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“Alluhring Strategy” 2017 MLB Draft Recap: NL West

Building a Dynasty with “Left Coast Bias”

National League

 

I get the privilege to wrap up Major League Fantasy Sports’ coverage of the 2017 MLB draft. This is part two of the West breakdown. Last week we looked at the American League West and how they collectively had a strong draft, with a couple possible stars. Without further adieu…

National League West

The NL West did not have as strong a draft as their American League counterpart. That’s not to say there weren’t some great picks and future MLB contributors, but there were some greater reaches and greater risks taken. I didn’t hate any team’s draft, but the grades were lower as a whole. Here we go…

 

Arizona Diamondbacks
RD PICK RANK PLAYER SCHOOL POS B/T CLASS PLAYER INFO SIGNING BONUS
1 7 8 Smith, Pavin Virginia 1B L/L JR 6’2″ 210lbs DOB: 02/06/96 Pick Value: $5,016,300 Signed: $5,016,300
2 44 61 Ellis, Drew Louisville 3B R/R JR 6’3″ 190lbs DOB: 12/01/95 Pick Value: $1,560,100 Signed: $1,560,100
CBB 68 110 Varsho, Daulton University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee C L/R JR 5’9″ 200lbs DOB: 07/02/96 Pick Value: $880,100 Signed: $880,100
3 82 69 Tabor, Matt Milton Academy RHP R/R HS 6’2″ 160lbs DOB: 07/14/98 Pick Value: $687,200
4 112 Francis, Harrison Lawton Chiles HS RHP R/R HS 6’2″ 195lbs DOB: 10/26/98 Pick Value: $477,800
5 142 Kennedy, Buddy Millville HS 3B R/R HS 6’0″ 200lbs DOB: 10/05/98 Pick Value: $356,900 Signed: $550,000
6 172 167 Shaffer, Brian Maryland RHP R/R JR 6’5″ 200lbs DOB: 08/12/96 Pick Value: $269,100
7 202 Caballero, Jose Chipola Col SS S/R J2 5’11” 175lbs DOB: 08/30/96 Pick Value: $210,300 Signed: $175,000
8 232 Susnara, Tim Oregon C L/R JR 6’1″ 195lbs DOB: 04/17/96 Pick Value: $167,300 Signed $150,000
9 262 Duzenack, Camden Dallas Baptist SS R/R SR 5’9″ 170lbs DOB: 03/08/95 Pick Value: $145,100 Signed: $10,000
10 292 Grotjohn, Ryan Cal St Bakersfield SS L/R SR 6’2″ 175lbs DOB: 04/25/95 Pick Value: $135,700 Signed: $10,000

 

Arizona selected college hitters with their first three picks overall and then grabbed two right-handed prep arms in Rounds 3 & 4. Based on MLB.com’s rankings, Daulton Varsho and Drew Ellis were both slight reaches in the 2nd round, but I love the fact that they went hard after advanced college bats that can contribute quickly.

Pavin Smith is regarded by many as the most advanced hitter in the draft class. He has begun to develop some power, but his calling card will be his hit tool and approach at the plate. He wasn’t the sexy pick as many projected the Dbacks taking his college teammate at U of V, Adam Haseley, who has more prolific power. Smith could end up being the more productive hitter as evidence of this season stat line where he hit 13 home runs compared to only 12 strikeouts. His slash isn’t shabby either,.342/.427/.570. Many scouts project a quick assent to the Show within two season, just in time to replace Goldschimdt when he is either traded in his walk year or he test the free agent market that will make him a ridiculously rich man.

Drew Ellis in the 2nd round offsets whatever power that Pavin Smith may lack. This is likely his only plus tool, however, this pick continues the Arizona strategy of collecting polished college bats with good plate recognition. His slash line is even better than Pavin Smith, .367/.457/.729, with 20 HRs on the season. This hit tool likely doesn’t translate to the MLB as well as Smith’s but the power should get him around 30 HRs per season in his prime. His college stats may be slightly inflated as he batted after record-setting bonus pick, Brendan McKay at the University of Louisville. He primarily played 3B but moved to 1B when McKay pitched so he could develop as that pro-typical corner infield power hitter.

Matt Tabor is the pivotal piece to determining the overall grade of this draft class. After going with three college bats in a row, they grabbed Tabor as a high-upside prep arm at a steal at #82. The sticking point is on whether he will sign or honor his commitment to Elon University. His stock shot up this past season as he grew two inches and his fastball developed into a plus pitch sitting in the low 90s and hitting the mid-to-upper 90s. He will likely need two years in rookie ball to build strength and fill out his frame. He is a project but one with four pitches and possible two plus pitches with his changeup and fastball. As of this publishing, he is unsigned. The Dbacks didn’t save that much money with their other signings if he is looking for an above-slot bonus. It’s probably 50-50 that he signs. Ceiling is #2-#3 starter. Floor is back of the rotation innings eater.

GRADE: A- — This is based on the assumption that they sign Tabor (and a lesser extent their 4th round pick, Harrison Francis). I think their first two bats will be major league starters and they got some upside (and risky) prep arms at the beginning of Day 2. Overall their draft had great value and balanced draft.

 

Colorado Rockies
RD PICK RANK PLAYER SCHOOL POS B/T CLASS PLAYER INFO SIGNING BONUS
2 48 43 Vilade, Ryan Stillwater HS 3B R/R HS 6’2″ 190lbs DOB: 02/18/99 Pick Value: $1,425,400 Signed: $1,425,400
CBB 70 168 Doyle, Tommy Virginia RHP R/R JR 6’6″ 225lbs DOB: 05/01/96 Pick Value: $837,300
3 86 82 Gaddis, Will Furman University RHP R/R JR 6’2″ 185lbs DOB: 03/12/96 Pick Value: $646,100 Signed: $600,000
4 116 McMahan, Pearson St. Johns River State College RHP L/R J3 6’2″ 190lbs DOB: 07/01/96 Pick Value: $459,400 Signed: $430,000
5 146 Kennedy, Nick Texas LHP R/L SO 5’11” 205lbs DOB: 06/20/96 Pick Value: $343,100 Signed: $343,100
6 176 Spanberger, Chad Arkansas 1B L/R JR 6’3″ 235lbs DOB: 11/01/95 Pick Value: $260,200 Signed: $260,200
7 206 Gilbreath, Lucas Minnesota LHP L/L JR 6’1″ 185lbs DOB: 03/05/96 Pick Value: $203,400 Signed: $203,400
8 236 Boswell, Bret Texas 2B L/R SR 6’0″ 195lbs DOB: 10/04/94 Pick Value: $162,800 SIgned: $162,800
9 266 170 Bouchard, Sean UCLA 1B R/R JR 6’3″ 200lbs DOB: 05/16/96 Pick Value: $143,400 Signed: $143,400
10 296 Bernard, Austin Pepperdine U C S/R JR 5’10” 195lbs DOB: 03/14/96 Pick Value: $134,600 Signed: $72,000

 

The Rockies started at a disadvantage after missing their 1st Round pick, but they did well with the hand they were dealt. I’m not sure they got any “can’t miss” or blue-chip prospects in the draft class. What they did, is what they had to do…draft to succeed at high altitude. They took the highest upside guy they felt they could at #48 then took college arms with five of the next six picks. There was definitely a theme there, draft control pitches that keep the ball down. With the success of rookies that fit this bill, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatella, this is clearly the way they had to go.

Ryan Vilade is a legit power hitting prospect out of high school. His accolades this season include winning home run derby, state player of the year and hitting in the heart of the order for the US National 18-u team. He is a great fit as well for this club as a power hitter that projects at 3b. This is something they will likely need in 2020 when Nolan Arenado signs with the Yankees in free agency. He could be prone to swing and miss, but he has shown the ability to make adjustments. Great value at #44.

Will Gaddis represents the highest upside college arm they picked up in the draft. That is mostly because 85% of the pitchers drafted by the Rockies project to be in the bullpen at the Major League level. He is the most polished of the pitching haul and could advance quickly if the Rockies need him. With the recent injection of young starters in Colorado. He probably has a couple years to get some experience with pro ball before he is needed. Gaddis is a durable, control pitcher with a four-pitch mix. Sinking fastball, flashing plus changeup and cutter will keep the ball in the park. Gaddis is a high floor guy that should see mid-to-back of the rotation and definitely stick as a starter.

Chad Spanberger and Sean Bouchard are two potential power hitters that could light up the Mile High City. Both project as a prototypical 1B with big power and high strikeout potential. Spanberger has been compared to Chris Davis. Bouchard is a good value for the 9th round and could perhaps play 3B. However, they have enough in the pipeline there already. They will move as quickly through the system as their plate discipline allows them.

GRADE: B — Not bad for not making a pick until #44. They got a high ceiling prep bat in Vilade and some potential contributors in Gaddis and their big boppers. The front office has finally figured out a strategy to compete at Coors and this season is starting to show the fruit of that. They went a little heavy on projected relievers but balanced it out with a lot of solid college bats in the middle rounds that could reach the Majors. They have also managed to sign 19 of their Top 20 picks.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers
RD PICK RANK PLAYER SCHOOL POS B/T CLASS PLAYER INFO SIGNING BONUS
1 23 6 Kendall, Jeren Vanderbilt OF L/R JR 5’10” 180lbs DOB: 02/04/96 Pick Value: $2,702,700
2 62 94 Cooper, Morgan Texas RHP R/R SR 6’5″ 210lbs DOB: 09/12/94 Pick Value: $1,018,200
3 100 112 Wong, Connor Houston C R/R JR 5’11” 180lbs DOB: 05/19/96 Pick Value: $537,100
4 130 65 Marinan, James Park Vista Community HS RHP R/R HS 6’5″ 210lbs DOB: 10/10/98 Pick Value: $401,000 Signed: $822,500
5 160 107 Ottesen, Riley Utah RHP R/R SO 6’1″ 185lbs DOB: 10/30/94 Pick Value: $299,300 Signed: $197,500
6 190 Montgomerie, Wills Connecticut RHP R/R JR 6’3″ 205lbs DOB: 06/02/95 Pick Value: $231,900 Signed: $197,500
7 220 95 Pop, Zach Kentucky RHP R/R JR 6’4″ 225lbs DOB: 09/20/96 Pick Value: $182,200
8 250 Bannon, Rylan Xavier U 3B R/R JR 5’10” 180lbs DOB: 04/22/96 Pick Value: $151,400  Signed: $122,500
9 280 Strain, Connor Evansville RHP R/R 5S 6’1″ 180lbs DOB: 08/04/94 Pick Value: $138,800 Signed: $1,500
10 310 Reks, Zach U Kentucky OF L/R SR 6’2″ 195lbs DOB: 11/12/93 Pick Value: $131,600 Signed: $1,500

The Dodgers went really heavy on college pitching after getting terrific value with their 1st pick in raw college OF, Jeren Kendall. In all, they made aggressive selections in the first four rounds and had to really find ways to save bonus poll money with the rest of their draft. The top three picks are still unsigned and they had to double the slot value to get hot prep arm, James Marinan, to sign after being picked in the fourth round.

Jelen Kendall was ranked #6 overall draft prospect by MLB.com and the Dodgers were happy to snatch him at #23. He is a potential five tool prospect that is still a bit raw as a Junior at Vanderbilt, although he did show show improvement at the plate this season. Plus-plus speed and plus defense will all but guarantee he makes the Major Leagues and contributes. His plate discipline and power development will determine if he becomes a star. I don’t know that I understand why he dropped so far, but the Dodgers will take the chance on the high reward talent.

Morgan Cooper is a college Senior out of U. of Texas that may have been a reach at #64, especially considering he has already gone through Tommy John surgery. He does have four MLB average or better projected pitches, but his fastball looks to be his best. His 6’5″ frame gives the pitch a heavy downward plane and plays faster than the actual mid-90s pitch. Surprising he hasn’t signed yet. I don’t see any way this doesn’t get done. If healthy, high floor guy that should remain a starter.

James Marinan could turn out to be the best value in the Dodgers draft class. The did get him signed at a bonus around #70 despite drafting him at #130. This was acceptable because he had a 2nd round grade. He was a fast-rising prep arm this season that scouts were clamoring to go watch. His fastball could potentially be a plus-plus pitch with a plus curveball. Huge upside potential here and one that Dodger fans are going to love following throughout his minor league career.

GRADE: A- — If they hit on Kendall and Marinan they could have two potential All-Stars. This makes the rest of the draft gravy. Nine of first ten picks were college guys that could give the Dodgers a ton of organizational depth and potential arms that could contribute at the Major League level.

 

San Diego Padres
RD PICK RANK PLAYER SCHOOL POS B/T CLASS PLAYER INFO SIGNING BONUS
1 3 4 Gore, MacKenzie Whiteville HS LHP L/L HS 6’3″ 180lbs DOB: 02/24/99 Pick Value: $6,668,100
2 39 64 Campusano, Luis Cross Creek HS C R/R HS 6’0″ 200lbs DOB: 09/29/98 Pick Value: $1,760,700 Signed: $1,300,000
CBB 69 90 Hunt, Blake Mater Dei HS C R/R HS 6’3″ 180lbs DOB: 11/10/98 Pick Value: $858,600 Signed: $1,600,000
3 78 83 House, Mason Whitehouse HS CF S/L HS 6’3″ 190lbs DOB: 09/10/98 Pick Value: $732,200 Signed: $732,200
4 108 195 Keating, Sam Canterbury School RHP R/R HS 6’3″ 175lbs DOB: 08/31/98 Pick Value: $497,000 Signed: $900,000
5 138 Homza, Jonny South Anchorage HS 3B R/R HS 6’0″ 185lbs DOB: 06/13/99 Pick Value: $371,200 Signed: $250,000
6 168 Leasher, Aaron Morehead State LHP L/L JR 6’3″ 190lbs DOB: 04/28/96 Pick Value: $278,500 Signed: $240,000
7 198 Margevicius, Nick Rider U LHP L/L JR 6’5″ 220lbs DOB: 06/18/96 Pick Value: $217,100 Signed: $160,000
8 228 Basabe, Olivier Faulkner U SS R/R JR 6’0″ 190lbs DOB: 07/15/97 Pick Value: $172,000 Signed: $60,000
9 258 Cunningham, Alex Coastal Carolina RHP R/R 5S 6’0″ 195lbs DOB: 06/21/94 Pick Value: $147,000 Signed: $5,000
10 288 Taccolini, Dominic Arkansas RHP R/R SR 6’3″ 215lbs DOB: 09/28/94 Pick Value: $136,600 Signed: $5,000

 

Well I give the Padres an “A” for effort. Embattled GM, AJ Preller, had a good strategy. The thought is, we are going to suck for a while so let’s stockpile prep talent and perhaps they will be ready to contribute when we are ready to be competitive again. So they spend their first five picks on high upside high school players and round out the rest of the Top 10 rounds with college players they can sign for cheap. Strategy was followed to a “T.” The question becomes, were these the “right” picks?

MacKenzie Gore is the Padres draft and his success in the future will determine the how this draft class is remembered. He is arguably the best prep arm in the entire draft class and clearly the best left-handed pitcher. He could have been selected #1 overall and made a compelling case. He was completely dominate throughout his High School career and named Gatorade Player of the Year. He is very advanced for a prep arm already considered to have a plus fastball and curveball. His changeup and slider project to be at least above average at the Major League level. Upside is top of the rotation pitcher with floor around #3 if he stays healthy.

Luis Campusano and Blake Hunt are both excellent prep catchers that deserved to be drafted on Day One of the draft. However, I am scratching my head because one in the world would a club want to spend two Day One picks on high school catchers that often don’t stay behind they plate during the course of the pro development. Campusano is a power hitter with a plus arm and raw but potential behind the plate. Hunt is a defensive stud with some power but the bat may not translate in the Majors. Plus, they had to pay Hunt double the slot bonus to lure him away from Pepperdine. I would not have had any issues with San Diego selecting one of these guys. It is absurd that they drafted two prep catchers in the first two rounds. It further shows how AJ Preller is totally lost when it comes to building a franchise.

GRADE: B — Gore’s potential holds up a decent grade despite the debacle with the 2nd round. I also love the potential of 4th round prep arm, Sam Keating, who they signed away from Clemson. If Gore and Keating hit, this becomes an “A” in revisionist history. Unfortunately, it may be half a decade before we can answer this question. Step one…get Gore signed!!!

 

San Francisco Giants
RD PICK RANK PLAYER SCHOOL POS B/T CLASS PLAYER INFO SIGNING BONUS
1 19 40 Ramos, Heliot Leadership Christian Academy CF R/R HS 6’1″ 188lbs DOB: 09/07/99 Pick Value: $3,101,700 Signed: $3,101,700
2 58 125 Gonzalez, Jacob Chaparral HS 3B R/R HS 6’4″ 206lbs DOB: 06/26/98 Pick Value: $1,121,300 Signed: $950,000
3 96 105 Corry, Seth Lone Peak HS LHP L/L HS 6’2″ 195lbs DOB: 11/03/98 Pick Value: $558,500 Signed: $1,000,000
4 126 88 Cave, Garrett University of Tampa RHP R/R JR 6’4″ 200lbs DOB: 07/18/96 Pick Value: $417,200 Signed: $417,200
5 156 Bahr, Jason U Central Florida RHP R/R JR 6’4″ 190lbs DOB: 02/15/95 Pick Value: $310,800 Signed: $250,000
6 186 174 Johnson, Bryce Sam Houston State CF S/R JR 6’2″ 180lbs DOB: 10/27/95 Pick Value: $239,600 Signed: $210,000
7 216 Harasta, Logan U Buffalo RHP R/R JR 6’7″ 235lbs DOB: 08/29/96 Pick Value: $187,800 Signed: $140,000
8 246 Gavin, John Cal State Fullerton LHP R/L JR 6’6″ 230lbs DOB: 10/10/95 Pick Value: $154,200
9 276 Phillips, Aaron St Bonaventure U RHP R/R JR 6’5″ 215lbs DOB: 10/11/96 Pick Value: $140,000 Signed: $80,000
10 306 Calabrese, Rob U Illinois Chicago C R/R JR 6’1″ 205lbs DOB: 10/03/95 Pick Value: $132,500 Signed: $132,500

The Giants put all their eggs in their first three baskets. They selected three prep players with these picks that all have definite upside. However, all come with significant risk and I feel they reached on all three picks and all three could bust. This forced them to reel off seven consecutive college players in order to pay for their top picks. Fortunately, only #96 Seth Corry, required a substantial above slot bonus.

Heliot Ramos is the top prospect out of Puerto Rico that probably should have been a 2nd round pick. He has the power potential for the 1st round, but questions with him mechanics and defense make him a reach at #19. If everything breaks right, he could be a power-hitting with a decent hit tool, everyday right-fielder at the Major League level. Personally, I think he develops into a fourth outfielder type.

Seth Corry is probably the best pick in their draft class. Not without risk, but this lefty prep arm is athletic and has dominated over stretches looking like an ace. His lack of consistency and command is what made him a 3rd round pick. His plus curveball in under used because he is always behind in the count due to command issues. These are correctable and the potential is there. He is raw and it could take awhile.

GRADE: B-  — I’m not in love with this draft class. They made significant reaches in their first two picks although 2nd Round slugger, Jacob Gonzalez, is the son of 2001 World Series hero Luis Gonzalez. Bloodlines and raw power aside, he lacks speed, glove and consistency. Garret Cave could be the first to make an impact as a power pitcher with two potential plus breaking pitches out of the bullpen. All said and done, I’m sure the Giants will get players in this draft that will contribute in time. I just don’t see any stars.

Final Thoughts

Best Prep Arm — Mackenzie Gore LHP (SD), Whiteville NC

Best Prep Bat — Ryan Vilade 3B (COL), Stillwater OK

Best College Arm — Will Gaddis RHP (COL), Furman

Best College Bat — Pavin Smith 1B (ARI), U of Virgina

Best Value Pick — James Marinan LHP (LAD), Lake Worth FL

Biggest Reach — Jacob Gonzalez 3B (SF), Scottsdale AZ

Fastest to the Majors — Pavin Smith 1B (ARI), U. of Virginia

 


Bryan Luhrs

Major League Fantasy Sports
Writer & Contributor
Real Deal Dynasty Sports
Owner, League Developer & Executive Commissioner

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Faith, Family and Fantasy Sports.These are the three words that best describe me. I am a faithful husband and father of 6 amazing children. I work to earn a living, but I live for every precious moment I can spend with my family and a passion for sports.

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