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A. L. East

“Alluhring Strategy” 2016 MLB Draft Recap: AL East

Finally, we take a look at the American League East. There were a wide variety of strategies employed by the teams in the AL East. Most of them made sense for the individual team but some picks left me scratching my head.

The Red Sox pin their hopes on signing the top talent in the draft. The Yankees have arguably the best prep hitter fall to them. Baltimore stocked up on arms, but were they the right ones? Tampa…well I’m still trying to figure out what they were doing. Toronto did a nice job restocking their system with a number of talented, under-the-radar prospects and some strong bloodlines.


American League East


Highest Upside Pick

#12 Jason Groome LHP, BOS


Height – 6’6”260701695001_4872366907001_groomTHUMB430

Weight – 220 lbs

School – IMG Academy, FL & Barnegat High School, NJ

Signing Status — Unsigned


Groome is without a doubt the best overall prospect in this draft. So why does he slide down to #12? All the teams at the top of the draft by-passed him because there was concern over his character and his signability. The suspension was bogus and the alleged “character concerns” have not proven to be anything of significance. He backed out of his commitment to Vanderbilt and instead signed a commitment to Chipola Junior College in Florida. He is clearly trying to create more leverage where he can re-enter the draft next year by going to Juco instead of a traditional college which would require a three-year commitment. He will likely command Top 3 bonus money to sign him. Fortunately for Boston, Groome grew up a Sox fan despite growing up in New Jersey. At the time of this publishing, the Red Sox had only signed one of their top five picks as they are trying to gauge what it will take to sign Groome. They strategically reached on risky college talent in order to sign below slot and save money for Groome. They have until July 15th to make it happen. If so, they get the highest upside prospect at any level in this draft. If not, they get a bonus 1st round pick at #13 next year in a loaded draft class. Either way, Boston could afford to take the risk as their Farm system is in the top three in all of Major League Baseball.

Scouting Report: The 17-year-old is an imposing presence of the mound as he already sports a 6’6” and 220 lbs frame. The lefty already has a plus fastball that sits in the low to mid-90s and a tight, sharp curveball that may already be Major League ready. Scouts are impressed with his easy, clean delivery which results in consistency. His change-up may develop into an average to above-average 3rd pitch. The whole package projects him as a top of the rotation talent. If he doesn’t get his asking price, he could get back in the draft next year after playing a year at Juco and the only thing he risks is an injury.


Biggest Steal

#18 Blake Rutherford OF, NYY


Height – 6’2”Rutherford-Blake-1602-cropped-boyer-rode

Weight – 190 lbs

School – Chaminade College Prep School, CA

Signing Status — Signed for $3,282,000 bonus ($840K above slot value)


Rutherford was another potential Top 10 pick, but likely dropped due to concern over signability and age (19) for a High School player. I don’t quite get the later because it won’t affect the scope of his prime years. The Yankees are not used to a prospect of this ceiling being available at their draft slot so they were willing to pay through the nose to secure his services. Despite having to pay the slot value of the #11 overall pick, they were able to sign all their picks in the Top 10 rounds that count toward bonus allotment. Everyone else pitched in by signing under slot to make this happen. Immediately Rutherford becomes a Top 5 prospect in the Yankees organization. The potential five-tool player likely moves from CF to RF at some point in his development as his arm and defense should match his hitting profile as a corner outfielder. His left-handed swing and raw power should play well in Yankee Stadium. Every major scouting site had him as a Top 10 talent in this year’s draft.

Scouting Report: The Yankees are drooling over this prospect as they have a legit five-tool candidate that they just lured away from UCLA with an outrageous bonus. He is a lefty that could develop plus power with that short right-field porch in Yankee stadium. He has plus hit tool potential but needs some development. At 19, he has plenty of time to get the most of his skill set as he progresses through the system. He has above average speed that makes him not a stolen base threat but, instead, a smart, quick base runner that will take extra bases and score from 2nd Base on most hits. His speed has also allowed him to play CF in High School but he likely slides to a corner outfield slot due to his entire profile. Many scouts believe he could develop into a prototypical RF, I like him better at LF as Aaron Judge has a better arm for RF. Yankees fans should be excited about a future OF of Rutherford and Judge in the middle of the lineup.


Biggest Reach

#13 Josh Lowe 3B/RHP, TB


Height – 6’4”lowe_josh_1280_rw1c6z1m_xsjfs4bd

Weight – 190 lbs

School – Pope High School, GA

Signing Status — Signed for $2,600,000 bonus ($499K below slot value)


Lowe is a true “two-way” prospect that could have continued to hit and pitch if he honored his commitment to Florida State. When the Rays  selected him this high, it was a no-brainer for him to sign and take his talents to the Tampa pro system where he will likely be groomed to be the heir-apparent to Evan Longoria. He has average to above average tools across the board although I don’t see a true plus tool. If his bat doesn’t progress as they want, they can convert him to a pitcher where he is a legit prospect but with a lower floor than as a hitter. This isn’t a horrible pick as he is probably worthy of a top 20-25 selection. My issue is with Kirilloff and Rutherford on the board, there were plenty of HS hitting talent that project to be perennial All-Stars. Lowe should be solid replacement for Longoria, but no where near the upside that a #13 pick would suggest.

Scouting Report: There seems to be mixed feelings on his power. gives him a 50 (out of 80) and equates to a Major League average tool. Others believe his raw power will develop into a plus tool keeping him as an everyday position player. His defensive tools (plus arm and speed) will serve him well at 3B or if he moves to CF as is rumored. His pitching arsenal features a low-90s sinking fastball and decent slider. There is hope that as he fills out his frame these pitches may develop. As of now, he doesn’t have the command or consistency to be more than a mid to bottom of the rotation arm.


Quickest Path to the Majors

#27 Cody Sedlock RHP, BAL


Height – 6’4”imgres

Weight – 210 lbs

School – Illinois University

Signing Status — Signed for $2,097,200 bonus (at slot value)


Baltimore needed to add arms to their system that is completely bare after Hunter Harvey. Sedlock was projected around this spot.  But the need for an injection of talent may have been better served with Dakota Hudson who was still on the board. Sedlock was a former reliever who only spent one season in the rotation. I have to believe the Orioles see him as someone that can move quickly through the system and help the team in Baltimore by 2017. Despite the lack of experience in the rotation his pitch arsenal and command could allow him to progress quickly. The ceiling is low, but the floor is high.

Scouting Report: Despite only one year in the rotation he set a school record in strikeouts in a season. He has four pitches with two potential plus offerings. He can pound the strike zone with his sinking fastball that produces ground balls and he can put people away with a mid-80s slider. If he can develop his curve and at least produce an average changeup, he could find himself as a #2-#3 Starter. Most likely he becomes a Major League “innings-eater” at the back of the rotation.


Best AL East TEAM Draft

Toronto Blue Jays


#21 TJ Zuech RHP (Pittsburgh)images

#57 JB Woodman OF (Mississippi)

#66 Bo Bichette SS (Lakewood HS, FL)

#102 Zach Jackson RHP (Arkansas)

#132 Josh Palacios OF (Auburn)

#162 Cavan Biggio 2B (Notre Dame)

#192 DJ Daniels OF (Fike HS, NC)


The Jays didn’t come away with the top end talent as the Sox and Yanks did, but the defending American League East Champs maximized their picks and got four high upside guys that signed below slot so they could grab Bichette and lure him away from his commitment to Arizona State.


#21 TJ Zuech RHP (Pittsburgh) – After a nice showing in the Cape Cod League, Zuech. 6’7” frame produces a plus fastball with movement that can touch 97 and sits in the mid-90s. It shows faster due to downward plane. Two (Slider/Curve) of his other three pitches have potential and if they are more consistent, he could be a #2-#3 Starter.

#57 JB Woodman OF (Mississippi) – Projects as a CF despite not having elite speed. No below average tools but no plus tools either. Struggled in Cape Cod League but had a nice season giving potential to his hit and power tool.

#66 Bo Bichette SS (Lakewood HS, FL) – This is the one they had to overpay for, but locked up a power hitting middle infielder (SS now, likely a future 2B) with exceptional bloodlines. Father is Dante Bichette and brother Dante Jr is in the Yankees farm system.

#102 Zach Jackson RHP (Arkansas) – Could potentially start and if so makes him an amazing value here. However, with two plus pitches, he could advance rapidly through the system as a reliever and has closer potential with a nasty fastball and slider.

#132 Josh Palacios OF (Auburn) – Speed guy likely to play LF in pro ball and and showed decent plate discipline and developing hit tool this past season.

#162 Cavan Biggio 2B (Notre Dame) – Son of Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio, Cavan does not show any plus tools but has excellent plate discipline and above average speed to make an impact at the Major League level.

#192 DJ Daniels OF (Fike HS, NC) – Ultra-athletic prospect committed to James Madison on a football scholarship. They signed him over slot so they must be committed to developing him.



Bryan Luhrs

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



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