Carlos Rodon

2014 MLB Draft College Big Board: 1-50

After months of building, sculpting, perfecting, the 2014 MLB Draft College Big Board is finally complete. The list includes the top 200 collegiate prospects as well as over 80 in-depth draft profiles. Enjoy!

 

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  1-50 / 51-100 / 101-150 / 151-200 / Overall

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# Player Pos. YR College Grade
1 Carlos Rodon LHP JR N.C. State First Round

A high ceiling/high floor-type prospect, who, barring any serious injury, should carve out a long, successful career alternating between spurts of dominance and enduring success.  He’s a legitimate #1/#2-type arm. Think along the lines of David Price. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
2 Brandon Finnegan LHP JR TCU First Round

He’s consistently shown an above-average to elite ability to miss bats. His control has improved from slightly below-average to a strong, reliable skill. And he’s given up just five homeruns throughout his career. Ace potential, assuming the drafting team doesn’t push him into a bullpen role. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
3 Kyle Freeland LHP JR Evansville First Round

There’s still some projection left given his rather thin frame, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him develop into a legitimate top-of-the-rotation type left arm often coveted by MLB teams. He doesn’t rank as highly as Carlos Rodon or Brandon Finnegan, but it’s a lot closer than most people would guess. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
4 Mike Papi 1B/LF JR Virginia First Round

Quite frankly, Papi’s a Nick Swisher clone – or at least pretty darn close to it. Elite, elite eye at the plate. Solid-average power, something along the lines of maybe 20 homeruns in a season. Position versatility. Better than average bat. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
5 Aaron Nola RHP JR LSU First Round

Absolute workhorse with the potential to not only move quickly through the minor leagues – he could be the first starting pitcher from this year’s draft class to make it to the big leagues – but has the potential to be a very good #2/#3-type arm. During his peak years think Tim Hudson-esque. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
6 Tyler Beede RHP JR Vanderbilt First Round

One of the best collegiate arms available in the year’s class, particularly coming from the rotation, Beede has the makings of a #2-type pitcher, though that depends  upon how he controls the strike zone at the next level. In terms of peak value in the big leagues, think Max Scherzer, another big arm with big time strikeout ability who dealt with some control issues in the past. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
7 Casey Gillaspie 1B JR Wichita State First Round

Above-average power and patience, improving hit tool, the ability to his from both sides of the plate, and a reasonably strong glove at first. And while he’s not going to be a game changer in the professional ranks, I do think he’s the cream of the draft crop in terms of offensive upside, perhaps peaking around a .280/.360/.490-type hitter. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
8 Brad Zimmer RF JR San Francisco First Round

Incredibly toolsy for a bigger player – solid-average to slightly better power, sneaky speed, average-ish eye at the plate, and good plate coverage considering his frame size. At his peak, Zimmer could be a more athletic version of Corey Hart — .290/.340/.510 with 25+ homerun and stolen base potential. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
9 Sean Newcomb LHP JR Hartford First Round

A bit of a first round wild card. The ceiling is certainly high, but so is the risk. A solid #2/#3-type arm, but, again, there’s certainly some risk. Think left-hander version of Allen Webster. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
10 Jake Stinnet RHP SR Maryland First Round

Fresh, developing arm with the potential to help fill out the front half of a big league rotation. Above-average ability to miss bats with solid-average or better control. And, again, Stinnett still has room to grow as begins to further hone his new craft. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
11 Michael Conforto LF JR Oregon State First Round

Conforto doesn’t show a whole lot of speed, but the power/patience/hit tool combination more than makes up for it. As for as a similar player, think Michael Choice – or at least what Michael Choice was supposed to be, a .290/.340/.480-type hitter with 20+ homerun power. And at the very least, Conforto should be a strong bench bat/platoon option. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
12 Jeff Hoffman RHP JR East Carolina First Round

Pre-surgery, of course: He isn’t ace-type potential, at least not in the same way as Rodon or TCU’s Brandon Finnegan. Instead,  Hoffman’s more of a really good #2-type option that can offer glimpses of the ability to take games over. Think like a lite version of Gerrit Cole – a live-armed starting pitcher capable of chewing innings and averaging 7.8 K/9 with solid average control. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
13 Max Pentecost C JR Kennesaw State First Round

Pentecost is a potential solid everyday backstop, peaking around 3.0, maybe 3.5-wins above replacement. The total package is better than the individual pieces, though. Think .280/.335/.430 with 15 homeruns and solid defense. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
14 A.J. Reed 1B/LHP JR Kentucky First Round

Reed’s plate discipline has been trending in the right direction and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him post walk rates hovering near 9.5% to 10.0%. in the minor leagues. Obviously, the power is an above-average to potentially plus skill. He’s a nice latter half of the middle-of-the-order bat, a good #5/#6 hitter. He’ll probably never hit for average. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
15 Michael Cederoth RHP JR San Diego State First Round

Assuming whichever team that grabs him in the opening round converts him back into a starting pitcher – please let that happen – Cederoth could develop into an upper rotation-type arm, maybe peaking as a fringe #2 for a couple seasons, though the likelihood of this happening is a bit lower. He should have the floor along the lines of a Bud Norris-type. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
16 Erick Fedde RHP JR Nevada-Las Vegas First Round

Pre-surgery: One of the more intriguing arms in college baseball, Fedde is another upper-rotation-type arm, perhaps peaking as a lower end #2. He’s going to miss a good amount of bats, limit free passes, and if the current trend holds, keep the ball on the ground with some regularity; he’s given up just four homeruns in his last 172-plus innings of work. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
17 Kyle Schwarber C/1B JR Indiana First Round

Above-average power potential, something along the lines of 30-HR territory in a full season, strong plate discipline and solid contact skills. Schwarber’s peak should rest somewhere in the .265/.340/.520 range. His ceiling will be negatively impacted thanks to some defensive limitations at either position. A better version of Evan Gattis. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
18 Andrew Morales RHP SR UC Irvine First Round

The strikeout rate is going to hover around 7.5- to 8.0 K/9 in the big leagues; the control is any above-average skill, and he’s down a solid job keeping the ball in the ballpark. Morales is the type of guy that flies under the radar and then everyone steps back to ask, “Where’d this guy come from?” Mid-rotation arm.  Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
19 Matt Imhof LHP JR Cal Poly First/Second Round

Imhof, obviously, has an above-average ability to miss bats, though that’s likely to hover near the league average in the professional ranks. His control is decent, not great. But he’s also shown an ability to dominate against some of the better international competition. A solid, mid-rotation-type arm, something along the lines of a very lite version of Chris Sale. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
20 Luke Weaver RHP JR Florida State First/Second Round

Weaver’s a solid, safe prospect – at least as “safe” as a pitching prospect can be. Another mid-rotation-type arm poised to move quickly through the minor leagues. His K-rate probably won’t be as high as Nola’s in the professional ranks, but it should settle in around 7.0 K/9. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
21 Nick Howard RHP JR Virginia First/Second Round

A better version of Michael Lorenzen, the Cincinnati’s supplemental first round pick out of Cal State Fullerton last year. Howard’s poised to move quickly if he remains in the pen, but his 2013 success in the rotation offers a glimpse of some interesting upside as a starting pitcher. Plus, he was rather competitive pitching out of the rotation in the Cape last summer too, striking out 25 and walking just four in 24.2 innings. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
22 Jordan Luplow RF JR Fresno State First/Second Round

One of the top offensive performers in college baseball this season, Luplow, who’s hitting .377/.475/.609 with 31 extra-base hits, has shown a strong eye at the plate, above-average power, and a smattering of speed. His development this season is reminiscent of former Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe last season. Big time sleeper.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
23 Dan Mengden RHP JR Texas A&M First/Second Round

He’s already shown above-average control/command and an impressive ability to miss bats in the tough SEC, which should only improve as he gains more experience. Mengden’s not an elite pitching prospect, but he does have a pretty high ceiling, something along the lines of a steady #3. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
24 Trea Turner SS JR N.C. State First/Second Round

He’s going to be an above-average base-stealer, showcasing plus-speed and a knack for a high success rate, but actual hit tool and patience look like average skills at this point. And it’s not likely that he’ll top 10 homeruns in a season either. Turner’s a nice prospect, one with a league average or slightly better ceiling. And, really, how much separation is there between someone like Turner and some recent failed first round collegiate shortstops like Christian Colon or Deven Marrero? Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
25 Derek Fisher LF JR Virginia First/Second Round

Fisher’s never going to hit for average, probably peaking around .265 or .270 in the big leagues, but there’s 25-HR pop in his bat with at least a solid-average eye at the plate. Again, though, he’s not likely to show any significant pop until at least the end of 2014 and more likely at some point early in 2015 (because of the hamate injury). Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
26 Nick Burdi RHP JR Louisville Second Round

Craig Kimbrel of the collegiate ranks – a pitcher that simply overpowers the competition with an elite ability to miss bats with a strong enough feel for the strike zone. His control has been steadily improving in each of his last two season, going from 3.97 BB/9 in 2011 to 3.28 as a sophomore and finally 3.12 BB/9 this season (4/16/14). Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
27 Jacob Lindgren LHP JR Mississippi State Second Round

If left in the bullpen Lindgren could very easily be pitching in the big leagues by the end of the year a la Chris Sale in 2010. And make no mistake about it, the Mississippi product has all the tools to become a dominant backend reliever – namely above-average control and an elite ability to miss bats. But why settle for a 2.0-win player, maybe a tick better, when he has the ceiling of something much higher? Similar to Rice’s Zech Lemond, and a couple years ago Tony Cingrani, Lindgren has the potential to be an above-average starting pitcher. In 2013, his only season as a fulltime starter, Lindgren fanned 65 and walked 18 in 56.0 innings. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
28 Alex Blandino 3B JR Stanford Second Round

The dreaded “Stanford Swing” aside, Blandino looks like a potential above-average everyday player in the making. He has a pretty good idea at the plate – strong contact skills with a decent eye – to go along with some sneaky power. The problem, however, is that there’s no true standout tool. Solid across the board, yes, but nothing that screams can’t miss.  Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
29 Aramis Garcia C JR FIU Second Round

Garcia’s offensive peak should reside somewhere near .290/.340/.440 with 15 or so homeruns and solid defense behind the plate. The lone knock, though, has been his level of competition and a rather sparse showing in the Cape following his sophomore season. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
30 Taylor Sparks 3B JR UC-Irvine Second Round

He’s going to swing-and-miss a whole lot during his professional career, likely regularly topping 120 strikeouts in a year, and isn’t going to walk a whole lot either. The power, though, is solid average to a tick better, with the potential to reach 25-HRs if everything breaks right. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
31 Zech Lemond RHP JR Rice Second Round

Lemond, for his part, has been nearly unhittable throughout his collegiate career, posting a 1.92 ERA while averaging 8.55 K/9 and 2.89 BB/9 in his first 159 innings. He’s going to need to be stretched out and his stamina built up, but there’s really no reason to believe that he won’t develop into a good #3-type arm. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
32 Dean Deetz RHP Fr NE Oklahoma CC Second Round

Missed all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery, Deetz fanned 72 and walked a whopping 42 in 55.2 innings for Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College this season. The control/command will likely improve — though, it’s difficult to imagine as scenario where it wouldn’t — as he moves further away from the surgery. Power-armed reliever at the worst. Mid-rotation guy at the best.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
33 Daniel Gossett RHP JR Clemson Second Round

Sort of a sleeper. Gossett’s one of the better collegiate arms available in the draft and, yet, he somehow isn’t recognized as one. The important numbers – his strikeout and walk rates – have been trending in the right direction for quite some time. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
34 Caleb Adams OF JR Louisiana-Lafayette Second Round

Adams has absolutely raked over the last two seasons, hitting a combined .362/.473/.676 with 26 doubles, eight triples, 27 homeruns and nine stolen bases 117 games for Louisiana-Lafayette. Improving eye at the plate, better than average power, and the potential to develop into a solid big league contributor. Sneaky good.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
35 Jake Cosart RHP Fr Seminole State CC Second Round

 

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
36 Connor Joe C JR San Diego Second Round

Joe offers a nice combination of average to slightly better tools across the board – gap power with the potential to top out with double-digit dingers down the line, an improving eye at the plate, and the potential to hit for a decent average, something along the lines of .280 or so. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
37 Jeremy Rhoades RHP JR Eastern Illinois Second Round

Sneaky upside here. A team will likely be tempted to push Rhoades back into the bullpen and fast track him to the big leagues, but, again, the real value comes from his spot in the rotation. Strong, strong control. The ability to miss bats jumped to a premium this season, despite having worked the majority of his innings out of the rotation. And similar numbers in the Cape last season: 21.1 IP, 19 K’s, and 8 BB’s. You don’t have to squint too hard to see a potential fringe #3-type arm here. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
38 Chris Oliver RHP JR Arkansas Second Round

There’s a couple of things working in Oliver’s favor, especially considering his lack of strikeouts in 2014: First, Arkansas’ home ballpark is incredibly hitter-friendly; secondly, he’s tossed just 36.1 innings during his collegiate career prior to the year, so there’s not much wear-and-tear on his arm. Solid-average control and his well below-average strikeout ability should improve with experience. There’s plenty of projection left given his lean frame. Sort of a mid-rotation sleeper-type. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
39 Patrick Weigel RHP JR Oxnard CC Second Round

 

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
40 Adam Choplick LHP JR Oklahoma Second Round

Oh, the vagaries of poor luck. Choplick, who’s averaging 9.46 K/9 and 3.98 BB/9, is going to be a nice little pick up for a numbers savvy club in the mid rounds this June. He has size, a fresh arm, or at least one that’s now further removed from TJ, and an ability to miss bats. Plus, the control isn’t all that poor either given his size.  Choplick could be one of the bigger – no pun intended – sleeper prospects in this class. Mid-rotation-type potential. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
41 Austin Gomber LHP JR Florida Atlantic Second Round

 

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
42 Brandon Downes LF JR Virginia Second/Third Round

Ignore the basic counting stats for a second, the root of his approach has been evolving – he cut his strikeout rate from 20.5% to 16.7% while improving his walk rate from 9.2% to 11.8%. The basic power is still there, though largely dormant this season. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
43 Sam Travis 1B/3B JR Indiana Second/Third Round

Depending upon his defense, Travis could develop into a league average everyday third baseman or a below-average first baseman (where the bat clearly doesn’t play as well), give or take a half-win either way. He could, however, just as easily flame out as a Quad-A guy too. There’s some risk, but one that’s worth taking in the late second/third rounds. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
44 Rhys Hoskins RF JR Sacramento State Second/Third Round

 

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
45 Jordan Brink RHP JR Fresno State Second/Third Round

He flashed some impressive peripherals during his debut on the mound, and while those numbers have largely regressed, it’s his first time pitching out of the rotation. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
46 Dylan Davis RF JR Oregon State Second/Third Round

As a hitter his ceiling resides somewhere near league average player and fourth outfielderdom – below-average patience at the plate, decent contact skills, solid pop. Davis could, however, be one of these late bloomers in the mold of Garrett Jones, Brandon Moss, etc… Patience is going to be needed in his development. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
47 Mark Zagunis C JR Virginia Tech Second/Third Round

English Field tends to inflate offensive numbers, but the tools are strong across the board. Solid-average power, above-average hit tool, good speed for a catcher, strong eye at the plate, and solid contact skills. The lone red flag – and it’s pretty glaring at this point – is his inability to control the run game. He has nabbed just about 20% of would-be base stealers this season. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
48 Grayson Greiner C JR South Carolina Second/Third Round

The hit tool and plate discipline are average at best, but there’s some projection left in the power department, perhaps peaking with 20- to 22-HR down the line. If everything breaks right – and by that, I mean everything – he could be a lite version of Mike Napoli. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
49 James Norwood RHP JR Saint Louis Third Round

If everything breaks right – and, again, a lot of that is predicated on the his ability to improve his low K-rate – Norwood could be a middle-of-the-rotation-type arm. Another sleeper in this year’s deep pitching class. Full analysis click here.

 

# Player Pos. YR College Grade
50 David Berg RHP JR UCLA Third Round

He’s going to be a right-hander specialist in the professional ranks: left-handed hitters are going to see the ball way too long. But Berg should move quickly, perhaps being one of the first players from the 2014 draft class to make it to the big leagues, and should settle in nicely as a solid or better late-inning arm. Full analysis click here.

 

 

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  1-50 / 51-100 / 101-150 / 151-200 Overall

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Photo Courtesy of starnewsonline.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.


'2014 MLB Draft College Big Board: 1-50' have 1 comment

  1. June 6, 2014 @ 3:33 AM Indians Cap Off an Impressive Day 1 of MLB Draft « It's Pronounced "Lajaway"

    […] to the draft I rated the now-center-fielder as the eighth best collegiate prospect available, ahead of several players taken earlier including the Cubs’ selection of Kyle Schwarber […]

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