Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: Looking ahead to the 2019 Draft

@JonathanMayo
May 15, 2019

This time of year, you can go in a number of directions for the Pipeline Inbox. On the pro side, we’ve recently updated our Top 100 list and we’ve had some exciting prospect debuts lately, from Keston Hiura with the Brewers to the Braves’ Austin Riley. But then we’re less

This time of year, you can go in a number of directions for the Pipeline Inbox.

On the pro side, we’ve recently updated our Top 100 list and we’ve had some exciting prospect debuts lately, from Keston Hiura with the Brewers to the Braves’ Austin Riley.

But then we’re less than three weeks away from the 2019 Draft. And that’s so hard to resist. As people have looked at our Top 100 (Top 200 coming soon!) and both Jim Callis’ and then my first mock (Mr. Callis will have a new mock Friday), the questions have been pouring in, so that’s the direction I’ve decided to go in for this week’s edition.

Two questions about Corbin Carroll? Yes please. I wouldn’t say he was underrated, though. We do have him at No. 14 overall on our Top 100. He can really, really hit. We gave him a 60 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale and he’s one of the best pure hitters in the class, especially among high schoolers. He has 70 speed to go along with that bat, giving him the ability to steal bases and cover a lot of ground in center field. While there is more pop than you might think given his size, average power seems a bit too much to project. There’s enough strength there for him to drive the ball at the next level, but as of right now, I think it’s more gap power than over-the-fence ability.

Now on to comparing him to Jarred Kelenic, who was the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s Draft as a high schooler out of Wisconsin by the Mets and was then sent to the Mariners in the Robinson Cano deal. I think the only way they really compare is being high school outfielders from states without great spring weather.

In all seriousness, they are both left-handed hitters who were thought to be advanced hitters entering the Draft (Kelenic also had a 60 hit grade). But Kelenic had more raw power even as a prepster, and he’s become even more physical during his first full season. Carroll, for his part, has much better speed. Kelenic runs well, but Carroll’s wheels can be a difference-maker at the next level.

Song pitches for the Naval Academy, and boy has he been good this year (he was terrific as a junior in 2018 as well). He’s set or tied a number of school pitching records and is a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, currently with a 1.03 ERA and a strikeout rate of better than 15 per nine innings. He’s strong and durable with a 6-foot-4 frame and an outstanding fastball with the kind of pure stuff many teams covet.

In recent conversations with some scouts about Song, they said he could be a second-round pick based purely on talent. But that’s where things get tricky. Song’s military commitment makes it much tougher to figure out where he might go in the Draft. There’s a chance something could eventually get worked out, but it’s unclear just what that would look like or how long it would take.

The only recent example that a team could look at would be Griffin Jax, who the Twins took in the third round of the 2016 Draft out of the Air Force. He didn’t pitch much over his first two summers of pro ball as he went back and forth between the Twins and the military until the Air Force deferred his requirement via the World Class Athlete Program. Whether the Navy would consider this remains to be seen, making it tougher to consider Song on Day 1.

The fact that this is a valid question to be asking is a bit of a surprise. Dyson began the season as Florida’s Friday night starter, one who was No. 30 on our Top 50 list that came out last December. He was the type of college arm with really good stuff who had the chance to shoot up boards with a strong junior year, especially considering the dearth of college pitching in this class.

But Dyson really struggled out of the gate and was moved off of Fridays fairly quickly. Then he lost his spot in the rotation completely. And he hasn’t pitched since April 20 with an undisclosed injury, putting a bigger cloud over his future. If he’s healthy, his stuff says he’s obviously a top five round guy. I still think he probably is, but given how much he struggled and the medical question, it’s far from a guarantee.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.