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2014 MLB Draft Preview: Alex Jackson Scouting Profile

May 31, 2014 | by Michael Seff | Comments (1)
Alex Jackson has power for Rancho Bernando High School.
Alex Jackson is considered the top high school hitter in this draft. (Pomeradonews.com)

Our coverage of the 2014 MLB Draft rolls on with a look at one of the non-pitching gems of this year’s class, Alex Jackson, a catcher who can also play third base and the outfield. The 18-year-old California native (Rancho Bernardo High School) and University of Oregon commit is a legitimate Top five prospect that could go as high as No. 2.

Our Take

Jackson brings with him a power bat, no matter what position he ultimately lands at. The sound the ball makes coming off his bat is a pure one that the scouts love (see video below). We’re more inclined to think that should he land in Miami, as he is projected to, he might get a shot as a catcher, at least initially (although J.T. Realmuto — enjoying a breakout year at Double-A — may have something to say about that). Jackson has a strong arm and limited third base experience, so down the road the 6’2”, 215-pounder could end up in the outfield. His quick bat speed and slight uppercut swing means 30-plus home run potential, and who isn’t excited about that?

The Scouts Take

The consensus is that if Jackson is moved to the outfield it will be to one of the corner spots, likely right field. He has an above-average arm and short, quick release, even if his range isn’t ideal. Interestingly, LookoutLanding noted that it could behoove a team to give Jackson an opportunity to catch because it might maximize his value, even if his skills are not elite level. (Perhaps Evan Gattis’ career trajectory will provide guidance to whoever drafts Jackson.) Scouts are a bit varied on his speed, with some giving him a little more credit for his baserunning ability while Baseball America says that Jackson is a “below-average runner but not a clogger” and needs improvement on his blocking and receiving skills behind the plate. But one thing everyone seems to be in agreeance upon is his power potential.

Where He Could Land

Don’t expect the Astros to shock the nation and take Jackson, but Miami is very much in play for slugger. The Marlins are deep with pitching in their farm system and have some financial flexibility, so the pick makes sense. Still, there are rumours that team owner Jeffrey Loria wants to take Cuban-American pitcher Carlos Rodon, so Jackson could also go anywhere from third to sixth, with the Mariners being a stretch to grab him with the sixth selection. Keith Law of ESPN’s first mock draft had Jackson going to the Marlins but now has Rodon at No. 2, while John Manuel of Baseball America still likes the Marlins to draft Jackson.

Where We Think He’ll Land

Prior to the recent news regarding Loria’s love of Rodon, it almost seemed too easy to pick Jackson to go No. 2. It could ultimately hinge on whether the Astros take Rodon, because if so, Jackson should end up with the Marlins. Otherwise, we expect him to soon be calling Chicago home. The only question is, will it be on the South side or the North side? Our gut feeling says Cubs at No. 4. Of course, that may also be the kielbasa talking.

Fantasy Outlook

Imagine if Jackson does reach the bigs as a catcher? Could he bring back memories of the Mike Piazza salad days? That may not happen, but even in a corner outfield spot, he figures to be a steady power bat with solid value nonetheless, and should be the first Rancho Bernardo draftee to make an impact in the majors since 2002 selection Cole Hamels.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below where you think Jackson could wind up and what we can expect from him.

RotoRob’s Fantasy Baseball Weekly Podcast

Crave more in-depth Fantasy analysis? Then join us every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST for RotoRob Fantasy Baseball Weekly Podcast on Blogtalkradio as we entertain and edify you for an hour or more each week. This week, RotoRob will again be joined by MLB Writer Michael Seff. Tune in here.

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2014 MLB Draft Preview: Tyler Kolek Scouting Report

May 25, 2014 | by Michael Seff | Comments (0)
They are consistent but not particularly polished, especially the finish in his delivery. He comes across his body to the third base side of the mound, which makes you wonder if his command could be hindered. Kolek’s stuff is potentially dominant, with a fastball that hovers around 99 mph, and his 6′6”, 250-pound frame is imposing. His curveball and slider are works in progress, but of course, we love the fastball (who doesn’t?), as it can hit as high as 102, which is unprecedented for a high-schooler.
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2014 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit: Top 65 Prospects, Part IV

May 17, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments (2)
Sure enough, he spent the entire 2013 season at High-A before being promoted to Double-A this year. Early on this season, Sanchez is dealing with some wildness (26 walks, four hit batsmen and one wild pitch in 43 1/3 IP), but it has not hurt his bottom line results — yet. The righty is Toronto’s top prospect and while he dealt with some shoulder woes last year, he’s generally remained healthy as a pro. Sanchez could be a top of the rotation hurler, but he’ll need to sharpen that command along the way. His record at High-A wasn’t great in 20 starts and a low BABIP (.250) suggests a bit of luck was involved in keeping his ERA below 3.50. Sanchez’s K rate dipped in the AFL (although he made the All-Prospect Team), and so far this year, he’s benefited from a pretty high strand rate. Don’t be fooled by that very low ERA at Double-A as so far his peripherals don’t support it. In a nutshell, we love Sanchez’s K potential (he’s averaged over one per inning), but that control (4.7 BB/9 in his career) needs fixing. He has a perfect pitcher’s build (6′4″, 200).
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2014 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit: Top 65 Prospects, Part III

April 19, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Odorizzi has had trouble against lefties, so bear this in mind when he faces a team that leans in that direction. Originally taken 32nd overall by Milwaukee in 2008, he’s been very durable in his career (and could remain as such thanks to a very smooth, easy delivery) and hasn’t shown any alarming weaknesses, but has periodically had issues with the long ball.
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2014 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit: Top 65 Prospects, Part II

April 9, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments (1)
Some think Frazier is the Indians’ second best prospect, but we want to see what he does at full-season ball before bumping him up more. Still, he didn’t skip a beat moving to pro ball, and is a serious high end talent in a system that lacks depth. The right-handed hitting Frazier showed no vulnerability against righties, recording an 875 OPS en route to being named an AZL Post-Season All-Star. So far, Frazier has been durable, but like many young hitters, needs to improve his contact rates. There may not have been a better source of power in last year’s draft than this kid, so it will be exciting to see what kind of home run totals he can amass as he moves up the ladder.
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