Which MLB Draft was better 2018 or 219? Part 2

Which MLB Draft was better 2018 or 219? Part 2

This is part two of a series where I am going to give my opinion on which MLB draft’s top 10 players have higher potential. Picks numbered 6-10 are as follows:

The number six pick in the 2019 MLB draft was CJ Abrams. He is a shortstop with a fantastic hit tool drafted by the San Diego Padres. While the San Diego Padres have a shortstop named Fernando Tatis Jr., he may or may not be able to stay at the position long term due to defensive deficiencies. While Abrams may never win a gold glove he may be a better answer at the shortstop position long term. Regardless of where he ends up, his bat, which allowed him to hit .393 across two levels during his first season of pro ball, will play anywhere. What further allows him to have the potential of a dynamic leadoff hitter in the future is his top of the scale speed which is ranked an 80 on the 20-80 scale. The number six pick in the 2018 MLB draft was Jarred Kelenic. He is a five-tool monster who has a career minor league OPS of .882 in just two minor league seasons, with 29 homeruns and 35 steals. He may end up being the best player in the 2018 draft as he came in to the draft regarded as the best high school hitter and has further honed his skills as he has moved up the minor league ladder. Already in double A at just age 20 he may be knocking on the MLB door as early as 2020. While Abrams may one day be one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball, Jarred Kelenic is a true five tool superstar who seemingly gets better every day. While the Mets will regret trading him for a very long time the Mariners look like they have their next franchise player who could be up as early as this year.

The number seven pick in the 2019 MLB draft was the first pitcher taken in the draft, Nick Lodollo. He is a tall lefty at 6’6’’ out of Texas Christian University. He has three above average pitches and has shown an ability to command each one. He still has some projection left in his frame and he pitched very well despite only throwing eighteen and a third innings. He looks like he will move quickly and will be a main stay in a big-league rotation for a long time. The number seven overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft was Ryan Weathers of the San Diego Padres out of Loretto High School. He is another lefty pitcher who is currently the number nine prospect in a deep San Diego farm system. Weathers is the son of former MLB Picher David Weathers and while he does have four solid pitch’s he lacks a true out pitch. Weather struggled in the second half of his first minor league season, but he looks like he will fit nicely in to the middle of a big-league rotation. While both these pitchers offer fairly high floors I believe Lodollo’s slightly better stuff, out of his tall frame, allows for a bit more potnetial moving forward. While Weathers could end up being a three or a four starter in a big-league rotation I see Lodollo more as a two or a three and give him the slight edge here.

The number eight pick in the 2019 MLB draft was Josh Jung a third Baseman out of Texas Tech University. He is regarded as a polished hitter and despite questions about his future power potential he has shown reliable hands and a strong arm at the hot corner. His power may ultimately determine his celling, but he may have the potential to hit as many as twenty-five or more homeruns to go along with his other sound tools. The eighth overall pick in 2018 was Carter Stewart who ultimately did not sign with the Atlanta braves after they drafted him. He threw 96-97 MPH when he was drafted and had a power curve that was regarded as one of the best breaking balls in the draft. Stewart had suffered a wrist injury and the Braves offered him a a signing bonus below slot value after the draft and he chose not to sign. He then enrolled at Eastern Florida State College for the next season and threw 13 starts with a 1.70 ERA. He then decided to sign a six-year deal to play in Japan with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Nippon Professional baseball. Now we have no idea if we will ever see Carter Stewart on the mound for an MLB team and as a result Josh Jung is the player I would rather have going forward. Now Carter Stewart may have made this interesting if he had continued putting up strong college numbers and reentered the MLB draft at some point.

The number nine overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft was catcher Shea Langeliers out of Baylor University. Langeliers has always been a world class defender He also has plus raw power that he has to hit consistently to tap into moving forward. With a floor as a defensive minded starter or backup, if he hits consistently he could be one of the better all-around catchers in baseball. The ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft was Kyler Murray. People now know Murray for his football exploits as he decided to go back to college to play football after being drafted by the Atheletics and chose to continue on a path towards professional football. He was then the first overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals and was the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the year in the NFL. While Murray was a raw baseball player coming out of college due to him splitting time between football and baseball he was an exceptional athlete. Now that doesn’t always translate well into being a great baseball player, as there are many stories of great athlete such as Bubba Starling and Lewis Brinson who have not lived up to the potential many saw in them at the draft. Shea Langeliers is the player I would choose out of the two and if Murray had reached his MLB ceiling he may be the pick but Langeliers has such a high floor and the potential for so much more that he is the right choice either way here.

Lastly the number 10 pick in the 2019 MLB draft was Hunter Bishop selected by the San Fransisco Giants. He is a toolsy outfielder out of Arizona State. He has tremendous raw power but there is also some swing and miss to his game. He was inconsistent throughout his career up until his junior year of college. He also has the speed to play center field and be a threat on the base paths. In his small sample after being selected he only hit .229 but had a .438 on base percentage. Those are two numbers that usually do not align in that way, but Bishop walked almost as much as he struck out. While his potential will depend on how well he hits going forward he has the tools to be a dynamic player should everything come together even if there is still swing and miss in his game. The tenth pick in the 2018 draft was another toolsy college hitter out of South Alabama named Travis Swaggerty. While all his tools rate as a 50 or better on the 20-80 scale he has only hit .257 so far in the minors with 14 homeruns in 173 games played. He is similar to Bishop in that his ability to make contract will determine his ceiling, but he has the speed to play center and be a threat on the base paths. He did perform better in the second half of 2019 after some adjustments as well. While both hitters scouting reports are very similar Bishop is rated as a 55 overall compared to Swaggerty as a 50 overall on MLB.com. I give the slight edge to Bishop here since he is younger, and his eye was so good immediately upon entering pro ball. Both these players have similar ceilings and floors and it will be interesting to see if either or both can figure out what adjustments are necessary for them to make the big leagues.

Now I have looked at the top ten overall picks in the 2018 and 2019 MLB drafts. As of right now I give the slight edge to the 2019 draft. While the 2018 draft has the best pitcher in Mize and the best positon player in Kelenic, having lost Kyler Murray to football and Carter Stewart to Japan has hurt this draft. Even if I was to put both of them back in the 2019 draft still is a little better as Carter Stewart has never faced professional hitters and Kyler Murray was a very raw prospect and we do not know how his development would go. The top of the 2018 draft could be historic with the top 5 picks all looking like all stars and or MVP candidates the 2019 draft however has really good to all star players and maybe even some MVP candidates throughout its first ten picks. Now all stars and MVP candidate can come from all round and the rest of the first rounds could even change this going forward. Where I stand today may not be where I stand even a year from now but that is the fun of reflecting on the past, living in the now and dreaming about the future.

Which MLB Draft was better 2018 or 219? Part 1

Which MLB Draft was better 2018 or 219? Part 1

This is part one of a series where I am going to give my opinion on which MLB draft’s top 10 players have higher potential. We will start with the 2018 and 2019 MLB drafts. Here is picks number 1-5:

The first overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft was catcher Adley Rutschman. He was considered by many to be the most hyped baseball prospect since Bryce Harper heading into the draft. The Baltimore Orioles selected him out of Oregon State. Over his three collegiate seasons Adley posted a .352 batting average and a 1.032 OPS. In 2018 the first overall pick was a pitcher named Casey Mize. He was a college pitcher out of Auburn with great stuff and command. Everyone saw he had the body, mechanics and college results of a future frontline starter. He had a career 2.96 ERA in college with 334 strikeouts in only 267 innings pitched. As much as I am an Adley Ritschman fan and generational catchers are so rare, I have to take Mize. A frontline starter can have such an impact on a team especially in the playoffs just ask the Nationals with Scherzer and Strasburg the Giants with Bumgarner the Cubs with Lester and many others. While yes Buster Posey was definitely an important part of the Giants three world series rings as well, the Nationals won the world series with a time share between Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes and just one year earlier the Red Sox won it all with Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez behind the plate, hardly recognizable names. Mize is also a little closer to the majors right now and has shown immense success in the minors at such a young age and we don’t know how old Adley will be when he makes it to the big leagues.

The second overall pick in 2019 was Bobby Witt Jr. he is regarded as a one of the best five tool shortstops to ever come out of high school. He hit .491 in high school with a 1.578 OPS. All his tools are rated as a 55 or above on the 20-80 rating scale used for prospects demonstrating his exceptional all-around skill set. The second overall pick in 2018 was Joey Bart out of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Bart has already advanced to Double A despite missing time due to injuries over the past two seasons. His number one offensive tool is his power, and many believe he will be an above average catcher at the highest level with maybe even more upside than that. If he becomes more selective at the plate he could be one of the best catchers in the MLB. While Bobby Witt Jr has as much upside as any prospect in today’s game he also carries considerable risk since he came out of high school and has so much development ahead of him. In this situation I like Bart because he has shown he can advance quickly, deal with injuries and the Giants have shown that a great catcher may not be the most important aspect of a championship team, but it could never hut to have one.

The third overall selection in the 2019 draft was first baseman Andrew Vaughn from the University of California. He won the Golden Spikes award as the best college player in the nation his sophomore year and was a finalist once again his junior season. He has a 60-hit tool and a 60-power tool on the 20-80 scale and considerable bat speed. He has the potential to hit .300 with 30 homeruns annually at the highest level. The third pick in the 2018 draft was a college third baseman by the name of Alec Bohm. At 6 foot 5 inches Alec Bohm is tall even for a third baseman. Many people potentially see a move to first base in the future. Despite that Bohm has worked on his defense at the hot corner and hit bat will determine his value in the future. He has great bat speed and an excellent approach at the plate. In 2019 he really took off and hit .305 across three levels with 21 homeruns. He is admired for his work ethic and I believe he will be in the Phillie’s lineup sooner rather than later. While I am a big fan of Alec Bohm and I anticipate him hitting 30 home runs annually while being an on base machine, I give the edge here to Vaughn. His bat has the potential to be special even at first base. The college success he has had is remarkable and I think it will translate very well at the big-league level.

The fourth overall pick in 2019 was JJ Bleday. He is an outfielder from the baseball factory school otherwise known as Vanderbilt. Bleday is known for his hit tool as well as his power. Even though he struggled a bit in the minors after being drafted that could be attributed to his long college season which ended in a championship for Vanderbilt. The fourth overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft was Nick Madrigal out of Oregon state University. He is a second baseman who can really hit. He is also a very good defender with speed. He fits the mold of the player you want at the top of your lineup. Now Madrigal is closer to the Majors and has about as high a floor as any minor leaguer because he has hit at every level and the big leagues should be no different. However, JJ Bleday’s power and hitting combination is something scouts dream about. I like the Bleday pick slightly more due to the enormous upside he has.

The fifth overall selection in the 2018 MLB draft was Johnathan India out of the University of Florida. While he has solid tools and potential defensive versatility he has not done anything that great in the minor leagues so far. He has a career .779 OPS in the minors thus far. In 2019 the Tigers selected Riley Greene with the fifth overall pick out of high school. Riley Greene was seen as perhaps the best pure hitter amongst high schoolers in eh draft. And while he has not posted eye popping numbers so far, his potential intrigues me a little more than India’s. I do not think either player will be great in the field, but neither will be a liability either. Riley Greene has more offensive potential and I like him more out of the two players moving forward.

What was the worst trade of 2018? (part 3)

What was the worst trade of 2018? (part 3)

This is part three of a three-part series trying to figure out what the worst trade of 2018 was. Just two months after being hired by the New York Mets, Brodie Van Waganen made a move that would have catastrophic effects on the two organizations involved. By trading away Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano the Mariners saved over 100 million dollars for the next 5 years. While Edwin Diaz was coming off of a year where he posted a 1.96 ERA and led the American league in saves with 57, he only had 52 saves in his career before that year. In 2017 his FIP was 4.02 while his ERA was 3.27. This means he was probably lucky and had a good defense behind him. Edwin Diaz has always been able to strikeout a lot of guys and has a career 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Edwin Diaz only had one elite year prior to the trade and trading top prospects while also eating Robinson Cano’s humongous salary is a lot to give up for one elite season. Robinson Cano has put together a hall of fame worthy career to this point. He has a career .843 OPS and a 125 OPS+. In 2018 however, he was suspended for PEDs and his hall of fame chances have since tilted considerably. In 2018 he did post an .845 OPS with 10 home runs in only 80 games for Seattle. Once he came over to the Mets though he posted a .736 OPS and a 0.3 WAR. He is now 36 years old and after posting a negative 6 defensive runs saved last season it seems like his hitting and fielding are on a downward slope. The Mets now have to pay a declining Cano over 20 million dollars for the next three years and even if Edwin Diaz is the closer he was in 2018 for the Mets going forward this will still be a tough pill to swallow. In this deal the Mariners got two of the Mets top prospects in Jared Kelenic and Justin Dunn. Jared Kelenic is a 5-tool prospect who has proven he can play center field. This is the one position the Mets do not have a short term nor long term answer for. Brodie decided to trade the one centerfield player in the entire organization who could have been the Mets centerfielder for the next 10 years. In the 2019 offseason the Mets searched for a center field upgrade such as Starling Marte, but they were only able to bring in Jake Marisnick to be a fourth outfielder. They are going to move Brandon Nimmo over to play centerfield in 2020 and potentially for the foreseeable future. Nimmo however does has a career negative 9 career defensive runs saved in centerfield. JD Davis is a negative 11 defensive runs saved in left field as he will be playing Nimmo’s old position and the Mets defense looks like it could be a potential disaster in 2020 and there may not be a solution within the organization coming soon. Justin Dunn has posted a career 3.76 era in the minor leagues and did post a 2.70 era in 6.2 innings in the Major Leagues. He did however walk 9 batters and will need to refine his command and control moving forward to stick in the Major Leagues. Jay Bruce, Gregerson Bautista and Anthony Swarzak didn’t amount for much in Seattle but Swarzak was traded to the Braves for Arodys Vizcaino and Jesse Biddle. Brodie wanted to make an immediate splash and the Mariners front office took advantage of that. The Mets finances will be strained by the Cano contract moving forward potentially restraining them from getting a franchise player added to their team such as Mookie Betts. The Mets will either have to bring in a lot more money by selling the team, unloading Cano which will probably hurt their farm system immensely or wait four more years for his contract to be up. None of those look like a good option. Brodie is the main reason for his team’s problems right now and unless he has a miracle up his sleeve or a time machine hidden in his office, I don’t think the Mets should have him in the front office much longer.
After a careful analysis of the players, their impact and their projected future impact, the worst trade of 2018 for any one team was the trade by the Pittsburg Pirates. They gave away two foundational players in Auston Meadows and Tyler Glasnow for Chris Archer who spent one and a half brutal years in a Pirates uniform and may already have pitched his last pitch in Pittsburg. The Pirates have no playoff appearances or even a good regular season record to show for it and are now entering a rebuild where they could have really used Glasnow and Meadows. While Marlins and Mets fans may believe their deals were the worst they at least have a chance to still get production from the players they received whereas nearly all hope is lost for the Pirates.
What was the worst trade of 2018? (part 2)

What was the worst trade of 2018? (part 2)

This is part two of a three-part series discussing the most unfavorable trades of 2018. When the Pirates traded away Auston Meadows and Tyler Glasnow to the Rays for Chris Archer it shocked the world. The Pirates were still three and a half games out of the wild card and it looked like they would need more than one piece to get back into it. Archer had a 4.31 ERA at the time of the trade, leading many to believe the Rays had missed their opportunity to sell high on Archer. Boy was everyone wrong about that. At the time the baseball world knew the Pirates had just given up more assets to acquire Archer than they had gotten for their longtime ace Gerrit Cole. Gerrit Cole’s potential was always higher than Archer’s and both pitchers had their ups and downs throughout their career but almost everyone thought Cole would end up being the better pitcher when all was said and done. Since Archer came to Pittsburgh he has posted a 4.92 era and has looked like a shell of the Chris Archer everyone knew from the Rays. This has led many to believe the Rays knew something was potentially wrong with Archer. The Pirates did not make the playoffs in 2018 and looked like a disaster in 2019 only winning 69 games. The Pirates look like they are headed into a full rebuild so unless Archer regains some trade value this trade could go down as one of the worst in Pirates history. Surprisingly the Rays had gone and traded for Tommy Pham on that day despite being out of the race. Pham was an outfielder in his late 20s, so it is surprising that they would trade for him the same day they traded away their staff ace. The Pham trade signaled the Rays wanted to compete while many thought the Archer deal meant the Rays may be rebuilding. In the Archer trade however, The Rays actually picked up two prospects that were very close to the majors. Despite various injuries Auston Meadows had hit and hit for power his entire minor league career. He was a former 9th overall pick and once he got healthy he moved quickly to the major leagues and has been even better than many people anticipated. He has a career .888 OPS and 39 home runs in just 197 games. He has been the rays most complete hitter since arriving there and, with Tommy Pham being traded to the Padres, this year Meadows will be counted on even more going forward. The Rays kept him in the minors once they received him even though the Pirates had brought him up and he had hit .292 in a 49-game sample there. He only played 110 regular season games for the Rays that season and never had a chance to get going. I knew he was the best player on that team in 2018 and in 2019. I have been following Meadows since he appeared in the Under Armour All American Game and everyone was talking about him and Clint Frazier.
Prior to his arrival in 2017 Tyler Glasnow was nearly unhittable in the minor leagues. He had trouble with his control and command at times but when it was on there was almost nothing any hitter could do about it. In 2016 he posted a 1.93 ERA in double and triple-A. While he did struggle at the big-league level from 2016-2018 everyone knew if he figured it out he could be one of the best starters in baseball. Not many pitchers have a 6-8 frame and the stuff that Glasnow does. While Meadows alone has already provided more value to the Rays than Archer has to the Pirates, Glasnow showed that big things could be coming from him to as he posted a 1.78 ERA in 2019 before getting injured. The Rays won 96 games in 2019 and look poised to be a contender for the foreseeable future led by Meadows and Glasnow. This trade was a clear win for the Rays and this could get even more lopsided in the future if 2019 is any indication for what the future holds. The Pirates ended up cleaning house shortly after this trade and bringing in a new front office. The Rays on the other hand have two foundational players to build around for the foreseeable future.
What was the worst trade of 2018? (part 1)

What was the worst trade of 2018? (part 1)

This is part one of a three-part series. There have been three mega trades over the last two years that make the word heist seem reserved when describing them. All three of these trades were made in 2018.
Marlins trade of OF Christian Yelich to the Brewers for OF Lewis Brinson, OF Monte Harrison, IF Isan Díaz and P Jordan Yamamoto
Rays trade P Chris Archer to Pirates for P Tyler Glasnow, OF Austin Meadows and P Shane Baz
And
The Seattle Mariners trade Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the New York Mets for Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista and prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.
Let’s start with the Marlins deal. Christian Yelich was coming off a down year in 2017 compared to his 2016 campaign. He hit only 18 homeruns with an .807 OPS compared to 21 homeruns and an .859 OPS the year before. People were wondering if he had tapped out his power potential already at just 20 homeruns. He had also moved over to centerfield in 2017 where he posted an ugly -12 defensive runs saved after posting a positive two defensive runs saved in left field in 2016. The Marlins were in full tear down mode having already traded face of the franchise Giancarlo Stanton and fellow outfielder Marcel Ozuna. Yelich also had voiced displeasure about the direction of the team. His underlying skills suggested he had more power than he was showing even though he was seen as a solid everyday player at the time. Yelich had a team friendly deal so the Marline wanted to try to cash in this last trade chip to help move their rebuild along. The Brewers were coming off an 86-76 season and had not been in the postseason since 2011. On the same day they traded for Yelich they signed Lorenzo Cain. This was a clear move the Brewers believed they had the pieces to win now at the big-league level. They had a great bullpen led by Josh Hader and Corey Knebel and built a decent rotation led by Wade Miley and Jhoulys Chachin. They added Cain and Yelich to a lineup already featuring Ryan Braun and a few players they were hoping would turn their careers back around such as Jesus Aguilar and Domingo Santana. The Brewers would go on to win 96 games in 2018 and 89 more in 2019 led by Christian Yelich who would go on to win the 2018 MVP award and if not for breaking his knee in 2019 may have won another, instead he had to settle for a second-place finish. Upon arriving in Milwaukee Yelich found his power stroke hitting 36 homeruns in 2018 while leading the National League in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+ and total bases. He also stole 22 bases and posted a 7.3 WAR. He was on track for an even better encore in 2019 as he hit 44 homeruns, stole 30 bases and led the NL in batting average, on base percentage, OPS and OPS+. He accumulated a 7.0 WAR despite playing in only 130 games in 2019 and has been the best player in baseball not named Mike Trout over the past two seasons and looks primed to be once again in 2020. The problem here is the Brewers now look like they could be headed in the wrong direction. Ryan Braun is not getting any younger, they lost Mike Moustakas their third basmen, Yasmani Grandal their starting catcher and pitcher Chase Anderson between 2019 and 2020. They only have one pitcher in Brandon Woodruff that inspires confidence for now and the future. And after this deal they do not have a great farm system anymore. They may never be able to win the big one and now with Yelich’s new extension bringing in talent could be harder going forward. The Marlins received four prospects in this deal with Lewis Brinson being the centerpiece. Prior to 2017 Lewis Brinson was a top prospect ever since being drafted 29th overall by the Texas Rangers in 2012. He was a highly touted prospect with burgeoning five too talent. So far however he has struggled to the tune of a .183 batting average and a .531 OPS in the majors. With 211 strikeouts to 37 walks in the MLB, Brinson needs to refine his approach and produce results quickly to be a part of the Marlins future plans. So, one prospect in the deal may already be a bust, the second one Monte Harrison has not yet reached the big leagues. Monte Harrison is the number 9 prospect in the Marlins system. In 2018 he had a 37 percent strikeout rate and even though he did lower it to 29 percent in 2019 he will need to further refine his approach if he wants to have an impact at the big-league level. He has four tools which grade out as a 55 or better according to MLB.com but his ability to make contact will need to improve for the 24-year-old to be a big-league starter one day. So, with two players with plate discipline issues already, here comes Isan Diaz who struck out 59 times in just 49 games in the big leagues this year. Yes, it was his rookie season and he have time to improve but he did post a 26.6 strikeout rate in the minors in 2017 and outside of 2019 had little to no success in the minor leagues. Was 2019 just a fluke for Diaz or will he be able to adjust to major league pitching? The jury is still out on that one but if he can’t develop into a franchise second baseman for the Marlins this trade will be one they regret for a very long time. Now there is one last player in this trade Jordan Yamamoto. While he did strikeout over a batter an inning in the majors last year he also posted a 4.46 era and scouts have never thought he would be an ace. Even if he is a good pitcher he will need to help the Marlins win for many years and in important games, even if he does that, this trade still looks better for the Brewers. The Brewers essentially paid pennies on the dollar for Yelich in this trade but ultimately it is looking more and more likely that neither team may get the final prize of a world series championship with the players in this trade on those championship roosters. In conclusion the Brewers won the Yelich trade big but unless they can come up with a better starting pitching staff and soon they may not get the ring they are searching for with Yelich on the rooster. The Marlins wish they got more for Yelich, but they still could end up benefitting from the players they received but they have to start hoping it is soon.