In case you’ve missed our previous draft coverage, I’ve been running down the list of options the Mets have with the number seven pick in tonight’s Rule 4 draft. So far I’ve profiled the following players: Christian Colon, A.J. Cole, Josh Sale, Karsten Whitson, Zack Cox, Chris Sale, Deck McGuire, Yasmani Grandal, Dylan Covey, Bryce Brentz, Matt Harvey, and Michael Choice.
In some drafts, a list like that might be enough to exhaust a team’s options at number seven. Not this year. There’s a glut of players perceived to have similar value, and many of the names come down to personal preference. So for the remaining players, I thought I’d offer some quicker capsule-sized profiles, just so everyone’s covered.
Nick Castellanos: He’s an athletic shortstop from Archbishop McCarthy High School in Florida. At six-four, 210 pounds, he’s tall and lean with really long limbs. Those long limbs go a long way toward creating lots of leverage in his right-handed swing, giving him plenty of power potential, which should only increase as he ages and fills out that frame. He’s also got above average speed, surprising from a guy his size, though I don’t expect him to keep it as he fills out. At the plate, he has quick wrists that generate bat speed, and his swing is smooth and simple. But those same limbs that create leverage also lengthen his swing, and like many tall men, he may be vulnerable to good inside fastballs. Strikeouts could be an issue throughout his career. In the field, he’ll display quick footwork and a strong arm. Unfortunately, he does not profile as a future shortstop due to his size, and it’s widely assumed that he’ll be a third baseman at the next level, wherever that is. But he has the tools to be a good one. He’s committed to Miami.
Asher Wojciechowski: Wojciechowski is a righty who has a lot going for him. His size is protypical for a starting pitcher at six-four, 235 pounds; he looks strong and sturdy. He has arm strength: he regularly throws 92-94 and has been known to touch 96 with his heater. Pitching for the Citadel, he’s simply had a monster season, posting a 3.25 ERA while striking out 144 and walking 31 over 119 innings. The command, in particular, has improved substantially. He’s got an excellent slider, which is a two-plane pitch that will be an out pitch at the next level. It makes up somewhat for the heater being straight, as he does project to get strikeouts. Mechanically, he has a few kinks: he lands stiffly and needs to shore up his glove side a little; those alterations could turn his command into a plus attribute. He also has a high elbow in his motion, which will put stress on his arm. That, and the lack of a changeup, might land him in the bullpen where he could be an elite closer despite a starter’s build, but he should be given the chance to start.
Brandon Workman: Workman is only the third starter for Texas, but he’s one of the year’s best college draft prospects. At six-five, 225 pounds, he has a workhorse’s build and is a safe bet to be a number three starter with a chance at becoming a two. He has a good fastball he typically throws 91-94, and that might improve with better mechanics. He also throws a good curve, a changeup, and either a slider or cutter. I’ve seen the last called both, and it has a late, short break. The curve can be an out pitch, but he will need to throw it more consistently at the next level. The changeup needs quite a bit of work. Mechanically he has a couple problems. First, I’ve seen an arm grab at times, so he might be putting stress on his elbow. Second, he is under-striding and landing stiffly. And third, he’s throwing across his body. Those last two points are robbing him of both command and velocity, but they are somewhat correctable.
Drew Pomeranz: Ole Miss’s Pomeranz seemed like a lock to go to the Pirates at two a few weeks ago, but a handful of mediocre performances that highlighted his faults have pushed his status down. He has one of the best fastball-curve combinations in this draft; make no doubt about that. He can get the fastball in there at 94, great velocity from a southpaw. And his curve is an absolute strikeout pitch, and he has the college strikeout totals to match. When you add in his size (6-5, 231 pounds), he looks like the perfect collegiate pitching prospect. But he’s not. He has poor command and mechanics that place a lot of stress upon the shoulder. Furthermore, his changeup is unrefined and will need some work. To make matters a little worse, he has some extreme flyball rates, and could be homer-prone. Pomeranz is absolutely worth the pick if you can tame the mechanical issues, and I do see ways to improve his command. But you’ll probably have to deal with the potential for shoulder injuries.
Michael Kvasnicka: The Kvasnicka talk was busy last week, but it has since died down in favor of the player listed below. The University of Minnesota’s Kvasnicka is a recent catching convert (though he did catch some in high school), having moved to the position to cover for an injured teammate. As a right fielder, his bat is somewhat suspect, but he’s possibly pushed himself into the first round by marketing himself as a switch-hitting backstop. The questions about his bat still exist: he has a bat wrap, doesn’t follow-through as well as I’d like, and he doesn’t keep his weight back before the pitch, instead distributing some of it to his front foot. The result is power that probably won’t translate to the big leagues. He’s also understandably raw behind the plate, though his arm is solid average. He has the tools, but there’s still a chance he has to move back to the outfield, where his bat just won’t play.
Justin O’Conner: O’Conner was an interesting prospect when he was a shortstop whose lack of foot speed was going to necessitate a move to either third or second base. But when he was moved behind the plate—and showed some aptitude back there—his draft position shot up. O’Conner possesses plus raw power and great bat speed, potentially making his offense a true asset. He has an outstanding arm—he’s also a pitcher who can throw 94 from the mound—and with time, he could be a major deterrent to the running game. He also has a natural athleticism that makes him quite agile behind the plate. There are, however, a few qualifications to his talent. First, as expected from a guy who only just moved behind the plate, he’s raw. He needs to work on his arm accuracy, footwork, and other receiving skills. Second, his swing probably needs a little work before his raw power translates to wood and game situations. He has a bat wrap that lengthens his swing, he doesn’t use his lower body enough, and he sometimes cuts his follow-through soft (but not always). Finally, he’s a prep catcher; they don’t have pristine track records in player development. Kyle Skipworth, who was drafted two years ago by the Marlins, was considered the best prep catcher in years. He’s been disappointing on both sides of the game since, only showing some power (and still no on-base ability) this year as he repeats the Sally. These guys tend to be very difficult to assess. I heard rumors on Thursday that the Mets were thinking about him, and by Sunday they had become more assertive.
If there's anyone else you'd like a report on, ask away in the comments. Finally, before I go, a couple quick draft points:
- For those who don’t know, the draft starts at 7:00 and will air on the MLB Channel and MLB TV. I’ll keep a thread open and will begin my third annual shadow draft.
- Don’t worry about draft boards. I’ve touched upon this before, but it’s not a strong draft after pick three, and I think there are a number of very reasonable choices. There just isn’t a whole lot of difference between the number seven pick and the number 30 this year. So don’t get too upset if the guy the Mets pick is just ranked 32nd by Baseball America or somebody else. Getting value for your pick is less important than getting guys who will respond to your development scheme.
- Here’s my crazy sleep-deprived thought for the day: the Mets pick seventh this year in a weak draft. Next year’s draft has a great college class coming out, headlined by Gerrit Cole and Sonny Gray. Would it really be the worst thing in the world if the Mets didn’t sign their pick this year? They’d be guaranteed a top 10 or so pick in next year’s draft. They would lose a development year from a top prospect by not selecting someone this year—more important than you might think—and Omar Minaya and Rudy Terrasas are drafting for their jobs, so they’re going to sign whomever they draft. But it would be a way to get a more talented player into the system. Just a little food for thought.
- And finally, I will open up this thread for general draft discussion. But you don’t have to stick around here. SB Nation has two other outstanding places to talk shop: MLB Bonus Baby and Minor League Ball. I’ll keep the focus to Mets stuff over here, but the other two spots are great for more generalized draft stuff, and both Andy and John are among the most knowledgeable draftniks you’ll find. Highly recommend both places.