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2019 MLB Draft: Jacob Olson is an XBH Hitting Machine, A Couple JUCO Transfers Are Mashing and more

Jacob Olson is doing big things. Jake Sanford & Brandon Lewis are 2 JUCO transfers tearing things up. So much to talk about other than hitters so let’s get to it.

2014 MLB Draft

Prospect lists:

Fangraphs Big Board 262

Baseball America Top 300

D1 Baseball (subscription) 150

MLB Pipeline Top 50

Mock Drafts:

Baseball America (4/10) - Bryson Stott, SS & JJ Gross, RHP (HS)

24/7 Sports (4/12) - Matthew Allen, RHP (HS) & Braden Shewmake, SS (would never happen)

Fangraphs said in a chat they should have their first mock draft up in the next week or two.

Also, here’s my spreadsheet that has stats (through 4/13) and some additional info. With that, let’s start discussing college prospects.

College player stock trending up

Jacob Olson, IF/OF, South Carolina - In addition to be an extra-base hitting machine, Olson offers of some positional flexibility having played 3B and the OF this season (though if he’s any good, I don’t know). Getting back to his power, the past two seasons Olson has held a 58% XBH% (better than Andrew Vaughn - 46% XBH%). He’s managed to keep his strikeout rate under 20% too. Now for some negatives, he doesn’t hit for a high average and doesn’t walk much. For the season Olson is hitting .297/.380/.638 with 12 HRs and 11 doubles.

Jake Sanford, 1B/OF, Western Kentucky - When there is a JUCO transfer having success, you know I’ll be there. Sanford was a J2 transfer, so he is a junior this season and draft eligible. He’s still hitting over .400 (.401/.478/.861) and has shown tremendous power with 16 HRs and 11 doubles. All this power and he has a strikeout rate under 20%.

Brandon Lewis, IF, UC Irvine - JUCO transfer Lewis, like Sanford, is having an outstanding year offensively for UC Irvine where he’s hit 11 HRs and 13 doubles. Coming from a JUCO where he didn’t put up big power numbers, Lewis did hit right at .400 both seasons. Was he just lucky? This season he’s hitting .355 but only has a BABIP of .389, so I’d say that he has not been overly lucky. Looking into his numbers a little more Lewis does have some swing and miss (22% K-rate), and rarely walks. Just something to keep in mind. Still, it’s hard to look past the numbers he’s putting up this season. Key stats are .347/.422/.737.

Tanner Morris, IF, Virginia - Morris is leading all of D1 baseball with 19 doubles on the season. Even better is that he has more home runs and doubles vs last season and in less ABs too. Morris is a draft eligible Sophomore since he recently turned 21. He doesn’t have good range for SS, so he’ll have to move off that eventually and might be more of a 2B long term since he might not have the arm for 3B. He won’t win you any foot races either as he’s a below average runner. Still, he has a solid approach at the plate and is showing good gap power. His slash line is .347/.448/.563 with four HRs.

Peyton Burdick, OF, Wright State - Burdick isn’t a big name in the draft, but all he’s done is improve his power production and his BB:K ratio every season at Wright State. On the season he’s walking at a ridiculous 25% rate while he’s reduced his K-rate to just 12%. His slash line is a pretty .395/.538/.698 and even has 14 steals (above avg runner). Burdick had a pretty decent Cape Cod where he hit over .250 with 5 HRs.

Cody Scroggins, RHP, Arkansas - Yet another power arm for Arkansas. While he’s started six games, most of them he hasn’t pitched past the fourth inning. He’s likely a reliever at the next level. His fastball sits 93-95 (max 96) and mixes in a slider and change. The slider is a good strikeout pitch. He does have problems with walks (6.35 per 9), so that’ll just be something he has to work on, but his fastball and slider are good enough to get him to an MLB roster.

Evan Voliva, RHP, East Carolina - The 5’10” redshirt Senior throws low 90’s and counters it with a curve. He missed pretty much the entirety of the 2017 and 2018 seasons (TJS), so he’s had to make up for a lot which I think he has relatively speaking. Voliva has made 20 appearances and sports a 13.50 K/9 and a 4.05 BB/9. Hitters are just hitting .143 against him and he has 2 saves on the season.

Tony Locey, RHP, Georgia - There are a lot of reasons why the Georgia Bulldogs are one of the best teams in the country. One is when your No. 3 starter is sitting 6-0 on the season. While the Bulldogs lost 2 of 3 this past weekend to Tennessee, it wasn’t due to Locey. Locey earned the single win this weekend by tossing 6 shutout innings. Locey has a good fastball that sits 91-95 (max 97) and will throw a curve, slider and splitter. The slider and split change are pitches he developed over the offseason, so I haven’t found anything yet on how effective they are. It’s possible he’s no longer just a two pitch pitcher. Hitters are batting just .143 against him and he has a 1.08 WHIP. About the only negative I see are the walks, but he does need to continue to work on his secondaries.

Gregory Veliz, RHP, Miami - Veliz came to Miami as a starter, but suffered an injury last season so he’s been coming in as a reliever. Why doesn’t this hurt his stock? Well, he could still be seen a starter long term. It also helps when you have 51 punchouts in 29.2 innings of work (15.72 K/9). His fastball sits 92-95 (max 98), so he has quite an electric arm. He still has quite a bit of work to do on his secondaries where his change is currently his second best pitch and is more of an average pitch. He does throw a power slider and a slower curve that comes in high 70’s.

He has some moxy to him too. Check out his dance after he gets the save.

College player stock trending down

Dominic Fletcher, OF, Arkansas - Here’s a player that had a really good Freshman season, but hasn’t really been able to improve upon it. The home run power has taken a dip so far this year, but he’s hit more doubles. However, power isn’t going to be a big part of Fletcher’s game. Normally you equate smaller guys as being speedy. He’s only 5’9”, but is a below average runner. Fletcher makes up for that running crisp routes, and having an accurate and powerful arm in the outfield (arm clocked at 96 mph from the OF out of HS). He’s currently slashing .304/.385/.514 with 4 HRs and 17 doubles.

Parker Phillips, OF, Austin Peay - The one thing Parker Phillips has in spades is power. He hit 19 home runs last year, and already has 11 on the season. The 6’5” 240 lbs redshirt Junior is a big guy. He’s mostly played first base, but has been playing more right field this year. Long term he’s likely a power hitting first baseman. While he’s done a nice job of improving his walk rate each year, his strikeout rate has always been above 20%, and this season it’s the highest of his career at 26%. If he keeps mashing HRs, then maybe you can live with the strikeouts. Phillips is hitting .270/.405/.587 on the year.

T.J. Collett, 1B/C, Kentucky - Some players just have bad luck with injuries. A hip injury that required surgery knocked Collett out the last 20 games last season in which he was pretty productive. Although he’s healthy this season, he hasn’t produced at the plate like last season, though he has run into some bad luck (low BABIP). Collett doesn’t walk much and doesn’t really have a position (mostly DH’ing), so unless he’s hitting the cover off the ball (he’s not), his stock won’t be strong. For the season he’s hitting .266/.351/.500.

Brad Debo, C, NC State - After a high BABIP fueled Freshman season, he’s hit pretty much the same over the past two seasons (including this year - .242). Debo has a .745 OPS to go along with a 15% BB-rate and 25% K-rate. He also lost his job last year to Patrick Bailey. Bailey is really good, so that’s not a huge knock on Debo, but Debo also wasn’t making it a challenge either. He’s been relegated to DH’ing and pinch hitting now.

Davis Daniel, RHP, Auburn - Daniel’s was selected in the 11th round last year as an early draft eligible Sophomore where he put up solid but not great numbers. He’s also been dealing with injuries and hasn’t pitched since his first start back in February. Initial report was that he’d be back in a month, but we 2 months since he last pitched. He’s done nothing to improve his draft stock.

Daniel’s offers a plus fastball that sits 91-96 (max 97), a slider that flashes above avg and a change. He’s 6’1” and already dealing with some injuries (forearm tightness), so he might be a reliever long term where his fastball can play up even more.

Mason Feole, LHP, Connecticut - I was exciting for Feole heading into the season. He was coming off a sophomore season in which he threw 100 innings striking out 120. He’s been a bit inconsistent to start the year, and it would seem his stuff has backed up a bit. While his walk rate has shot up (not that it was great before), he’s seen a significant drop in his strikeout rate. The 6’1” lefty is not a hard thrower, featuring a fastball that’s 89-93 (max 94), a curve that will flash plus and a change-up.

Morgan McSweeney, RHP, Wake Forrest - Morgan has a plus fastball that sits low to mid 90’s (Max 96), and pairs it with a cutter/two-seamer and slider. There are various reports on whether his other fastball is a cutter ortwo-seamer. The slider shows promise, but I haven’t read anywhere that he throws a change. The problem with McSweeney isn’t that he doesn’t offer quality pitches, it’s that they are all in the same velocity. The slider is mid to high 80’s. His cutter/2 seamer is high 80’s and his fastball sits mostly 90-93. That’s not a lot of variation in speeds, and it shows in his performance. He’s sporting a 6.15 ERA and .288 OBA (1.78 WHIP). He’s striking out just 7 per 9, and his walks are ridiculously high at over 6 per 9. If he wants to stay a starter, he’s going to have to develop a change-up.

One last thing to note. Last year, I found Eric Cole was actually playing for Arkansas and eventually got drafted by the Royals. Now I discover that our very own Garrett Spain is a Freshman at Austin Peay hitting .353 with 5 HRs. What a small world we live in.

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