On this week's episode of the podcast, we had the chance to interview MLB draft expert Jeff Ellis. With the draft approaching next Monday (June 12), I thought I'd put down some of his thoughts in a blog post. Make sure to follow Jeff on Twitter leading up to the draft.
On the overall outlook for this year's draft compared to the past few years:
"I know some people don't, but I do like this year's draft. I understand that there were some guys that took a step back, like Jeren Kendall, Kyle Wright, Alex Faedo, and Tristan Beck. The lack of college bats is one of those things that has made people not think highly on this year's class. Once you get pass Brendan McKay and the Virginia duo of Adam Haseley and Pavin Smith, you kind of get a grab bag with guys like Jake Burger and Kendall. It's such a deep class in arms, specifically college arms. I think teams into the third round are going to get interesting pitchers. After McKay and Hunter Greene, the top is a little shaky. It's maybe not the best year to pick 3-7, but in terms of overall depth, I like it more than last year. I think it's a good year to have multiple picks."
- Florida RHP Alex Faedo: "He's still a top-5 guy, but I've moved him down. The fastball and slider have the chance to be plus pitches. Performance has been up and down. There are injury concerns with his knees. But, I think the best is yet to come."
- California H.S. prospect Hunter Greene: "I do think he's the real deal. In the draft process, you hear every single thing that's wrong with a kid. And nothing has come out on him. The athleticism is unreal; if he was a shortstop, he'd still be a top-10 pick. He should be a fun kid to watch develop."
- Iowa first baseman Jake Adams. "He literally came to Iowa out of nowhere, a junior college in South Dakota. There's so little to go on that he's hard to place. But, I could see him go somewhere in the third to sixth rounds. And a team could potentially get a steal. The more info teams get on him, the more they like him."
Is there a Kyle Schwarber type pick that surprises everyone?
"One kid that's been interesting to watch is Bryce Bonnin (RHP, Texas H.S.). He was supposed to go to Arkansas as a shortstop, but now he's a pitching prospect that hits 97. Matt Sauer (RHP, California H.S.) is another name, a bigger kid that hits 97. Adam Hasely (OF, Virginia) wasn't someone we talked about a lot before the season, but now could be the first college bat off the board."
White Sox drafting philosophy
"Last year, everyone told me that they were going to go prep. But, they always go college and the one prep player they took, Courtney Hawkins, did not work out. They ended up going college and I think they'll lean strongly towards college this year. At 11, do they like Jeren Kendall enough in spite of his red flags? Jake Burger (1B/3B, Missouri State) and Keston Hiura (2B, UC Irvine) are a couple other college bats to watch for them."
A couple names to watch for the Cubs
"The two names I've heard most are Nick Allen (SS, California H.S.) and Drew Waters (OF, Georgia H.S.). If Allen is off the board, Waters is a name to watch. Toronto is expected to take Allen if he gets past the Cubs at 27."