06 June 2012

2012 MLB Draft -- Day 2 Review and Shadow Picks

So, Baltimore had an interesting second draft day, though they went about things slightly differently than did Camden Depot in our Shadow Draft. Baltimore stayed fairly balanced throughout the first ten rounds, beginning with hometown selection Branden Kline (pictured, copyright DiamondScape Baseball LLC), a Frederick native who has spent his collegiate career at UVA. The O's followed a more traditional approach to the draft by mixing-in some signability picks with some upside JuCo and high school selections. The net result, in my opinion, is a very solid collection of talent with five of the selections falling outside my evaluative comfort zone.

Our approach centered on an analysis of the draft class up top (players in consideration for selection at 1:4), the number of players we had rated as Day 1 talents but with strong enough college commitments to drop them in the draft, and an estimate as to how many "expensive" selections we might be able to afford (this, in particular, is heavily dependent on what Gausman ultimately signs for). We came out with the general idea that any top tier high school selections would have to be made early and a portion of the top 10 bonus allotment slots (rounds 1 to 10) would need to be inexpensive college seniors that would sign for around or under $100 thousand in order to free up a little more cash. The specific high schoolers available after Round 3 would determine whether we could grab one, two or three solid college picks in the mid-single digits. I'll post a piece tomorrow morning that mirrors this piece, but covers our shadow picks rather than the actual picks discussed below.

Here is a quick set of notes covering Baltimore's actual selections today rounds 2 to 10. We'll have more in-depth reports on these players, and some of those selected in rounds 11 to 40, between this week and next:

2nd Round, Branden Kline (rhp, University of Virginia)
As mentioned in our draft preview piece covering local talents, Kline made the jump from reliever to starter this year.  Prior to 2012, the righty utilized a high-effort but utilitarian wind-up, moving to a crouched set and delivery from the stretch. As is the case with many (most) UVA starters, Kline moved to a crouched approach in his wind-up this year, as well, with mixed results. Kline's low-90s fastball and power slider can miss bats, but his new crouched delivery, married with a high arm slot, regularly drives balls up and out of the zone and makes it difficult to spot his secondaries. If Baltimore is willing to break down and rebuild his mechanics, he has the raw talent to mold into a potential mid-rotation starter. Otherwise, he's likely destined for the pen, where he could top out as an 8th inning guy.

3rd Round, Adrian Marin (ss, Gulliver Prep. School, Miami, Fla.)
Marin, a University of Miami commit, likely profiles best as a second baseman or center fielder due to his straight line foot speed, average arm strength and below-average power.  Marin shows quick hands in the box but puts together inconsistent showings due to some quirks in his swing mechanics, including some dip in his eye level and a top-heavy cut that makes adjust to off-speed problematic at times. He's an excellent student with a chance to play for the hometown 'Canes, so he may require the full slot allotment to sign -- maybe a bit more.

4th Round, Christian Walker (1b, Univ. of South Carolina)
We discussed Walker in the local talents draft piece, as well, noting his slightly undersized stature for a first baseman and an offensive profile that skews hit tool over power. Walker was one of three players Jon identified in his "three outcomes" study for 2012 (if you ask him nicely, I'm sure he'd discuss it in more detail in the comments section or even a separate piece!). We know Walker understands the strikezone well and is battle tested in the SEC. What we don't know is how well his power tool will develop once he makes the switch to wood and starts squaring off against advanced pro pitching. Jon pegged the 4th Round as the target round for Walker, and while I overruled him for purposes of the Depot shadow draft, this is certainly a solid value pick for the veteran Gamecock middle-of-the-order bat.

5th Round, Colin Poche (lhp, Marcus HS (Flower Mound, Texas)
Poche was down in Jupiter last October with the MSL All-Star squad, gaining a degree of notoriety as a draft-eligible lefty that broke the 90-mph barrier. He's the type of recruit you feel good about as a college coach, lacking the "now" profile you expect to be poached by MLB clubs, but showing enough stuff to help you out in relief early on while eventually growing into a weekend starter role. Provided he signs, he could spend the remainder of the summer with the Gulf Coast rookie squad, tackling Aberdeen next year. Poche isn't likely to be a fast mover, there is solid projection in his body and stuff, and providedd a reasonable signing bonus he should be a nice addition to the lower-levels of the system.

6th Round, Lex Rutledge (lhp, Samford Univ.)
Rutledge caught my attention two summers ago as a relief arm invited to partake in the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Trials. He was eventually cut from the squad before the final roster was set, but had the opportunity in scrimmage action to show a mid-90s fastball that bumped 97 mph and a hard low-80s 1-to-7 curve (which worked as a chase pitch but which he struggled to command). As a starter, Rutledge sees his velo drop to 88-92 mph range, and below-average control and command further complicates his future as a starter.

7th Round, Matt Price (rhp, Univ. of South Carolina)
A former power arm in the Gamecocks pen, Price has seen his velocity drop over the past two seasons, with his fastball generally a low-90s offering at this point that will still scrape 95 mph. He has thrown in many a high leverage situation for the back-to-back defending national champs, though his future at the professional level is more likely to be that of a low-leverage middle-reliever due to his current quality of stuff. His breaker is a tilty slider that can flash bite and counts as his second fringe above-average offering when paired with his fastball.

8th Round, Torsten Boss (3b/of, Michigan St. Univ.)
Boss isn't quite a "toolsy" player, though he flashes five of them throughout his game. While his 15% walk rake and .323/.443/.497 triple slash line (as of mid-May) jump out as impressive, his stats are buoyed by a heavy starter/reliever split, with Boss walking 24% of the time against relievers and triple-slashing .329/.505/.579 vs. an 8% walk rate and .319/.394/.442 triple-slash against starters. He also shows his pop almost exclusively against righties, with just 3 of his 20 extra base hits (as of mid-May) coming against southpaws. Making a name for himself with homers against St. John's Kyle Hansen and Texas A&M's Michael Wacha, Boss otherwise struggled some against elite pitching, striking out 22% of the time against arms that figured to go in the top 10 rounds, as compared to a 15% strikeout rate on the season. He is a coin-flip to stick at third, and should at minimum be able to provide a little bit of versatility between the hot corner and the outfield. 

9th Round, Brady Wagner (rhp, Grand Canyon Coll.)
Wagner, like Rutledge, is a low- to mid-90s power arm with a hard breaking ball a pension for periodic issues finding the strike zone. Also like Rutledge (and Kline), he has experience both in the pen and as a starter. Baltimore could run him out as a starter and see how far some mechanical tweaks can go in helping him to find some more consistency.

10th Round, Joel Hutter (ss, Dallas Baptist Univ.)
What is likely a cost-saving selection, Hutter is a senior middle-infielder with some outfield experience. As a pro, he likely profiles as a tweener without traditional speed for center field and what can be a fringy arm for the left side of the infield. He'll run into some balls at the plate, but profiles generally as a n org guy, offensively, with some swing-and-miss to him.

Camden Depot Shadow Draft selections (Rd 1 - 10)
As noted above, we went aggressive with high schoolers early and determined there to be room for two college juniors before switching over to easier signs (but also guys we liked).  Additionally, we tried to mix-in a local flavor, per directives of the O's front office. Jon lobbied hard for Christian Walker in the 4th, but was overruled due to my insistence on a higher upside high schooler in the first three rounds today.

Rd 1, Kevin Gausman (rhp, Lousiana St. Univ.)
Rd 2, Tanner Rahier (ss, Palm Desert HS, Palm Desert, Calif.)
Rd 3, Avery Romero (ss/3b, Menendez HS, St. Augustine, Fla.)
Rd 4, Ty Buttrey (rhp, Providence HS, Charlotte, N.C.)
Rd 5, Josh Elander (c/of, Texas Christian Univ.)
Rd 6, Lex Rutledge (lhp, Samford Univ.)
Rd 7, Jeremy Rathjen (of, Rice Univ.)
Rd 8 Zach Cooper (rhp, Central Michigan Univ.)
Rd 9, Michael Boyden (rhp, Univ. of Maryland)
Rd 10, Chris Kirsch (rhp, Lackawanna JC, Penn.)


bd said...

Thanks for your work, great stuff. Any take on 15th rounder Derick Velazquez?

Nick J Faleris said...

Thanks, bd.

Quality set of skills for Velazquez. No feel for signability -- relatively young and I assume if he's getting pro attention that he has the potential to vault to a D-I school should he so choose.

Under old system would feel good about signability. If he's willing to go pro for $200K or so it seems like Baltimore should have no trouble signing him.

Nick J Faleris said...

Sorry, to be clear, $200K of the bonus pool. Remember the first $100K at this point in the draft does not count towards the allotment. So, if his number is $300K then Baltimore needs only $200K available to get the job done.

They can also play with around $300K over the aggregate pool allotment without losing any loss of picks in future drafts (just a surcharge).

Andrew said...

Thank you for the summary.

dude said...

Nick, Jon....miss talking draft with you guys on the other message board....

I thought 2-5 was a little soft for the Orioles. I like the Walker pick. Are there issues with Wyatt Mathisen....seems like when you can get the top HS C at 65, you should take a shot.

Really liked what the Orioles did rds 6-15.

Feels sort of like they punted Day3. I would have like to see them be more aggressive with Jake Johansen, Sammy Ayala, Vincent Jackson and re-draft Coats.

Nick J Faleris said...

Hey dude; good to hear from you!

I think BAL's 2-5 was fairly traditional in that it looks like they picked targets and hit them when available. None of Kline, Marin, Walker, Poche should be particularly difficult signs (I believe Marin has signed already).

My preference (as you can see from the shadow draft) would have been to really leverage every bit of extra pool allotment I could to make one more top tier stab (ended up being Buttrey for us).

Nothing wrong with Mathiasen, but remember he's still a project behind the plate. Most of the scouting directors/cross-checkers got their best look at Area Code Games (which is where I got mine) last August, and he showed well. But there is WTBD to keep him at the 2-spot.

I think Day 3 is a throwaway aside from grabbing some back-up plans for any tough sign HSers you have.

Oh, and Jon is right there with you on the Walker pick. My veto on the shadow draft, so if anyone ends up with egg on their face when Walker is starting in BAL, it will be me.

Keep in touch.