The Draft Philes: The Final Push Before the Big Day

Tomorrow’s the big day, where high school and college baseball players get a chance to potentially hear their name called by a major league team and begin their professional careers. I certainly have had a lot of fun giving you guys information on all of the potential names that the Phillies could select with the eighth overall pick and other names of intrigue to watch out for in the early rounds. So I’d thought I would end my run on reports with a bang giving you guys not one, not two, not three, but TEN more guys to watch out for in the draft which will bring us to a final tally 41 Draft prospects. This set of final reports includes a full report on one last option at #8 in Adam Haseley, who I’ve neglected because I’m not a big fan, but others seem to think the Phillies will go after him for his upside. Then we have nine quick reports of guys of intrigue who could be had post first round. These are guys who either I didn’t have time for, there wasn’t much video or some I saved for last because they were suggested by some of my followers on Twitter. So without further or do, let’s get going!

Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia

6’1″, 195 lb

B/T: L/L

Previously Drafted: Never

Rankings (as of 6/9): MLB.com #10, Baseball America #8, ESPN #6

Strengths

Strong build, big forearms. Stance is crouched, closed, has high leg kick. Separates his mechanics well, stays relatively balanced and fluid on his swing. Has quick hands, can spray line drives to all fields; has tapped into pull power this season with a bit more lift in his swing. Approach has improved over time, drawing more walks and swinging at less pitches out of the zone. Above average runner, covers ground well in centerfield where he has a chance to stick.

Weaknesses

Will over rotate on his swing, can get out in front too early. Load is a bit deep. Instincts in center aren’t great, may shift to corner outfield spot.

What the Numbers Say

2015 (Freshman): 68 G, 329 PA, .250/.355/.322, .304 BABIP, 69 H, 11 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 56 R, 5/6 SB, 39 BB (11.9 BB%), 53 K (16.1 K%); 3 OF assists, 4 E, .967 Fld %

2016 (Sophomore): 60 G, 285 PA, .304/.377/.502, .321 BABIP, 75 H, 19 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 37 RBI, 61 R, 3/4 SB, 28 BB (9.8 BB%), 29 K (10.2 K%); 11 OF assists, 3 E, .976 Fld %

2017 (Junior): 58 G, 270 PA, .390/.491/.659, .386 BABIP, 87 H, 16 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 68 R, 10/14 SB, 44 BB (16.3 BB%), 21 K (7.8 K%); 13 OF assists, 2 E, .984 Fld %

Overall Assessment

Haseley has been a two way player his entire career at Virginia, being a pretty good starter for them all three years. He could improve as a hitter now that he won’t worry about pitching at the professional level.  While his numbers show he was exceptional hitter, his Cape Cod league performance is somewhat of concern facing better talent. He seems to struggle with pitches down much like UVA teammate Pavin Smith because of his tendency to over rotate. He’s going to see a lot of off-speed stuff with how early in front his swing can get. Haseley’s ceiling is that of top of the order do-it all variety where he can hit for average power and get a lot of doubles and get on base. His floor is that of a fourth outfielder who can hit right handed pitching.

 

Post 1st Round Options

Steven Jennings, RHP, Dekalb County HS (TN)

Jennings was a two-sport star before tearing his ACL playing quarterback back in the fall. He recovered quickly and wore a knee brace this spring. Only 6’2″, 175 lb, he still has plenty of room to grow and he has a quick, loose arm which plays well for his 90-96 mph fastball, mainly settling in the low 90s. His mid-80s slider is his second best pitch, and he shows a solid curveball. All three pitches have the chance to be plus with the combination of his athleticism and mechanics where his ceiling is a mid-rotation starter. Has a strong commitment with Ole Miss, so a team drafting him with their second pick will have to go over slot value for him.

Michael Mercado, RHP, Westview HS (CA)

Mercado has a lot of projection in his 6’4″ frame, only weighing a lean, mean 160 lb. Mercado’s calling card is his command of his four pitch arsenal. His fastball sits 90-91 mph, but does top out at 94 mph; he throws his two-seamer at 88 mph a lot to induce quick outs. Curveball has plus flash with sharp bite and knee buckling action. His cutter almost acts like a slider with the way it tails off at the end. Mercado has the ceiling of a #2 starter with his plus command in high school, but he should be a starter at the next level regardless if he fills out his frame to it’s maximum potential and continues to add velocity. His commitment to Stanford will make him a bit expensive.

Wil Crowe, RHP, South Carolina

A 31st round pick in 2013 by the Indians, Crowe had Tommy John surgery before his junior season in 2016. The burly 6’3″ righty returned to dominate form early on, before fading towards the end of the season likely due to fatigue from recovery. He regained his velocity hitting 91-94 regularly with good sink, topping out at 97 mph. His curveball flashes plus with 12-6 power  and late break. His slider has tight spin and plenty of horizontal movement, while he has used his change-up effectively against lefties, though both of these pitches lack consistency. Crowe’s command looked shaky early, but regained it once he shook the rust off. Crowe’s four pitch arsenal and frame has his ceiling at a fringe mid-rotation starter, a #3 or #4. If he can’t handle the workload in the pros, he would be a very interesting power reliever.

Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Cullman HS (AL)

Heatherly is physically well built coming out of high school at 6’1″, 214 lb. He has good lower half mechanics and a loose arm where when he’s on he can command his low 90s fastball down in the zone with plenty of sink; however it’s not always there because of timing.  His two breaking balls have different feels, with a low 70s curveball with a lot of spin and depth and upper 70s to low 80s slider with short late break with a chance to be plus in the future. He doesn’t throw his change-up pretty much at all, which if he did would make his arsenal more appealing and make his ceiling more that of a mid-rotation starter. Right now that ceiling is more back-end with his current lack of command and a floor of a lefty specialist out of the pen where he can crank his fastball up to the mid-90s. Heatherly could opt to go to Alabama if he’s doesn’t get enough money and return in two years as a draft-eligible sophomore.

Blaine Knight, RHP, Arkansas

Knight went from a very good swingman in his freshman season, to being a very interesting draft-eligible sophomore. Knight has good control of his 90-94 mph and throws it for strikes. He relies on his slider a lot, which he can manipulate to make it move more like a cutter or he loses feel and it becomes more loopy. He doesn’t go to his change-up often and his feel is inconsistent on it where it’s average at best. While he has a good size (6’3″), he is incredibly skinny at 165 lb to hold up long term as a starter. He will need to add at least 20-25 lbs in order to reach his ceiling of a #4 starter. If not, his future lies in the bullpen where his manipulative slider will play really well in short bursts. Knight will have plenty of leverage to go back to Arkansas, so expect him to go no later than the third or fourth round.

Calvin Mitchell, OF, Rancho Bernardo HS, (CA)

Mitchell’s calling card will be how hard he can hit a baseball. He has plus power that he can drive to all fields, and can knock an outside pitch the other way for a single thanks to a loose, balanced swing and above average bat speed. He doesn’t chase many bad pitches, but could be beaten down with good offspeed stuff. He’s a below average runner with below average arm strength, so his limitations are to leftfield, or he will require a position change to first base. His best bet to be a regular will to be drafted by an AL organization where he has the option to DH. If he’s not selected in the top three rounds, he could be a tough sign in the fourth and beyond from his commitment to the University of San Diego.

Mark Vientos, SS/3B, American Heritage HS (FL)

Coming from the same school that produced Eric Hosmer, Vientos has a thunderous bat. He gets plenty of lift in his swing and backspin off the ball where he can hit it for power into the gaps. His hand load is a bit deep and his timing is inconsistent where he doesn’t stride forward and he goes with a quick knee twitch off his lead foot instead. Pitches low in the zone will be a problem and he will have to make adjustments with his timing in order to hit his ceiling as a first division regular. He likely won’t stick at shortstop long term because of his below average speed and he will probably outgrow the position where he will likely shift to third base with his cannon of an arm.

Ryan Vilade, 3B, Stillwater HS (OK)

Vilade, the son of a longtime Rangers’ minor league coach, has significant power with well above average bat speed. His swing has plenty of lift and leverage, but can get long at times. His lower half has become more well-balanced and in sync with his upper half as he ditched his high leg kick and made his stance a bit wider. Vilade’s willingness to continue to make adjustments suggests he could hit enough in the future to be a starting third basemen where his size and arm strength play very well.

Dylan Busby, 1B/3B, Florida State

Busby’s dad, Wayne was a 19th round pick in 1988, but Dylan will be going in the top 10 rounds probably. Busby has been a consistent middle of the lineup threat for the Seminoles the last couple of years hitting 71 extra bases, including 28 home runs. There will be plenty of swing and miss to his game (career 24.7 K%) as his swing gets long and he doesn’t seem to do well vs high velocity. A left shoulder injury this year may have hurt his bat speed a bit before he tore it up towards the end of the season, but he will likely end up as a bat off the bench that can mash left handed pitching with plenty of versatility where he can play 1B, 3B or RF.

Author: Jeff Israel