Forgive us at MLBPipeline if we're in a celebratory mood. Those of us who are Jewish are celebrating Passover, those of us with Christian faiths have Easter around the corner. The weather is starting to warm up and the 2017 baseball season is in full swing across all full-season levels.
Forgive us at MLBPipeline if we're in a celebratory mood. Those of us who are Jewish are celebrating Passover, those of us with Christian faiths have Easter around the corner. The weather is starting to warm up and the 2017 baseball season is in full swing across all full-season levels. How can we not feel festive?
It's why I asked for Passover-friendly questions for this week's Inbox. There's plenty for all to feast on.
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Mr. Friday Night has become a Pipeline Inbox regular and I was tempted to give him the week off. But he earned his way on with an outstanding usage of Yiddish phrases, so many they made me kvell. Plus, we're working diligently on our Draft Top 100, so it made some sense to kick things off with a question on the subject.
Alex Faedo is Florida's Friday night starter, so I thought perhaps you would like him… but I digress. After a strong sophomore season, one in which Faedo was arguably the best starter among a staff of early-round picks, the right-hander looked like he could emerge as a potential No. 1 overall pick if he continued pitching like he did last year. He missed the fall because of minor knee issues and, as a result, struggled a bit out of the gate as the Gators got their season going. Despite getting knocked around in his last outing, the latest reports I've gotten are that Faedo's stuff is starting to bounce back to 2016 form. His velocity is creeping back up and the breaking stuff looks a bit sharper. There's still more than enough time for Faedo to put together a string of strong starts and put himself near the top of the Draft.
As for the Braves at No. 5? What are you, meshuganah? The last time the Braves took a college pitcher in the first round was 2013, and that was Jason Hursh at No. 31 overall. That high in the Draft, I don't see the Braves going college arm. In full disclosure, I haven't dug into it too deeply yet, but as much as I can see Faedo landing in the top 10 if he gets it going, I don't see him heading to Atlanta. With all the young pitching the Braves have taken of late, a bat would make some sense, but I'm sure they'll go with best player on the board.
It's always interesting to try and compare players from different Draft classes, especially if they are somewhat similar players, like the high school bats you've mentioned. All three -- Clint Frazier back in 2013, Royce Lewis and Austin Beck now -- fit the mold of potential five-tool players who could play up the middle.
Frazier has largely settled into a corner spot, but he was a center fielder in high school. Beck plays there now as well, and he could stick there. And while Lewis has also seen a lot of time at shortstop, many see him as a future center fielder as well.
Frazier and Beck match up in terms of power potential, it seems. Frazier stood out because of his ridiculous bat speed, and we put a future 60 grade on it in his Draft year. Some have felt Beck's power could be even better than that, but the biggest issue with him is that he's more of a mystery, having missed all of last summer with a knee injury. Frazier, after the full summer showcase circuit, was a known quantity.
So is Lewis, who doesn't have the same power profile as the other two, though he should grow into some. But he might have more speed at the next level. Frazier went No. 5 overall in the 2013 Draft. Lewis could go that high, though he hasn't had an explosive spring, and scouts are still trying to get a feel for where Beck belongs.
With Andrew Benintendi graduating off the list, Yoan Moncada is once again our No. 1 overall prospect. And he's certainly performed like the top guy since the Minor League season started, hitting .387/.457/.613 with a pair of homers and stolen bases over his first seven games. There is little question, at least in my mind, that Moncada will continue to prove he's ready for another shot at the big leagues very soon. That said, the White Sox aren't in any hurry. They are in rebuilding mode and are not expecting to compete in the American League Central, so there's no reason to rush him up. I could see them letting Moncada get a good foundation of success in Triple-A, at least a month, before they consider bringing him up. What he's doing now isn't a mirage; he has all the tools in the box. So look for Moncada to force their hands with his performance and look for them to err on the side of caution.
Bobby Dalbec is a really interesting player, and one who is a little tough to figure out. He struggled so much at the plate in his junior season at Arizona, some teams preferred him on the mound, where he had pitched very well as the Wildcats' closer. But once Dalbec got to pro ball, a light went off. He hit .386/.427/.674 during his summer debut. And Dalbec has gotten off to a good start in his full-season debut as well, with a .346/.414/.462 line over his first seven games with Class A Greenville. He's struck out 11 times in the early going, something that bears watching. Dalbec is currently Boston's No. 4 prospect, and I think I'd like to see him produce, and control the strike zone, for a longer stretch -- a full season? -- before I'm ready to add him to the Top 100.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.