Jenova’s MLB Mock Draft

  1. Philadelphia Phillies – LHP AJ Puk, Florida – The consensus number one overall pick, Puk looks to be one of the better options with the first overall pick as he presents a plus fastball and excellent size
  2. Cincinnati Reds – 2B/3B Nick Senzel, Tennessee – The Reds also could go for a top pitching prospect but Senzel makes sense for them as they have a huge hole to fill at 3rd base. Senzel’s versatility also makes him as a possible future successor to Brandon Phillips at 2nd as well.
  3. Atlanta Braves – LHP, Jason Groome, Barnegat HS – The Braves at 3rd will go after the best available prospect with the best upside. They are in a full rebuild and with Jason Groome they intend on building up the best future for the club. He is a high risk, huge reward type player.
  4. Colorado Rockies – RF/LF, Blake Rutherford, Chaminade Prep – Blake Rutherford would give the Rockies a good hitter who has the potential for good power on top of that. Blake would make for an excellent hitter in Coors’ Field.
  5. Milwaukee Brewers – RHP, Riley Pint, St. Thomas Aquinas HS – Riley Pint falls comfortably to the Brewers as they get their future potential ace with an excellent fastball, and a potentially great changeup, curveball, and slider, Pint is such a great prospect because of his exceptional pitching arsenal.
  6. Oakland Athletics – OF, Kyle Lewis, Mercer – Like he is known to do, Billy Beane will look for a college level athlete and Lewis is an excellent choice with his ability to put up a good slugging percentage with his excellent power.
  7. Miami Marlins – RHP, Matt Manning, Sheldon HS – Matt Manning flashes an impressive fastball that will look great to the Marlins. Although he has a great fastball he projects as a reliever or at best a bottom of the rotation starter.
  8. San Diego Padres – 3B, Josh Lowe, Pope HS – Josh Lowe presents as an excellent fielder and an overall 5 tool player. His great armed, combined with good speed and power should make a great fit eventually at a spot that is very lacking for the Padres.
  9. Detroit Tigers – RHP, Dakota Hudson, Mississippi State – A 4 pitch prospect, Hudson is what the Tigers are looking for as they need prospects who will make it to the majors sooner rather than later as the team wishes to compete in medium term future. Hudson gives the Tigers what they need as he can advance through the minors quicker, since he is coming from college rather than high school.
  10. Chicago White Sox – C, Zach Collins, Miami – Zach Collins is a reach for the White Sox due to the talent that is still available but the White Sox desperately want a catcher for the future. Collins can swing a good bat but the question will be if his bat advances him quicker than what it takes to develop into a good catcher.
  11. Seattle Mariners – CF, Mickey Moniak, La Costa Canyon HS – The Mariners will look for a future outfielder in this draft as their current starting outfielders are all over 30 years old. Moniak presents excellent hitting, size, and fielding potential that would fit great in CF for the Mariners.
  12. Boston Red Sox – LHP, Braxton Garrett, Florence HS – The Red Sox find themselves with luck as Braxton, a top pitching prospect, falls to them. Braxton offers Boston a high floor and the potential to be a middle of the rotation starter.
  13. Tampa Bay Rays – LF/RF, Alex Kirilloff, Plum HS – A reach with the 13th pick, the Rays will look for an outfielder with plus power and decent athleticism. The Rays didn’t necessarily want Kirilloff at this spot but their more favorable prospects were taken and they might go with a slightly cheaper player so that they could use the money elsewhere.
  14. Cleveland Indians – OF, Corey Ray, Louisville – The Indians here will go for the best outfielder still available and Ray is a good option with his potentially above average hitting, and his tools to be a decent power hitter with some speed.
  15. Minnesota Twins – LHP, Joey Wentz, Shawnee Mission East – Wentz is the best pitcher left on the board and he is an excellent choice for this spot. Wentz will give the Twins a potential future starter who could rise to being a 2nd or 3rd starter.
  16. Los Angeles Angels – SS, Delvin Perez, International Baseball Academy Puerto Rico – Delvin Perez falls to the Angels who look to pick up the best prospect off the board. Perez falls this low with him taking at least 4 years to develop into being major league ready as well as a rumored failed drug test. Perez does bring potential future gold glove level defense at SS, but his offense may not be up to speed with the average MLB player. Altogether though any prospect the Angels draft will become the best prospect in the system as they have the weakest farm in the league.
  17. Houston Astros – RHP, Ian Anderson, Shenendehowa HS – With an excellent farm and future, the Astros can pass up on a college arm for a younger high school arm with more potential. Anderson possesses 3 possible major league pitches as well as good command, but the Astros will need to convince him to go to the minors rather than fulfill his commitment to Vanderbilt.
  18. New York Yankees – RF, WIll Benson, The Westminster Schools HS – The Yankees here will go for a speedy, power hitting outfielder to possibly be a future starter in their outfield after the eventually retirement of Carlos Beltran.
  19. New York Mets – RHP, Forrest Whitley, Alamo Heights HS – The Mets will go here for a good sized reliever in Whitley. Despite being a probable relief pitcher, the Mets will look for him here because of his 2 above average pitches which stand out among the many available pitching prospects.
  20. Los Angeles Dodgers – 3B/1B, Will Craig, Wake Forest – Will Craig would bring LA and Andrew Friedman a future potential corner infielder with an excellent ability to get on base. The Dodgers will look for him to be a replacement for Justin Turner and possibly for Adrian Gonzalez down the road.
  21. Toronto Blue Jays – RHP, Zack Burdi, Louisville – Burdi provides the Blue Jays what they need, a relief pitcher in the near time future. Burdi is among the most MLB ready prospects in the class and his amazing fastball and high floor are too amazing to pass up on.
  22. Pittsburgh Pirates – RHP, Kevin Gowdy, Santa Barbara HS – A project player, Gowdy offers an excellent fastball and a complimenting curveball. Despite him being a small pitcher, Gowdy could be a starter down the road for the Pirates.
  23. St. Louis Cardinals – SS/3B, Nolan Jones, Holy Ghost Prep – The Cardinals will be looking here for a potential third basemen as Jones more than likely won’t stay at SS. As well as playing the hot corner with excellent athleticism, Jones can offer them an above average power hitter.
  24. San Diego Padres – CF, Bryan Reynolds, Vanderbilt – Reynolds will make an excellent first of two back to back picks as he offers good fielding and good power. Reynolds will eventually bring a youth spring to life in an outfield where each starter is over 30 and 2 of which are on terrible contracts.
  25. San Diego Padres – RHP, Cal Quantrill, Stanford – With a plus fastball and slider, Cal can eventually develop into a mid rotation player for the Padres.
  26. Chicago White Sox – 3B, Dew Mendoza, Lake Minneola HS – Mendoza offers excellent tools for the future that he still has yet to prove. This pick is one that will either be forgotten about or be a smart pick, depending on if Mendoza develops the way he hopefully will for Chicago.
  27. Baltimore Orioles – LHP, Kyle Muller, Dallas Jesuit HS – Muller offers the O’s a future starter with his 3 excellent pitches and his good size. A downside to Muller though is his fastball speed isn’t up to par with other top prospects in this class, and his ceiling is hinged upon the future of his fastball.
  28. Washington Nationals – SS/3B, Carter Kieboom, Walton HS – Kieboom offers the Nationals a future potential SS or third basemen, depending on if they want to keep Rendon at the corner and how long they want to keep Espinoza. Kieboom offers the Nats an above average hitting potential and a good athlete on the left side of the infield.
  29. Washington Nationals – CF, Buddy Reed, Florida – The Nats at this spot will look for a potential future gold glove center fielder. Reed’s upside and athleticism may be too much to pass up on for Washington.
  30. Texas Rangers – RHP, Alec Henson, Oklahoma – The Rangers go here for a project pitcher in Henson. He offers an elite fastball, 3 pitches in his arsenal, and a potentially great starter. The problem is Henson has some serious concerns with his commands. If the Rangers can find a way to overcome the command issues Henson will be the steal of the first round.
  31. New York Mets – SS, Gavin Lux, Indian Trail Academy HS – Gavin gives the Mets a great future SS with good fielding and athleticism to field at the position. This coupled with Lux’s ability to get hits should be a strong pick for New York.
  32. Los Angeles Dodgers – RHP, Daulton Jefferies, California – A local prospect for the Dodgers, Jefferies is the best player available for the Dodgers in this spot. Jefferies shows good K potential and a good ability to keep his command and prevent walks with his exceptional fastball. The reason why Jefferies falls this low is due to his injury history and his probability of being a relief pitcher.
  33. St. Louis Cardinals – C/1B, Matt Thaiss, Virginia – A reach, Matt may be worth it due to him being the most likely top catching prospect to stay behind the plate. Matt offers a good ability to hit and was highly productive in college, but if he has to get moved over to first he will be a below average power hitter compared to other first basemen.
  34. St. Louis Cardinals – CF, Taylor Trammell, Mt Paran Christian HS – The Cards will also go with the best available position player still available. Trammell offers good athleticism and speed, two necessaries for a center fielder, but has questionable power potential.

Why Striking Out Actually Isn’t That Bad

Striking out isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it usually results from a batter being overly aggressive from trying to hit the ball for extra bases rather than to put the ball in play

In baseball the worst outcome for a batter is usually considered striking out, a result that nets no benefits for runners on base as they don’t have an opportunity to advance from the ball being put into play as well as the batter himself as he too has no chance to get on base (unless on a very rare dropped third strike). While this is a negative, striking out isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it usually results from a batter being overly aggressive from trying to hit the ball for extra bases rather than to put the ball in play.

In 2015 the leader in strikeouts was Orioles first basemen Chris Davis who struck out 208 times, which is good enough for 5th most in a single season as well as a rate of striking out in 31% of the time, an impressive amount of strikeouts for anyone, but while he struck out 31% of the time he also led the major leagues in homeruns with 47 and a whopping .300 ISO (only beaten by Bryce Harper in that category by .019). Chris Davis showed that a hitter’s willingness to risk a strikeout for extra bases can pay off. His 147 WRc+ (10th in the majors) showed that his devotion to hitting for extras pays off as he created 47% more runs than the average hitter.

Chris Davis though wasn’t the only hitter to have a high strikeout percentage, 16 players who qualified for the batting title put up 25% or greater K% rates. Among these players were such sluggers as Kris Bryant, JD Martinez, Nelson Cruz, and Joc Pederson. Of the 16, 12 hit 15 or more home runs, 8 posted a .200 or higher ISO, and 13 of the 16 posted a 90 or better WRc+. These high strikeout players also tend to put up very high hard contact rates, for example JD Martinez who struck out 27.1% of the time also made hard contact 42.8% of the time, best in the majors. This means that these hitter are making solid contact which is among the most effective ways to get a hit, especially for extra bases. These players also post above average line drive percentages which create an astonishing 1.26 runs per out compared to 0.13 per fly ball out and 0.05 runs per out for ground balls.

These numbers bring up the point that strikeouts can be a necessary evil for extra base hits and creating runs. The most important part of this is that hitters shouldn’t be afraid of striking out for the chance of putting the ball in play  because the value of extra base hits far outweighs the small chance of a weak contact single. While batters shouldn’t put all their faith in swing for the fences they also shouldn’t be afraid to go for it either as it has proven that these high strikeout players put up exceptional numbers towards creating runs despite their low batting averages. The worse thing a hitter should do is try to make weak contact simply for the purpose of putting the ball in play. While high strikeout numbers are frustrating both to have and watch, the value of the good power numbers make up for this problem.

Alex Colome: Hidden Trade Asset

Alex Colome is a hidden trade asset to many teams.

Quietly hidden away in the circus tent that is Tropicana Field is Alex Colome, the Tampa Rays closer in the absence of last year’s AL saves leader Brad Boxberger. At the age of 27, Colome is secretly putting up an exceptional year, including a 1.23 ERA, a 11.86 K/9, and 12 for 12 on saves. Colome’s time as a closer may be coming to a close soon as Brad Boxberger returns to the roster this weekend. While Colome isn’t going to be immediately bumped out of the closer role, he eventually will in favor of Boxberger. From this point the Rays could move Colome into more of a setup reliever role but Erasmo Ramirez and Enny Romero are there and not using one of those three in the setup roles would be a waster of their talent. This presents the Rays with an opportunity: trade Colome.

Colome has shown the skill and poise to be a quality closer this year, he also has shown in the past that he can make it as a long reliever and slightly below average 5th starter. This versatility should scream trade target to teams like the Rangers and the Giants who are in serious playoff contention but have a bottom 10 reliever ERA (especially Texas, who’s saves leader has a 10.13 ERA). Colome’s mix of a good fastball, excellent cutter, and decent curveball and changeup presents a high quality, top of the pen arm for a serious contender.

The benefit for the Rays in a trade like this would be opening the closer spot again for Boxberger as well sell high on a trade asset, like how they usually do (see Jake McGee, James Shields, Matt Garza, Alex Torres, and Scott Kazmir). One example of this selling high on a bullpen arm is Alex Torres, who the Rays traded to the Padres before the 2014 season along with Jesse Hahn (at the time Torres was considered the top prize for the Padres in the deal) for 5th starter Matt Andriese, second basemen Logan Forsythe, and returning closer Brad Boxberger, a deal which the Padres definitely wish they could undo. In deals like that the Rays have shown they are willing to trade top bullpen arms at high prices as Torres in 2013 had a 1.71 ERA before being traded in the offseason. While this might be early in the season to sell off a high value asset, his value may never be higher.

The benefit involved for a team like the Rangers or Giants would be a strong and versatile bullpen arm that could be instantly slotted into the closer role if needed as he already has experience at the high pressure position. A team like the Rangers might be willing to give up prospects like Jose Trevino (C), Yeyson Yrizarri (SS), Yohander Mendez (RP/SP), or Ryan Cordell (OF) all of which have promise but potentially big downsides, a trait usually involved in reliever for prospect trades. The Rangers should definitely be a team that is willing to make this trade as both Sam Dyson or Shawn Tolleson may not be the one they really want to put on the mound in the 9th. On top of this instant closer opportunity for these teams, Colome would be payed league minimum. This presents a long term solution for closer as he is a 27 year old closer who hasn’t even hit arbitration yet, the cost for a team may be high for Colome but he is a long term solution for teams.