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MLB Draft 2018 Preview: Looking at more 1st round options

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Part 2 of our Oakland A’s draft preview

Opinions may vary...

The MLB Draft starts at 4 p.m., PST today.

The rumors will be rampant. The misinformation coming from all sources.

Last minute deals can and will alter draft boards.

I’m including three more players that have been prominently connected with the Oakland A’s. I don’t love any of them; I don’t loathe any of them. The options at 1.9 (1st round, 9th overall) are rather Meh, but honestly you could say that about most of the 1st round. The real strength of this draft lies in the depth to be found in Rounds 2-4, so how teams manage their pool money will be key. Don’t expect Oakland to sign anyone that’ll require more than slot in the 1st round, but I’d expect them to make a run on an over-slot guy at 2.70 or 3.85 … and I have no idea whom that might be.

Enjoy the spectacle, folks.

Shane McClanahan: SP / South Florida (RS-Soph)

  • DOB: 4/28/1997
  • Size: 6’1”, 173
  • B/T: Left/Left
  • Stats: 14 GS/76.1 IP; 46 Hits/4 HR/48 BB/120 K; 5.7 BB/9 14.2 K/9

MLB Scouting Grades:

Fastball = 70 / Slider = 50 / Change = 60 / Control = 45 / Overall = 55

Pros:

McClanahan is a southpaw that can run his fastball 97-100 mph deep in games; he typically sits mid-90’s but can reach back for more. His Plus change-up might be his most consistent pitch. There are scouts who think the slider can improve to Plus as well. He has a loose and athletic frame with room to add some bulk.

Cons:

McClanahan had Tommy John surgery in 2016, which is why he’s a red-shirt sophomore and not a junior. 5.7 BB/9! Generates his velocity with a lightning quick arm, doesn’t really use his lower body, which could lead to durability issues down the road. Generally throws strikes when he’s in the low-mid 90’s; reaching back for 97-100 does bad things to his command. A lot of scouts think he ends up in the bullpen.

Monster:

5.7 BB/9. I repeat, 5.7 BB/9. Sure, he can hit 100 but is he going to hit the catcher’s glove or the backstop when he does? If he hits his ceiling he’s an easy #2 SP. The more likely result, if he makes the Show, is he’ll be an improved version of Sean Doolittle. There’s value in that … but not at the cost of 1.9. Area scout Trevor Schaffer watched McClanahan pitch better in 2017 while scouting teammate Kevin Merrell (OAK 1.33) and if he can pinpoint a way to improve McClanahan’s command then the Oakland front office will strongly consider the hard-throwing southpaw.

Jarred Kelenic: OF / Waukesha West HS (Wisconsin)

  • DOB: 7/16/1999
  • Size: 6’1”, 196
  • B/T: Left/Left
  • Commitment: Louisville

MLB Scouting Grades:

Hit = 60 / Power = 50 / Run = 55 / Arm = 60 / Field = 50 / Overall = 55

Pros:

Kelenic has one of the most polished prep bats in the draft. Excellent feel for the barrel and makes adjustments. Professional hitting approach. Has the frame to develop more power as he matures. Shows the quickness and instincts to handle CF. Good route runner, described as a more athletic Mark Kotsay. Make-up is a Plus, a “fiery” persona and works hard at his craft.

Cons:

A cold, frozen Spring in Wisconsin limited the looks scouts could take. There are concerns that as he matures Kelenic will lose a step and have to move to a corner. His “fiery” persona bothers some people. The track record for Wisconsin hitters is poor; can he be the exception?

Monster:

Mark Kotsay was the exception to the rule. More times than not, when I hear that a guy has a chance to overcome a lack of physical ability and play CF like Kotsay did, they don’t pull it off. Kelenic is Blake Rutherford 2.0; a kid who’ll lose the ability to stay in CF and will then need to max out on his Hit tool to make himself a viable starter in an outfield corner. I do like that Kelenic has a 60 Arm and can throw in the mid-90’s. Kelenic is a 1st round talent … I’m just not sure if the A’s should take him at 1.9. Area scout Derek Lee is new to the A’s staff this year and possibly new to the territory; it’s going to be hard for his voice to be heard if Kelenic’s tools aren’t banging down the door for the cross-checkers front office types who see him.

Nick Schnell: OF / Roncalli HS (Indiana)

  • DOB: 3/27/2000
  • Size: 6’2”, 180
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • Commitment: Louisville

MLB Scouting Grades:

Hit = 55 / Power = 50 / Run = 60 / Arm = 60/ Fielding = 55 / Overall = 50

Pros:

Schnell is a raw, toolsy player who got hot at the absolute best time. He has serious helium, with the White Sox looking at him at 1.4. Gap power (for now) and uses the whole field; projects to have at least average power with maturity. He has the quickness and instincts to cover CF and the arm for RF.

Cons:

There’s a good chance he has to move to an outfield corner as his body matures. His Arm and Run earn their share of 55 grades, meaning the A’s could be taking a HS player without any Plus tools. There aren’t many (if any) who would argue that Schnell is one of the Top 10 talents in the Draft.

Monster:

You could argue that Schnell is a watered down version of Kelenic and you’d have a sound position. The difference is price: taking Schnell at 1.9 would save the A’s money, which they could reinvest in over-slot bonuses elsewhere in the Draft. Area scout Rich Sparks has been with the A’s and in this territory for some time, with Sean Murphy and Skylar Szynski being two of his more prominent signings in recent drafts. Sparks would be key in negotiating an under-slot deal with Schnell.