There's been a little talk in open threads about the O's selection. I want to open that discussion up here and have a cool poll for you to vote in. Woo!
So the O's have the 4th overall pick, behind Houston, Minnesota, and Seattle. There are a lot of people saying this year’s draft is even more up in the air, projection wise, than last year. Meaning there are less sure thing, can’t miss, prospects. But with the 4th overall pick, the O’s should have plenty of options to go with. I've looked at two mocks on a slow day at work today. One has the O's landing Mark Appel, which is fine with me as MLB.com has him as the best prospect in the draft. The other has them getting Kyle Zimmer, another pitcher. Let’s look at some reports on these two and some other top rated draft prospects.
"Appel profiles as a top of the rotation starter with three above-average to plus out pitches," states MLB.com. The report on Appel is he has a hard fastball, with good movement, that runs in the mid 90s. Some say that velocity could even improve as he grows a little. He has an above average circle change and an outstanding hard slider. He was drafted out of high school by Detroit (15th round) but didn’t sign. He's had three solid years at Stanford and is regarded as the most polished and MLB-ready pitcher in the draft. He struggled early this year in Stanford but now has a 2.86 ERA with 68 Ks and only 18 BBs in 66 IP.
Kyle Zimmer - RHP
Zimmer is another college pitcher from California. A junior from the University of San Francisco, Zimmer has impressed. Being name the West Coast Conferense pitcehr of the week already this year. He has hit 97 on the gun but works mostly in the 94-96 range. It has good movement on it as well. He has a power curve that is very tough on batters and a slider which, while inconsistant, is very good when thrown correctly. According to MLB.com, he also has a change-up that he doesn't throw as much but can also be just as good as his other pitches. He pounds the strike zone, as of April 9th, he has a 9.94 K/9 and a tiny 1.16 BB/9 in 55 IP.
Mike Zunino - C
Zunino is regarded as the best hitting prospect in the draft. Another college player, he is more polished and MLB-ready than other college hitters. He is very athletic with a strong arm behind the plate. He has good bat speed and shows potential to hit for plenty of power down the line. He can also drive the ball to all fields and is currenty boasting a slash line of .338/.399/.677 through 130 ABs at UF (for those mathematically challeneged, thats 1.076 OPS). Some say because of his athleticism and great batting skill, he could hold his own at corner postitions in the majors. This is awesome for O's fans, because you know, the O's have a pretty good young catcher already. If he could transfer to 1st or 3rd with his strong arm, he would be a great addition to the O's future line-up.
Lucas Giolito - RHP
And we've come to our first high schooler. Lucas Giolito had many thinking he could be the first ever RHP out of high school to for first over all. That was, until he got an elbow injury that hasn't allowed him to pitch yet this year. Giolito has a hard late-sinking fastball that sits at 93 on average. He has a power curve that has sharp break and an excellent change up with great movement. He can also control all of his pitches very well for his age. MLB.com says he is so polished for his age, that had it not been for his injury, he could have flown through any team's farm system. Unfortunately, his injury as clouded his future.
So the O's have the 4th pick, so I'll stop at 4 prospects. Personally, I would love the O's to take Zunino and try to flip him to 3rd or 1st. The defensive adjustment would probably delay his MLB debut a bit more than if he remained at C, but if he could slide in there comfortably it would fill a gapping hole the O's have had for a while. A combination of average and power at the corner infield, to go along with average to above average defense, is something that we would all love to see. And having it come from a draft pick would make it so much sweeter. So what do you think? Who was left out that you'd like to see the O's consider?