Keith Law of ESPN released his Top 30 MLB Draft Prospects for ESPN Insiders. Here are the Top 10 and you can check out the rest here.
1. Carlos Rodon, LHP | N.C. State
Owner of perhaps the best amateur’s slider in recent memory, Rodon is a power lefty with present stuff and a strong track record of missing bats (184 strikeouts in 132 innings last spring). He brings ace potential to a draft that lacks much of that kind of impact.
2. Jeff Hoffman, RHP | East Carolina
He popped for scouts in the Cape Cod League this summer, moving up boards with a very sudden velocity spike that jumped him ahead of almost all other college arms, but he has never shown the kind of dominant performance that Rodon has, and has to show he can hold this stuff for a full season.
3. Alex Jackson, C | Rancho Bernardo HS (San Diego)
He’s more likely to end up in right field than behind the plate, but Jackson has elite bat speed and above-average power potential to all fields.
4. Jacob Gatewood, SS | Clovis (Calif.) HS
Boasting enormous raw power, Gatewood has one of the highest upsides among prep hitters this year, but has to show he’s got the hit tool to make the power play and will likely end up at third base in pro ball.
5. Braxton Davidson, OF | T.C. Roberson HS (Asheville, N.C.)
Davidson may have the most offensive upside of any hitter in the class, thanks to a plus hit tool and the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the ballpark.
6. Grant Holmes, RHP | Conway (S.C.) HS
Few pitchers were as impressive as Holmes was this summer, showing off a mid-90s fastball that is complemented with a plus breaking ball and an average change.
7. Brady Aiken, LHP | Cathedral Catholic HS (San Diego)
Aiken is the top prep lefty in the class, sitting in the low 90s with an average-to-plus curveball, very good deception from his delivery, and little effort to get to that velocity.
8. Tyler Kolek, RHP | Shepherd (Texas) HS
Kolek doesn’t offer much in terms of projection and some scouts worry about his already massive 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame, but a fastball that will touch triple-digits and a curve that will flash plus also has some scouts salivating.
9. Justus Sheffield, LHP | Tullahoma (Tenn.) HS
The younger brother of Vanderbilt freshman and former Red Sox draft pick Jordan Sheffield, Justus is a good athlete who brings low-90s velocity from a strong 6-foot frame and flashes three off-speed pitches with promise.
10. Sean Newcomb, RHP | Hartford
A fastball that will touch 97 mph along with a plus slider and average change could see Newcomb shoot up draft boards, though he will face inferior competition all spring, which will make it hard for scouts to get a great read on him.
These rankings were compiled after the conclusion of all the summer and fall showcases. Law sees this draft class as a solid one for hard-throwing pitchers both from the high school and college ranks. However, Law says next year’s class will be light on position players.
That’s interesting in light of Paul DePodesta’s recent comments. On Thursday, the Mets VP of Scouting and Player Development defended his decision not to draft Michael Wacha because he said the system needed position players – even though he knew Wacha was the best available player on the table. He opted for shortstop Gavin Cecchini instead.
Given the team’s circumstances, we could see that strategy at play again in the first round next June, as the Mets continue to chase position players and likely skip over the best available power arms as they did in their first three drafts.
Check out the Draft Prospects ranked 11-30 here.