Callis conducts hypothetical Draft
With randomly assigned team, our expert dishes on who he would take
I've critiqued how teams have fared in the Draft for more than 25 years, so starting in 2003 I decided it was only fair to put my own modest amount of expertise on the record. Ever since, first at Baseball America and now at MLB.com, I've conducted an annual hypothetical 10-round Draft to see how well I could do.
So far, I have "signed" 32 big leaguers, including first-rounders Jason Heyward and Shelby Miller, fifth-rounder Chris Archer and ninth-rounder Kyle Gibson. My imaginary farm system features a pair of Top 100 Prospects in Kyle Freeland and Forrest Wall, and all of my hits and misses can be found here.
I randomly assign myself the picks of team outside of the top five, and this year I wound up with the Brewers. That gave me the No. 15 overall choice, a competitive-balance-lottery selection at No. 40 and a bonus pool of $7,743,800 for the first 10 rounds. I'll stretch that to $8,130,990 by paying a 75-percent tax on my overage, but I won't exceed my pool by more than 5 percent and lose a future first-rounder as penalty.
Round 1 (No. 15): Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State (real life: Round 1, No. 29, Blue Jays)
I hoped for a shot at one of the second-tier college arms and was surprised to see Harris, Vanderbilt's Walker Buehler and Louisville's Kyle Funkhouser all on the board. Richland HS (North Richland Hills, Texas) outfielder Trenton Clark was tempting too. Harris' velocity was down a little toward the end of the year and some scouts thought he didn't pitch off his fastball as much as he should, but I love that he can show four plus pitches to go with his athleticism and projectability. And I really believe in the Missouri State pitching factory that has sent nine arms to the big leagues in the last decade.
Round 1/supplemental (No. 40): Donnie Dewees, OF, North Florida (Round 2, Cubs)
I strongly considered Clarksville (Tenn.) HS right-hander Donny Everett, but it would be tough to meet his mid-first-round price tag and be aggressive with later choices. One of the top athletes and top performers in college baseball this spring, Dewees can produce for average and power, possesses plus speed and could stick in center field.
Round 2 (No. 55): Michael Matuella, RHP, Duke (Round 3, Rangers)
Though it will cost me $2 million, I'll gamble on his upside. Matuella has to recover from Tommy John surgery and deal with back issues, but he was a potential No. 1 overall pick with a mid-90s fastball and nasty breaking stuff before he got hurt. I hope I don't rue taking Dewees and Matuella over choosing Everett and North Forsyth HS (Cumming, Ga.) righty Dakota Chalmers and sacrificing a later pick.
Round 3 (No. 90): Trey Cabbage, 3B, Grainger HS, Rutledge, Tenn. (Round 4, Twins)
His stock rose significantly this spring. Cabbage has the pretty left-handed swing and selective approach to hit for average, and his power potential and arm strength fit the hot-corner profile.
Round 4 (No. 121): Demi Orimoloye, OF, St. Matthew's HS, Orleans, Ont. (Round 4, Brewers)
I'm not sure how he wound up in the fourth round with a slightly below-slot bonus, but I'm all in. Orimoloye is still raw at the plate but he looks like a future NFL linebacker and offers an enticing power/speed/arm strength combo.
Round 5 (No. 151): Blake Hickman, RHP, Iowa (Round 7, White Sox)
Here's another guy I'm getting lower than I would have expected coming into the year. A former catcher, Hickman is still learning on the mound but he has a big league body (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) and pairs a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider when at his best.
Round 6 (No. 181): Steven Duggar, OF, Clemson (Round 6, Giants)
Though he never has fully tapped into his tools, it's hard to walk away from those tools in the sixth round. Duggar has well above-average speed, plus arm strength and some raw power, though he can get too passive at the plate.
Round 7 (No. 211): Jaret Hellinger, LHP, Ola HS, McDonough, Ga. (Round 20, Braves)
As an athletic 6-foot-3, 170-pounder, he has a ton of projection remaining. Hellinger already has good stuff, with a lively 88-93 mph fastball and the makings of at least an average curveball and changeup.
Round 8 (No. 241): Travis Maezes, 3B, Michigan (Round 13, Royals)
Dewees, Duggar and Maezes give me three of my top 10 Cape Cod League positions prospects from last summer. Maezes was banged up and didn't drive the ball like scouts wanted this spring, but he has a nice lefty swing, the strength and bat speed to produce more power and a well above-average arm.
Round 9 (No. 271): Austin Byler, 1B, Nevada (Round 11, Diamondbacks)
To afford my first nine picks, I'll need to conclude with a couple of college seniors. Byler hits for power and draws walks, and there's a chance he could handle left field.
Round 10 (No. 301): Cole Bauml, OF, Northern Kentucky (Round 10, Tigers)
He runs well enough to play center field and has some hitting ability and power potential as well. Bauml produced against the best pitchers he faced this spring, including a homer off Kentucky's Kyle Cody.