(Photo via KSCJ, Brian Ray, seen here)
The Orioles had the 11th-overall pick in the draft, selecting right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez out of Central Heights HS in Texas. Some consider him to be a little bit of a reach since he was the no. 22 of 200 prospects on MLB.com. Other than Rodriguez, the Orioles took three other top-200 prospects: Cadyn Grenier, Blaine Knight, and Robert Neustrom.
Anthony Osnacz predicted Neustrom would be drafted between rounds 3-6 in a previous article, was drafted in the fifth round. “He has raw plus power that gives him solid upside should he tap into it more often. […] He has a roughly average hit tool,” Osnacz reported. “He displayed 45-grade speed. He is a guy who is faster once he is underway, rather than a straight-line speed guy. He projects as a future left field, but I saw him take more efficient routes to the ball this year, giving me reason to think he could play right field adequately. His floor is an up and down backup corner outfielder and the ceiling is a starting right fielder.”
Neustrom, who had a .924 OPS this season, has indeed been adding power to his resume. His elite .227 ISO was by far the highest of his college career, proving that he has the potential to be able to hit for power at the professional level. Neustrom has been assigned to Short Season-A Aberdeen, where in his first few games, has already been making a positive impact on the team’s offense.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox drafted Triston Casas with the 26th pick, a third baseman out of American Heritage HS in Plantation, FL. Casas, well-regarded as one of the top power hitting infielders in the entire draft. Besides Casas, Boston was able to snag a couple other top prospects including power hitting high school outfielder Nick Decker and right handed pitcher Durbin Feltman, who had a 0.74 ERA out of the bullpen for TCU.
One player to watch from the Red Sox draft is 11th rounder Nick Northcut out of Mason HS in Ohio. Northcut, a third baseman, is projected to reach the MLB somewhere between 2021 and 2022 according to CBBSN scout Michael Cuva. “[I] would expect some seasoning in the minors,” he explained. “Mostly to find a position where he can at least competently play the field. His bat will play though, and he has plenty of time to see upper level pitching on the showcase circuit. [The] Red Sox got an absolute steal in the 11th round.”
Northcut was named the Ohio Baseball Player of the Year after hitting .374 with a .512 OBP. Northcut was signed as a third baseman, but also pitched to a 1.04 ERA this past season.
New York Yankees
With the 23rd-overall pick, the Yankees selected catcher Anthony Siegler out of Cartersville (GA) HS. The Yankees did not have a huge bonus pool to work with, so they picked up safe and intriguing picks for their first couple draft choices. Siegler, the MLB.com no. 46 overall prospect, is an unusual player, as he both hits and throws from both sides. Besides Siegler, the Yankees selected three other top-200 prospects including junior college catcher Josh Breaux, high school outfielder Ryder Green, and right-handed pitcher Frank German out of North Florida.
The Yankees selected Isaiah Pasteur in the 13th round, out of George Washington. Pasteur, who was drafted as a centerfielder, played multiple positions at GWU including middle infield, outfield, and even as a pitcher. CBBSN scout Andrew LeMaster believes Pasteur’s “bat will definitely translate [to the] next level.” He goes on to further explain why Pasteur, who absolutely dominated the Atlantic-10, was drafted as late as he was. “I think he wasn’t as sought after because he sat out his 2017 season due to transfer rules. He had a 32-game hit streak this year, led [the] A-10 in runs, triples, slugging percentage, [and total bases]. And [he was] top three in hits, home runs, stolen bases, RBI, and at-bats. “
Pasteur transferred to George Washington from Indiana University, which allowed him to be much closer to his hometown of Westminster, MD. After averaging a .582 OPS during his two seasons at Indiana, Pasteur obliterated the competition. On top of leading the A-10 in several offensive categories, he had a .987 OPS with a .392 BABIP and an outstanding .258 ISO.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays came into this year’s draft with the second largest draft pool at $12,415,600. Because of that they were able to sign highly touted high school pitcher Matthew Liberatore, the number four overall prospect, at the 16th pick. Liberatore, the Arizona player of the year, was seen sitting in the low 90s, occasionally quick-pitching according to CBBSN scouts. The Rays also selected a wealth of other top prospects in the draft. Besides Liberatore, the Rays selected several MLB.com top 200 prospects including Shane McClanahan, a pitcher from South Florida, Nick Schnell, a high school outfielder from Indianapolis, Tyler Frank, a shortstop from Florida Atlantic, Tanner Dodson, a pitcher from California, shortstop Ford Proctor from Rice, outfielder Grant Witherspoon from Tulane, and right-handed, high school pitcher Taj Bradley.
The Rays picked left-handed pitcher Trey Cumbie in the 13th round out of Houston. Cumbie, who makes his living as a command/control guy, does not throw very hard, but makes up for it by using deception to get hitters off balance. CBBSN scout Michael Cuva summarizes, “Cumbie has the arsenal and feel on the mound to develop into a solid fourth or fifth starter. It would be nice to see him get his average fastball sitting in the low 90s, but I think he’s a complete enough pitcher to live with upper-80s heat [although his margin of error is much smaller]. He’s a college junior, so he should be knocking on the door sometime between the end of 2019 and the beginning to middle of 2020.”
Cuva is exactly right – Cumbie’s progression through the minor league system hinges on his repertoire and how much he can command the strike zone with his three-pitch mix. If he has the ability to deceive with his minor league players in the upper levels, he will see time in the majors. However, if not, he will more than likely be filtered out by all the pitchers that can throw in the upper 90s and are becoming more and more prevalent in pro ball. He definitely has the stuff to make it. As Cuva says, “His changeup was a legit 60 the day I saw him, and his curveball was a solid 55 that varied in shape depending on the type of extension he got.” Cumbie heads to the Rays’ Short Season-A team, Hudson Valley, to get his first test.
Toronto Blue Jays
With the 12th pick, the Blue Jays picked Jordan Groshans, a shortstop out of Magnolia (TX) HS who was a bit of a reach at the number 31 overall prospect. However, the Blue Jays also selected his high profile teammate, Adam Kloffenstein to help ease his transition to the professional ranks. The Blue Jays also selected Sean Wymer and Addison Barger, as well as Griffin Conine, son of Jeff. Conine joins Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio as sons of notable former big leaguers in the Blue Jays farm system.
The Blue Jays took Iowa left handed pitcher Nick Allgeyer in the 12th round of the draft. As CBBSN scout Anthony Osnacz recaps, Allgeyer was “a redshirt Junior this year coming back from Tommy John surgery. His fastball sat 88-91 [mph] all year. He has a 50-55 curveball, 50 slider, and 50 changeup. His stuff played up due to his plus command. I think he will have success in the lower rungs of the minors, but Double-A [and] Triple-A may serve as a challenge. His ceiling is a solid fifth starter, [but more] likely an up-and-down spot starter.” Allgeyer will take his average four-pitch mix to Vancouver where he will begin his career in Short Season-A ball.