Another week in the books and several of the nation’s top prospects were in action, playing big roles. With Seattle selecting no. 6 overall in this years draft, we’ll be highlighting three players each week whose stock is rising and whose stock is falling. It’s one of the strongest draft classes in quite some time, maybe the best since 2012, or 2013. The class is absolutely stacked with advanced college arms, which will likely anchor the first round.
The general consensus headed into the opening weekend festivities was the top of the draft was pretty well held down by a three-headed monster, but that narrative is shifting quickly. Georgia starting pitcher Emerson Hancock, Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson, and Vanderbilt shortstop/third baseman Austin Martin are all among the favorites to go in the Top 5, but two newcomers are rising quick.
Nick Gonzales - New Mexico State - 2B/SS
After an unbelievably impressive opening weekend, Gonzales put up more video games numbers this go around. Gonzales is he has an advanced hit tool with a power tool that is difficult to grade in hitter-friendly Presley Askew Field. Any doubts surrounding his pop may be fading.
He’s destined to play second base at the next level as I believe he lacks the quickness and arm strength to play shortstop or third. But New Mexico State has run him out to shortstop a few times now this season, and if he proves some semblance of versatility, it could sway teams to move him into the Top 2 conversation.
After an opening weekend in which Gonzales went 8 for 14 with 4 home runs, two doubles, 17 RBIs, and six walks, Gonzo somehow just about matched that production this week. Over a four-game stretch, he went 9 for 18, smashing three home runs and driving in nine. He added four walks and a stolen base. He also hit for the cycle on Sunday.
He’s running a .567/.698/1.433 with 7 HRs and 26 RBIs in 8 games and is firmly in the conversation between no. 3 and no. 5. If he can prove doubters on his ability to play shortstop, there’s a reasonable chance he hits himself into 1.1 consideration.
Zach DeLoach - Texas A&M - OF
DeLoach was a bit of an afterthought after a pretty dreadful two years at Texas A&M where he slashed .236/.338/.338. That all changed last summer when he ran a .353/.428/.541 with five home runs and eight stolen bases in the Cape Cod League. His abbreviated success with a wood bat put his name on the map, and he’s off to a very hot start this season.
In seven games, DeLoach is currently running a .608/.688/1.261 for the Aggies. He’s hit four home runs, drawn eight walks, and is yet to strikeout.
DeLoach is a slight above average runner, but lacks a strong throwing arm. He’s proven he can hit for average and his power is developing. At the next level, he likely profiles akin to a Tyler Naquin type, but could develop into someone like Max Kepler with a pretty left-handed power stroke.
There’s a chance he plays himself into first round consideration this June, but it’s more than likely he’s going to be a very sexy under-slot option in the Comp A, or second round portions of the draft.
Asa Lacy - Texas A&M - Starting Pitcher
Another Aggie, Lacy has really impressed scouts early this spring, dominating on two separate occasions for Texas A&M. Over 11 innings, Lacy has punched out 22 batters, allowing just two earned runs and walking three along the way.
At 6-foot-4, Lacy is an imposing lefty, equipped with an upper 90s fastball with late ride. He offers a 60-grade changeup with fantastic arm action, and a slider that has flashed plus or better this season. It’s been a wipeout pitch.
His bulldog mentality can be a blessing and a curse, but some scouts love the way he attacks hitters and takes complete ownership of the game. Lacy isn’t shy about owning the moment. His attitude has put him in some hot water before, as he was suspended four games last year for quite audibly arguing balls and strikes.
If the draft were today, Lacy has likely positioned himself as the fourth or fifth pick in the draft, though with so many advanced college arms available this year, that could certainly change.
JT Ginn - Mississippi State - Starting Pitcher
Ginn has long been considered a first round talent, having been selected that high during the 2018 draft out of high school. He elected to go to school where his stock has remained high. He features one of the better sliders in the draft that plays beautifully off his high-octane fastball.
Unfortunately, like Garrett Crochet featured last week, Ginn is dealing with an arm injury right now that hasn’t been disclosed by anyone close to the team. He’s battled injuries in the past too. It’s an ominous sign. Hopefully it’s just general soreness, but in a draft class stacked with advanced arms, any signs of potential durability issues could cost Ginn several draft spots.
Nander de Sedas - Florida State - SS
De Sedas is a name that’s been in scouting circles for a few years now, but so far it hasn’t been for the right reasons this year.
De Sedas was the highest ranked position player to elect to go to school following the 2018 draft, and that may end up being a mistake in the long-run. The 29th pick two years ago by the Brewers, De Sedas’ bat hasn’t come around, and his calling card defense isn’t helping any matters.
Through seven games, he’s hitting .250 with zero extra-base hits. He’s also struck out ten times, pacing the Seminoles. On the defensive side of the ball, his five errors have cost the team as well.
He’s got plenty of time to right the ship between now and June, but as it stands today, it’s hard to see him selected in the first round again unless a team reaches for his perceived ceiling, or a discount.
Casey Martin - Arkansas - SS
Martin represents one of the more combustible profiles in the draft. Just 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, Martin packs a ton of punch into his small frame. He produces a ton of bat speed, and can put just about anything into the parking lot. Unfortunately, the swing-and-miss in his game is holding him back, and he’ll need to fix it fast if he hopes to live up to his Top 15-20 billing.
As a freshman, Martin hit .345/.418/.556 while slugging 14 doubles and 13 home runs. His speed was on full display, nabbing eight bags as well. Martin is a legit 60-power, 60+ run guy that should have no problem sticking up the middle.
But as previously mentioned, the whiffs are a problem. He struck out 71 times in 260 plate appearances last season, and through seven games this year, he’s already K’ing at a 33 percent clip. Not good prior to SEC play. His .208 average certainly isn’t where you want to see it, but his speed and defense have both been impressive.
Some (like myself) tabbed Martin as a potential option for Seattle at no. 6 should his plate approach improve this season, but early on, he appears poised to fall toward the back-half of the first round.
Final Thoughts and Honorable Mentions
Weekend Two Stock Watch— Joe (@JoeDoyleMiLB) February 23, 2020
SP Asa Lacy⬆️⬆️
OF Zach Deloach⬆️⬆️
SP Reid Detmers⬆️
1B Spencer Torkelson⬆️
1B Aaron Sabato⬆️
SS Harold Coll⬆️
SP Emerson Hancock⬆️
SP Tommy Mace⬆️
C Casey Optiz⬆️
SP Logan Allen⬆️
RHP Joe Boyle⬆️
SP Brian Van Belle #MLBDraft
Andddd...— Joe (@JoeDoyleMiLB) February 23, 2020
SP JT Ginn (Arm Injury)
SS Nander De Sadas (Errors)
SP Jeff Criswell (Command)
SP CJ Van Eyk (Tons of walks)
SS Casey Martin (Too many K's)
SP Jacob Palisch (Injury)