Pipeline Inbox: Where will A's draftees go on their prospect list?
Jonathan Mayo responds to fans' questions about baseball's future stars
We're now more than a week removed from the end of the MLB Draft and the signings have been coming in fast and furious (Follow on our Signing and Bonus Tracker).
So have the questions. As a result, this week's Inbox will start with Draft-related queries, with a nod to the Promotionpalooza that's been going on at the big league level.
In a glance, where might the A's draftees end up in their top 15?
-- Casey H, Oakland, Calif.
With their first six picks, the A's selected players in our Draft Top 200, so they'll be adding some legitimate talent to the system. That's a good thing as it's been thinned out as of late because of various trades.
I might actually start with Dakota Chalmers, who was taken in the third round (but given $1.2 million to sign, well over pick value). We did have him ranked at No. 33 on the Top 200, one spot ahead of first-round pick Richie Martin. At first glance, I'd say Chalmers slots in at No. 3 on the A's Top 30. Martin would come next at No. 4, or maybe No. 5 right behind Matt Chapman. Alabama infielder Mikey White, taken in Round 2, probably fits in the 10-12 range. Let's put him right in front of Chris Bassitt, who is currently No. 10. That's it for Top 15 guys, but look for Skye Bolt, Kevin Duchene and Bubba Derby to land somewhere in the new A's Top 30 next month.
How do you think Drew Finley compares to last year's top high school arm the Yankees drafted, Austin DeCarr?
-- Andrew M., Baltimore
It's an interesting comparison, DeCarr being the Yankees' third-round pick a year ago out of the Connecticut high school ranks; Finley also taken in the third round this year. Both have a pretty good feel for pitching with good, albeit not explosive, stuff. Both really know how to spin a curveball and can throw strikes.
Finley might be more advanced than DeCarr at the same stage, thanks to growing up around the game (His father is Dodgers' vice president of amateur and international scouting David Finley.) and being able to play in Southern California, as opposed to the Northeast. DeCarr might have a bit more fastball, but Finley's changeup grades out a touch better. In the end, there isn't a whole lot separating the two right-handers. Maybe Finley will move a bit more quickly, but I could see them being in the same neighborhood in the Yankees' Top 30 when we re-rank.
When do you see Kyle Schwarber getting to the big leagues permanently?
-- Nick J., Chicago
After his 4-for-5 performance on Wednesday, I'm sure all Cubs fans hope the answer to that is immediately. But it might take a little bit more time than that. There doesn't seem to be much question about the 2014 first-rounder's bat being ready to contribute. That's why the Cubs called him up to DH during Interleague play. His .320/.438/.579 line in Double-A is legit, as is his career .610 slugging percentage in the Minors to date. The left-handed hitter will hit for average and power once he does arrive full-time.
What he's not ready to do in the big leagues is catch, and that's all he's done during his first full season. Last summer, he spent time in left field and behind the plate. This year, he's been dedicated to improving his backstop skills, catching 37 games and DHing in 17 others. Most feel he's still destined to play left field long-term, but that move hasn't happened yet. When he gets sent down after this week, he'll head to Triple-A for the first time. It wouldn't surprise me to see him play some outfield once he gets to Iowa, so he's ready should the need arise. Even if the Cubs still want to see him catch, having him ready for outfield play so they can get that bat in the lineup for a playoff run makes a whole lot of sense. Give him some time to re-acquaint himself with the outfield. Then seeing him get a shot at left in Wrigley in the second half is a very realistic outcome.
Do you think Michael Conforto could help Mets this year?
-- Judy K., Brooklyn, NY
It stands to reason seeing the No. 4 pick in the 2014 Draft, Schwarber, make it to the big leagues, that someone would want to know that the other college hitter in the top 10, Conforto, is close behind. My first instinct says you'll have to wait until 2016 to see Conforto, which would still be a pretty quick ascension. That said, Conforto is hitting .304/.385/.500 during his first full season. Since his promotion to Double-A, he's put up a .375/.493/.625 line. So much for the jump to Double-A being the toughest.
There is a question of opportunity. Conforto has played left field only, currently occupied by Michael Cuddyer, who isn't going to go anywhere. They won't bring Conforto up to play a spot he's not familiar with, so unless there's an injury, I think the most you can hope for is a September callup.