2015 Rookie Keeper Draft

Posted: February 23, 2015 in League News

1. RIVERDALE SEX PANTERS – Yoan Moncada, SS (Red Sox)
Moncada, a 19-year-old switch-hitting infielder, is the most sought-after international prospect in recent history. Said to be a true five-tool talent, scouts have likened his upside to that of Robinson Cano and Chase Utley (in his prime). Prospect specialists at Baseball America, MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs have all suggested that Moncada would rank in the top five to 15 prospects in Major League Baseball upon signing, which will make him Boston’s new No. 1 prospect. Unlike recent Cuban signings such as Jose Abreu and Rusney Castillo, however, Moncada will likely require at least one season in the minors.

2. AURORA ASSHATS –  Carlos Correa, SS (Houston Astros)
: 20/60, Raw Power: 60/65, Game Power: 20/55, Run: 55/50, Field: 50/55, Throw: 65/65, FV: 65
Scouting Report: Correa was seen as a consensus top-three pick in the 2012 draft, but only a portion of the scouting community had him as the top prospect in the draft. The Astros saw him as the best talent and also saw an opportunity to capitalize on this perception (with Buxton seen as the consensus top prospect) to cut a below-slot deal with Correa, allowing them to sign two high schoolers — 3B Rio Ruiz (#43 on this list, since traded to Atlanta in the Evan Gattis deal) and RHP Lance McCullers (#126) — to over-slot deals later in the draft. Correa has really performed since signing and hasn’t added the weight many expected to come and force a move to third base. His 2014 season ended early with a broken fibula, but he’s been back to 100 percent for over a month and is expected to be ready to head to Double-A to start the year.

3. FRANKFORD FURY – Addison Russell, SS (Chicago Cubs)
: 40/55, Raw Power: 60/60, Game Power: 40/55, Run: 55/55, Field: 50/55, Throw: 55/55, FV: 65
Scouting Report: Russell was known to scouts early in his high school career, then he added a lot of weight in the summer before his draft year, causing most to project him as a third baseman. Russell didn’t like hearing this, so he dropped all the weight by his draft spring, losing some 65 or 70 raw power, but becoming a plus runner with a good chance to stick at shortstop. He went 11th overall to Oakland and surprised from day one with how advanced he was offensively, while continuing to improve defensively. He was dealt to the Cubs last year in the Jeff Samardzija deal and joins a glut of talented young hitters for the Cubs. The biggest remaining question for Russell is if he can still stick at shortstop due to a hitch in his release that limits how quickly he can unload the ball deep in the hole.

4. TORONTO MOTOR BOATS – Joc Pederson, OF (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Hit: 45/55, Raw Power: 60/60, Game Power: 45/55, Run: 55/50, Field: 50/50+, Throw: 50/50+, FV: 60
Scouting Report: Pederson signed for $600,000 in the 11th round of the 2010 draft from a Northern California high school; he wasn’t a consensus prospect and wasn’t seen as having much upside, but flashed average tools and good feel for the game. Something clicked in 2012 and the Dodgers sent him straight to High-A as a 20-year-old, where he became a top 100 type prospect. He raked again in Double-A in 2013, then again in 2014 in Triple-A, with only the Dodgers outfield surplus keeping him on the farm so long. Pederson has average to above average tools across the board, with only his raw power showing plus, though that’s with effort in batting practice. He can play a solid center field for now, but likely settles as a right fielder when he matures. His offensive projection will come down to what kind of hitter he wants to be–the 55 future hit/power tools is a little conservative and converts to .270s and 20 homers–but his controlled aggressive approach should lead to high OBPs either way.

5. LONDON TRIBE – Rusney Casttilo, OF (Boston Red Sox)
Castillo provided a brief glimpse of his potential last September when he made his big league debut less than a month after signing a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the Red Sox. The 27-year-old impressed to the tune of a .333/.400/.528 batting line to go along with 2 homers and 3 stolen bases over his very limited 10-game sample with Boston.  The Red Sox enter the spring with a bit of a logjam in the outfield, but Castillo’s talent should keep him in the outfield mix (although Boston manager John Farrell told reporters that, if healthy, he expects Shane Victorino to start in right). If Castillo lives up to the hype, he has to be considered the front-runner for AL ROY honors..

6. FRANKFORD FURY – Corey Seager, SS (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Hit: 40/55, Raw Power: 55/60, Game Power: 40/55, Run: 45/40, Field: 50/50+, Throw: 60/60, FV: 65
Scouting Report: Seager is the younger brother of Mariners 3B Kyle Seager and, in the last few years, both have emerged as a couple of the best infielders in the world. Corey was identified as such earlier, as he went in the middle of the first round in 2012 out of a Charlotte-area high school, but even the Dodgers were surprised by how much and how quickly Seager excelled offensively. He hasn’t failed in any meaningful way yet, including an impressive late-season run in 2014 at Double-A at age 20. If you have to nitpick, the strikeouts are a little higher than some would like, but Seager is 6-foot-4 and that’s to be expected if a bigger guy is going to hit for some power. The Dodgers think Seager is fringy to average defensively at shortstop and will try to keep him there as long as possible, but he should slide over to third base at some point in the next year or two.

7. BROOKLIN LEGACY – Steven Souza Jr. OF (Tampa Rays)
: 45/50+, Raw Power: 55/55, Game Power: 45/50+, Run: 50/50+, Field: 50/50+, Throw: 55/55, FV: 55
Scouting Report: It would seem easy to like a guy with everyday tools that also really performs. Some scouts are all-in on Souza, but most are at least a little dubious that he’ll be able to keep it up in the majors, due to his approach, size and career path. After a slow start to his career as a 3rd round pick in 2007 out of high school (which included a drug suspension in 2010), Souza started crushing everything he faced in 2012 at age-23 in High-A. He followed that with huge years in 2013 at age-24 in Double-A and in 2014 at age-25 in Triple-A. All three of those seasons are two years old for the target age for a prospect to be at each level, so some scouts don’t even totally buy into the performance. Souza is a late bloomer, but he was also the key to the Wil Myers trade for Tampa Bay and he’ll likely be an Opening Day Starter that may post a couple WAR in 2015 and also may outperform Myers right after the deal. These things are all on the table now, but seemed completely absurd to consider a year or two ago, giving you a sense of how much Souza’s stock has risen in that time.

8. PICKERING DYNASTY – Yasmani Tomas, 3B (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Three years ago while playing in Cuba’s Serie National, Tomas flashed big power potential in slugging 16 homers in 226 plate appearances. But that was 2012 and after a lengthy layoff, Tomas will finally try and make good on all of the potential he showed years ago. The big question is whether Tomas’ power will translate to the American game the way that Jose Abreu’s did on the South Side of Chicago last summer. But Tomas is an entirely different player than Abreu and at a different person. There is no question that his build, swing and raw tools are extremely intriguing, but he is far from a finished product at this point. Tomas hasn’t played in a game since 2013 and will have a tremendous amount of developing to do.

9. FRANKFORD FURY – Lucas Giolito, SP (Washington Nationals)
Fastball: 65/70, Curveball: 60/70, Changeup: 45/55, Command: 45/50+, FV: 65
Scouting Report: Giolito was nationally known by scouts all the way back to when he hit 95 mph at age 15 and he dominated over the summer and winter leading up to his draft year; he was in the running to go 1-1 as one of the top prep pitchers of all-time. His draft year, however, was cut short by a sprained UCL in his elbow that led to Tommy John surgery. The stuff was all the way back this year as he dominated Low-A in his age-19 season in his first full year coming off of surgery. The Nationals were understandably conservative with pitch and innings counts in 2014, wanting to keep Giolito at the same level in a low stress environment so he wouldn’t go too deep in innings/games or be tempted to reach back for the 100 mph heater he’s thrown many times before. Giolito will start in High-A this year and the reigns will be loosened, with an expectation that he’ll get promoted to Double-A at some point in 2015, with the majors only a phone call away.

10. PICKERING DYNASTY – Juilio Urias, SP (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Fastball: 60/65, Curveball: 60/65, Changeup: 55/60, Command: 45/55, FV: 65
Scouting Report: The Mexican-born Urias signed when he turned 16 in August 2012, as part of a package deal from his Mexican team, where he was the headline player, signing for $1.0 million (the Dodgers paid another $800,000 for the other players in the package). The Dodgers brass signed Urias after a famous trip to Mexico. They went to see his teammate C Julian Leon (a solid prospect in his own right), but the 15-year-old Urias sat 90-92 mph with a loose delivery, crisp curveball and good feel to pitch. Later on that same trip, the Dodgers also signed Yasiel Puig, making it one of the most notable scouting trips of all time. The reason Urias was still available what that he had a serious condition in his left eye (and still does–check out his official photo) after a tumor was removed, and some teams were worried about future blindness, though it doesn’t appear to be a problem now. Urias now sits in the low to mid-90’s and touches 97 mph with three plus pitches and advanced command, and he’s still just 18. He’ll start 2015 in Double-A and when he’s called up is simply a function of when the Dodgers want to start his arbitration clock, because we haven’t seen him fail yet, so we don’t even fully know his ceiling.

11. PICKERING DYNASTY – Carlos Rodon, SP (Chicago White Sox)
Fastball: 55/60, Slider: 60/70, Changeup: 50/55, Command: 45/50, FV: 65
Scouting Report: Rodon was a notable prospect out of high school, but had a 3rd-4th round grade from most teams, as the fastball sat around 90, there was no projection and some teams had him off the board due to a back issue. His velocity spiked soon after he got to campus at NC State and he was sitting 92-95 mph and flashing a plus-plus slider en route to a dominating freshman season that began hype that Rodon would go #1 overall in 2014. He hit some bumps along the way and only showed flashes of his ultra premium stuff in his draft year, but it all came back after signing, due in part to his overuse in college and his reliance on his knockout slider. He’ll likely start in Triple-A, and should be up at some point this year. He has frontline starter potential, but he’s also shown flashes of a more ordinary pitcher in recent years.

12. BRAMPTON BLUE BALLS – Hector Olivera, 2B (Free Agent)
The 29-year-old Olivera, who turns 30 in April, is said to be seeking a five- or six-year pact along the lines of the contracts signed by Yasmany Tomas (six years, $68.5MM with a year-four opt-out) and Rusney Castillo (seven years, $72.5MM). The 6’2″ Olivera is in the best shape of his career and has “wowed” in open showcases and private workouts, leading many to believe he could hit 15 to 20 homers annually.

13. RIVERDALE SEX PANTHERS – Dalton Pompey, OF (Toronto Blue Jays)
Hit: 40/50+, Raw Power: 45/45, Game Power: 35/40, Run: 60/60, Field: 50/55, Throw: 45/45+, FV: 50
Scouting Report: Pompey was a little-known, young-for-his-class Canadian high schooler in the 2011 draft and stayed under the radar until a strong finish to his 2013 campaign in Low-A. He shot through the system in 2014, going form High-A to the big leagues after he kept impressing at each level when the Blue Jays though he may settle in. Pompey will start in Triple-A or the big leagues in 2015 and is the center fielder of the future, but the tools are more solid everyday than star material.


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