21. Toronto Blue Jays- C Zack Collins, University of Miami
Collins perfectly fits the bill as a “bat first” type of player, but that should not hinder teams from betting on his abilities at the plate. This season Collins is tearing the cover off the ball, but maybe more impressive is the fact that his walk total of 44 is double that of his strikeout total. Collins is likely going to fit better in the American League, where he can DH if necessary, but there are some Evan Gattis/Kyle Schwarber similarities here that could drive Collins even further up draft boards. The bat looks as though it will play at the next level, and that should be enough to make Collins a very desirable commodity come draft night.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates- RHP Jordan Sheffield, Vanderbilt University
Sheffield is intriguing because of his electric stuff as he combines a high 90’s fastball with a sharp slider and potentially plus changeup. Sheffield is not built in the same mold as most pitchers whose fastballs reach the upper-90’s, which could be cause for concern going forward. Despite the health concerns, Sheffield should be off the board at some point in the first round as teams recognize that with some polish to his max-effort delivery the right-hander could develop three plus pitches.
23. St. Louis Cardinals- LHP Braxton Garrett, Florence (Al.) HS
One concern with Garrett as the draft approaches could be his signability, as the 6’3″ left-hander is committed to collegiate powerhouse Vanderbilt, which has produced a number of high profile draftees in recent years. Nonetheless, Garrett is already polished as a prep arm and relies on a fastball that sits in the low-90’s and a high-70’s curveball with good depth and tilt. Lefties with Garrett’s upside are a popular commodity, making Garrett an intriguing player as the draft grows closer.
24. San Diego Padres- OF Nick Banks, Texas A&M
While Banks may not have the upside that teams often covet from collegiate bats, Banks appears to be a high-floor player with a chance to grow into a solid regular in the future. The 21-year old has a smooth, fluid swing that lends itself more toward gap power than home run power. Banks also runs well, playing center field for the Aggies as a solid defender with a strong arm. Some question whether he will be able to play center field as a professional, but a shift to a corner spot would not negatively effect Banks’ value enough to overshadow his advanced approach and solid all-around game.
25. San Diego Padres- RHP Dakota Hudson, Mississippi State University
Hudson is a hard-throwing right-hander, sitting in the low-to-mid 90’s with his fastball and mixing in a power slider that is currently his most effective pitch. The slider sits in the upper-80’s with good movement and enhances the deception of his other breaking pitches, a curveball and changeup. The biggest issue for Hudson is control as he can get wild at times, but this season he is walking just over three batters per nine innings, providing hope that his control may not be a detriment in the future.
26. Chicago White Sox- RHP Robert Tyler, University of Georgia
Tyler is a very effective pitcher when he is on, featuring a mid-90’s fastball with good plane along with a curveball and changeup that have both shown potential. The issue with Tyler is that he can lose his mechanics at times, which greatly effects his command and leads to inflated walk totals. This has lead some to believe that Tyler may be better suited for the bullpen as a professional, which would allow his stuff to play up and give him a smaller workload in which to maintain his mechanics. This possibility could impact his draft stock, but the enormous potential is still there and could be worth a gamble this late in the first round.
27. Baltimore Orioles- RHP Daulton Jefferies, University of California
Jefferies’ draft stock is limited somewhat by his small stature, a trait that can cause teams to question a pitcher’s durability. This is especially true of a pitcher who relies heavily on a fastball, which describes Jefferies perfectly as he features a heater that sits in the low-90’s and tops out around 95. The size issue may limit his projectability, but Jefferies still has a chance to be a very effective back-end starter in the future. He will need to develop more consistency with his off-speed pitches, but Jefferies has a chance to move quickly given his age and competitiveness.
28. Washington Nationals- RHP Matt Manning, Sheldon (Ca.) HS
Manning has shown a mid-90’s fastball and at 6’6″ he has the frame to support his high-powered arsenal. Manning also throws a curveball that shows potential with good downward tilt, but Manning will need to command it better for it to become a truly dangerous out pitch. With his size and velocity, Manning is very projectable and has a chance to become a frontline starter in the future if he can fulfill the potential that his current makeup would suggest.
29. Washington Nationals- 3B Carter Kieboom, Walton (Ga.) HS
Kieboom has very good bat speed, and with it he has shown above-average raw power. Defensively Kieboom is a bit of a question mark but should be able to stick at the hot corner as a professional. Good running speed is also a part of Kieboom’s array of tools, and helps to make up a very projectable package as he transitions to the next level. Being taken by Washington would reunite Kieboom with his his older brother Spencer, a catcher who was taken by the Nationals in the fifth round of the 2012 draft.
30. Texas Rangers- RHP Alex Speas, McEachern (Ga.) HS
Based purely on stuff, Speas has the potential to be one of the best players in this year’s draft, but a lack of command makes the 18-year old a risky proposition for any team. Speas features a mid-90’s fastball and hard curveball that both show the potential to be plus offerings in the future, but a lack of command limits the effectiveness of both pitches. If Speas can harness his control and gain a better feel for throwing strikes on a consistent basis, he has an opportunity to be very effective as a professional.
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