Night one of the MLB Draft is in the books with Washington coming out on top.
The first round of the MLB Draft was full of surprises. The Pittsburgh Pirates started things off by shocking many when they selected the top college bat Henry Davis number one overall. This in turn led to a number of the top prospects being pushed down the board.
Marcelo Mayer who was believed by many to go number one instead ended up falling to Boston at four. Baltimore, the Royals, and the Angels all drafted under slot, leading to Kumar Rocker, Brady House, and Kahlil Watson to fall. All projected top eight picks, Rocker went to the Mets at 10, House to the Nationals at 11, and Watson to the Marlins at 16.
But due to the tumbling of many players, the second round is littered with talent. Here are some names to keep an eye on during the second round of the draft.
Jaden Hill was once a projected top pick in the draft before blowing out his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery. Where have we heard this before? Washington’s General Manager Mike Rizzo has a thing for drafting players who have undergone Tommy John surgery and Hill could be the next.
Hill has an impressive fastball that is given a 65-grade, and he follows that up with his 60-grade changeup. MLB Pipeline stated,
"“Hill operated in the upper 90s as a reliever last season and has flashed the ability to deal at 95-97 mph with a peak of 99 as a starter. He has possessed a plus changeup since his high school days and it presently arrives in the mid-80s with a lot of tumble. He has shown signs of transforming what had been a slurvy breaking ball into a nasty mid-80s slider that can be a plus offering at its best but was below average for much of 2021.”"
He still needs to work on his command and a transition to the bullpen could be in his future. After falling to the second roud, Hill could always choose to return to school in order to build his stock back up.
The Florida star saw his stock tumble after a disappointing 2021 campaign. Once a projected top-five pick in the draft, Jud Fabian’s rough Spring led to him falling to the second round. In 59 games, he hit .249, with 20 homers, 46 RBIs, and an OPS of .924.
He posses some of the best pop in the draft, but has some swing and miss in his bat. Fabian struck out 79 times compared to only 40 walks. He will need to show he can hit for contact in order to access his impressive power.
"“The left-handed-throwing, right-handed-hitting Fabian has solid tools across the board. There’s been some swing-and-miss in his game in the past, but he started having better at-bats more consistently last year and over the summer with bat speed that reminded some of Mookie Betts, his strikeout rate spiked early in 2021. The power was still showing up, but he struggled with adjusting to breaking stuff.”“While Fabian isn’t a burner, he does have above-average speed. That, combined with his ability to get good reads off the bat and run good routes, should allow him to stay in center field long-term.”"
Fabian is the definition of high risk, high reward.
Andrew Abbott was an absolute stud during his time at UVA. The lefty was used as both a starter and reliever during his college career and he was able to excel at both roles. Last season, Abbott appeared in 19 games, making 17 starts, going 9-6, with a 2.87 ERA, and 162 strikeouts.
Abbott has the ability to become a starter at the next level, but placing him in the bullpen would put him on the fast track to the pros. Washington’s farm system lacks a top lefty pitcher and Abbott could fill that void.
"While he’s not the biggest guy in the world at 6-foot even, Abbott has a combination of stuff and makeup that scouts love. As a starter, he still relies heavily on his fastball-curve combination. His fastball is typically in the low 90s, touching 95 mph, and it plays up and misses bats in the zone because of some cutting action and some funk in his delivery. He can manipulate his power breaking ball — a true out pitch — well, slurving it a bit more to run away from left-handed hitters. Abbott hadn’t used his changeup much as a reliever and he’s used it this year, though it needs work."
Abbott at times struggles with walks, but his stuff is tantalizing. He finished third nationally in strikeouts with 162.
After taking a prep bat in the first round, it is more than likely Mike Rizzo targets a pitcher with his next pick. Tommy Mace fits Rizzo’s mold to a T. He is 6’6 righty, weighing 230 pounds, who throws hard (topped out at 96mph).
Mace finished this past season at Florida going 6-2, with a 4.38 ERA, and 113 strikeouts. He struggled at times playing in the grueling SEC, but improved over time. The righty won’t blow you away with his stuff and projects to more of a pitch to contact guy. But this past season he posted a career-high in K/9 with 11.3.
MLB Pipeline stated,
"“In some ways, Mace is still the same consistent college starter with a four-pitch mix and a feel for how to use it well. But there have been some developments in his game that could lead to him being more highly regarded than he was in 2020. He’s added a four-seamer up in the zone with a much higher spin rate while still having an outstanding sinking two-seamer, up to 96 mph and often with cutting action, to rely on. He’s improved his curve, also with more spin and his changeup has gotten better.”"
Mace will need to work on his fastball control in the minors because it allows him to set up the rest of his repertoire.
Other names to keep an eye on throughout Day 2
Chase Burns, RHP, Beech HS (TX)
Matt Mikulski, LHP, Fordham
Spencer Schwellenbach, RHP/SS, Nebraska
Doug Nikhazy, LHP, Mississippi
Connor Norby, 2B, ECU
Sean Burke, RHP, Maryland
Dylan Smith, RHP, Alabama
McCade Bown, RHP, Indiana
Mike Vasil, RHP, UVA
Justice Thompson, OF, UNC