OF Michael Conforto (Oregon State)
16. Arizona Diamondbacks: Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
Max Pentecost’s draft stock took off this summer when he was named MVP of the Cape Cod League after hitting .346/.424/.538 with six home runs. A 6’1”, 190-pound right-handed hitter with lightning-quick wrists, Pentecost has a compact but powerful swing that yields consistent hard contact, and he’s likely to feature at least average power at maturity.
Defensively, his athleticism is apparent behind the plate, while his specific skill sets are more of a work in progress. Pentecost also stands out for his average speed, so it’s conceivable that he could handle a position change if need be.
Through 32 games this spring, Pentecost is batting .363/.425/.533 with 12 doubles, three home runs, nine stolen bases and an 18-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
17. Kansas City Royals: Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
A 6’1”, 215-pound left-hander hitter, Michael Conforto stands out for his power potential and advanced approach. Conforto is a mature left-handed hitter with plus raw power thanks to above-average bat speed and an ability to consistently drive the ball with backspin carry. Because he’s gradually adjusted his approach over the past two seasons to produce more in-game power, the utility of his hit tool may always be tied to his strikeout rate.
Defensively, Conforto is limited to left field due to below-average arm strength and speed, as well as his shaky instincts and stiff actions. And if he eventually moves to first base, well, there will be even more pressure for his power to develop.
Through 28 games this spring, Conforto is currently batting .396/.545/.552 with eight doubles, 34 RBI and an impressive 13-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
18. Washington Nationals: Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV
Fedde’s impressive spring has pushed him into the mid- to late-first-round discussion, as the projectable right-hander currently owns a 1.98 ERA and 50-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 50 innings (seven starts)
The 21-year-old works comfortably in the mid-90s with his fastball, and he has a pair of secondary pitches (changeup, curveball) that should receive at least average grades at maturity. Watch for Fedde to continue moving up the draft board this spring.
19. Cincinnati Reds: Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
Sean Newcomb is currently the only Division I pitcher to have a 0.00 ERA, and he’s done it behind a 46-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 39.2 innings, spanning six starts.
Newcomb's a 6’5”, 240-pound left-hander with plus fastball velocity and a potential four-pitch mix. His fastball registers in the 90-94 mph range and bumps 95-96, and there’s reason to believe he’s going to naturally add a few ticks as a professional. Newcomb’s curveball currently represents his best secondary offering, while his changeup and slider show potential but will require considerable refinement as a professional.
20. Tampa Bay Rays: Michael Gettys, OF, Gainesville HS (Ga.)
Gettys has drawn attention for his low-90s velocity off the mound, but his most realistic future is as a center fielder. Despite his present strength at 6’2”, 200 pounds, Gettys is one of the top runners in the 2014 draft class, with plus-plus speed that he showcases on both sides of the ball.
At the dish, the right-handed hitter’s improved bat speed showcased during the summer has carried over into his spring campaign, and he’s expected to offer at least average power at maturity. Getty’s secondary skills and pitch recognition are quite raw, which has raised questions about his hit-tool potential, but his loud tools and room for improvement are too intriguing to escape the first round.