Even though the draft is still months away – it begins on June 5th, to be exact – here’s a very, very early look at the 2014 College Big Board. For now it’s broken down by round, but with every passing month things will start taking better shape as performances become lengthier.
Again, this is a first pass and is subject to quite a bit of change as the season wears on.
Each round is where I would grab the player.
Final Note: For two way players like Kentucky’s A.J. Reed, I list them twice – once where I would draft them as a hitter and once where I would draft them as a pitcher.
And check out my book The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual.
1. Carlos Rodon, LHP, JR, N.C. State
The undisputed #1 amateur player in the country right now. Power lefty with a history of missing bats and solid-average control/command. Legit ace in the making.
2. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, JR, East Carolina
The arsenal’s among the best in the amateur rank. This is the first season, though, that’s he’s been missing bats.
3. Aaron Nola, RHP, JR, LSU
Not on the same level as Rodon, Nola, nonetheless, looks like a very, very good MLB pitcher. Something along the lines of a #2.
4. Mike Papi, 1B/LF, JR, Virginia
Papi’s schedule and park adjusted wOBA (according to CollegeSplits) was .509 last season. Of the three players topping that mark, two of them were high first rounders – Hunter Dozier and Kris Bryant. Potential elite eye at the plate.
5. Michael Conforto, LF, JR, Oregon State
A nice solid start for Conforto, who hitting .333/.452/.508.
6. Kyle Schwarber, C, JR, Indiana
The bat plays far better behind the plate than it does at first. It’s a question of whether the glove can keep him as a backstop.
7. Sean Newcomb, LHP, JR, Hartford
8. Luke Weaver, RHP, JR, Florida State
9. Tyler Beede, RHP, JR, Vanderbilt
The question isn’t the quality of the arsenal, it’s whether he can harness it. Three games into the year he’s sporting a 24-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Has he turned the corner finally?
10. Trea Turner, SS, JR, N.C. State
Speed’s a plus skill, but how will the bat play in the minors?
11. Branden Cogswell, 2B/SS, JR, Virginia
12. Nick Burdi, RHP, JR, Louisville
Craig Kimbrel-like numbers last season: 0.76 ERA, 1.37 FIP, 15.64 K/9. He’s thrown just six innings thus far, though.
13. Michael Cederoth, RHP, JR, San Diego State
Highly, highly underrated thanks to his run-of-the-mill 4.25 ERA as a sophomore last season. His FIP, 3.13, and K-rate 10.29 have huge potential. San Diego State made the a catastrophic oversight to push the big right-hander into the bullpen. Foolish, really.
14. Brandon Finnegan, LHP, JR, TCU
15. Mark Zagunis, C, JR, Virginia Tech
16. Brad Zimmer, RF, JR, San Francisco
17. Matt Imhof, LHP, JR, Cal Poly
18. Casey Gillaspie, 1B, JR, Wichita State
One of my favorite bats in all of college baseball, Gillaspie showed an incredible eye at the plate as a sophomore (62-to-35 walk-to-strikeout rate), posted a solid .427 wOBA, and slugged 28 extra-base hits. Off to a scorching start this season, hitting .526/.640/.921 through 10 games, with four doubles, one triple, and a trio of homeruns.
19. Dan Mengden, RHP, Texas A&M
20. Daniel Gossett, RHP, JR Clemson
21. Derek Fisher, LF, JR, Virginia
Took some major strides at the plate during his second season. Still worried about a rather troubling K-rate, though.
22. Trey Teakell, RHP, JR, TCU
23. Zech Lemond, RHP, JR, Rice
24. Brandon Downes, CF, JR, Virginia
Potential first round tools, but the swing-and-miss risk is fairly high.
25. Sam Travis, 1B, JR, Indiana
26. Matt Chapman, 3B, JR, Cal State Fullerton
27. Brian Anderson, CF, JR, Arkansas
28. Garrett Boulware, C, JR, Clemson
29. Erick Fedde, RHP, JR, UNLV
Cut his walk rate by 20% and improved his K-rate by nearly 18%. Could be one of the big breakout players this year.
30. Jacob Lindgren, LHP, JR, Mississippi State
31. Travis Radke, LHP, JR, Portland
32. Trevor Megill, RHP, JR, Loyola-Marymount
33. Benton Moss, RHP, JR, UNC
34. Kyle Freeland, LHP, JR, Evansville
35. Jake Reed, RHP, JR, Oregon
36. Ben Wetzler, LHP, SR, Oregon State
Phillies should have handled it better. Period.
37. Ryan Harris, RHP, JR, Florida
38. Chris Ellis, RHP, JR, Ole Miss
39. Chad Sobotka, RHP, JR, South Carolina-Upstate
40. Max Povse, RHP, JR, UNC Greenboro
41. Jordan Stephens, RHP, JR, Rice
42. Dylan Davis, RF, JR, Oregon State
After hitting .335/.379/.502 last season, Davis is off to a rather slow start thus far (.220/.320/.305).
43. Joey Pankake, 3B, JR, South Carolina
44. Bo Thompson, 1B, JR, The Citadel
Thompson posted a ridiculous 54-to-28 walk-to-strikeout ratio as a sophomore and posted a park/schedule adjusted .480 wOBA. Very intriguing power potential here too. Sort of sleeper.
45. Nick Howard, RHP, JR, Virginia
46. Ross Kivet, 2B/OF, SR, Kansas State
Not a tremendous amount of upside here, but Kivet does some things well enough – run, solid hit tool. No power to speak of though. Future utility guy.
47. Aramis Garcia, C, JR, Florida International
48. Riley Moore, C, JR, Arizona
49. Brandon Leibrandt, LHP, JR, Florida State
50. Jordan Ramsey, RHP, JR, UNC Willington
51. Dillon Peters, LHP, JR, Texas
52. A.J. Reed, LHP, JR, Kentucky
53. A.J. Reed, 1B, JR, Kentucky
54. Connor Joe, SS, JR, San Diego
55. Max Pentecost, C, JR, Kennesaw State
56. Grayson Greiner, C, JR, South Carolina
57. Alex Blandino, 3B, JR, Stanford
58. Brett Austin, C, JR, N.C. State
Former first round pick by San Diego in 2011 will be hard-pressed to hear his name called that high again.
59. Austin Robichaux, RHP, JR, Louisiana-Lafayette
60. Parker French, RHP, JR, Texas
61. Michael Katz, IF, JR, William & Mary
62. Brandon Woodruff, RHP, JR, Mississippi State
63. A.J. Vanegas, RHP, SR, Stanford
64. Nigel Nootbaar, RHP, JR, USC
65. Dustin DeMuth, 3B, SR Indiana
66. J.D. Davis, 1B, JR, Cal State Fullerton
67. Adam McCreery, LHP, JR, Azuna Pacific
68. Andrew Chin, LHP, JR, Boston College
Finesse lefty with mediocre control. Ho hum.
69. Austin Cousino, CF, JR, Kentucky
70. Pay Connaughton, RHP, JR, Notre Dame
71. Taylor Sparks, 3B, JR, UC-Irivine
72. Tanner English, LF, JR, South Carolina
73. A.J. Murray, C, JR, Georgia Tech
74. Alex Real, C/1B, JR, New Mexico
75. Sam Coonrod, RHP, JR, Southern Illinois
76. Hawtin Buchanan, RHP, JR, Ole Miss
77. Mason McCullough, RHP, JR, Lander University
78. Josh Laxer, RHP, JR, Ole Miss
79. Alex Detz, IF, SR, Mississippi State
80. Christian Ibarra, IF, SR, LSU
81. Richard Prigatano, 1B, JR, Long Beach State
82. Hunter Cole, LF, JR, Georgia
83. Wayne Taylor, C, JR, Stanford
84. Taylor Gushue, C, JR, Florida
85. Casey Turgeon, SS, JR, Florida
86. Aaron Brown, LHP, JR, Pepperdine
87. Jordan Brink, RHP, JR, Fresno State
88. Adam Choplick, LHP, JR, Oklahoma
89. Brett Graves, RHP, JR, Missouri
90. Eric Skoglund, LHP, JR, UCF
91. Austin Slater, 3B, JR, Stanford
92. Jordan Tarsovich, IF/OF, JR, VMI
93. Austin Davidson, 3B, JR, Pepperdine
94. Boo Vasquez, LF, JR, Pittsburgh
95. Scott Heineman, 3B, JR, Oregon
96. Chris Harvey, C, JR, Vanderbilt
97. Mason Robbins, LF, JR, Southern Miss
98. Dusty Isaacs, RHP, SR, Georgia Tech
99. Jack Fischer, RHP, SR, Wake Forest
100. Grant Watson, LHP, JR, UCLA
101. Adam Ravenelle, RHP, JR, Vanderbilt
102. T.J. Pecoraro, RHP, SR, Vanderbilt
103. Chris Ohmstede, 3B, JR, Furman
104. K.J. Hockaday, SS, JR, Hartford
105. Alex Calbrick, 1B/3B, SR, Maine
106. Josh Tobias, SS, JR, Florida
107. Sikes Orvis, 1B, JR, Ole Miss
Photo of Carlos Rodon Courest of Liz Condo/USA Today Sports via ESPN.com.