MLB Draft Update: Who’s Number One?
The pickings for news about prospects for MLB’s upcoming June are decidedly slim right now, but that’s about to change soon.
Area scouts, cross-checkers, and scouting directors are at their busiest right now, criss-crossing the continent to evaluate and rate the thousands of high school and college prospects they see. Even the writers who tend to follow them are silent right now, as they compile their notes about the top players.
What might be most noticeable about this class, which scouts are saying is weaker than last year’s, is who is no longer at the top of the list, as opposed to who is.
California LHP Brady Aiken was the first overall pick last year, but he and Houston couldn’t agree on a contract. Rumours abounded about concerns the Astros had about Aiken’s medical report, and Aiken’s reps balked when the Astros dropped their bonus offer from $6.5 to $5 million.
Aiken enrolled at the IMG Academy this spring, but left a start in front of a huge assembly of MLB scouts after only 12 pitches in March. He had Tommy John surgery several days later, and won’t pitch again in 2015. He still figures to remain somewhere in the first round, but no longer at the top.
Another pre-season top draft prospect was Duke RHP Mike Matuella, who has had his own health concerns, and underwent Tommy John as well in early April. Canadian Cal Quantrill, son of the former major leaguer, also has undergone the procedure as well. The Stanford RHP was seen by some as a potential first overall pick in 2016.
For the time being, the consensus top pick is Florida HS shortstop Brendan Rogers. Some have red flagged his relatively slow foot speed, and the fact that he will be 19 prior to the draft, so scouts may not be getting a true read on his ceiling. UC Santa Barbara RHP Dillon Tate has seen his stock rise to near the top of the class as well.
There will likely be considerable shuffling and re-shuffling of prospects as the draft approaches, unlike last year, when a top three of Aiken, Carlos Rodon, and (until he was injured) Jeff Hoffman separated themselves from the pack.
MLB is likely headed to an International draft of all prospects, likely when the current Player’s Agreement expires in 2016. All prospects, whether they be North American or Caribbean, will likely be subject to that draft.