MLB Draft 2014: Predictions for Top High-Risk, High-Reward Prospects

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MLB Draft 2014: Predictions for Top High-Risk, High-Reward Prospects
Butch Dill/Associated Press

The 2014 MLB draft is a volatile time to clutch a first-round pick thanks to a bevy of prospects worthy of the high-risk, high-reward moniker.

It also happens to tout a class deep in the pitching department, but the curveball this year is whether or not teams will be comfortable passing on surefire pitching help in favor of risky, younger position players who can pay dividends years down the line.

As it stands, a few prospects have noteworthy upside but represent a big gamble when one takes into account the pro-ready talent teams will have to pass on in the meantime. Let's take a look.

 

Tyler Beede, P, Vanderbilt 

Butch Dill/Associated Press

After being picked by Toronto No. 21 overall out of high school in 2011 and electing to take his talents to Vanderbilt instead, Tyler Beede is one of the more interesting names in the class.

He also happens to be one of the riskiest.

Conventional wisdom says Beede will be a top-10 pick thanks to an ERA just over three in college after more than 240 innings of work and three quality pitches to work with as he develops.

But inconsistency has marred Beede's stock, as MLB.com's Jim Callis helps to explain:

He ranked sixth on our initial Draft Top 50 and eighth on our Draft Top 100, but he has failed to take advantage of the health questions plaguing several other college arms.

Though Beede still has frontline stuff, he remains inconsistent with his command and performance and thus could drop into the 20s at a time when teams are desperate for pitching. 

This is a gamble the teams near the top must weigh heavily. Not only may Beede not pan out, but he has failed to seize the moment with other quality prospects on the shelf. The flip side is great pitches to mold into a surefire starter.

The best guess? Beede will land at No. 8 overall with the Colorado Rockies, as teams above the spot won't feel comfortable passing on more pro-ready names.

 

Jacob Gatewood, SS

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Jacob Gatewood is a mystery.

The hype coming out of last summer was spectacular. Since then, things have faded a bit for the Clovis High superstar, even if he still has great power at the plate and a strong arm to make all the throws.

Versatility is what makes Gatewood such an intriguing pick, as he could just as easily move to a different spot such as third base and excel. In fact, the major red flag with Gatewood is his propensity to whiff at the plate, as his numbers show:

Games Avg. OBP H RBI R SO
Varsity (14) .349 .451 15 8 6 8

Maxpreps.com

Note: Stats via Max Preps as of May 23. 

That's something a team will have to get over in a hurry. Gatewood is no longer that surefire top-10 pick, but don't be surprised if he makes it into the top 20 thanks to a team like the Washington Nationals at No. 18 overall, a front office surely willing to gamble that he develops in the right areas at the plate.

 

Michael Chavis, SS/3B

Defense is what hurts Michael Chavis, because it sure is not his offense that has his stock lower than it probably should be.

Chavis is an elite prospect at the plate, as Rob Steingall of Yahoo Sports helps to explain:

He’s been one of the most consistent hitters this spring at the prep level, and has moved up draft boards as a result. Chavis has plus raw power and bat speed in a compact stroke that should allow him to hit for a solid average in the pros. He’s a good athlete and hard worker, but may be best suited for third base.

The problem is that last nugget, which is Chavis in a nutshell. From an athleticism standpoint, he may not be able to play in the pros at a critical position such as shortstop, which drastically hurts his stock.

Still, Chavis has an "it" factor at the plate that comes complete with skills many teams attempt to teach draft prospects in the minors. That will be enough to convince a club like the Arizona Diamondbacks to roll the dice at No. 16 overall.

 

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