More Comments on the Draft
I have a few comments on players drafted or not drafted within the Mountain West. I noticed that my colleague in crime, Matthew Kenerly, published an article about MWC recruits that were drafted. As he stated, that's a real problem for baseball programs. You gotta take a chance or two on quality, but you can lose it all if you emphasize too much of your recruiting effort on possible draft choices. I see this happening with Batesole at Fresno State, but he gets good ones when a bunch sign with the pros. Anyway, good article and I noticed SDSU has a ton of draftees who, if they choose college ball, will make the Aztecs the frontrunner for next year. What does this have to do with this post? Nuttin', honey. Just one of my unfocused asides.
So, did the MWC get dissed this draft? Maybe. I think most of the insult was dealt to the NCAA by ignoring the Wolf Pack, but Nevada fans are probably seething about too many insults already. The bigs just see things differently than we do. You want to get a good idea how the draft works? Rent two movies and get two different views. Money Ball and Trouble With the Curve. I liked ‘em both.
Ryan Howell, Nevada, 2B, 15th round (458 overall)
Here's an interesting case. Ryan is a middle infielder with 17 home runs. What's not to like? He's a junior, so he has a decision to make but why did he take so long to get drafted? Middle infielders with pop are a rarity since there aren't many Tulowitzkis hanging around out there waiting to sign. I can only guess that the pros don't like the idea that he played at Nevada, where power numbers can be deceiving. I wonder how many of those 17 homers Howell hit on the road, since that would be much more telling. Can anyone help here?
Austin Byler, Nevada, 1B, 11th round (316 overall)
His position in the draft is a little more understandable; he's a senior. He was the preseason pick for Player of the Year by some and I couldn't argue. He mostly delivered on that promise but, again, a little surprised at his draft position. I expected about 5-8.
Christian Stolo, Nevada, LHP, undrafted
Here's the reigning Pitcher of the Year for the MWC and deservedly so (even though he wasn't my pick). Why wasn't he drafted? He's a lefty, for gosh sakes. He strikes out about a hitter an inning and he did well at altitude; that all looks pretty good to me. Did he tell scouts that he wouldn't sign if drafted? I find that hard to believe. Anyway, this one's a puzzler.
Brayden Torres, UNLV, LHP, undrafted
Another mystery. A lefty closer that fits the mold of a major league pitcher; tall and rangy. I know, lefty closers are a rarity in the bigs, but still.
Ty France, SDSU, 3B, 34th round (1017 overall)
One of the best players in the MWC and only gets the respect of the 34th round? What's up with that? Hmm, maybe the lack of power at a power position. Or maybe only an average fielder, not very big, and with no speed. Heck, I don't know.
Taylor Tempel, FSU, OF, undrafted
What is it the pros usually say about a guy like Taylor? A good little college player. That means, if you can read between the lines, they don't think he's worth a draft choice. You mean to tell me that a Georgia high school shortstop projects better? Guess so. It may have been the fact he was a one-hit wonder and didn't show this production over his career. I'm going with that, so don't be surprised when he signs a free agent contract. Plenty of those floating around. Not much money but, what the hell, it's a shot.
Sam Haggerty, NMU, 2B, 24th round (724)
I guess I shouldn't be too surprised about this. I think his best years were the two previous but he did more than ok as a junior. Freshman AA, First Team All-MWC as a sophomore. It appears he has speed as he hits triples and that also says he's a gap hitter. Drafted as a second baseman but I wonder if he has any future as a SS? Arm? Range? Anyway, I guess his position in the draft was okay.
As a final note, I remember going to a San Jose State game against Hawaii when both teams were in the WAC. Kolten Wong was playing for Hawaii and I was interested in watching him. A second baseman with pop. I remember he hit a ball to the fence that made my ears ring he hit it so hard. I will always remember that. Quick hands too. That's stuff that doesn't show up in the stats. When I saw him play, I figured first rounder or close to it. I was impressed and he's doing well with the Cardinals now. Does that make sense when you look at the players above? I saw none of these guys play so I only have the stats to deal with. Sometimes the eye test means the most; or the sound test if it's a pitcher. I think you get it.