Last week, Major League Baseball held its annual amateur draft, giving the rebuilding teams first shot at the top prospects, and whetting the appetites of fantasy owners far and wide.
Before we take a look, though, remember the odds guys shoot right from the draft to the Majors is tough for there are a lot more David Clydes than Sandy Koufax's, and though indeed a lot of college draftees are moved much more quickly these days, a la Kris Bryant or Brandon Finnegan, the high school draftees generally follow the slower Jameson Taillon path, so pluck guys for your reserve list with that context.
That said, here is a look at the top 10 players from this past draft.
1. Mickey Moniak (OF, Phillies): The Phils rebuild is working pretty well, with Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr in the outfield in addition to a cluster of promising arms. So, adding the high school pick, Moniak, to help out in a few years should just make the core of the corps stronger. Moniak is a lefty hitting Southern California native with the requisite power/speed skills, and also has strong High School OBP (.505) totals, though we know the Show is a different game altogether.
2. Nick Senzel (3B, Reds): Drafted out of the University of Tennessee, the 20-year-old Senzel hit .332-13-126 over 160 NCAA games, walking 93 times to 82 whiffs (.426 OBP) and will probably be ready to pick up the hot corner guantlet in a couple of years. Senzel had a great Cape Cod session last summer, going .364-4-33 over 40 games.
3. Ian Anderson (RHP, Braves): No, this is not the lead singer from Jethro Tull, though there is a fine tradition now of rock stars with baseball dopple-monikers, like Carlos Santana, Steve Howe, and Bob Welch. But, as a high school Junior, Anderson tossed 53.3 frames, whiffed 91, and allowed a .115 batting average, though he is a few years away from helping Atlanta with completing their rebuild.
4. Riley Pint (RHP, Rockies): Aside from the frustraton associated with selecting a Rockies hurler, his name might be "Pint" but Riley can apparently bring it at 100-plus MPH. Plus, the Kansas righty, drafted out of high school, has a great curve. However, control is the issue, and that, coupled with simply playing in Coors, probably puts the right-hander on the long list of newbies to covet.
5. Corey Ray (OF, Brewers): Ray hit .318-27-138 with 92 steals over three years at Louisville, walking 72 times but whiffing 124. That means there is power and speed, but Ray will need to get better zone command before being moved up for serious Miller Park consideration.
6. A.J. Puk (LHP, Athletics): How come there are so many players with the A.J. moniker? Beats me, but this kid is a 6'7" lefty, which alone suggests some potentially special skills. At Florida, Puk was 16-9, 3.42 over 192 frames, with 249 strikeouts. Puk, who was selected by the Tigers as a high school student, could be moved ahead aggressively on a team looking for help with their pitching.
7. Braxton Garrett (LHP, Marlins): Drafted out of Florence High, in Florence, Alabama, Garrett apparently has three strong pitches including a fastball that clocks in the low-to-mid 90's in addition to what scouts called among the best prep curves out there. Still, at age 18, Garrett will be a few years away as will a lot of the six high school hurlers selected this year.
8. Cal Quantrill (RHP, Padres): The son of Paul Quantrill, and a grad from Stanford, the righty certainly has a pedigree and resume, and he was drafted in the 26th round by the Yankees back in 2013. Quantrill tossed 129 innings as a collegiate, whiffing 118, and notching a 9-5, 2.58 ERA, and could be ready to help the Pads in their pitcher-friendly park by next season.
9. Matt Manning (RHP, Tigers): Manning poses a question, for at 6'6", as the son of former NBA player Rich Manning, he has the hoops option, plus a letter of intent to attend Marymount, meaning a gamble to reserve lists everywhere. Still, he can bring it in the high 90's and has a fine curve to complement, but as another high school first rounder, he has the most nebulous future of all picks.
10. Zack Collins (C, White Sox): A left-handed hitting catcher drafted in 2013 by the Reds in the 27th round, Collins opted for time at Miami where he played 187 games, hitting .316-41-181 with 174 walks to 162 whiffs (.469 OBP) and has very little ahead of him as a backstop. Collins can clearly hit, but pushing too fast with a catcher is not always the best path, as their primary gig is to learn to handle pitching, then focus on hitting. Still, no arguing his talent.