Today we'll start the day with draft stuff, including a dominant performance by Appel and a possible sleeper pick at #2. We'll also look at the Cubs top DSL prospect...
MLB Draft Notes
Mark Appel had his second straight dominant outing yesterday. He no-hit a good Texas team for 5 2/3 innings, then went on to pitch a complete game 3-hitter, striking out 14 Longhorns in the process. He walked just one batter. He needed just 110 pitches.
Appel is now 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA with 5 walks and 28 strikeouts in 23 innings for Stanford. Batters have hit just .165 against Appel with only 2 extra base hits this year, both doubles.
If he becomes the obvious #1, does Houston take him and risk negotiations with Scott Boras again? Appel doesn't have quite as much leverage as a college senior, but I can't fathom that Boras will give up his right to negotiate and sign early -- especially if he feels he has the top talent in the draft. If selected #1 and there are protracted negotiations, it will hamper the Astros ability to save money early and re-allocate that to later picks, as they did last year.
Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek struggled early on, pitching in the low 90s and getting hit around a bit but found himself late in the game. In his last inning Stanek was up to 96-97 with good bite on his slider. Stanek may have the best 1-2 combo in the draft but he still shows some mechanical issues including a big stride which causes some arm drag. It'll be interesting to see where he goes in the draft. You can make a case for him going anywhere from #1 to #5 right now.
Stanek is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in 12.2 innings this season. He has walked 5 and struck out 11.
Sean Manaea was snowed out yesterday and we'll update this piece if he makes up that start today.
Looking for a big-time sleeper and possible late riser?
This year's Kyle Zimmer may be University of Nevada RHP Braden Shipley. You may remember that Zimmer shot from the bottom of the first round and into a potential #1 pick overall. Like Zimmer, Shipley has a fresh arm and is a former SS. He's an extremely athletic 6'2", 180 lbs with a lean build that projects well. He pitches in the mid 90s, peaks at 97 mph and he throws with a sharp, downward plane. Some think Shipley can shoot up into the top 5 by the time June rolls around. Kevin will have a full report on him when he visits San Diego next month.
So far this season Shipley is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA. He has 4 walks and 16 strikeouts in 14 innings. Nevada plays Holy Cross this weekend and we'll update you with his performance.
I had hopes for Vanderbilt LHP Kevin Ziomek as a 2nd round pick for the Cubs but if he keeps pitching like he did last night, that might become a pipe dream. Ziomek was just as dominant as Appel as he shut down UIC with a complete game one hitter and 15 strikeouts. He walked three and despite that and the high strikeout total, Ziomek threw just 114 pitches.
Ziomek is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA with 6 walks and 33 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Jonathan Crawford of Florida had another so-so outing (6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) and, combined with the drop in his velo and concerns about this mechanics, can no longer be considered a top 5 candidate -- perhaps not even a top 20.
Another sleeper pick for rounds 2 and 3 may be Jacksonville's Chris Anderson. He was a closer as a freshman, then had a mediocre sophomore year, but has come out strong this season. The RHP had another great performance (9 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K). His season numbers are incredible. He is 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA and has 4 walks and 35 strikeouts in 28 innings. He's not doing it with smoke and mirrors either. Anderson sits comfortably in the 91-94 range and can dial it up to 96 on occasion.
Clint Frazier hit his 4th HR. Here's video...
Top Cubs DSL Prospect
Ben Badler of Baseball America recently made a top 20 list of both the DSL and the VSL. The Cubs will have a team in each league this year but last year they had two DSL teams. Only one Cubs player made the list: RHP Daury Torrez.
Torrez went 6 - 3 with a 1.21 ERA last season with 4 walks and 50 strikeouts in 74.2 innings.
Torrez is a good combination of size, stuff, and projectabilty. He's just 19 years old and he's 6'3", 200 lbs and already sits at 90-93 mph with his fastball that has sink and run movement. What really stands out is that Torrez commands all his pitches, including a hard slider and a change-up. As noted above, he walked just 4 batters in 74.2 innings. If there is a weakness, it's that none of those pitches are dominant and he hasn't had as many strikeouts as you would like. Torrez will turn 20 in June so the Cubs may want to move him along to Boise this year.