We'll pick up right where we left off yesterday, but we'll look at the next ten rounds instead. Just in case you missed our previous installments: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Fulmer, Cory Mazzoni, Logan Verrett and Tyler Pill, Rounds 5-10, and Rounds 11-15.
Round 16: Bradley Marquez, CF, Odessa HS (TX). The 16th-rounder has tools galore but especially speed. One of the nation's top running back recruits, Marquez has a long stride that helps provide him with plus speed. He currently plays shortstop for Odessa, but it's obvious he'll end up in center: his actions at short are very awkward, and I don't think he'll ever develop the hands or the footwork required of a pro infielder. In the outfield, he can use his speed to its fullest extent. At the plate, he's short to the ball with a quick bat, and he gets great hip rotation, leading me to think that some of that raw power could manifest during games once he fixes some timing issues. However, his swing path is very, very flat, and he'll sometimes even swing down at the ball. He'll also need to watch his back side, which will sometimes collapse on him. He's a good prospect, at least as good as Joe Tuschak in the sixth round, but with a two-sport commitment to Texas Tech, he's probably unsignable.
Round 17: Jonathan Clark, CF, Lee. Lee University is an NAIA program, so Clark may have been a little off radars. But Clark's an interesting guy with athleticism and enough patience to make him a potentially useful player, although I'm not sure he'll ever be a starter. He has virtually no power, instead relying on a contact-oriented approach. He will draw the occasional walk, as he lead his team in the category in 2011. Clark figures to be a good defensive center fielder who can also be an asset on the basepaths, so I see him as a fourth-outfielder candidate in the long term.
Round 18: Travis Taijeron, CF, Cal Poly Pomona. Taijeron had a monster senior season for Division II Cal Poly Pomona, hitting .392/.534/.744 with 16 homers. He's a big, strong guy who has solid-average speed but figures to move to a corner at the next level. The bat certainly looks . He has a big, sweeping swing defined by excellent extension, and he brings a patient approach to the plate. The swing will cause Taijeron to be strikeout-prone throughout his career, but there's definite upside here. There's a good chance superior pitching will eat him alive, but there's a chance Taijeron makes something of himself.
Round 19: Dustin Lawley, OF, West Florida. Another Division II player, Lawley was surprisingly impressive making the transition from third base to center field this spring. He has some pop in his bat—mostly gap power, I'm afraid—and above average speed, so there are tools here. The swing isn't too bad, but there's just a little more length than I'd like, and there's very little hip rotation. There's a chance Lawley evolves into a fourth outfielder with good defense and gap-to-gap ability, but I'm not sure there's much more upside than that.
Round 20: Mason Robbins, OF, George County HS (MS). This is another great pick for Chad MacDonald and company, provided the team can ink him to a contract. Robbins has an outstanding arm, and if he attends Southern Mississippi, he'll probably be a two-way player. He doesn't have much in the way of a projectable frame—his body is very mature already—so what you see will be pretty much what you get. The swing is outstanding: smooth, short to the ball, with great hip rotation and balance. The swing can get a little out of sync, however, particularly with regard to his hips, which will sometimes turn before he swings with his arms. His speed is average at best, and I don't think there's any chance he plays anything but an outfield corner as a pro. And to do that, he'll need to hit for power, but I'm not overly concerned about that; the power should be at least average. Frankly, I'm surprised no one took Robbins earlier, which may indicate that the outfielder intends to honor his commitment to Southern Miss.
Round 21: John Michael Gant, RHP, Wiregrass Ranch HS (FL). A 6-foot-4-inch pitcher with lots of projection. He doesn't throw very hard at all right now, 85-87 mostly, but he's touched 92 and the fastball's a heavy pitch thanks to a downward plane generated by his long limbs. His command is actually pretty good. and if it does start to trouble him there are one or two things he can do to clean it up. The arm action is clean and the delivery smooth, so the velocity he has comes pretty effortlessly. My one question is his secondary stuff: the curve really looks fringy to me—it's usually tight but not a big breaker—and the change isn't good enough yet to make up for the lack of a breaking ball. He'll need some work, but he looks like a solid pick. He's already signed with the team, so he won't be fulfilling his LIU commitment.
Round 22: Casey Turgeon, SS, Dunedin HS (FL). Turgeon is the brother of Mets prospect Erik Turgeon as well as a slight (5-10, 155 pounds) shortstop with a commitment to the Florida Gators. There aren't a ton of tools here, but he has surprising strength, and he's capable of driving the ball into the gaps. He also has a good feel at the plate, showing a patient approach. There's some speed here, not enough to think of him as a burner, but enough speed and arm where he figures to stay at short in the long run. Turgeon is the type of prospect who stands to gain significantly by going to college—as a more polished talent, he should thrive in the college game and could eventually go inside the draft's top ten rounds. Florida's a good program, so I'm not expecting a signing here, unless some of the guys the Mets drafted earlier don't sign and the team has some extra cash lying around.
Round 23: Jeff Diehl, C, Cranston HS West (RI). Diehl is one of those raw prospects who could be quite good, or he could be a disaster in waiting. He's a 6-foot-4 catcher with a strong arm who is still filling into his frame, which should immediately raise questions about his future behind the plate, where he's stiff and has rough footwork. He's similarly raw at bat: the basic building blocks are there—bat speed, raw power—but the swing is a mess. He severely overstrides, has a back-side collapse, and really needs to work on pitch recognition, so the ability to hit for both average and power are in question. I think he's the sort of guy who could really help his draft status by going to college, but his commitment is only to Rhode Island and he's considered signable. Someone to watch, but I wouldn't get too excited yet.
Round 24: Tant Shepherd, 1B, Texas. The low-upside version of Cole Frenzel. At 5-11, 210 pounds, Shepherd does not have a power hitter's frame, and, true to form, he hasn't hit for very much power at Texas. The good news is that he has a line-drive swing and a patient approach, though he is prone to striking out. He's not very athletic either, so he's stuck where he is, but he is a surprisingly good defensive first baseman. I don't project Shepherd to be major leaguer, but he should be a solid org player. Oh, and he goes by Tant, which is always a plus.
Round 25: AJ Reed, LHP, Terre Haute South HS (IN). A big (6-4, 230 lbs.) lefty with two-way talent. At the plate, he has real power, but his future is definitely on the mound, with a fastball that can hit 94. The problem is that he lacks the projection other guys have, and there isn't a long track record here: before this spring, he was throwing in the mid-80s. The velocity looks effortless, however, and I think you could clean up his mechanics and squeeze more velocity out of him, since he cuts himself off dramatically. Both his command and slider need work, and he doesn't really have a change yet. With a strong commitment to Kentucky, a signing is probably unlikely.
We'll do another one of these by the end of the week, but I won't examine every pick; I'll just glaze over the highlights over the Mets' final 25 rounds.