Draft Notables outside the Top 10: Hitter Edition
Last week I brought you a simple breakdown of the top 10 draft prospects per MLB Draft Insider. Today, I’m going to discuss some of the names I didn’t get to last week, in no particular order and mainly subject to my whims.
D.J. Peterson – 1B – New Mexico
I’ve seen Peterson comped to Billy Butler, both in defensive and offensive ability and while I hate comps, it might be the easiest way to describe him. Peterson’s posted monster power numbers in New Mexico, but there’s the caveat of the high octane environment he plays in. In reality, he’s got an advanced approach and short swing that will play well for average, and less so for power. That isn’t to say he lacks power entirely, but he might be more of what we thought James Loney would be in that department than a perennial 30 home run threat.
J.P. Crawford – SS – Lakewood HS (CA)
Crawford is the best SS prospect on the board and he comes out of the prep ranks. He’s not a lock to stay at shortstop as he lacks elite range, but his footwork is solid and he has enough arm. He’s not exactly a power hitter, but he doesn’t lack power either. He can sting the ball to the gaps. I think he has an Asdrubal Cabrera level in him on offense when it comes to total extra base hits. Solid, but not spectacular with some risk involved.
Billy McKinney – OF – Plano West HS (TX)
Not a gifted athlete or fielder, McKinney’s bat will be his carrying tool. He might have the best prep bat in the country, with an advanced approach and good bat speed. He lacks power at present but the frame is there, as is the batspeed. That means it’s almost all projection on the power, but patience should pay off as McKinney continues to fill out. I like him as a potential value pick in fantasy leagues depending on how high he goes in the actual draft.
Aaron “My name is” Judge – OF – Fresno State
At 6’7/240, with above-average speed, Judge doesn’t fit your normal profile when it comes to outfielders. As you might guess given his size, Judge packs a punch, and that power has shown up in-game this year. As you might also guess, there’s a ton of swing and miss to his offensive game, so there is a drawback to all that power. He’s a good athlete and shouldn’t be considered a lock to move down the defensive spectrum, though it remains a possibility. Judge is one of the few guys in this draft class with 35+ home run ability, and deserves a long look because of that. He is quite a risk however, and any league that has the luxury of waiting til the offseason to draft gets a little bit of an edge on a guy like Judge.
Dominic Smith – 1B – Serra HS (CA)
Smith has been on draftniks radars for quite a while, and with good reason. It’s unfortunate that a bat like his is relegated to first base, but he plays the position well. He’s got good bat speed and has the ability to keep the bat in the zone for a long time. There’s some upside in his approach despite it not being a disaster at present. He’s got the potential for plus pop down the line, as he already shows some loft in his swing.
Phil Ervin – OF – Samford
I’ve read that the Yankees are pretty hot on Ervin and if that comes to fruition, expect plenty of hype. What he is though, is an aggressive hitter who generates power from bat speed but still maintains good contact. I would really like Ervin if he can stay in center and while the jury is still out on that, he doesn’t have the athleticism one might expect out of a center fielder. He could be a relatively quick mover, given that there’s not a ton of projection here.
OK, I’ll be back early next week with some additional pitchers (this draft is heavier on pitchers). I didn’t include every top hitter here, but time is limited and these are the guys that interest me so far. I think it’s obvious to say that this isn’t the strongest draft class, and that applies especially to the bats.