Previous entries in this series:
Now the thirteenth installment in a series of scouting reports on players for the upcoming 2017 MLB Draft. As always, observations are a mix of my own and various scouting services:
Pavin Smith – 1B
Draft age: 21.3
Junior at Virginia
Last drafted: 2014, 32nd (Colorado)
Generally regarded as the best pure hitter in the draft. Has a nice and easy left-handed swing that generates loft. Even more impressive is Smith’s ability to control the strike zone and swing only at his pitches. He’s probably limited to first base defensively, but could probably hack left field. How much power he’s able to tap into will be key to success due to defensive limitations. Below average runner.
Riley Adams – C
Draft age: 20.11
Junior at San Diego
Last drafted: 2014, 37th (Chicago Cubs)
Really, really big for a catcher. Moves well side to side and has a plus arm, but there are legitimate concerns about blocking, framing, and throwing mechanics. Very good bat speed and natural loft from a strong frame. Power is mostly pull side and sometimes has difficulty controlling outer half of strike zone. Will be drafted for his bat with the hope he can stick behind the plate.
Zach Pop – RHP
Draft age: 20.8
Junior at Kentucky
Last drafted: 2014, 23rd round (Toronto)
Out of the pen, Pop rushes the ball up into the high 90s with some sink. His slider can touch 90 as well, though it doesn’t have outstanding movement. Command has been a huge hurdle for Pop to overcome, and with a short stride, cross body delivery it may always be. Poor command and total lack of a changeup probably preclude him from being a starter as a pro.
Sam Keating – RHP
Draft age: 18.9
Canterbury HS, FL
Like many high school seniors, Keating saw an uptick in his velocity this spring, which now sees his fastball getting up to 95, and sitting in the low 90s. Not a ton of movement, but good plane from his arm angle. There is some worry about effort of delivery and arm motion, which to some gives him a reliver profile. Throws a slider and changeup that could be above average down the road.
Peter Solomon – RHP
Draft age: 20.9
Junior at Notre Dame
Last drafted: 2014, 21st round (San Diego)
A bit of a project for being a college pitcher. Solomon has good arm strength and a clean delivery, but has not been able to harness his command with any consistency, even after moving to the bullpen. When he’s on, Solomon pounds the strike zone with a lively 92-95 mph fastball. He also throws a slider and curveball, but they tend to blend together. Changeup is a distant fourth pitch.
Daulton Varsho – C
Draft age: 21.2
Junior at Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Last drafted: Never
Son of big leaguer Gary Varsho. A very athletic backstop, Varsho exhibits excellent lateral mobility and blocking skill. He’s even a plus runner. The hangup with his defense is his well below-average throwing arm. Also has above average raw power, but more modest hand speed he’ll have to prove can handle pro pitching.
Tony Dibrell – RHP
Draft age: 20.11
Junior at Kennesaw State
Last drafted: Never
A solid four pitch mix lead by 91-95 mph fastball make Dibrell a legitimate starter candidate as a pro. He’s made progress every year at Kennesaw State, and many feel there is still some projection left. In addition to his fastball, Dibrell throws a slider, changeup, and curve, in that order of effectiveness. The biggest step forward he needs to take is with command, which can still be a bugaboo from time to time.
Bryce Montes de Oca – RHP
Draft age: 21.1
Junior at Missouri
Last drafted: 2014, 14th round (White Sox)
Huge, intimidating dude. And not just because of his size – Montes de Oca throws a very heavy fastball that will touch 100 in shorter outings and sit in the middle 90s as a starter. He has a very physical delivery as well. All of that combined with below average command make him a scary at-bat. Curveball projects as average. Changeup is a long ways off. Probably a reliever as a pro, and could be a really good one.
Quinn Brodey – OF
Draft age: 21.6
Junior at Stanford
Last drafted: 2014, 37th round (Washington)
Came to Stanford with across-the-board average tools, but his arm and running speed have regressed since high school. He’s probably limited to left field. He has solid average raw power but his hit tool is closer to fringe average, so there is some question as to how much of that he’ll be able to tap into as a pro.
Hunter Ruth – RHP
Draft age: 18.0
F.W. Buchholz HS, FL
Was one of the top high school right handed pitching prospects before undergoing Tommy John surgery in April. Before the surgery, threw 93-96 with the makings of both a plus changeup and plus slider. He may or may not be drafted high enough to forego his commitment to Florida.