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2019 MLB Draft: Joey Ortiz and John Rave continue to rake while Jake Agnos joins elite company

So many new prospects to discuss, but what about Perfect Games new mock draft for the Braves. Let’s say it’s less than ideal.

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Both Fangraphs and Baseball America expanded their prospect lists for the 2019 MLB Draft. Also, Fangraphs and Perfect Game released mock drafts this past week. Fangraphs is only for the Top 10 picks, while Perfect Game goes through the entire first round.

Prospect lists:

Fangraphs Big Board 318

Baseball America Top 400

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

Fangraphs (4/23) - Hunter Bishop, OF

Perfect Game (4/24) - George Kirby, RHP & Josh Jung, 3B

Also, here’s my spreadsheet that has stats (through 4/26) and some additional info. With that, let’s start discussing college prospects.

College player stock trending up

Joey Ortiz, IF, New Mexico State - I’m not going to pretend that stats for New Mexico State are legit. They have essentially six starters hitting over .370. But I can buy into things like BB/K ratio and extra base hits. Joey Ortiz has cranked out 35 extra base hits and walks as much as he strikes out, which is around 10 percent. On top of that he’s been playing solid defense at shortstop and has 10 stolen bases on the season. Ortiz has been either hitting leadoff or third in the lineup most of the season. A couple of weeks ago he was named WAC hitter of the week. The only footage of his swing I could find was from last year.

John Rave, OF, Illinois State - Drafted by the Red Sox in 2016 (35th round), Rave decided to honor his commitment to Illinois State. I’ve watched a bit of Rave and I like what I have seen. He’s got a short compact lefty swing that reminds me a bit of Greg Cullen, though with a bit more pop in his bat. His instincts in center were pretty good and though I couldn’t gauge his speed, he seem to have no trouble getting to ball and made a couple very nice defensive plays.

Dominic Canzone, OF, Ohio State - Canzone has hit over .300 every season at Ohio State and has been one of their better hitters for awhile. This season he’s added some power having already hit 11 home runs where his previous high was four. He has a 11 percent walk rate vs a 12 percent strikeout rate (which is actually the highest K-rate of his career). Canzone isn’t a highly rated prospect as he’s not listed on Fangraphs, but he is No. 339 on Baseball America. Even though he plays against lesser competition, if he keeps showing this power, he should position himself nicely in the draft.

Jake Agnos, LHP, East Carolina - Agnos was the 10th pitcher in D1 to strike out 100 hitters. He’s undersized at 5’11”, but throws a low 90’s fastball and two above avg pitches in his curve and change. Agnos has been a big strikeout guy the past two seasons, but he’s also cut his walk rate by a considerable amount (by nearly 50 percent, although his start this week saw him walk five guys to bump it up a bit). He still managed to throw five shutout innings despite the walks. Agnos is likely a reliever at the next level, and with a couple quality secondaries could see him excel in that role.

Zac Kristofak, RHP, Georgia - Did you know that the Braves picked Kristofak in the 37th round of the 2016 draft? Well it happened. Having him watched him few times this year, I can tell you that he’s a pretty solid reliever. He was throwing mid 90’s and has a killer slider. It’s also the slider that has changed his trajectory because he added that pitch in 2018 and it’s already a plus pitch. Another positive is that Kristofak has lowered his walk rate to 3.26/9.

Ryan Anderson, LHP, Nevada - Anderson isn’t a hard thrower as he’ll sit 89-93, but his fastball jumps at hitters as he gets great extension from his 6’6” frame. He’s been mostly a reliever, but moved to full time starter this year. He’s had a bit of success, but he’s still likely a reliever long term where his fastball should play up more. Anderson has been known to be more of a ground ball specialist too. He does struggle with walks, so that will have to get better.

Anderson’s lack of starting experience has caught up to him though. Through his first five starts, he had a 1.76 ERA and looked dominant. His last six starts have been a different story though where his ERA has jumped to 4.92. His last three starts have been even worse and he isn’t striking anyone out. Anderson is obviously worn down after pitching almost as many innings as the previous two seasons combined. I think he can be a very interesting prospect.

Justin Hooper, LHP, UCLA - Tommy John in 2017 and missed all of 2018. So far he’s missed all of 2019 too. I seriously debated putting him in stock trending down and he likely should. However, the kid is seriously talented and will probably get looked over. Before injury, the 6’8” lefty was throwing 91-97 mph. It’s going to be hard to convince anyone to trust a pitcher that hasn’t throw in two years, but lefties throwing up to high 90’s are a rare commodity (granted we can’t be sure he’ll throw the same as before). Hooper could be worth a gamble for a team that would prefer to supervise a player coming off TJS.

College player stock trending down

Cameron Simmons, OF, Virginia - Simmons was coming off one hell of a sophomore season (.211 ISO), so he was positioning himself to be a riser for 2019. However, he hasn’t been able to tap into the same level of production. The good news is that his walks are up and the K-rate hasn’t changed year over year. Here’s hoping he catches fire the remainder of the year.

John Baker, RHP, Ball State - By all accounts, Baker is having a pretty solid year and is on par with last season. On the flip side, the stuff just doesn’t match the results. He has a fastball that sits 91 with fringey secondaries. He’ll probably get more looks than he should since his teammate is Drey Jameson, who is also draft eligible and has three potential plus pitches.

Kenyon Yovan, RHP, Oregon - Hasn’t pitched since 2/15 due to blood clots in his wrist that was causing some palm soreness. He was only supposed to be out a couple of weeks, but that was two months ago now. So the clots must be much more serious that previously thought. When Yovan is pitching, he throws low 90’s (max 94) along with a slider, curve and change, which are all average pitches.

Blair Henley, RHP, Texas - Henly has a fastball that sits right at 90, a solid curve and a slider and change that are finge to average. The unfortuante thing about Henley is that he was a decent prospect coming out of HS and the Yankees selected him in the 22nd round, but he has shown little growth while at Texas. You look at his walk rate, strikeout rate and WHIP, and they are in line with each other year after year. He is ranked No. 286 on Baseball America’s prospect list, and that’s probably being too generous. Since he does have a good breaking ball, there’s some hope he could play up in a relief role.

Zach Peek, RHP, Winthrop - After a solid sophomore season, Peek was moving up prospect lists, but he has struggled quite a bit this year. Most of the struggle is due to a spike in walks, which has gone from 2.43/9 to 5.29/9. Maybe the pressure is getting to him? Peek has nice size at 6’3”, but he’s also a guy that sits right at 90 mph (max 93). He also throws a slider and change. His last outting was strong where he pitched a complete game while striking out eight.

I’m going to be working on JUCO pitchers and hitters, so something should hit Talking Chop in the next week or two.

That’s it for this week. Let me know your thoughts on how some players performed this week on the diamond, or about the mock drafts that have been coming out.

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