Friday, May 24, 2013

Maryland Draft Preview - The Seniors

by John Vittas, Jonathan Lewis &  2 others

Jimmy Reed, LHP
Sr.     Gaithersburg, MD

(drafted in the 21st Round of last year’s draft by the New York Yankees)

The Report: Reed has one of the best curveballs you will ever see. It’s nearly impossible to hit and accounts for many of his strikeouts. His fastball sits 87-89 and can touch 90 at times. He also has a good changeup with late sink that he can throw for strikes. But Jimmy’s best trait is his command, as he can put all three of his pitches where he needs to and mixes speeds extremely well. With three useful pitches, his arsenal is built for starting pitching, as he is equally effective against righties and lefties.

Reed dazzled ACC bats for the second straight year in 2013.
Photo: Washington Post

The Good: Reed finished top-10 in the ACC in ERA (2.33), innings pitched (88) and strikeouts (74). He was hands-down one of the best pitchers in the country in 2013 and peaked at the right time. He allowed just seven earned runs in his final five starts and stuck out 38 batters (7.6 K/start). 

The Bad: Reed lost a full 2 miles-per-hour on his fastball and was only able to touch 90 on occasion in 2013. The fastball is a major concern, as it will need to stay around 90 to keep Reed out of the "junk-baller" category. Also, having stayed in college for four years, it can be argued that his window to grow is closing.

The Bottom Line: The results are there, and he’ll likely dominate A-ball, but his ability to handle Big League hitters will be in question until he gets the chance.

Prediction: Jimmy will certainly get picked and likely in the first half of the draft. If it weren’t for the drop in velocity this year, he would be a top-5 round selection. But because of that, he’ll likely go later.

100% Chance to get picked
Rounds 10-20

Reed explains his decision to return to College Park

Jack Cleary, C
Sr.     Midlothian, VA

The Report: After a 2012 that saw Cleary bat .319 overall and .415 against ACC competition, Jack appeared to be on many pro radars coming into 2013. But his stock has fallen after a year to forget at the plate where he hit just .213. He lost some playing time as well, starting 38 of the team’s 55 games. Cleary was also exposed against good fastballs, as his swing simply took too long to get through the zone. However, his defense remained flawless.

The Good: Cleary is a stellar defensive catcher. He threw out better than 50% of would-be base stealers his junior year, and his senior numbers were in the same neighborhood. He had shown steady improvement at the plate in his first three years, showing his ability to listen to coaches and adapt to the competition level. He already features a Big League frame at 6-2, 207 pounds and has the power you would expect for a man that size. He also rarely strikes out, having fanned just 17 times in 122 at-bats.

The Bad: Other than his susceptibility to fastballs, the only negative to Cleary is his steep drop-off statistically this year. He failed to square up baseballs on a consistent basis, popping many pitches up. His age (23) also doesn’t help.

Cleary has been the Terrapin backstop for four seasons.

The Bottom Line: This year’s struggles should send Cleary down many draft boards, to the point where we’d be surprised if he gets picked. If he can figure it out offensively, someone could get a true professional with some power and a tremendous defensive game.

The Prediction: Chances to get picked: 10-20%

Jordan Hagel, RF
Sr.     Fairfield, CT

The Report: Hagel has absolutely zero weaknesses to his game. He is the kind of player you need to watch over a full season to appreciate what he brings. Hagel hits for average and power, has good speed, some projectability and is solid on defense. He led the Maryland team with 21 XBH hits this year despite missing 16 starts with a broken hand. Cast and all, he continued to contribute by pinch-running late in games to help his team. I think that says it all about Jordan Hagel.

The Good: Jordan has improved in each of his four years at Maryland. He led the squad in SLG (.534) this year and posted an impressive .415 OBP. He led the team in OBP, hits, doubles and total bases last season, proving to be a consistent .300 hitter in the nation’s best conference. Hagel also stole 13 bases to complement his power production. He is freakishly athletic and can be considered a five-tool player if he continues to develop.

The Bad: He is a senior with only two full seasons of high-level amateur baseball under his belt. He tends to take big hacks and is out of control at times, as evidenced by his high strikeout total this year (35 Ks in 39 starts).

The Bottom Line: Hagel has been the most underrated player in the Maryland program the last two years and this panel believes he deserves more recognition. The numbers speak for themselves.

Photo: Rick Heath (Cotuit Kettleers)
Jordan Hagel playing in the Cape Cod League

Prediction: Hagel has never been drafted before, which could mean scouts just don’t see him as a pro prospect. But based on his numbers and strong all-around game, he should get picked in the late rounds.
                  Chances to get picked: 50-60%

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