Sunday, June 7, 2015

2015 MLB Draft Non-Scouting Report: Thomas Eshelman - RHP - Cal State Fullerton



2015 MLB Draft Prospect: Thomas Eshelman - RHP - Cal State Fullerton.  6’3” 210.  Class:  Junior. DOB: 6.20.94. Last Drafted:  None.  

SCOUTED:  Cal State Fullerton @ Indiana 3.14.15

Eshelman burst onto the scene as a freshman when he won 12 games and he had a streak of 63.1 innings without issuing a walk.  Premium control has been Eshelman’s calling card throughout his career at Fullerton as he’s posted obscene 0.44 BB/9 and 17.33 K/BB ratios.

Given that level of consistent strike throwing combined with questions around whether some of the top college arms will start or relieve, it’s not surprising that Eshelman has some late helium in the hours leading up to the draft.    



Statistics *through 6.7.15

YEAR
CLASS
W-L
ERA
G
S
IP
H
K
BB
2013
Fr. 
12-3
1.48
17
0
115.2
86
83
3
2014
So. 
8-3
1.89
16
0
123.2
100
99
8
2015
Jr.
8-5
1.59
17
0
130.1
101
130
7

It’s important to note that I’m not a scout.  I don't have the training or expertise that they do.  I do go to the games see these guys play live, and while there, I talk to scouts.  That’s more than you’ll find in some other so called “Scouting Reports” online.  Also, while scouts reserve their thoughts on a player for their employer, I can share my thoughts with you, the reader.  

REPERTOIRE:

Fastball:  Eshelman sits at just 88-91 mph with his fastball and it’s pretty straight, but he doesn’t get hit hard because he doesn’t make many mistakes.  He pounds the lower limits of the zone with this pitch.   

Curveball:  I saw an average pitch - 75-76 mph with great command.

Changeup:  Eshelman throws his changeup at 79-80 mph with confidence in any count and is able to keep the pitch down. 

DELIVERY

Prior to this season, Eshelman’s delivery used to have an exaggerated pause which he has since abandoned.  There aren’t a lot of wasted motions left, and his release and follow through aren’t particularly taxing.  He could stand to push off the mound more which could lead to more velocity.        

FUTURE

Eshelman has been in the third round discussion for most of the season, and while he still might end up there, I’m seeing his name come up more often in the supplemental round and even the back half of the first round in some of the later industry mock drafts.  Command is typically the last thing to develop in a pitching prospect, but Eshleman already has it.  Projected as a back end starter, his ceiling isn’t particularly high, but in a draft with more uncertainty around the top tier arms than usual, Eshelman’s high floor is appealing.

2015 MLB Draft Non Scouting Report: Kyle Cody - RHP - Kentucky



2015 MLB Draft Prospect: Kyle Cody - RHP - Kentucky. 6’7" 245. Class: Junior. DOB: 8.9.94. Last Drafted: 2012 - Philadelphia (33rd Round).  

Ranked as the 267th best prospect in the 2012 draft coming out of a Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin high school, Cody was considered a tough sign and slid to the 33rd round.  Though his performance over three seasons at Kentucky has been shaky, Cody figures to go about 30 rounds higher than that this season.  



Statistics *through 6.4.15

YEAR
CLASS
W-L
ERA
G
S
IP
H
K
BB
2013
Fr. 
3-3
4.84
15
0
57.2
57
47
20
2014
So. 
4-0
2.84
18
5
38
36
20
13
2015
Jr.
4-4
4.91
14
0
66
63
63
17

It’s important to note that I’m not a scout.  I don't have the training or expertise that they do.  I do go to the games see these guys play live, and while there, I talk to scouts.  That’s more than you’ll find in some other so called “Scouting Reports” online.  Also, while scouts reserve their thoughts on a player for their employer, I can share my thoughts with you, the reader.  

REPERTOIRE:

Fastball:  Cody sat 91-94 mph touching 95 once when I saw him and was as high as 97 mph last summer in the Cape Cod League.  Though lacking movement, Cody’s height allows him to throw this pitch at a downward plane.     

Slider:  Cody throws a slurvy breaking pitch at around 77-80 mph and threw it a ton against Vanderbilt with inconsistent results.  Several times throughout the start he lost the release point. 

Changeup:  An inconsistent offering between 80-85 mph.

DELIVERY

Cody’s delivery produces some of the easiest velocity I’ve ever seen.  Stress free and without any violent arm action, the ball jumps out of his hand, and at 6’7” that hand is half way to home plate by the time he releases the ball.  It’s often difficult for big men to repeat their delivery and sensing that, Cody and his college coaches seem to have simplified the approach as much as possible.  I’ll be interested to see what a professional organization can do for his development.    

FUTURE


Cody entered the season as a top half of the first round prospect, but an up and down spring that included temporarily losing his rotation spot for a few weeks have tarnished his stock.  At this point, I like him more than most.  Though he has an outside chance to go at the end of the first round, it’s more likely he’ll go in the 50-60 pick range.  

2015 MLB Draft Non-Scouting Report: Tyler Jay - LHP - Illinois



2015 MLB Draft Prospect: Tyler Jay - LHP - Illinois. 6’1" 185. Class: Junior. DOB: 4.19.94. Last Drafted: Never

In addition to staring on the diamond, Jay played receiver, punter and returned kicks for Lemont (Ill.) HS.  Undrafted out of high school, Jay has been a key part of the Illini bullpen since his freshman year but he vaulted himself into the first round discussion with a stellar stint with Team USA last summer where he put up a season line of 2-0, 0.00 ERA, and 21 K in just 16.2 IP.       

Jay has continued his dominance this season, posting a 0.60 ERA, good for second best in the nation.  There’s a lack of consensus on whether Jay, who has just one career college start, will be used as a starter or a reliever as a pro.  There’s more value in a left-handed starter, but if he stays in the pen, he could be fast tracked to the majors.



Statistics *through 6.4.15

YEAR
CLASS
W-L
ERA
G
S
IP
H
K
BB
2013
Fr. 
1-3
3.10
18
0
20.1
11
20
10
2014
So. 
4-1
1.94
23
10
41.2
28
47
13
2015
Jr.
5-1
0.60
29
14
60.1
30
70
7

It’s important to note that I’m not a scout.  I don't have the training or expertise that they do.  None of that is going to stop me from sharing my thoughts on the player.  

REPERTOIRE:

Fastball:  Jay sits at 93-95 mph and can run it up to 98 mph.     

Slider:  Jay’s primary secondary pitch is a wipeout slider at 85-87 mph.  

Curveball:  Jay has flashed a “get me over” curve at 79-80 mph but he will also throw the ball down in the zone as an out pitch.   

Changeup:  This isn’t a pitch that Jay will typically use in shorter appearances as the need generally hasn’t been there when going through the lineup one time.

DELIVERY

Though not a big guy, Jay can consistently bump a mid 90’s fastball without a particularly taxing delivery as his premium velocity is generated more by superior arm action than effort.  The release is a true 3/4, yet he finishes north/south without falling off to the third base side.      

FUTURE

To start or to relieve?  Less than 48 hours before the draft, Jay is projected to go off the board within the top 5 overall picks.  I firmly believe that an MLB team won’t spend that high of a pick on a pitcher unless they believe he can start. The last true relief pitcher to land in the top 10 picks was Drew Storen (10th) when the Nationals used their second first rounder on him.  Storen wasn’t near the 10th ranked talent in that draft, however they drafted Steven Strasburg at #1 overall which cost them $7.5 Million, so they went under slot at #10 and signed Storen for $1.6 Million. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

2015 MLB Draft Non-Scouting Report: Walker Buehler - RHP - Vanderbilt


2015 MLB Draft Prospect: Walker Buehler - RHP - Vanderbilt. 6’2" 175. Class: Junior. DOB: 7.28.94. Last Drafted: Pittsburgh - 2012 (14th Round)

Scouted: Vanderbilt Commodores @ Kentucky Wildcats 5.3.15

A prep star at Henry Clay HS in Lexington Ky., Bueller was ranked as the 50th best prospect in the 2012 draft by Baseball America, and slid to the 14th round (Pittsburgh) due to his strong college commitment to Vanderbilt.  Buehler followed through on that commitment and he has been a key contributor for the Commodores since stepping on campus, including winning 12 games on the 2014 national championship team.

Buehler entered this season as a potential top 10 overall pick and despite missing the his first two starts of the season with elbow soreness, he’s done nothing to diminish his stock.    



Statistics *through 6.4.15

YEAR
CLASS
W-L
ERA
G
S
IP
H
K
BB
2013
Fr. 
4-3
3.14
16
1
63
64
57
25
2014
So. 
12-2
2.64
19
0
102.1
85
111
31
2015
Jr.
4-2
2.97
14
0
78.2
78
81
25

It's important to note that getting one live look at a player doesn't provide nearly enough information to produce a true scouting report.  It’s also important to note that I’m not a scout.  I don't have the training or expertise that they do.  None of that is going to stop me from sharing my thoughts on the player.  

REPERTOIRE:

Fastball:  Buehler sat at 93-95 mph throughout the duration of the start when I saw him and has been as high as 96 mph in other starts this season.  Though the pitch flattens out a bit, he spots it well to both sides of the plate.    

Curveball:  Buehler’s primary secondary pitch is a curveball that he’ll throw in any count.  This pitch was 77-79 mph with a sharp downward break.  

Slider:  This pitch was 83-85 mph with good downward bite as opposed to a slider that moves on a horizontal plane. 

Changeup:  The weakest of his secondary offerings, Buehler’s changeup has some fade and is still playable at the next level.  

DELIVERY

Like teammate Carson Fulmer, Buehler is small in stature, listed at 175 lbs but looking much thinner.  Buehler has drawn comparisons to Tim Lincecum both for his size and for the delivery.  While there is effort in the delivery, it’s fluid as he comes right over the top and finishes off to the first base side of the mound.   

FUTURE


Buehler will go off the board in the first round, likely in the 8-14 overall pick range.  While it’s debatable if teammate Carson Fulmer will remain a starter, there’s little doubt that Buehler will remain in the rotation.  With a four pitch mix and an advanced feel for pitching, I’m of the opinion that Buehler is a mid-rotation starter with the potential to grow into a #2.

2015 MLB Draft Non-Scouting Report: Ian Happ - OF - University of Cincinnati

By Burke Granger

MLB Draft Prospect: Ian Happ - OF - University of Cincinnati. Bats: S Throws: R - 6'0" 205.  Born: 08/12/94.  Previously Drafted:  None.  

Not ranked in the top 500 draft prospects in 2012, Happ went un-drafted out of Mt. Lebanon HS in Pittsburgh.  As a freshman however, Happ burst onto the scene earning Freshman All-American honors from both Perfect Game and the NCBWA while putting together a .322/.451/.483 line.

Happ continued to establish himself in the Cape Cod League in each of the past two summers and was the lone bright spot on a Cincinnati team that went just 15-41 this season. 

SCOUTED

UCF @ Cincinnati - 4.4.15



STATISTICS (as of 6/4/15)

YEAR
AVE
OBP
SLG
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
K
SB/ATT
2013
0.322
0.451
0.483
13
1
6
36
47
32
25/30
2014
0.322
0.443
0.497
13
1
5
27
32
35
19/24
2015
0.369
0.492
0.672
18
0
14
44
49
49
12/20

It’s important to note that getting one live look at a player doesn’t provide nearly enough information for a scouting report.  It’s also important to note that I’m not a scout.  I do however actually go to see these guys play live, which is more than you’ll get from many online “Scouting Reports”.  I also talk to scouts when I’m there.  While scouts reserve their reports for their employer, I can share my thoughts with you, the reader.  

HITTING - Happ’s bat has been his calling card in college and that’s not expected to change as a professional.  Happ is better from the left side, though the swing is balanced and controlled from both sides of the plate.  Happ gets plus grades for his hitting ability.  The swing and plate discipline (18.2 BB% - 1.10 BB/K Ratio) indicate an advanced feel with the bat.  That advanced feel was not evident on the day that I saw him as he struck out three times, swung through a couple of fastballs on the inner half and chased a couple 59 foot curve balls.       

POWER - Happ has shown some pop this season, driving balls out of the park from straight away center to the pull side foul poll, while displaying gap power to the opposite field.      

SPEED - Somewhat of a short stocky build, Happ runs well for his body which is thick but not soft.  Average speed.    

ARM - Happ has average arm strength which should be playable in any of his positional possibilities, though not ideal in right field.   

DEFENSE - The biggest question mark for Happ is where he’ll play defensively.  An infielder in high school and his first year on campus, he’s played almost exclusively in right field this season.  The team that drafts Happ may give him the opportunity to give infield another try, but I see a left fielder.         

FUTURE - This is a draft that is short on impact bats, which makes Happ appealing and a probable first rounder.  

I don’t like coming up with comps on players because they’re unfair, subjective and likely biased.  That said, here’s my unfair, subjective and biased comp for Ian Happ.   

A number of data points on Happ remind me of 2010 first round pick Kolbrin Vitek of Ball State (Boston - 20th Overall).  Like Happ, Vitek’s defensive position was in question, he was considered one of the more advanced hitters in draft class that was perceived to be lacking bats, and he dominated sub par college competition.  Vitek flamed out of pro ball after just a few seasons and retired in 2014.

This was the only time I saw Happ live out of his 163 collegiate games.  To say this is a small sample size is an understatement.  Every report that I’ve read on Happ has been glowing.  But if you’re reading this I assume you want to know what I saw rather than me regurgitating what others have written.  I saw a guy swing and miss at a surprising amount of pitches, and argued balls and strikes with the umpire.  Let’s hope it was simply an off day.