school infield prospect from the northeast, a demographic with which the Twins have had some success recently (Blankenhorn, Kiriloff)… Clemson’s Chris Williams (8) has some athleticism, power, and production with a chance to stick behind the plate despite limited reps.

New York Yankees
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Switch-hitting/throwing catcher Anthony Seigler (1) is an old-for-the-class high-school catcher who does everything well, including pitch with both arms and swing from both sides. C/RHP Josh Breaux (2) had his name called, appropriately, by Nick Swisher. He has plus power and arm strength, and has been up to 100 on the mound, but doesn’t want to pitch in pro ball… Tennessee HS Ryder Green (3) has huge tools — above-average speed and plus-plus power — to go with a volatile hit tool… North Florida RHP Frank German (4) is a strike-throwing back-end-starter type… UNC RHP Rodney Hutchison (6) is a low-slot righty who works in the low 90s… Gonzaga RHP Daniel Bies (7) is 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, and into the mid-90s with a solid average slider. He likely fits in relief… Grand Canyon senior Mick Vorhoff (9) is a strike-throwing righty with average stuff… Georgia Southern RHP Blakely Brown (24) sits in the mid-90s.

Oakland Athletics
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The Kyler Murray (1) selection was the headline of Day 1. Early indications are that Oakland is going pay him $5 million and let him play football this fall, then play baseball only going forward, but he’s not a lock to win the job at OU… Dallas Baptist CF Jameson Hannah (2) is an elite college performer with excellent timing at the plate, all-fields ability, and several years of strong statistics… After a down year, Missouri State SS Jeremy Eierman (CBB) was a nice buy-low at pick 70. He has plus pull power… LHP Hogan Harris (3) is a hard-throwing college lefty who had an oblique issues this year but took to a move from the pen to the rotation… Alfonso Rivas (4) is a hit-first first-base-only prospect from Arizona with some pop… Brady Feigl (5) is a strike-thrower with solid-average stuff and some deception… Lawrence Butler (6) is a broad-shouldered high-school right fielder with big power potential, but he’s quite raw… Florida C J.J. Schwarz (8) is probably a first-base-only prospect with plus raw power in pro ball, but it’s worth a chance to see if he can still catch… UNC Wilmington RHP Clark Cota (10) put up bonkers numbers with a Mark Melancon-type look and a heater that was up to 95 mph.

Seattle Mariners
Link to Draft Selections

Stetson RHP Logan Gilbert (1) was good value in the middle of round one. His velo was back up late in the year, and he has one of the draft’s best curveballs… Louisville OF Josh Stowers went bonkers during the ACC tournament and flew up boards. He’s a tweener with great hand-eye… FSU catcher Cal Raleigh has plus power, a non-zero chance to catch, and could have gone late second round… Missouri LHP Michael Plassmeyer (4) has average stuff and plus control… Illinois righty Joey Gerber (8) is a college reliever with above-average stuff and an ugly delivery that creates deception, but the Mariners have had success with those guys the last few years, even trading some away shortly after the draft… Keegan McGovern (9) is a senior whose tools were better this year than last due to improved conditioning… Charlie McConnell (13) is a 70 runner.

Tampa Bay Rays
Link to Draft Selections

Arizona prep lefty Matthew Liberatore (1) fell here, in part, because the A’s surprised everyone by taking Kyler Murray, and the dominoes behind Oakland fell in such a way that Libby and his buddy, Nolan Gorman, were the odd men out. Some of the teams in the Nos. 10-16 range probably hadn’t had communication with Liberatore’s camp about his bonus demands because they could not have conceived that he’d be there when they picked, and that lack of comfort caused some of them to pass…USF LHP Shane McClanahan (comp 1) was bad down the stretch and fell to the comp round, where he’s good value and a candidate for Tampa Bay’s unique pitcher usage as a way of keeping him healthy and his stuff crisp, because asking him to pitch every fifth day seems foolhardy… Nick Schnell (comp 1), like McLanahan, is talented but has had some injury issues. Schnell emerged from a crowded group of prep outfielders in the Nos. 25-40 range this spring. 

Tyler Frank (2) is a very Rays-ish prospect. He hits and should be fine at a middle-infield spot despite ordinary size and tools… The team wanted Cal RHP/OF Tanner Dodson (CBB) to be announced as a two-way player… Rice SS Ford Proctor (3) is another typical Rays pick as a middle-infield tweener who can hit but doesn’t have a ton of power or overall tools… Tulane OF Grant Witherspoon (4) had a big year but has tweener tools. He’s a 6 runner with a 7 fastball… Taj Bradley (5) is young, athletic, can spin it a little bit, and has a good delivery… Louisiana RHP Nick Lee (9) looked like a third-rounder early this spring with a 91-95 mph heater and plus changeup, but regressed a lot down the stretch and was sent to the bullpen… San Diego LHP Nick Sprengel (15) looked like a possible second-rounder until he got the yips this spring… Florida prep RHP Kerry Wright (21) will require at least a high-six-figure bonus to keep him from going to Louisville, but he could be worth it. Wright is young for the class, is up to 95 mph, and has a projectable, athletic frame and arm action.

Texas Rangers
Link to Draft Selections

It was a very Rangers draft with a lot of high-school players. Cole Winn (1) is arguably the most polished high-school pitcher in the draft, but don’t mistake that for a lack of stuff… He touches 96, has a plus curveball. and exhibits command of a deep repertoire… Owen White (2) is a classic, projectable, super athletic righty… Jonathan Ornelas (3) is a defensive fit at shortstop who has a shot to do some damage with the bat… Texas prep RHP Mason Englert (4) has back-end-starter stuff and feel, along with some remaining projection… We expected plus-running, plus-throwing Jayce Easley (5) to head to Oregon State, but his selection this early is an indicator he’s signing… Virginia RF Cameron Simmons (15) missed the season with a shoulder injury but has the tools to go in the top five rounds when healthy.

Toronto Blue Jays
Link to Draft Selections

We like Jordan Groshans and, though he’s a little bit of a reach in a vacuum, think he might sign under slot at the 12th pick and allow the Jays to sign his high-school teammate, Adam Kloffenstein (3) over slot, which makes reaching for Groshans, who has huge power, justifiable… Griffin Conine (2) came on strong down late in the college season. He has plus raw power but poor plate coverage… Sean Wymer (4) is a strike-throwing righty from TCU whose stuff is better in two- to three-inning shots… Florida prep SS Addison Barger (6) doesn’t have loud tools, but he can stick in the dirt and hit… Kent State RHP Joey Murray (8) could turn into a Yusmeiro Petit type who makes fringe stuff work due to an invisiball… John Aiello (14) was a famous high schooler who went to school, hit 20 bombs as a sophomore, then did nothing as a junior but still has plus raw power and is alright at third base… UNC RHP Josh Hiatt (16) has a plus splitter but just an average heater and curveball.

We hoped you liked reading American League Draft Recap by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel!

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sadtrombone
Member
sadtrombone

I would agree that Cleveland’s draft class is incredibly exciting. Naylor, Hankins, and Torres have huge upside, and Sandlin, Palacios, and Kwan are such an intriguing wild cards. I’ve long thought that Cleveland has one of the most interesting scouting systems out there…they constantly wind up with lots of unusual pitching prospects, switch-hitters, young guys, multi-position prospects…it’s just awesome. I love what they do.

The other guy I’m really excited to follow is Seigler.