After profiling first-rounder Brandon Nimmo last week, as well as the Mets' next four picks—Michael Fulmer, Cory Mazzoni, Logan Verrett, and Tyler Pill—I wanted to write a few more quick scouting reports on the the remaining draftees. I'll be posting them for the remainder of this week. Sorry I wasn't able to post this sooner, but I needed a couple days to recharge my batteries in the aftermath of the draft.
Round 5: Jack Leathersich, LHP, UMass Lowell. A short lefty who put up some crazy numbers in Division II. Leathersich has been known to bring 95-mile-per-hour heat in short outings. As a starter, his velocity drops down to about 88-91. His mechanics are on the ugly side, however—kind of a high elbow in back, lots of recoil, doesn't land consistently with his striding foot and occasionally throws across his body—but they don't seem to hinder his ability to throw strikes too much. I haven't seen too much of Leathersich, however—just his MLB Scouting video—but what I've seen jibes with the reports. The breaking stuff is very fringy. You can see the awkwardness in his throwing arm when he's about to spin a curve, like he's gearing up to throw it. According to Baseball America, he throws two breaking balls, a curve and a slurve, but if that's true—sometimes a misthrown breaking ball gets labelled as a separate pitch—he should dump the slurve. It's an ugly pitch that doesn't serve him well at all. If he can learn to throw the curve at the slurve's velocity, he'd have something. Chad MacDonald has suggested that Leathersich may start, but considering his lack of secondary offerings, rough mechanics, size, and reduced velocity in longer outings, I'd say that's crazy talk.
Round 6: Joe Tuschak, OF, Northern Senior HS (PA). Tuschak is a toolsy center field prospect from a Pennsylvania high school. At 6-1, 185 pounds, he has an athletic build, and his best tools are plus speed and plus arm strength. There's no doubt that he has the tools required to play center field, and he adds a smooth, left-handed line-drive swing. He has some strength to him also, but the swing is flat, and I don't know if he'll produce enough loft to send balls over the wall with regularity. He was a quarterback in high school, so he should benefit from being able to focus on baseball. He's committed to Coastal Carolina, but he'll sign with the Mets instead. I'm intrigued, but I can't comment further without seeing him play more.
Round 7: Cole Frenzel, 1B, Arizona. A draft-eligible sophomore, Frenzel is a pure bat in the simplest sense. Although he was once an intriguing shortstop out of high school in North Dakota, he was quickly relegated to first at Arizona, and I don't think there's any chance he plays anywhere else. The arm is fine, but he's a well below-average runner, and I just don't think he has the feet or the actions for third. However, he should be above average defensively at first. At the plate, Frenzel is strong, giving him at least average raw power, but the swing path doesn't produce much loft, and he barely uses his lower body at all. Whatever hip rotation he has tends to come early. He only hit six homers during his two seasons at Arizona, and I think there are legitimate reasons to question whether he'll ever have more than gap power. He's been an on-base machine, however, thanks to a ton of patience and a strong approach at the plate. There is some length to his swing and a slight bat wrap, so his contact rate will bear watching as well.
Round 8: Danny Muno, SS, Fresno State. I think this is an outstanding pick, and although I had Muno near the top of my list after round 10, I followed suit and took Muno in my shadow draft. Muno has done nothing but produce for Fresno State, hitting .348/.471/.471 during his senior season for the Bulldogs. He's extremely patient at the plate and pretty short to the ball, so I do expect him to continue being an asset offensively. The power will chiefly be of the gap variety, however; he hasn't shown much in college, and the swing is flat, the lower body an afterthought. He looks natural from both sides of the plate. Additionally, he runs well but is also a very smart, instinctive baserunner. Defense is the biggest question mark here. He played mostly third this season and has played a lot of short in the past. His hands aren't the greatest and he can have a tendency to rush plays. A starting shortstop is probably out of the question here, and the bat doesn't profile as well at third. At second, the hands might continue to trouble him, but it's his best chance to become an everyday guy. However, his true future might be as a utility player, where his instincts and speed can be put to good use during occasional outfield work, while managers and coaches can look the other way for a few innings at a time while he plays the infield.
Round 9: Alex Panteliodis, LHP, Florida. This is yet another pick I kind of like. Scouting director Chad MacDonald told people that he had Panteliodis as a third-rounder, which I think is crazy, but I can understand why someone would say that about him. Panteliodis's velocity can be very inconsistent; some days, he's sitting in the low-90s and touching 95. At other times, he's been in the mid-80s. The reason might be mechanics: he throws across his body and doesn't always stride as far as he could. If coaches can get him to fix one of these things, he might be able to produce better velocity. Endurance at health may also be issues; at 6-2, 230 pounds, Panteliodis has a bit of a soft body, and he required hip surgery at the end of 2010. Luckily he can survive without his best velocity. His control is excellent, though he can be prone to leaving fastballs up in the zone, and his arsenal includes a curve and a change, both average pitches. But because of the mechanics and the inconsistent velocity, I think Panteliodis is best served coming out of the pen as a pro, although I wouldn't be surprised if he begins as a starting pitcher.
Round 10: Matt Budgell, RHP, Woodbridge HS (CA). This is a guy I just don't know a whole lot about. I know he throws 87-91 or so with most reports tabbing him in the 87-89 range, and the idea is that he'll add more as he grows into his frame—right now, he's 6-3 and 155 pounds, which is the definition of projectable. In addition to that, the word is that the arm action's easy and the curve has potential. Other than that? I just don't have much of anything else about him and haven't seen him pitch. The Mets will have to buy him out of a commitment to Cal State-Fullerton, a very good program, so it may take some money.