Based on the targets listed in the prior two pieces (Targets for 1:3 and Targets for 3:3), it looks like the Shadow Draft is highly likely to go one of two ways through the first two picks: 1) high school pitcher and shortstop, or 2) high school pitcher and high school center fielder (Lipka offers double value, with center field being the likely landing place if he doesn't stick at short). Keeping in mind the goals Craw and I each laid out in our Draft Strategy piece, the 4th Round should offer a number of strategic avenues.
After the jump, our three targets for the 4th Round...
So far, this exercise has lead me to be cautiously optimistic that the first two picks could net a legit high school power arm and a long term shortstop, even with 82 players between those bookend selections due to the loss of Baltimore's 2nd Round pick. Accordingly, I'm looking here to possibly add a second middle-infielder (no small feet for a draft shy on them). Otherwise, I either grab one of the "2nd Tier" high school backstops or make my first stab at a potential overslot sign in the outfield.
Rick Hague, SS, Rice University
Craw already stepped through an into to Hague in the "Targets for 3:3" piece. I would just add that in around a dozen viewings of the Rice shortstop between last summer with Team USA and throughout the spring with Rice, I am convinced he can be a shortstop at the next level. He isn't flashy, but I believe he is unfairly knocked as "stiff" where his actions are to my eyes simply more deliberate than you would generally see from a potential "high round" shortstop. His largest troubles come on the accuracy of his throws, and in particular when he sets-up. A disproportionate amount of errors I witnessed came after tough at bats, or during games where he is struggling offensively, which also leads me to believe some of this may simply be Hague needing to get outside of his own head some. Even if my read is off, and Hague is destined to be a tweener -- relegated to third base without the bat to back it up -- it's a worthwhile gamble to take here around pick 118. PnR Scouting Report on Hague here (from the end of the summer - to be updated over the next four days).
Matt Roberts, C, Graham HS (N.C.)
Roberts fits well in the 4th Round as an advanced receiver with good catch-and-throw skills but some development still left in the bat. He would be an excellent talent to introduce to the low minors, set to move through the Shadow System with the likes of Taillon/Whitson (this year's 1:3 pick), Zack Wheeler and Ian Krol (2009 Shadow Picks). He could profile as a glove-first catcher with positive defensive value and a solid average hit tool with below-average power -- enough to be a valuable regular. There's upside of some increased pop here, as well, if he can hang a little more size on his frame and if his athleticism allows him to incorporate swing tweaks once exposed to advanced pro coaching.
Michael Lorenzen, OF/RHP, Fullerton Union HS (Calif.)
I am a big believer in Michael Lorenzen (having him comfortably in my Top 100 dating back to my extended looks at him down in Jupiter, Florida last October). He was dinged some by mainstream publications due to reports that area scouts were down on the California prepster after a slow start at the plate this spring. If by chance he is still around (which could be a possibility if he hints that he's looking for, say 2nd Round money to be bought out of his commitment to Cal. St. Fullerton), I'd gladly snatch him up here and treat it as a summer follow. If all checked out with workouts and his progress through the summer, I'd put up 2nd Round money to get him into the system. The PnR Scouting Report on Lorenzen isn't yet posted, but when it is you'll be able to find it here.
As one would expect, I very much like Hague and Lorenzen a round after I suggested targeting them. For my targets I'll focus some more on our lack of depth at middle infield, left handed pitching, and my own choice of high school catcher. These are all players I have identified as second or third round talents who may fall and be available for slightly above slot. It is my view that without a second round selection this year, some risk should be taken in these rounds to make up for the loss of that pick.
Sean Coyle, 2B, Germantown Academy (Pennsylvania)
Ideally, we would want to find a true shortstop here, but there is no point selecting one for the sake of selecting one. At this point in the draft some value picks might emerge. One such might be Sean Coyle. With a strong commitment to North Carolina and a needed shift off shortstop to second base, his asking price might be more than what several teams are willing to pay given the other talent available before this pick. With our Orioles lacking a second round pick, a falling talent like Coyle might be a good risk to take. As a second baseman, he profiles as a right handed bat with an above average approach at the plate. He has shown potential for gap power and the ability to go with the pitch, using the entire field. His main asset is plus speed and is thought to be a smart base runner.
Rob Rasmussen, LHP, UCLA
In our shadow system, we have only drafted one lefthanded pitcher (Ian Krol), so we do have an organizational need for a lefthanded pitching. I would try to find a more polished left handed arm that might have fallen into this range. There is a good deal of debate on Rasmussen with people pegging him as a safe projectable sandwich round pick for a team with several early selections to him being chosen as far back as in rounds 5-7. If he has bought into the idea of being selected in the sandwich or second round, he may prove to ask for more than I think he is worth. He throws four pitches with regularity: fastball, curve, slider, and change. He shows good command and use of his fastball and curve, but the other pitches appear more as change of pace offerings. None of them are thought to have plus potential. He could wind up as a backend starter if he is able to improve his changeup, but could also play up as a left handed relief pitcher using his fastball and curve.
Will Swanner, C, La Costa Canyon HS (California)
Swanner is a prospect that Nick will probably say I am being wishful thinking he will still be around in the fourth round. Although there is some depth to HS catching this year, it is not exceptionally deep. There does seem to be some difference of opinion on Swanner and no doubt some teams are as high on him as Nick is as shown in his PnR writeup on the player. The dig on him that might cause him to drop is that he may have to switch from behind the plate to the outfield and whether his bat will develop well enough for him to be able to start in the corners. A conservative team may snap him up earlier, but, here, I am looking at a couple tools and hoping he can be developed. His defense appears steady enough with a good arm and some need to work on his footwork. His bat could wind up being a benefit behind the plate. This would very much be a selection for an offensive oriented catcher.
Monday (5/31) - Three Suggested Targets (1:3)
Tuesday (6/1) - Three Suggested Targets (3:3)
Wednesday (6/2) - Three Suggested Targets (4:3)
Thursday (6/3) - Three Suggested Targets (5:3)
Friday (6/4) - Quick Hits: Two Targets Each (6:3 - 10:3)
Monday Morning (6/7) - Dream Draft; Orioles Draft Chat (11am - 1pm EDT).