We started looking at DC-local draft prospects early this spring with a comprehensive pre-season review of all local draft prospects. Then at mid-spring season we took at look at just the best local prospects. Now that the Rule 4 draft has occurred, lets talk about some of these big-time names from DC/MD/VA and who went where.
I’ll list these players with local ties in the order they were drafted, which it should be noted, turned out to be vastly different from their pre-draft ranking order. Like with other posts, I’ll put in rankings for the player from four reputable ranking sources pre-draft for prospects: Keith Law, Baseball America, MLB.com and MinorLeagueBall (though, as we’ll see by the rankings below, I’m not sure I think MinorLeagueBall’s rankings are worthy; they’re *way* off on some players who went in the upper rounds). After the 10th round, we’ll just focus on “name players” or high schoolers who got previous mention; lets be honest, the odds of a high school star being bought out of his college commitment drastically drops after just the first few rounds.
The MLB Draft Tracker is the best tool out there for finding info on players and is used heavily here.
- 1st Round/#19 overall by Cincinnati: Nick Howard, UVA rhp reliever (Law #63/BA #25/MLB #31/MinorLeagueBall #40). Jim Callis reports that Howard’s stock was rising fast ahead of the draft, and MlbDraftInsider predicted an early 2nd round pick for Howard. Shocking everyone, he went right after the Nats picked at #19 in the first round. A surprise pick; he was projected to be just the third UVA player selected and perhaps a 2nd rounder. He was a Sunday starter for UVA but moved to the bullpen in 2014 and showed a significant strike-out tool (he had a 15.88 K/9 rate on the year, albeit in just 28 innings closing games for UVA). I wonder if Cincinnati is thinking they can move him back to a starting role, because drafting a reliever this high is (in some pundit’s minds) a waste of a first round pick. Signed for $1.995M, $100k under slot.
- Supp-1st Round/#37 overall by Houston: Derek Fisher, UVA OF (#15/#31/#26/#31). Keith Law video breakdown. Law predicted back of first round despite his ranking him as the 15th best prospect. Scout.com predicted the same. MlbDraftInsider predicted mid-first round. They were all wrong; Fisher lasted until the mid supplemental 1st round, and odds are that Houston got a steal of a player here. Fisher’s production was hampered by a broken hamate bone this season, causing him to miss time and lose power, so this pick was projecting his excellent sophomore season. I think Houston will find a quick-to-the-majors corner outfielder who can slot nicely into a #2 or #6 slot. Signed for $1.534M, exactly slot.
- Supp-1st Round/#38 overall by Cleveland: Mike Papi, UVA 1B/OF (#43/#43/#45/#81. Keith Law video breakdown. Law predicted mid 2nd round. MlbDraftInsider predicted early 2nd round. But Papi’s strong finish clearly jumped him on Cleveland’s board, who nabbed him in the supplemental first round. He profiles as a professional hitter, lots of line drives, lots of walks (I think of Nick Johnson). Signed for $1.25M, about $250k under slot.
- 2nd Round/#45 overall by Chicago Cubs: Jake Stinnett, SR RHP from U of Maryland (#51/#67/#72/#213??). Stinnett clearly made himself a ton of money with his showings at the ACC tournament (8ip, 3 ER and 10ks versus UVA) and the CWS regional (8ip, 3runs against ODU). He is the first college senior off the board, to a team (the Cubs) that is trying to rebuild itself, so one may wonder if this is a pre-negotiated/below-slot deal with a guy who won’t have a ton of leverage so that the Cubs can throw extra cash later on. Either way, Stinnett was likely to go in the 2nd round regardless, so the Cubs don’t do much of an over-draft here. Signed for exactly $1M, about $250k under slot.
- 3rd round/#78 overall by Chicago Cubs: Mark Zagunas, C from Virginia Tech ((Law out of top 100/#111/#149/#106). Zagunas profiles as a Jason Kendall like catcher; good defense, contact hitter who doesn’t strike out a ton. But Law thinks he projects as a backup catcher and thinks this is a bit of an over-draft. No matter; Zagunas became one of the first players to sign when he took an under-slot deal over the weekend. Signed for 615K, about $100k underslot.
- 3rd round/#83 overall by Toronto: Nick Wells is a LHP from Battlefield HS in Gainesville (Law out of top 100/#119/Out of MLB’s top 200/#343) who has a College of Charleston commit and who sits low-90s on the gun. He’s popped up from being just a good HS pitcher to being a potential 3rd-4th rounder. Slot is $661k. Might be signable; that’s a lot of money. Battlefield lost in the 6-A north regional quarters to McLean; i’m not sure which game Wells pitched (perhaps their first round game, a 4-0 win). UPdate: named to Baseball America’s 2nd team All-American team for 2014. Signed for $661k, exactly slot.
- 4th Round/#111 overall by Seattle: Ryan Yarbrough, a senior LHP from ODU (na/#407/na/na) who I hadn’t seen on any pre-draft rankings. I was surprised to find him at least on BA’s list. He was a weekend starter (some Friday, some Saturday) for ODU this year but struggled to a 6-7, 4.50 ERA on the season. In the CWS regional he pitched in relief in the first of their two-and-out losses to Maryland. No offense to Yarbrough, but a 4th round senior draftee (slot value $471k) who likely is an org-arm more befitting of a mid-20s round pick looks like a complete money-saving move by Seattle to free up cash for other picks. Signed for just $40k, more than $430k under slot. Seattle went WAY over-slot with its 1st rounder and supp-2nd rounder and needed to make up for it with a ton of under-slot guys.
- 4th Round/#116 overall by Milwaukee: Troy Stokes from Calvert Hall College in Baltimore (na/#316/na/#260). He profiles as an undersized lead-off/CF and is committed to Maryland. I can see him signing for slot frankly based on this draft position. Maryland loses a recruit that could have really helped them. Signed for $400k, about $50k underslot.
- 4th Round/#127 overall by Tampa Bay: Blake Bivens is an RHP from George Washington HS (aka GW-Danville near the NC border) (na/#124/na/#140). He’s committed to Liberty but has been consistently 90-93 on the gun with reports of good secondary stuff. Projected as possible 3rd-4th rounder and indeed that’s where he went. GW-Danville is a 4-A school that got upset in their conference semis, hence his absence from the prep radar. His slot value is $404k; is that enough to get him out of going to Liberty? I would think so, even given Liberty’s run to the CWS this year we’re not talking about a big-time program (though, that being said, I don’t know jack about Bivens personally, and he might be quite religious, which would explain his commitment to small-school liberty despite his talents). Named to Baseball America’s 3rd team all-american. Signed for $462k, about $60k above slot.
- 7th Round/#213 overall by Kansas City: Brandon Downes, CF from UVA. I’d accuse this of being a money-saving senior sign draft pick, but Downes is a junior. Slot is $176k; if he gets slot he may sign. That’s a lot of money. Signed for $150k, about $25k under slot. Not bad for a senior sign.
- 7th Round/#222 overall by Oakland: Brandon Cogswell, ss/2b from UVA (na/228/na/268). MLB’s profile projects him as either a 2nd baseman or a utility guy professionally. I wonder if he’ll sign; slot figure is $164k and he’s a college junior. Maybe this is a peak for him. Signed for $200k, about $35k over slot.
- 8th/#226 by Houston: Bobby Boyd, an undersized junior CF from West Virginia U (not ranked on any list) but who hails from Silver Spring and who went to St. Johns. Completely unnoticed by any pre-draft ranking team; is this a punt of a draft pick? .356 average (good) but just a .389 OBP (bad … just 10 walks all year). Signed for $140k, about $20k under slot.
- 8th/#250 by Detroit: Artie Lewicki, UVA’s mid-week/4th starter who got a ton of work in the ACC and regional tournaments. A nice senior draftee for Detroit. Signed for $60k, about $90k underslot.
- 10th and 14th rounds: the only two JMU players were taken; Ty McFarland and Chris Huffman. McFarland is a senior third baseman and son of the longtime JMU coach Spanky McFarland while Huffman is a junior RH who may opt to return in hopes of a bigger bonus next year.
- 15th/#454 by Washington: Ryan Ripken, 1B from Indian River CC but more famous for being the son of Cal Ripken, Jr. You can’t help but make mention of this pick, not only because it was the Nats, but because of who it is. I can’t find much of any scouting reports on the guy. MLB.com has a story with some more data.
- 17th/#540 by Washington: Alec Keller, a senior CF out of Princeton but who went to Douglas Freeman in Richmond. I had never heard of Keller, but then again I didn’t really start following prep baseball closely until recently. Of interest; perfectgame lists him at 5’6″, 110lb but mlb.com lists him at 6’2″, 200lbs. That’s one heck of a college growth spurt . I hope Keller gets some playing time in Viera and earns another summer of pro ball.
- 20th/#600 by Arizona: Jacob Bukauskus, RHP from Stone Bridge HS in Ashburn. Keith Law video breakdown. The local area’s top ranked prospect, projected as a mid-to-late first round pick, goes 600th overall. Bukauskas had informed all interested teams that he’s honoring his commitment to UNC. the thought was that a team might draft him early 2nd round and offer him a huge-overslot deal (as Law thought would happen, with a potential $2M bonus). Alas it did not, and this 20th round pick seems like a waste of a pick frankly. In late May he was named the Gatorade State player of the year. Baseball America 1st team All-American for 2014. Stats for the season: 7-0, 0.00 ERA. Word came out during the regional tournament that Bukauskas was being shut-down due to shoulder tendinitis; this likely was the reason he didn’t get drafted earlier. It looks like he’s getting his wish and going to school. UNC must be ecstatic.
- 20th/#614 by Boston: Devon Fisher is a catcher from 6-A south champions and state favorite Western Branch HS (Portsmouth). UVA commit. Projects as a 4th rounder, not picked til the 20th. Another likely victim of the new draft rules; in years past a saavy team like Boston would just throw $1M at him in the 20th and he’d sign. Instead UVA likely gets a big-time player coming to school. Update: Fisher signed with Boston instead of going to UVA.
- 21st/#634 by Washington: Conner Bach, SR LHP from VMI. I had no recollection of him previously, but NatsGM Ryan Sullivan reports that he played in the Cal Ripken league and left an impression.
- 22nd/#675 by St. Louis: Derek Casey is an RHP from Hanover HS (Mechanicsville) with a UVA commit. 93-94 on the gun. Projects as possible 3rd rounder. Casey led Hanover to the 2013 AAA Virginia state title and Hanover is the favorite to win the 4-A title this year. Another great sign for UVA; Casey likely is going to school.
- 32nd/#958 by San Francisco: Hunter Williams is a two-way lefty player from Cosby HS in Chesterfield, VA who has skills both on the mound at at the plate. He’s limited to first base in the field, which may make it tougher for him to get drafted and developed. 91 on the gun. UNC commit, it should be interesting to see which way he focuses. Projects as a 4th-5th rounder.
- 35th/#1050 by Arizona: Justin Morris is a C from DeMatha HS who plays for the 2013 PerfectGame national champions EvoShield Canes traveling team (east-coast based travel team with a ton of big-time names matriculating these days). He’s a Maryland commit but didn’t improve his draft stock much throughout the year. He was #295 on minorleagueball’s pre-season list but doesn’t get picked until garbage time in the draft. Pre-season PG all-Atlantic 1st team.
- 35th/#1054 by Washington: Flint Hill’s Tommy Doyle, a UVA commit who I didn’t think was a draft prospect, but who the Nats picked up in the 35th round likely to curry favor to a local interest.
- 40th/#1096 by Milwaukee, Taylor Lane, a shortstop from Chesapeake but attending HS in Florida at the IMG academy. Florida commit.
Local Names of note not drafted at all:
- Charlie Cody is a 3B from the same Great Bridge HS in Chesapeake that just graduated Connor Jones. He’s committed to UVA. His stock seems to have dropped this spring and he’s joining Jones at UVA; he did not get picked at all.
- Jeff Harding is a senior RHP from the Cambridge-South Dorchester school that just made it to Maryland 1-A’s state semis (after winning the title last year). He’s committed to South Carolina. I thought he’d at least get a late-round courtesy pick, but I guess not.
- Brodie Leftridge is an OF from Highland MD who played for St. Johns in DC with a Tennessee commit.
- Zach Clinton is a RHP from Forest, VA, plays for Liberty Christian HS (the Virginia state private schools champ) and is committed to Liberty. On 5/27/14 he was named the co-state player of the year for private schools (along with Tommy Doyle). No love from MLB teams though; he went undrafted and looks like he’s heading to his home town college.
- Hunter Taylor, a C from Nandua HS in Olney, VA. Named to the Baseball America 2nd team all-American list, was not drafted. Committed to South Carolina.
- Pavin Smith is a big lefty 1B/OF two-way player from Florida who will attend UVA after not signing. It seems like he could slot right into the departing Mike Papi/Derek Fisher lineup holes.
- Bennett Sousa is a LHP from Florida who now will attend UVA. 93mph, seems like he will slot into their rotation in a year’s time.
Summary: UVA has a ton of players drafted (no less than 8, and 7 of them likely are signing). But they have a ton of commits from major names who didn’t get drafted and/or who got drafted so late that they stand little chance of signing. Devon Fisher, Derek Casey, Tommy Doyle and Charlie Cody are all UVA commits likely going to school. UNC also makes out like a bandit, getting both Bukauskas and Williams to school. And Maryland looks like it will get at least two very decent players coming to school in Morris and Harding.
Some useful draft links for you:
- Here’s the first round draft order for the 2014 draft. Nats pick #18th.
- Detailed first round order (and why teams gained or lossed picks) from Bill Chuck on GammonsDaily.com.
- Allmetsports.com DC area Baseball signing status for all notable local players.
- BaseballAmerica’s Draft Preview with write-ups on top 200 players. Furthermore for subscribers they have a top 500 list and Links to final college stats of all BA top-200 players.
- Keith Law‘s Mock Draft and top-100 list. (espn insider only).
- MLB.com’s top 100 Prospect Watch
- MinorLeagueBall’s Matt Garrioch’s top 350 draft prospects. But more importantly his Mid-Atlantic draft preview, a great resource with home towns and college commitments of all DC/MD/VA players.
- MLB.com’s draft central home page, which includes the incredibly useful Draft Tracker database, which lets you search for players by Name, position, home state, school, etc.
- Yahoo’s Jeff Passan obtained copies of the letters MLB sent both to agents and teams, describing the “rules of behavior” agents and teams are supposed to follow.
- Draft Slot assigned bonus values per BA for the first 10 rounds. After round 10, every subsequent spot has a slot value of $100k. Here’s a link to the total bonus pool per team: Nats are at $5.275M for the whole draft.
- Quick link to the college stats of BA’s top prospects.
- d1baseball.com as an entry point to get to any college’s statlines.
- MinorLeagueBall review of undrafted/unsigned prep players and their outlook for the 2017 draft.