MLB Draft 2nd Round: The college lefties

MLB Draft 2nd Round: The college lefties

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.

Others

  • Aaron Brown, Pepperdine
  • Rob Zastryzyny, Missouri
  • DJ Snelton, Minnesota
  • Daniel Gibson, Florida

Filed under: MLB Draft

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  • fb_avatar

    What's the caliber of opponents Kris Bryant is facing? The numbers are just unreal.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I saw him take a 94 FB that tailing down and in on the Knees 460 ft. He as face more very good pitchers and some not so good. He seems to step up for the better ones though.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Any word on how heavily the Cubs are scouting him?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I can't say. I know but I can't say.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Mid-caliber competition. The raw power is real , but other than some walks, I don't see him being great in any other area. Solid arm, decent athleticism -- you're getting him for that power. Not sure it's enough to vault him over two big arms unless something unexpected happens.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah.

    Your Ryan Leaf point a few days ago -- combined with just how out-of-nowhere Jonathan Gray has come -- has me wondering if taking the safer bet isn't a better idea. Don't want to pass on Mark Teixeira for Mark Prior a second time.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    We did a case for Kris Bryant for #1 on Bigleaguefutures.net.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Just looked it up. I also liked his track record of past performance, as well as gradual but noticeable improvement every year.

    I'm really torn on this one. Jim Callis has the two 80 tools at the top of this draft Gray's fastball and Bryant's power. I really do like the sum of the parts that is Appel, though. Then you have Dylan Bundy as a reminder that highly drafted pitchers can disappear overnight.

    Glad I'm not Theo.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There have been about 4 times in my life that have had bad feelings about players. There were Prior, Zambrano, Ben McDonald and now Mark Appel. I really want to shake that feeling but I can't.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Yeah, you've been very consistent on that. I respect you as a baseball guy, and as such respect your gut on these things. Your gut seems (seems -- I can only read tea leaves on this) to differ with Theo on Appel, though, which makes me wonder what he sees that you don't, or what you see that he doesn't.

    Then, on Bryant, as John says: the 80 power is really the only tool that stands out. It's not like he's 80 power, 70 hit tool. Whereas with Gray you're getting 80 fastball, 70 slider. With Appel, arguably 70+ on 3 pitches. I also fear that the increase in walks Bryant has had this year are a result of him so outclassing his competition that they're just throwing around him. And when he reaches the big leagues -- even against a guy like Travis Wood who will nibble at the corners with breaking stuff -- those walks will disappear.

    There really are cases for and against every single guy we might take. Add in that the Cubs really can't get this wrong, just to increase the pressure. Going to be an exciting day -- just a touch over 3 weeks from now.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Arm is a 70. Hit floor is 55 ceiling 65. So most likely will be a 60.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    This is pretty much the way I look at it, which is why Bryant is well behind the other two, in my opinion. I'm not even sure Bryant's an 80 power guy. I think to take him any higher than 3, you have to believe in his hit tool and that he can stay at 3B.

    Aside from the 3 plus pitches you mention, what Theo and company really like is athleticism in their pitchers and Appel has a solid edge over Gray in that respect. It makes you more confident in his ability to have the kind of command you need to be a front of the rotation starter a the MLB level. From what I understand, he's also a guy with off the charts makeup. He just gets a check mark in every box.

    But really, it's a matter of what you like in your pitchers. IF you're a pure stuff guy, then you give the edge to Gray because of the chance to have two plus plus pitches. With that he only needs an average change to be an ace as long as he also has plus command.

    I'm in the Appel corner mainly because, not only are his top two pitches are very good, but it's the change up and the athleticism that bodes well for developing plus command.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Two of those pitchers were pretty good (Zambrano, Prior). Prior would have been very good had he not gotten hurt.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I can see Houston picking him -- though less so since he hired Boras. 3 weeks to go.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The MLB community knew about 2 months ago.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think Appel is as safe as you can get for a college pitcher. But, of course, pitchers are always risky.

    If you ask me, the Cubs will take Appel if he's there. I'm not as sure with Gray. He's a bigger risk to me. Seems like a slam dunk, but if Houston takes Appel, I'm not gong to rule out picking Bryant and then stocking up on pitching later.

  • Overton is the one I like the best in that group send yes he is a TJ risk. I also think he could be a solid #3.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I think so as well, though Reed has some intriguing talent. Bit more of an unknown with him, more projection. May have the best lefty arm outside of prep ranks.

    Do you know anything about Zack Farmer from the Ohio area? Nice size, FB peaks at 92 but good frame and there's a ton of projection there. OSU commit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I know Matt my partner really likes him. I can get some more info on him.

  • The HS LHP are much more interesting.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Agreed.

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    Mike, the difference between the power conferences and the mid-majors in baseball isn't as great as in football and basketball. Like the top teams of the Missouri Valley can hang with the best teams in the Big Ten or Big 12, it's the same out there.

    http://usdtoreros.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/sched/usd-m-basebl-sched.html

    The Toreros play a decent schedule, and WCC teams are no stranger to Omaha, NE and the CWS.

  • Out of those listed, it's either Overton or Reed for me. We have enough 'finesse lefties', so I'll pass on the others. Wasn't it a forearm strain that caused pierce Johnson to slip to us? I have no doubt Theo & Co will know Overton's medical reports better than he does.... might be a steal for us.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    If the Cubs do go college lefty, than I prefer those two as well. The Cubs do have a lot of guys in that 88-92 range with good changeups, solid command, etc.

  • Speaking of LHP's.... anything new on Concepion?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yes. Linguists have found that "Gerardo Concepcion" is Spanish for "Hayden Simpson."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    OMG, you just made me fall out of my chair. I'm facebooking that one with all credit due.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    AAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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    I just read the Kris Bryant article on BLF. If Houston does go that route, the Cubs are going to have a hard decision to make.

  • I think it would be cool to hear some MLB player comparisons(atleast hopefully close to or even better!) for the "Top 3 Guys"

    I've heard Jeff Samardzija for Grey and Evan Longoria/Ryan Zimmerman for Bryant... You guys have some comparisons?

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    I don't know if Bryant is as good a defender as those guys when they're healthy
    -- mixed opinions on his ability to hit for average, but he should have at least the same kind of power.

    I see Bryant as a .260 hitter with 30 HRs, lots of walks and strikeouts. Can't think of who that compares to off the top of my head. Kevin probably has him as a better hitter than that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John! that kind of bat is pretty tempting, I think maybe the comparison to Longoria and Zimmerman were also mostly on how quick they were able to play in the big leagues, appreciate the response,

    still can't believe on the sox got Sale and how he seemed to be pitching in the big leagues like 2 months later... i've never seen that before, those guys know pitching...

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    I think the Sox are really confident that Cooper can develop their pitchers better than their development staff can. And it's not just draft choices, he's taken talented pitchers like Floyd and Danks who struggled in other systems and made them good pitchers as well. He offers a rare luxury that may be second only to Dave Duncan when he was around.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    "I think the Sox are really confident that Cooper can develop their pitchers better than their development staff can"

    wow nicely said, good point! I have thought for years now tha Cooper was the best pitching coach in baseball, he is amazing, like who is Quitana? he even made Humber look good for a yr...
    That's what worries me about the Cubs Soxs series... they have such talentd lefties, Sale, Quintana, and sounds like Denks will be back soon... then throw righty Peavy... Our lineup if def better set up against righties...

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    TFB came out with a new mock today.

    http://throughthefencebaseball.com/2013-mlb-draft-ten-high-school-players-on-the-rise/32935

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Yet another Appel goes first. Oh, well. Here's hoping Jonathan Gray hits that ceiling..

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    John and Kevin, Karsten Whitson's shoulder surgery to repair an impingement went well, and Dr. James Andrews, who did the surgery, expects him to make a full recovery. Andrews said he found no damage to either the labrum or rotator cuff in Whitson's shoulder. Considering how team's used their 6th through 10th round picks last year to on college seniors to save money, would Whitson be worth taking a flier on? If he doesn't sign, what have you lost?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I would absolutely take a flyer on Whitson in that area.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I wouldn't be shocked to see the Cubs take him.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I wouldn't either, especially since McLeod has taken him before.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    And lest we forget that Wilken had a hard on for him as well.

  • Ohh, I love the idea of Appel/Gray, and then Overton/Reed in the second:)

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