Prospect Roundup: Trade Deadline

 

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Clint Frazier was one of the better prospects on the move during the trade deadline. (Photo courtesy of the Akron Beacon Journal)

By: Burke Granger

If you follow baseball prospects with at least a moderate level of enthusiasm, and if you’re reading this article you probably do, there are a few milestones throughout the calendar year about which to get excited.  Along with the First-Year Player Draft, the All-Star Futures Game, and September call-ups, the trade deadline is one of those moments.

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Daily Fantasy Baseball 101: Batting Order

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Daily Fantasy Baseball Series:  Ballpark Factors

By: Jonathan Piening

A player’s spot in the lineup is one of the most important factors to consider when making your daily fantasy picks.  The higher a player is hitting in the lineup, the more expected plate appearances that player is going see each game.  The leadoff hitter can expect to see about 4.6 plate appearances per game while the 9 hole hitter is about 3.75.  That’s a major difference.  The steep decline actually starts once you hit the sixth spot in the lineup, so you’ll want to keep your exposure to guys in the top 5 spots in the lineup if at all possible.

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Trade Depot: Red Sox Land Kimbrel But Pay A Price

Less than a year ago, the San Diego Padres acquired closer Craig Kimbrel from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for right handed pitcher Matt Wisler, their top prospect at the time.  Now Kimbrel is on the move again, this time to the Boston Red Sox, with the Padres returning more than what they paid to acquire him.

In return for Kimbrel, who is under club control through 2018, the Padres acquire outfielder Manuel Margot, middle infielders Javier Guerra and Carlos Asuaji and left-handed pitcher Logan Allen.

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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.

2015 MLB Draft Non-Scouting Report: Dansby Swanson – SS – Vanderbilt

by Burke Granger

MLB Draft Prospect: Dansby Swanson – SS – Vanderbilt. Bats: R Throws: R – 6’1″ 190.  Born: 2.11.1994.  Previously Drafted: 2012 – Colorado (38th Round).  
A 4.0 student at Marietta (Ga.) High School and teammate of 2010 first round pick Chevy Clarke (Anaheim), Swanson was considered a tough sign and slid to the 38th round of the 2012 draft, where he was selected by the Colorado Rockies.
As a freshman in 2013, foot and shoulder injuries limited Swanson to just 11 games and 16 ABs.
Swanson won the starting second base job for the Commodores in 2014 and would go on to be named the Most Outstanding Player in the College World Series, while leading Vanderbilt to the first national championship in school history.

 

SCOUTED
Vanderbilt @ Kentucky – May 1-3, 2015
STATISTICS (as of 6/4/15)
YEAR
AVE
OBP
SLG
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
K
SB/ATT
2013
0.188
0.435
0.250
1
0
0
1
4
5
1/2
2014
0.333
0.411
0.475
27
2
3
34
37
49
22/27
2015
0.348
0.443
0.656
22
6
14
61
42
43
15/17

It’s important to note that I’m not a scout.  I don’t have the knowledge or training that they have.  I do go get live looks at these players and I talk to scouts.  While scouts typically reserve their reports for their employer, I can share my thoughts on the player with you, the reader.  How lucky are you?

HITTING – Swanson should hit for a high average thanks to a compact swing and an above average eye at the plate.  Swanson has shown good patience at the plate, walking in 13.2% of his career plate appearances.  Swanson owns a career K% of 15.4%, and while that would be above average as a professional, it’s higher than one would expect from the projected #1 overall pick.
POWER – Though he has hit 14 HR this season including 5 so far in this post-season, Swanson has just average power and projects to be more of a doubles hitter as a professional.
SPEED – An owner of above average speed, Swanson gets out of the box well from the right side and gets enough good jumps on the base paths to steal 38 bases in 45 attempts for his career.
ARM – Swanson’s arm was a question mark coming out of high school and entering this season after his transition from second base.  This season he’s made enough plays in the hole to his right to silence his critics and prove that the arm is at least solid average.
DEFENSE – First step quickness, soft hands, and a strong accurate arm make Swanson an above average shortstop and a good bet to stick at the position as a professional.
FUTURE – Swanson is projected to go #1 overall next week and won’t make it out of the top 3 picks.  Swanson’s greatest strength is his lack of weaknesses.  In a draft class lacking cathedral ceiling players, Swanson’s safe tools and exceptional leadership qualities make him an appealing prospect.

2015 MLB Draft Non-Scouting Report: Carson Fulmer – RHP – Vanderbilt

 

by Burke Granger

2015 MLB Draft Prospect: Carson Fulmer – RHP – Vanderbilt. 5’11” 195. Class: Junior. DOB: 12.13.93. Last Drafted: Boston Red Sox – 2012 (15th Round)
Observed: Vanderbilt Commodores @ Kentucky Wildcats 5.1.15
As I wandered around Cliff Hagan Stadium shooting some video of batting practice, a couple of kids came up to me and asked if the guy who yells at himself was pitching for Vanderbilt tonight.  “You mean Carson Fulmer, yeah he’s pitching,” I said.
Fulmer didn’t disappoint me or those kids that night, going 6.2 innings, striking out eight, while walking the line between intense and Jessie Spano on caffeine pills.
Getting rave reviews from scouts and coaches for his competitiveness and makeup since the day he arrived on campus, Fulmer’s passion is hard to ignore.  He greets his fielders as they exit the field after each inning, he’ll chirp at an opponent when needed, and along with Dansby Swanson, he’s an unquestioned leader on the defending National Champion Commodores.
Fulmer served as Vanderbilt’s closer for much of his first two seasons in Nashville, but was called upon to be the Friday starter when two time first round pick Tyler Beede (Blue Jays – 2011, San Francisco – 2014) struggled down the stretch.
Fulmer started three games in Omaha including the national championship game, going 1-0, with a 3.00 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 15 innings.
Picking up where he left off last season, Fulmer’s consistent performance has boosted his stock this spring.
 
 
Statistics *through 5.29.15
YEAR
CLASS
W-L
ERA
G
S
IP
H
K
BB
2013
Fr. 
3-0
2.39
26
4
52.2
37
51
25
2014
So. 
7-1
1.98
26
10
91
61
95
41
2015
Jr.
12-2
1.92
16
0
107.2
71
147
41
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:  Fulmer sat at 94-95 mph against Kentucky and held his velocity throughout the duration of the start.  His delivery provides deception to make the pitch seem even faster, but we’ll get to that later.  Fulmer’s a bit of a short-armer which creates some nice arm side run.
Curveball:  Fulmer’s power curve ball is one of the better out-pitches in college baseball, often generating swings and misses with a sharp 12-6 to 1-7 break.  Fulmer has the confidence in himself and his catcher to throw this pitch in any count.
Changeup: Fulmer threw a couple changeups against Kentucky but I originally mistook them for two seem fastballs, which illustrates that the velocity differential isn’t what it needs to make that pitch effective at present.
DELIVERY
A good athlete, Fulmer’s herky jerky delivery is controlled chaos.  It lacks fluidity, yet it’s oddly repeatable.  He short-arms the ball to the plate, providing great deception and causing hitters to swing at 58 foot curve balls, thinking they’re going to be grooved fastballs.  When throwing from the stretch, Fulmer’s in the 1.2-1.3 second range to home plate which is adequate.
FUTURE
Fuller has been consistently in the top 10 overall pick range in the latest industry mock drafts.  The Red Sox pick at #7 and it’s entirely conceivable they’d select him, given that they took him in the 15th round out of high school.  Boston was in attendance on the day that I saw Fulmer, but so were about 15 other teams so that doesn’t mean much.  It’s probably not even worth mentioning.

 

When I see Fulmer, I see a closer and a damn good one.  I think his floor is that of a high leverage reliever at the Major League level, but any team that takes him in the top 10 is going to try him as a starter first.

2011 MLB Draft – Day Two Best Available

Let’s face it, kids slide in the draft for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a college commitment, sometimes it’s a bloated asking price, sometimes it’s makeup issues, and sometimes guys like me just had a guy valued higher than scouts did. You’ll find a variety of those reasons causing the slide in the players below.

I must admit that as a college baseball fan, I quite selfishly wouldn’t mind if the slide continued on some of these guys.

Josh Bell – OF – Jesuit Prep School of Dallas (TX). Bats: B Throws: R. 6’3″ 205. College Commitment: Texas.

Update: Bell and his advisors (Boras Corp) issued a statement asking teams not to draft him. Texas Longhorn coach Augie Garrido would be fine with that too.

Daniel Norris – LHP – Science Hill HS (TN). 6’3″ 180. College Commitment: Clemson.

Update: Like Bell, Norris has a strong college commitment. Unlike Bell, the Norris camp didn’t issue a letter. It’s rumored that someone floated a dollar figure that may be scaring teams away.

Andrew Susac – C – Oregon State. 6’1″ 205. Bats: R Throws: R. Last Drafted: Philadelphia Phillies – ’09 (16th Round).

Update: Broken hamate bone has limited his exposure this spring. Draft eligible sophomore has increased leverage.

Austin Hedges – C – J. Serra (CA). Bats: R Throws: R. 6’1″ 190. College Commitment: UCLA.

Update: Hedges is an advanced receiver for a high school kid, who records pop times under 1.8 seconds.

Dillon Howard – RHP – Searcy HS (AR). 6’2″ 200. College Commitment: Arkansas.

Update: I’m having trouble understanding he slide here. His college commitment wasn’t viewed as strong enough to scare teams.

Matt Purke – LHP – TCU. 6’4″ 180. Last Drafted: Texas Rangers ’09 (1st Round).

Update: We all know the score here. Missed time this season with shoulder issues and was throwing 82 MPH fastballs at one point. Combine that with his draft eligible sophomore status and he’s a risky pick.

Alex Dickerson – OF – Indiana. 6’3″ 220. Bats: L Throws: L. Last Drafted: Washington Nationals – ’08 (48th Round).

Update: Scouting report here.

Josh Osich – LHP – Oregon State. 6’3″ 225. Last Drafted: Never

Update: No-hit UCLA in matchup against Trevor Bauer.

Anthony Meo – RHP – Coastal Carolina. 6’2″ 190. Last Drafted: Washington Nationals – ’08 (43rd Round)

Update: Beat Matt Barnes in opening game of Regionals.

Jorge Lopez – RHP – Academia de Milagrosa (P.R.). 6’4″ 180. College Commitment: None.

Update: Athletic lengthy kid should go in the top half of the 2nd.

Tony Zych – RHP – Louisville. 6’3″ 190. Last Drafted: Chicago Cubs – ’08 (46th Round).

Update: One of the harder throwers in the draft, Zych should move quickly and be one of the first 2011 draftees in the Majors to help someone’s pen.

Nicky Delmonico – C/3B – Farragut HS (TN). 6’2″ 185. Bats: L Throws: R. College Commitment: Georgia.

Update: I’m higher on Delmonico than most, as I view him as a plus bat with the ability to stay at catcher.

Dillon Maples – RHP – Pinecrest HS (NC). 6’3″ 195. College Commitment: North Carolina.

Update: Might play football (kicker) and baseball at North Carolina.

Jason Esposito – 3B – Vanderbilt. Throws: R Bats: R. 6’1″ 195. Last Drafted: Kansas City Royals – ’08 (7th Round).

Update: Stock has slipped a little, but Esposito has great hands, and decent power and speed. I’m still a fan.

Charlie Tilson – OF – New Trier HS (IL). 6’0″ 165. Throws: R Bats: R. College Commitment: Illinois.

Update: Stock slipping combined with Illinois strong showing in Regionals could prove to be fruitful on bringing a talent like Tilson to the Big Ten.