12 June 2017

Outlook Before the Draft...

The Orioles will have three selections tonight:

21st overall (rd 1)
60th overall (rd 2)
74th overall (rd 2a - comp B pick)

This post will go over what I have heard and then a short bit about my own preferences for the position.

First off, I want to take a few words to spell out my own drafting perspective.  First and foremost, I prefer college bats and arms that project to be Major League starters.  To determine that, I use a mix of scouting and my own analytics (CRAP).  Secondary to that, I value defensive ability in the middle of the field running from catcher through shortstop and into centerfield.  Then, I prefer arm strength as a deciding factor amongst similar players.  In pitchers, I value arm strength over skill and secondary command over fastball command.  Finally, I have zero interest in poor defending catchers.  I evaluate them at their next position.

21st overall
In the media, the names swirling around the Orioles come down to collegiate shortstop Logan Warmoth, collegiate RHP Tanner Houck, and Puerto Rican prep OF Heliot Ramos.  Warmoth is a bit of a tweener.  If the industry really believed in his bat or his glove, he would likely be a top ten pick in the manner of someone like Grant Green.  However, his arm is not all that impressive and his range does not make up for that.  The bat appears adequate for shortstop, but might struggle to provide competent value if left field is his final destination.

Houck is another player that generates conversation.  His has a peculiar delivery that provides some life on his fastball, giving the low 90s two seamer a plus plus grade.  However, that same delivery has seemingly made it difficult to develop much out of his breaking ball or changeup.  The ceiling is a workhorse first division backend arm, but the current tools scream more "late inning arm" to me.  A confidant club could look to clean up his delivery, but that could really flatten out his fastball to the point it is an average offering to go along with marginally improved off speed offerings.  Reinventing a pitcher does not exactly seem like something the Orioles have had a history of doing well.

Ramos has had a lot of helium in the last couple weeks as more people in organizations are becoming enthused about his plus plus speed, huge raw power, and how it seems everyone in his family is capable of great athletic feats.  Defensively, he is a true centerfielder with a plus arm.  It all comes down to whether or not he can develop a better approach at the plate and better pitch recognition.  Very much a feast or famine kind of player.

Among those three, I think Warmoth is acceptable, but would lean toward the possibility of Ramos.  However, I would include other names in the discussion.  I am really not incredibly interested in the college offerings this year and the college players that do strike my fancy like Joe Dunand (SS), Will Toffey (3B), and Mike Papierski (C) will likely be available on Day 2.  With this first pick, I would want to go after someone with a loud tool.  Ramos fits that, but so does Nick Allen (SS).  Offensively and defensively, Allen has done at SS what scouts hope Ramos can do in CF.  The big knock on Allen is that he stands at 5'8".  If he was three or four inches taller, then he would find himself as a top 15 name.  My model thinks that size is overstated as an attribute to use to project future performance, but my model has some limitations.  That said, I have more confidence in the data there than in the major projection leap required for Ramos.

In the end, I would look toward selecting Nick Allen first and Heliot Ramos second.  If that all falls through, then I would look at a safety pick like Houck, Griffin Canning (RHP), or Brent Rooker (OF).

60th overall
Projections here are all over the board, but the two names I hear most are both two seam heavy pitchers, Iowa Western southpaw Daniel Tillo and Alabama prep LHP Jacob Heatherly.  That might be more of a guess with their decision making process last year because the second round does not look like it is full of interesting arms like it was last year.

Tillo was first and foremost a basketball prospect whose athleticism failed him a bit into being a baseball player.  There are not many miles on his arm, but he has shown the ability to pitch in the high 90s with boring action.  He also has a slider that came out average last year and has some projection to it.  His changeup was limited to bullpen sessions.  He won't be polished or a fast riser, but there is a good bit to dream in that arm.  If a changeup can be produced, you have a solid makeup for a starting pitcher.  If not, that is a late inning burner.

Heatherly is one of those dreaded 19 year old amateur high schoolers.  The issue with that is that 19 year old high schoolers tend to have had more reps as an amateur and look a bit more put together than prospects who are 17 or 18.  Heatherly throws a potential plus two seamer in the low 90s and a slider.  He can rely on those two pitches in the prep ranks and easily handle opposing lineups.  He also is faintly a two way player who can generate screaming liners.  He is someone who you could go the P/DH route for a season or two to see if anything magically happens at the plate.

For me, Tillo makes sense, but I am going to go one of two ways, Brent Rooker or Joe Dunand.  Brent Rooker is the aforementioned left fielder.  He does not look flashy, but has seen his performance leap forward in the past few years.  Rooker has led the SEC in most offensive categories and has done a solid job developing a better approach at the plate.  He gets good grades for makeup and is that kind of player who drops because he looks like a left fielder.  Dunand is a SS/3B tweener.  He probably does not have the ability to firmly play SS, but could serve as a UTL or settle in at third base.  I think he would be a solid choice.  For me, the potential as a SS, has me lean to Dunand.  Tillo would be my backup plan.  Joe Perez (1B/RHP) is a prep who would also have my interest as a plan C.

74th overall
Projections come up with similar names as the 60th pick.  Basically either guys who live in the strike zone or hitters with a polished approach like prep OF Daniel Cabrera or Arizona 1B J.J. Matijevic.

My focus would be on Tillo or Perez.  If Hagen Danner (RHP/C) falls then I would be interested as well.  He profiles as a potential catcher who could slide back into the bullpen and throw in the upper 90s.  Prep RHP Drew Rasmussen would also hold my attention as he has shown an upper 90s fastball somewhat regularly.

In the end, I think my preferred likely scenario would go:
21st - Nick Allen, SS
60th - Joe Dunand, SS/3B
74th - Daniel Tillo, LHP

It seems for the Orioles it might be:
21st - Tanner Houck, RHP
60th - Daniel Tillo, LHP
74th - J.J. Matijevic, 1B


Jacob Smith said...

I was really hoping the O's would get Carlson, but Hall was a great get outside of the top 20. Can't complain about this pick unless he doesn't sign. Adam Hall and Lowther both felt like significant stretches to me, though.

Jon Shepherd said...

Adam Hall is a decent pickup. I think lack of reps and mentality dropped him in rankings. I think that is a solid pick.

Lowther? He is a 5th rd pitcher to me. You bring him in looking to improve his pitching because his throwing is maxed out. My guess is that he saves the club a little cash and they go for a falling prep in 3rd or 4th rd.

Roger said...

Just based upon the player descriptions/brief scouting reports, I'd have to agree with Jon. Especially on Lowther. He seemed to be a reach especially for someone that tops out at about 90mph. I think they wanted a pitcher they didn't have to "develop" - a weak strategy.

Jon Shepherd said...

So my Day 1 went Nick Allen, Daniel TIllo, and JJ Matijevic.

Day 2 will be looking at live arm pitchers and probably some bats or strong defense. Will Toffey and Papierski come to mind.

Jon Shepherd said...

Follow up on my shadow draft
1. Nick Allen SS
2. Daniel Tillo LHP
3. JJ Matijevic 2B
4. Jake Thompson RHP
5. Mike Papierski C
6. Brad Bass RHP
7. Donovan Casey RHP/OF
8. Garrett Benge 3B
9. Cameron Bishop RHP/OF
10. JJ Schwarz C