Prospect Roundup: Week 1

By: Burke Granger

With the first weekend of the college season officially in the books, we finally have some real data from which we can over-analyze.  This is the definition of a small sample size, so it’s silly to put too much stock in one weekend, but it’s also silly to ignore it completely.

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Prospect Weekend Rundown: Week 1

 

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Eric Lauer could become the highest drafted Kent St. player since Andrew Chafin, who went 43rd overall to Arizona in 2011 (Kent State Athletics)

by Burke Granger

The college baseball season opens up today and of course we’re excited.  I mean, the name of our site is Prospect Junkies for crying out loud.  I toyed around with a few cheesy lead in sentences here to get you excited as well, but I figure if you’re reading this article you’re already in the right state of mind.  Each week we’ll be highlighting some of the premier prospect matchups to watch for around the country.  If that’s something you dig, keep reading.

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Draft Report: Prep Baseball Report’s Super 60

By: Burke Granger

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Our 2016 MLB Draft coverage officially kicked off this weekend with a trip to Chicago for the Super 60, an annual event hosted by Prep Baseball Report (“PBR”) that welcomed players from 19 states and over 120 scouts.  Debuted in 2003, the Super 60 is celebrating 14 years of bringing together some of the most talented high school seniors in the Midwest to showcase their skills for scouts and college recruiters.

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Trade Depot: Appel a Surprise Inclusion in Giles Deal

By Burke Granger

Two days ago, news broke that the Astros and Phillies were nearing an agreement that would send flame throwing closer Ken Giles to Houston in exchange for package of prospects that included outfielder Derek Fisher.  Today, we find out that Fisher is not involved and his replacement is right-handed pitcher Mark Appel, who was the top overall selection in the 2013 draft.  Appel is the second top overall pick to be dealt this week following the Dansby Swanson/Shelby Miller trade on Tuesday evening.

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Trade Depot: Dansby Swanson Goes Home to Georgia

By Burke Granger

Makeup, makeup, makeup.  I’m not high on hyperbolic terms that are thrown around to describe prospects.  Grinder, gamer, and gritty are all overused and overvalued adjectives.  If a guy who plays baseball games for money isn’t a gamer, what is he?  With Dansby Swanson, former Vanderbilt Commodore, the universal unofficial tool in which he receives his highest praise is his makeup.

A Marietta (Ga.) product, Swanson excelled on diamond and the hardwood in high school.  Shoulder injuries limited Swanson to just 16 at-bats as a freshman, but he stepped in and started at second base for the 2014 National Championship team.  In the national spotlight in Omaha, Swanson’s leadership was evident, as was his on field talent.  Hitting .323 on his way to being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Swanson rode that momentum into a seller 2015 which culminated  with his being selected first overall last June in the MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rather than starting his first full season with Diamondbacks in 2016, Arizona used Swanson to highlight a package to land right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller from Atlanta.  Miller, the former 2009 1st round pick (St. Louis) pitched much better than his 6-17 record would suggest.  Miller had a 3.02 ERA and logged over 200 innings for the Braves in 2015, his only season in Atlanta.  It’s worth noting, however, that Miller’s career low ERA was directly correlated by cutting his HR rate in half last year and he’ll experience a negative park shift in this trade to Arizona.

Also heading to Atlanta in this deal are Ender Inciarte, a glove first outfielder who’s under affordable control, and Aaron Blair, a right-handed pitcher who was a supplemental first round selection from Marshall University in 2013.  Coming off a 13-5, 2.92 season where he didn’t miss many bats (6.7 K/9) between AA and AAA, Blair profiles as a back end starter who should step in and help Atlanta right away.

After speaking to dozens of people in Nashville at the Winter Meetings both inside and outside the industry, none have told me that they think Arizona got the better end of this deal and I’m in agreement with that sentiment.  If I’m evaluating this deal in a vacuum, I’d much rather be on the Braves side of this trade.

That said, the Diamondbacks are getting some unfair criticism regarding this deal.  While I think Swanson is a safe bet to be an above average shortstop and occasional, he’s an unproven commodity.  Miller is already an above average pitcher who fits in nicely as a #2/3 type starter who made his first All-Star appearance in 2015.  Having just turned 25, Miller has already established, logging 96 starts and 575.1 innings.  He’s bonafide.

If you’re a Diamondbacks fan, cheer up, you’re an NL West title contender.  If you’re a Braves fan, congratulations!  You’re front runner to land the #1 pick in the 2017 draft and this guy could be starting at shortstop for you when you open your new ballpark.