The 4th round just kicked off, and draft will go through round 30 today. I’ll update the picks as I have time here, with limited commentary on the guys I know a little bit about.
4th round – James Jones, OF/LHP
He’s a two way kid from New York who had been up to 94 off the mound but with no secondary stuff to write home about, so the M’s intend to use him as a position player. At 6’4 and with serious athleticism, there’s a lot of upside if the bat develops. You’ll hear comparisons to Mike Cameron and Adam Jones because he’s black and a good athlete, but those are obviously long shot best case scenarios, or he’d have gone about 100 picks higher than this. As another lefty bat with upside, it seems clear that the M’s know what they want to build around long term. For everyone who wasn’t happy with the lower upside picks yesterday, you should like this one.
5th round – Tyler Blandford, RHP
The M’s finally take a pitcher, and here’s a shock – it’s a hard thrower with no idea where the ball is going. If you like the guys in the bullpen right now, you’ll love Blandford. He’s 93-96 with a fastball, and he also throws a slider and change-up, but his command is a 15 on the 20-80 scale. Not surprisingly, he’s projected as a reliever long term, since he just doesn’t throw enough strikes to be a starting pitcher. Maybe the M’s can make a mechanical tweak and get him fixed, but probably not – he’s another higher upside guy with boom or bust potential, though.
6th round – Shaver Hansen, 3B
If you weren’t convinced that the M’s wanted guys who could swing the stick from the left side yet, they’ve added another one with the switch hitting Hansen. He played SS in college, but no one thought he could stick there, and the M’s announced him as a third baseman. He had a good year offensively, showing added power, but there are questions about how well he’ll hit with wood. He doesn’t have great footwork or athleticism, either, so he might not be a good defensive third baseman, even with the SS pedigree. Probably a utility infielder type in the majors if he gets there.
7th round – Brian Moran, LHP
I think the M’s like UNC’s baseball team this year. First Ackley, then Seager, now Moran. Moran has underwhelming stuff, throwing 85-89 with his fastball, but his delivery gives him some deception and allows him to get college hitters out. His secondary stuff isn’t great, and he’ll need to improve his breaking ball to fit into a LH relief role long term. But he’s probably not a major league pitcher, despite dominating NCAA hitters (his FIP was #2 in the country behind some guy named Strasburg).
8th round – Jimmy Gillheeney, LHP
The M’s take another kid from the state of North Carolina, drafting NC State’s best pitcher. He’s a pitchability lefty with a good change-up that will have to become a great one, because his fastball is well below average, ranging from 83-89. Jason Vargas is his upside.
9th round – Trevor Coleman, C
Switch-hitting catcher who had a terrible junior year, causing him to fall. He was pretty good in the Cape Cod League last summer, and the M’s will be hoping he can get back to that level. He should be able to stick behind the plate and offers some offensive upside. This is a nice pick in the 9th round.
10th round – Vincent Catricala, 3B
A third baseman who might end up in the outfield, he’s shown power and the ability to hit a fastball, but has struggled with off-speed stuff. But, hey, he’s a right-handed bat, so that’s different.
That’ll do it for me. I’ve got stuff to do, and the 11th+ round picks are extreme longshots to make the majors. Overall, though, I think the M’s did a nice job in rounds 1-10. Be happy.