Last week, we looked at some hurlers who have been receiving high mock marks as a result of the first exhibition drafts of the year. This time, we will not just look at hitters, but outfielders since there is such a complement of good young flychasers who raised eyebrows in 2015.
Stephen Piscotty (Cardinals): Drafted out of Stanford in 2012 in the first round, Piscotty was a crusher at Memphis last year (.272-11-41) before moving to the new Busch and hammering out a .305-7-31 line over 63 games. Primarily a right fielder, Piscotty could see time at first against lefties if Matt Adams cannot get the hang.
Randal Grichuk (Cardinals): Drafted #1 by the Angels in 2009, Grichuk was then swapped as part of the David Freese deal. He is probably destined to stay in the outfield, as he did last year over 103 games where he posted a .276-17-47 mark. It is true the Cubs set the line for hot young players, but their long-time rivals are not far behind.
Michael Conforto (Mets): The Mets #1 pick in 2014 shot through the Minors (.308-15-73) for 133 games and then fell into the lap of the charmed 2015 Metropolitans. Conforto supplied .270-9-26 numbers over 56 games, posting an .841 OPS.
Kevin Pillar (Blue Jays): At 26, longer in the tooth and experience than the rest of his mates on today's list, Pillar stepped into a full-time role with Toronto last year, playing 159 games and hitting .278-12-56 with 31 doubles and 25 swipes. Pillar should settle in atop the Jays lineup and enjoy being knocked in by Josh Donaldson and company.
Ender Inciarte (D-backs): Maybe lost a bit under the emergence of A.J. Pollock, Inciarte stole 19 and hit .278 as a rookie in 2014. He then stepped it up last year as a full-timer, hitting .303-6-45 with 21 swipes over 132 games, banging out 159 hits. Project him to 162 games with that line and he is close to 200 hits, and that is good.
Michael Taylor (Nationals): A sixth-round high school pick of the Nats in 2009, it took Taylor awhile to work up the system, and strikeouts (178 to 35 walks over 155 MLB games) are his bane. But, he has speed (16 steals) and pop (14 homers) and in these days of whiff/homer feast and famine in the Majors, Taylor makes as good a power gamble as there is. The worst is he becomes Chris Carter, which doesn't seem so bad in context.