2015 Draft: Drew Finley

Drew Finley | RHP

Finley, 18, attends Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, and he set the state’s single-game record with 20 strikeouts last month. Rancho Bernardo consistently produces high-end talent, including Alex Jackson (last year’s sixth overall pick) and Cole Hamels back in the day. The Yankees selected Gosuke Katoh out of Rancho Bernardo two years ago. Finley’s father David is currently the Dodgers’ vice president of amateur and international scouting after previous stints with the Marlins and Red Sox.

Scouting Report
At 6-foot-3 and 200 lbs., Finley is a classic projectable high schooler, one with an 88-91 mph fastball that is expected to add some oomph as he fills out. His best pitch is a 12-to-6 curveball with tight spin that is easy to project as an out pitch down the road. Finley also throws an advanced changeup — advanced by high school pitcher standards, anyway — with some fade down and away from lefties. His delivery is smooth and he has no issues throwing strikes.

Finley was ranked as the 24th, 57th, and 61st best prospect in the draft class by Keith Law (subs. req’d), MLB.com, and Baseball America in their latest rankings, respectively. For what it’s worth, in last week’s chat Law said he’s heard the Yankees are “big on Drew Finley for one of their extra picks,” which makes total sense. Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer is a Southern California guy who’s shown an affinity for Southern California pitchers over the years (Ian Kennedy, Gerrit Cole, Ian Clarkin, etc.). Finley doesn’t have ace upside, not unless his fastball jumps two grades as he fills out, but he throws strikes with three pitches, giving him long-term rotation ability.

DotF: Capuano goes six innings in third rehab start

Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Norfolk)

  • CF Slade Heathcott: 0-4, 1 K — drops his average all the way down to … .315
  • LF Ramon Flores: 1-4, 1 R
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 SB — 21-for-55 (.382) with seven doubles in his last 14 games
  • DH Kyle Roller: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 HBP — fourth homer in his last eleven games
  • RF Tyler Austin: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
  • C Austin Romine: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • LHP Chris Capuano: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 7/3 GB/FB — 55 of 76 pitches were strikes (72%) and he picked a runner off first … he was scheduled for six innings or 90 pitches in what was probably his final rehab start
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 17 of 25 pitches were strikes (68%) .. ho hum
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/3 GB/FB — 15 of 21 pitches were strikes (71%)

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2015 Draft Notes: Broadcast Info, Mock Drafts, Murray

Nikorak. (StudentSports.com)
Nikorak. (StudentSports.com)

The 2015 amateur draft will begin four weeks from yesterday, and while that is relatively close, it still leaves plenty of time for things to change dramatically. Players could shoot up draft boards, play themselves out of the first round, get hurt, all that stuff. These next few weeks are pretty tense for both the teams and the players. Years of hard work have been leading up to this point. Here are some stray notes with the draft drawing closer and closer.

Broadcast Info Announced

Once again, the first day of the draft will be broadcast on MLB Network this year, MLB announced. The first round, supplemental first round, and second round will be broadcast starting at 7pm ET on Monday, June 8th. A total of 75 picks will be made that night and the Yankees have three of them: 16th, 30th, and 57th overall. The Braves lead the way with five picks on Day One. In past years there were five minutes between picks in the first round and one minute thereafter. I assume that will be the case this year as well.

Thankfully, the Yankees have a scheduled off-day on June 8th this year. I remember a few years ago — I think it was 2008, the year they drafted Gerrit Cole — they were playing the Red Sox the night of the draft and it was impossible to pay attention to both the game and the draft at the same time. This year we’ll be able to focus on the draft without worrying about a game. Hooray for that. MLB really should give the draft broadcast a dedicated day, maybe the day after the All-Star Game. Having the draft compete against games means only the diehards are watching.

Baseball Prospectus’ Mock Draft v1.0

Chris Crawford at BP posted his first mock draft yesterday (subs. req’d), and he has the Diamondbacks taking New York HS OF Garrett Whitley with the first overall pick. As Kiley McDaniel noted, Arizona seems to be planning to take a player they can sign way below the $8.6M slot so they can use the savings elsewhere. Considering there is no slam dunk, number one overall talent like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper in this draft, that strategy makes sense.

Crawford has the Yankees selecting Pennsylvania HS RHP Mike Nikorak with their first pick, No. 16 overall. Nikorak is the consensus best high school pitcher in the draft and would be a major coup with the 16th pick. I think he ends up going in the top ten somewhere. Crawford notes it “wouldn’t be a huge upset to see a (Mike) Matuella or Brady Aiken” land with the Yankees either. Matuella and Aiken were first overall pick candidates coming into the spring before blowing out their elbows and needing Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago.

MLB.com’s Mock Draft v1.0

Meanwhile, Jonathan Mayo posted his first mock draft of the season earlier today and he has the D’Backs taking UC Santa Barbara RHP Dillon Tate with the first overall pick. Mayo has the Yankees taking California HS C Chris Betts with that 16th overall selection. The Yankees and a catcher? That’s always a safe bet. Betts is a bat first catcher whose best defensive tool is his throwing arm. I’ve seen him comped to Brian McCann on more than one occasion, which means teams believe his bat will play at just about any position during his peak.

Murray Opts Out Of Draft

Texas HS SS Kyler Murray has opted out of the 2015 MLB draft, he announced on Twitter. Unlike other players who have simply asked teams not to draft them, Murray had MLB remove his name from the draft pool, so he is ineligible to be selected according to Teddy Cahill. Teams couldn’t even draft him if they wanted. This kid is pretty serious about college, huh? Not sure why he wouldn’t at least listen to offers.

Anyway, Murray will play both baseball and football at Texas A&M and has indicated he hopes to re-enter the draft and play in the big leagues down the road. He was the top two-spot athlete in the draft and a late first round/early second round talent, ranking as the 32nd and 34th best prospect in the draft class by Keith Law (subs. req’d) and MLB.com, respectively. Law said Murray “could very well be the second-best shortstop prospect in this year’s draft.”

I hadn’t seen anything connecting the Yankees to Murray before his decision was announced, but, since he is an elite athlete at an up-the-middle position, Murray figured to at least be on New York’s radar. Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer has gone after similar prospects like SS Carmen Angelini, OF Slade Heathcott, 2B Angelo Gumbs, OF Mason Williams, and SS/OF Austin Aune over the years. The Yankees are big on unteachable skills (athleticism, size, power, velocity, etc.) and Murray’s athletic ability sure qualifies. He’s no longer an option though.

DotF: Lail hit by line drive in the head in Trenton’s loss

Triple-A Scranton (6-2 loss to Norfolk)

  • CF Slade Heathcott & DH Ramon Flores: both 1-4
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP — looks like he’s locked in now
  • RF Tyler Austin: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K — three multi-hit games and seven no-hit games out of his last ten games
  • C Austin Romine: 0-3, 1 BB
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 0.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 K — 21 of 36 pitches were strikes (58%) … ewww
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 5/5 GB/FB — 29 of 46 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 18 of 28 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • RHP Jose Ramirez: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0/2 GB/FB — six strikes, nine pitches

[Read more…]

Blister forced Luis Severino to exit Sunday’s start after two innings

(Trenton Thunder)
(Trenton Thunder)

Right-hander and top pitching prospect Luis Severino was forced to exit Sunday afternoon’s start with Double-A Trenton after only two innings due to a blister, Brian Cashman confirmed to Dan Martin. There’s no word on whether he will make his next start. We’ll find out soon enough.

Severino, 21, allowed four runs on five hits in his two innings before exiting, though his performance could have easily been affected by the blister. Can’t throw the ball the way you want if you can’t grip it properly, right? Severino threw 42 pitches in the two innings and figured to remain in the game had the blister not been an issue.

So far this season Severino has a 3.86 ERA (2.87 FIP) in six starts and 28 innings, all with Trenton. His strikeout (28.1%), walk (6.6%), and ground ball (48.7%) rates are all very good and it’s only a matter of time until his .355 BABIP returns to normal. I’m not too concerned about the relatively high ERA right now.

That said, the somewhat slow start has likely put an end to any thought of calling Severino up in the first half. Chase Whitley has been serviceable overall in his three starts, Bryan Mitchell is waiting in Triple-A, and Chris Capuano is about a week away from returning, so the Yankees have some pitching depth. There’s no temptation to rush Severino now.

Blisters can be very tricky. Severino could be ready to start later this week or the blister could sideline him for a few weeks if it’s particularly nasty. Both Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos missed several weeks with blister issues when they were with Trenton years ago, for example.

Sucks Severino is hurt, but it is only a blister, and in the world of pitching injuries, that’s as tame as it gets. Gotta build up those calluses, Luis.

DotF: Judge and Sanchez go deep in Trenton’s blowout win

Triple-A Scranton (2-1 loss to Indianapolis)

  • CF Slade Heathcott: 1-4, 1 K
  • LF Ramon Flores: 1-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 2B — 18-for-48 (.375) in his last 12 games … for the second straight year, he’s gotten hot after a slow two or three weeks to start the season
  • RF Tyler Austin: 0-3, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 8/5 GB/FB — 59 of 92 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 2 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 18 of 24 pitches were strikes (75%)
  • RHP Jared Burton: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — nine of 15 pitches were strikes (60%)

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DotF: Jagielo homers again, Double-A Trenton loses again

Triple-A Scranton (2-1 win over Indianapolis)

  • DH Slade Heathcott: 1-3, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 SB — 11-for-29 (.379) with three walks and three strikeouts during his seven-game hitting streak
  • LF Ramon Flores: 2-4
  • RF Tyler Austin: 0-2, 1 RBI
  • 1B Kyle Roller & C Austin Romine: both 0-3 — Roller struck out twice
  • RHP Jaron Long: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 5/4 GB/FB — 50 of 77 pitches were strikes (65%) … easily his best start of the year
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 19 of 29 pitches were strikes (66%) … 34.9 K% and 80.0 GB% … apparently he was 89-90 mph today after sitting 87-88 mph earlier this year, according to Donnie Collins … reports out of college had him as a mid-90s guys, but those are wrong all the time, I believe he was 90-91 mph or so in Spring Training … either way, his slider is the pitch that matters
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — nine out of 12 pitches were strikes … 24/3 K/BB in 15.1 innings

[Read more…]