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2017 MLB Draft Preview: 2nd round college pitchers

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For previous entries of BBB's 2017 draft preview, see the 2017 Draft Storystream

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Having examined college pitchers who could conceivably be in the mix in the second half of the first round, we'll now look at college pitchers who could be options in the second round, specifically for the Blue Jays picking 61st overall.

In my view, there's a plenty clear delineation between the players profiled as first round options, who generally have a strong track record at the collegiate level; and the players below, some of whom do have bigger raw stuff, but generally not the same track record, or are reliever prospects.

I don't really expect the Jays go this direction with their second round pick, but similar to Zach Jackson last year, it wouldn't be surprising if they got a name from the back end of this list who was still around in the 3rd or 4th round. Below is the overview table with background info, rankings, 2017 and career stats.

2017 college pitchers 2nd

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Corbin Martin (video)

Martin is a one of the bigger enigmas. He can touch the mid-90s with his fastball (more low-90s as a starter) with two quality breaking balls including a power curveball. He's performed very well as a reliever the past two summers, but hasn't carried that over to make the weekend rotation until midway through the 2017 season. He's finally performed as a starter, and that's sent him shooting up draft boards. He could sneak into the back of the first round if the right team believed in his ability to start, and should be off the board when the Jays pick in the 2nd round.

Blaine Knight

Knight is a draft eligible sophomore, and is another guy who broke out in 2017 after his fastball velocity took a step forward, and he now pitches in the low 90s as a starter, touching higher. He'a far from a finished product, and still has some significant filling out to do at just 165 pounds, but it's a solid delivery and has a good shot to stick as a starter.

Morgan Cooper (video)

Cooper is one of older players in the draft, having missed 2015 due to Tommy John surgery and returning for his (redshirt) junior season after being drafted in the later rounds this year. He's been very effective this year, a second year removed from Tommy John, and has an ideal starter's build. Stuff wise, there's nothing truly plus, but he mixes four pitches.

Jake Thompson (video)

After a mediocre college career until this year, Thompson has has a breakout 2017 after simplifying his delivery. He's got two big pitches with a fastball into the mid-90s and a decent breaking ball, and whether he profiles as a starter or relievers depends on how one likes the command. I watched his start Friday in regionals, and came away lukewarm though he was better later in the start. He's also one of the older players in the draft, turning 23 at the end of the season.

Drew Rasmussen (video)

One of the higher ranked 2014 prospects to make to campus, Rasmussen had a solid freshman year as a starter and was emerging as an ace (including throwing a perfect game) before Tommy John surgery halfway through his 2016 sophomore season. He just returned within the last month, and has made a handful of successful shorter starts, in which he's shown his stuff is back. The question is how high a team would have to take him to get him signed, since he could opt to come back in 2018 and show he's fully back.

Colton Hock (video)

Hock has one of the bigger arms in the college ranks, throwing a fastball in the mid-90s and a hammer curveball that projects as an above average-to-plus pitch. That's made him a very effective reliever for Stanford the past couple seasons. The two past summer he's worked successfully as a starter, including the Cape Cod League in 2015, and there was talk of him moving to the rotation in 2017 but the Cardinal had pitching depth to keep him as a late inning weapon. As it is, he made a lot of multi-inning appearances, up to 5 innings at one point. It's conceivable that he could be stretched out in pro ball, or could move pretty quickly as a reliever.

Bryce Montes de Oca (video)

A top-100 prospect three years ago thanks to a massive frame that produced massive fastball velocity, Montes de Oca was coming off Tommy John surgery and was very raw, the latter of which remains true now. He barely pitched his first two years, including requiring more surgery last year. He's finally pitched in 2017, and while overpowering, struggled to throw strikes with any consistency. He'll be a complete project for the team that picks him, albeit one who can touch triple touches and gets huge sink on his fastball. There's some shades of Alec Hansen's situation here, though Montes de Oca has never demonstrated the performance Hansen did in 2015.

Garrett Cave

Another project for the team that picks him, Cave has some of the better fastball velocity in the draft, apparently holding mid-90s velocity as a starter this year in the junior college ranks after a struggling for two years at FIU. He's got a starter's build, but command is an issue and the combination of big fastball/power slider could make him a quality late inning reliever.

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Some other names to keep in mind, but could be in play mostly beyond the second round:

  • Spencer Howard, RHP, Cal Poly: draft eligible sophomore moving up draft boards after a dominant season for Cal Poly (1.95 ERA, 97K in 87.2 innings). Projects as a starter with a good delivery and four pitch mix, though no single plus pitch.
  • Tyler Johnson, RHP, South Carolina: dominant college reliever, 99 strikeouts in under 80 innings the last two years, missed some time with injuries, big fastball/slider combo so reliever all the way
  • Riley Ottesen, RHP, Utah: mid-90s fastball velocity in a small frame, with a slider that flashes as a secondary weapon; reliever profile, hasn't missed many bats in college
  • Zach Pop, RHP, Kentucky: previously drafted by the Jays in 2014 and profiled here.
  • Glenn Otto, RHP, Rice: In many ways, the 2017 equivalent of Zach Jackson, a dominant multi-inning reliever in previous years with big stuff who had an up and down junior season while dealing with injury issues. Put it together more towards the end of the year, and longer outings.
  • Trevor Stephan, RHP, Arkansas: excellent starter after transferring from JC (3.12 ERA, 108K in 83.2 innings), plus fastball and starter`s build but not clear he has the secondaries to start at next level.
  • Peter Soloman, RHP, Notre Dame: starter`s build and potential for three quality pitches, but struggles to throw strikes have kept him out of rotation. Dominated on the Cape, but couldn't carry it over. Upside play.
  • Will Gaddis, RHP, Furman: good Cape Cod league, four pitch mix though a litle undersized, strong junior year but stuff down a bit