Thursday, June 5, 2014

2014 Draft, Players of Note: Michael Conforto and Tyler Beede

Here are two players that I like, but who are likely to be off the board by the time the Reds draft, so we'll just take a quick spin.

Michael Conforto
Oregon State University
HT: 6-2 WT: 217
Position: OF
B/T: L/R

Conforto is one the best college bats in the draft class. He has a good hit tool, plus power, and a good disciplined approach. His offensive profile is one of power and patience, qualities were are both very much in vogue in Major League Baseball these days. Conforto has been rumored to go as high as the Cubs with the fourth overall pick.

On the season, Conforto rocked a ~.518 OBP and ~.578 SLG for the Beavers. Here's a look at him in action, courtesy rkyosh007 on YouTube:

Conforto uses a big uppercut swing with good balance that probably won't result in high batting averages, but should produce lots of walks and lots of home runs. As pitching velocity increases and strikeouts continue to dominate the major league game, good hitting is becoming more and more valuable. Good pitching is more abundant; good hitting is more scarce.

In college, Conforto faced a type of defensive shift that I've never seen before. When OSU was facing UC Irvine, the defense shifted the 3rd baseman to the outfield when Conforto hit, resulting in 3 infielders and 4 outfielders. Not sure if that is a compliment to his extra base hit ability or a knock on his ability to hit hard line drives to all fields. Regardless, it's interesting.

Conforto would be a great option for the Reds at 19, but is very, very unlikely to slide that far.

Tyler Beede
Vanderbilt University
HT: 6-4 WT: 215
Position: SP
B/T: R/R

I wanted the Reds to draft Tyler Beede coming out of high school, but the Blue Jays selected him before the Reds could even get a shot at him. In some ways, he's better than he was back then, having added velocity to the fastball and tighten his breaking ball. In other ways, he's not. The shaky command/control remains a real problem for Beede. He occasionally dominates the opposition by locating his plus arsenal exactly where he wants it; at other times he can't consistently find the strike zone. If he can't find functional command/control at one of the top pitching programs in college baseball, then is it likely that you'll find it in the professional ranks? Add in rumored concerns over possible wear-and-tear in his pitching shoulder and it's difficult to know exactly what to expect from Beede.

There is still a lot ot like with Beede. His stuff is top notch with all three pitches (fastball, changeup, curveball) all plus or with plus potential. His mechanics are clean, though not as efficient as they could be, lacking good differential between hip rotation and shoulder rotation. A better incorporation of the lower body into the motion would reduce stress on the arm and lead to possible improvements in velocity and command.

Still, if he's on the board, then I'd still like the Reds to grab him, but there are a few mystifying issues at work here.

Here's a look at Beede in action, courtesy of Big League Futures on YouTube:

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