With the first pick down to two big RHPs Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel -- or in a longshot, 3B-OF Kris Bryant, we'll continue to turn our focus to the 2nd round.
Today, we'll look at the college lefties. The crop isn't as deep as the RHP and I don't see as much upside as we did with the righties, but there are some interesting prospects and a wide range of opinion.
Kevin Ziomek, Vanderbilt
The 6'3" Ziomek drew some early buzz because of a blistering start in which he shut down his opponents and missed a ton of bats. He hasn't sustained that pace but he's still firmly entrenched as a 2nd round option. For Cubs fans, there is the obvious connection with minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson -- so it would seem the Cubs would know more about Ziomek than any other team.
Ziomek works with an 89-92 mph FB and a slurve (some say curve, some say slider) that is an average offering. He has flashed a decent change in the past but hasn't used it much this spring. Keith Law believes his arm action will eventually land him in the bullpen. Some scouts see him as a 3rd to 4th round talent, but he's a good athlete and he's been very productive, so a team looking for a pitcher to move quickly may pull the trigger earlier.
Thomas Windle, Minnesota
Windle was a guy some watched early because there seemed like there would be some potential for a breakthrough into first round territory. That didn't happen and Windle is back in the range where scouts thought he'd be after his sophomore season. He's an athletic pitcher who projects to have good command and to go with his advanced feel for pitching. The stuff is solid but not special. He has a good 88-92 mph fastball that has reached as high as 94. There isn't a whole lot of movement but Windle's 6'4 frame that allows hm to throw that pitch from a good downward plane.
Law calls his slider "fringy" while BA calls it an "out pitch". There are also some scouts who question Windle's delivery which is a little stiff and driven more by pure arm speed. So this is a guy with some mixed opinion. Those who like him think he's an athletic pitcher with the potential for two plus pitches and command, giving him a ceiling of a #2 starter. Those who don't think he ends up in the bullpen because of his delivery. A team that's sold on the former will probably take him no later than the 2nd round.
Kent Emmanuel, North Carolina
Like the previous two pitchers, Emmanuel is an athletic pitcher with a big frame (6'4, 225 lbs). He doesn't throw as hard as you would think, however, sitting at 87-89 and topping out at about 91. He actually relies more on a deceptive delivery than pure power but his athleticism allows him to repeat it well, and so there is that potential for plus command. Both of his breaking pitchers are average right now though his change-up is an above-average offering.
Emmanuel is the kind of pitcher who is pretty polished and has faced high level competition, so he'll get picked by a team looking for a guy to move quickly. I fully expect Emmanuel to breeze through A ball and get to AA sometime in his second full season.
Dillon Overton, Oklahoma
It's hard to believe now but Overton was the more heralded pitching recruit at Oklahoma over Jonathan Gray. Overton, in fact, was still higher rated by most when the season began. A forearm strain has caused him to drop. Despite the smallest build of those we've talked about so far, Overton has the best fastball. When healthy, he works in the low 90s and is able to touch 95. Moreover he also have the potential for 3 above average to plus pitches. His slider is a swing and miss offering when right and his change up has good fade and gives him a legit out pitch vs. RH hitters.
So how is a LHP with this kind of stuff not a first-rounder? Overton's forearm troubles caused him to be shut down this season. There was some concern after his fastball dipped into the high 80s. There's significant injury risk here but also more upside than the previous pitchers on this list.
Cody Reed, NW Mississippi
Reed is the sleeper in the group. He's come out of nowhere as a guy who was on the small side and had a mid 80s fastball in high school. He ended up going to a community college in Mississippi. Since those days, Reed has grown to a filled out 6'5"and is perhaps the most intriguing non-prep lefty and may rival Overton as the guy with the best upside. He's a guy we talked about before as a fast riser on the strength of a fastball that can reach the mid 90s. Reed has also increased the velo on his slider into the low 80s. He has a smooth, athletic delivery from the left side and throws with pretty good command considering his experience level.
- Aaron Brown, Pepperdine
- Rob Zastryzyny, Missouri
- DJ Snelton, Minnesota
- Daniel Gibson, Florida
Filed under: MLB Draft