clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Grossly Underinformed Draft In Review

One of the (read: the only) reasons there was practically zero draft coverage on this site leading up to today is that I know so little about the process and the players getting selected that trying to hammer out a handful of posts on the top picks and potential sleepers would be a disservice to you, me, and Major League Baseball. I'm not going to pretend to be something I'm not. I could cull a bunch of information from other places if I wanted to, like Baseball America, Jason Churchill, Jim Callis, John Sickels, etc., but the last thing the world needs is another news aggregator, especially when you're perfectly capable of tracking everything down by yourself without too much trouble (which you've probably already done).

As such, I'm not really qualified to offer much of an in-depth opinion on how the draft went today. What I can say is this - there's no more uncomfortable position than having to defer to your scouting director on a lot of his picks under the assumption that he knows something everyone else doesn't. Passing on Miller (and Lincecum) for Morrow? Taking a high school righty who had a less than impressive senior year in the second round? Grabbing another tall high school lefty in the third when the same kind of player has busted about 235872639487234 consecutive times in this organization? Taking a collegiate reliever with a 6.18 ERA 111th overall? So on and so forth. Bob Fontaine has forgotten more than I'll ever know about this stuff, so I guess I'll have to take his word for it that everything went well, but...that's troubling, at least as far as I'm concerned.

If nothing else, at least the team has a new #1 pitching prospect - Morrow easily steals the top slot from, uh, Livingston? Cruceta? You can catch a comprehensive scouting report on Morrow here, at Prospect Insider. The short of it is that he's currently a two-pitch pitcher, with a tremendous fastball that touches 99 and a pretty good splitter to mix things up. He's as yet been unable to develop a consistent third pitch, be it a changeup, a curveball, or a slider - I know Dave Cameron in particular questions whether or not he'll ever be able to throw a good breaking ball with his current arm action - but he's got a while to learn, and he has the stuff to get by in the meantime.

If he never improves, he can be an effective high-leverage power reliever. If he gets his curveball to the point where hitters can't just sit on his other two pitches, he'll be one of the better middle-of-the-rotation starters in the league. And if his breaking ball ever becomes a legitimate weapon of its own right, then he'll take off.

I like Brandon Morrow. He's not the guy I would've taken, but as a safe pick with a terrific arm, little bust potential, and reasonable contract demands, he's nice to have (even if Andrew Miller would've been better). I was pretty pissed off when I first heard about the choice this morning, but by this point I've come to terms with the fact that what's done is done, and that Morrow's still going to be all kinds of fun to track through the system.


I don't really have anything else to say, so in lieu of trying to analyze the other 17 picks, I'll just post a few mechanical comments based on the scouting videos made available for a handful of our pitcher selections:

Morrow: kind of a tall-and-fall and drop-and-drive hybrid, with some emphasis on the latter. Smooth delivery. Reaches back a little too far, stressing shoulder, although full upper body rotation is able to relieve some of this. Shows ball to hitter way before release, scoring low on the deception scale. Brings ball around in an arc with his head slightly off-line at release, negatively affecting command. Glove directly above knee before and during follow-through (that's good). Generally ends up in good fielding position, although he falls off to first a little when he's really bringing it. Overall, no major red flags; while there are a few things that could be smoothed out, I like his mechanics.

Tillman: Mechanically projectable as much as he is physically projectable. Keeps from reaching behind second base early in windup (a rarity in this organization, it seems). Lead glove pulls back on left side, forcing some across-the-body action with his throwing arm. Throwing shoulder behind right hip for much of forward rotation. Short stride badly needs to be fixed in the worst way - currently leads to a high, early release, and while this is good for throwing on a downward plane, it's bad for command and "perceived" velocity. Elongating his stride could add 2-3mph to his fastball, along with an additional bonus because the hitter will have less time to react. Have no idea what his curveball looks like - they say it's good, but I'm a little surprised that he's able to spin one off from that kind of release point.

Orta: I still don't get it. Not really much of interest, here; his mechanics are neither phenomenally good nor excruciatingly bad, although I think keeping better control of his forward glove will allow him to pitch with better control in the strike zone. Not a big fan of the way he sweeps his lead foot around before planting, as it only serves to take energy away from the driveline from the mound to home plate. Will probably experience shoulder tenderness at some point over the next few seasons.

Fister: It took me a few minutes to figure out what it was about his delivery that doesn't rub me the right way, but if you're watching the scouting video, check out his (left) glove arm - it never straightens out. It's hooked at about a 90 degree angle from the time he takes the ball out of his glove to the end of his follow-through. That's...that's unusual is what it is. As a result he gets fairly poor extension towards home plate for a guy of his size (6'8), which you already read about in the Tillman entry above. Keeping his glove like that also adversely affects his command, as it's an important tool to use as a guide towards the strike zone. Ends up in picture-perfect fielding position, albeit for the wrong reasons. What good is drafting tall pitchers if they're not taking advantage of their size?

Bibens-Dirkx: This is somebody's real name. Also unorthodox is his delivery - Bibens-Dirkx is a sidearmer. His mechanics aren't real interesting, but watching the video, what stood out to me is how much movement there is on his fastball. He looks to have a two-pitch aresenal, with a high-80s heater that runs in on right-handed hitters and a mid-70s breaking ball that darts across the plate in the opposite direction. Clearly not a future starter, but if he makes it, he's going to chew up a lot of bats.

Runzler: Tall-and-fall pitcher whose left arm is constantly playing catch-up with his center of gravity. He'll probably be underachieving on an MPH scale as long as he's pitching like that, although he still touches 90, and southpaws who can do that are a rare breed as is. I can't tell if he pitches exclusively from the stretch or if that's just the selection in the scouting video, but he's very quick towards the plate in a manner that's probably best characterized as "rushed". Will have trouble getting on top of the ball and staying low in the zone, although I like that he features an up-and-in fastball that sneaks up on righties. Probably won't ever have anything better than an inconsistent breaking ball, although he's a big guy, so I wouldn't say that to his face.