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2019 MLB Draft: Live Report For The Georgia Tech vs North Carolina Game

The Yellow Jackets and Tar Heels had many exciting moments. Also discussed is a now draft eligible Sophomore and another under the radar catcher.

Georgia Tech vs North Carolina on Saturday, April 6th, 2019
Aaron Huston

This week took me to the Russ Chandler stadium on the Georgia Tech campus. It was fun getting to see Connor Thomas face off against Austin Bergner of North Carolina. Thomas sat mostly 90 mph but did top out at 93 several times. He had some good sliders, but wasn’t locating it consistently enough and the Tar Heels seemed happy to wait for the fastball. As for Austin Bergner, I’d heard good things. His fastball was sitting 91-93, but the secondaries just weren’t working that day. He lasted less than three innings as the Tech squad was just teeing off on him.

The two guys I really wanted to see on Saturday were pretty quiet. Kyle McCann and Michael Busch didn’t do much at the plate. However, Tristan English put on a show so that made up for it. Also, wouldn’t you know it, Kyle McCann and Michael Busch both hit homeruns on Sunday. This sums up my reaction today.

All in all, it was perfect weather for a game and I got to see a ton of offense. Makes for solid writing material leading up to the MLB Draft. It was also nice that the Yellow Jackets got the win.

Prospect lists:

Fangraphs Big Board 262

Baseball America Top 300

D1 Baseball (subscription) 150

MLB Pipeline Top 50

Mock Drafts:

Baseball America (3/21) - Hunter Bishop & Brennan Malone

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 4/6) and some additional info. With that, let’s start discussing college prospects.

College player stock trending up

Connor Thomas, LHP, Georgia Tech - Thomas had been cruising his past few starts, but ran into trouble today. Despite that he still went 6.2 innings and struck out nine batters (4 runs given up). In the first inning he sat 93, but the rest of the time I watched he was pretty much sitting 90-91, occassionally dipping to 88. He was dropping in some good sliders and change-ups, from what I could tell, but overall he was inconsistent and hitters just sat on his easy fastball. I kinda got a Kolby Allard type of feel from him. He has been dominate, but the stuff overall doesn’t seem like it’ll play up at higher levels. However, he has been very good, so I can’t discount that. Gotta reward the players that get results.

Tristin English, 1B, Georgia Tech - What a weekend for Tristin. I only have his stats through Friday, but he hit for the cycle on Saturday (which I got to see), and he hits another HR on Sunday. He pushed his average all the way up to .314 this weekend and now has eight home runs on the season. This guy is a lot of fun to watch too. English is a high energy guy that pumps up his teammates every chance he got whether it was during a pitching change where he came of the bases to rile up his team or yelling and slapping high fives to his teammates after scoring. That kind of energy is awesome. He ran well from what I saw, but he really doesn’t have a defensive position. He’s either been DH’ing or relegated to 1B, so the bat must play. I’m putting his stock up for now. Also, he was a treat to watch live, which makes him easy to root for.

Anthony Veneziano, LHP, Coastal Carolina - A tall 6’5” lefty sits low 90’s as a starter and has a good slider. He could probalby sit mid 90’s out of the pen. Veneziano has had an up and down season switching between starter and reliever. However, he’s an intriguing arm and fits well as a reliever. Because of that, I’m looking past pure stats and putting his stock up.

Ryan Zeferjahn, RHP, Kansas - I’m becoming a fan of Zeferjahn. He’s got a nice build standing 6’4” and weighing 225 lbs. His fastball is mid to high 90’s (max 97 mph) and nice arm side movement (you should be able to see it below). Ryan’s mid 80’s slider also flashes plus. The bad news is that he walks a lot of guys. This season he’s sitting at 6.94 BB/9. He’ll need to improve his control and develop the change to stick as a starter. He’s been able to work around the walks, but this past weekend he didn’t make it out of the 4th inning. I’m putting his stock up for now due to his electric arm, but more starts like this weekend will bump him down.

Matt Canterino, RHP, Rice - In seven of Matt’s eight starts he’s pitched at least six innings. He has two starts making it to the 9th and actually just pitched a complete game this past weekend. See tweet below. Canterino has a fastball that sits low to mid 90’s and has a curve, slider and change. All four pitches are at least average with the curve flashing plus.

Nick Quintana, IF, Arizona - For his college career, Quintana has been right around .300 as a hitter, although with a high BABIP of .356. The bat might be a bit below average, but he does have above average power. There is a bit of swing and miss in his game, but he also boasts a good eye at the plate having a BB-rate over 10% every season. He has played all over the infield, and with his plus arm and solid defensive play he could stick at 3B. Overall for the season, Nick is hitting .296/.445/.509.

Edouard Julien, IF, Auburn - I originally had Julien as someone to keep an eye on for next year, but he was just made draft eligible for 2019 as a Sophomore since he played one professional season in Canada. He came out of high school with 70 grade speed, so that’s probably his best attribute. The switch hitter hit 17 home runs last season, so he was already coming into this season with some expectations with the bat. He currently has six homers, which puts him on pace to hit around twelve; however, he already has more doubles than last year. We know he has above average game power, but he doesn’t hit for a high average and strikes out a lot. He has increased his BB rate and decreased his K-rate year-over-year, so he’s moving in the right direction even if the contact rate is still a red flag. Julien is hitting .289/.438/.526 on the season.

Nick Kahle, C, Washington - Catching is just so darn difficult to judge unless you are Joey Bart or Adley Rutschman. However, coming out of high school, Kale was known to be a good defensive catcher with some hitting skills. Kahle has made steady improvements with the bat since arriving at Washington. As for his defense, Kale has thrown out 8 of 10 runners and has a .992 fld%. Last year he threw out 22 of 32 runners (69%!). He’s listed as the 162nd best prospect in the draft right now by Baseball America, but I’m really intrigued by Kale and Jaxx Groshans. His season slash line is .422/.553/.663. His stance/swing reminds me of Evan Gattis but a little more open.

College player stock trending down

Austin Bergner, RHP, North Carolina - As I mentioned earlier, Bergner is a guy that throws low 90’s and pairs that with a curve and a change. The change flashes above avg, but both secondaries were very inconsistent the day I watched him. His ERA is sitting almost at 5.00 with a 1.36 WHIP.

Xzavion Curry, RHP, Georgia Tech - Curry is undersized at 5’10”, but does have a good arm with a fastball that can sit low 90’s (mid 90’s as a reliever) and pairs that with a good slider. Lately he’s been getting beat up though, and didn’t start this weekend. Curry actually did extremely well coming on as a long reliever this past Sunday. He pitched three innings and struck out seven. We’ll have to see how Tech uses him for the remainder of the year.

Graham Ashcraft, RHP, UAB - Ashcraft missed 2018 with a hip injury. He’s back as a redshirt Sophomore and things looked great after his first two starts. Since then, things have spiraled down as he’s dealt with major issues with fastball command. His walk rate is now at 8BB/9. While I put Zeferjahn in the stock up, I’m putting Ashcraft stock trending down. He was going to be a hard sign since he can easily go back to school for another year, but unless he reduces the walk rate, he’s not going to get drafted high enough to skip his Junior year. Ashcraft has a low to mid 90’s fastball. He topped 98 mph as a Freshman, but has only topped 95 mph this season. This might be because he’s coming off the injury and still shaking some rust. His slider flashes plus and the change is promising. There’s a lot to like here, but he’s probably better off returning to school.

Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor - A hand injury kept Langeliers out until mid March. It was expected that his HR power would be sapped, but he’s showing very little power. The hit tool definitely had question marks, but he was mocked early as a top 10 pick. He’s not likely a Top 10 lock now, but his exceptional defense (ex. he’s throw out 44% of runners) should keep him in the first round. His current slash line is .256/.351/.378.

Quin Cotton, OF, Grand Canyon - Cotton has hit well over .300 each of the past two seasons. Despite that he hasn’t shown much home run power nor gap power. On top of that he has just average speed and a poor arm. His profile says he should be a center fielder, and while he can be a good defender, his lack of speed might push him off. He doesn’t have the bat/arm for a corner spot. Because of that, I’m pushing him down as he’s more than likely a bench/role player.

Matt Wallner, OF, Southern Miss - The trajectory for Wallner was way up after putting together such fantastic offensive seasons as a Freshman and Sophomore. It’s unfortunate timing that his average and power have taken dips this season. He hasn’t been unlucky either as his BABIP is around .330, but he’s hitting just .280. Wallner did hit two homers this weekend, but he’s been unspectacular so far this year. But hopefully this week starts a good trend for him and his stock will be back up before much longer. He’s a below average runner, but has an absolute cannon of an arm. So if you like Johan Camargo in the OF, you might like Wallner.

That’s it for this week. Let me know your thoughts on how some players performed this week on the diamond.

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