2014 MLB Draft Results: Every Team's Biggest Steal
From Touki Toussaint to Jeff Hoffman, there were some serious steals in the 2014 MLB draft, and what follows is a rundown of the biggest bargains for each MLB team.
There are a variety of reasons why prospects tumble down the draft board. Some suffered untimely injuries, while others played poorly during the 2014 season. Plus, there's always the issue of signability to consider, especially when a player is committed to a top college program.
Now, let's take a look at every team's biggest steal from the 2014 MLB draft.
Touki Toussaint, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Drafted: First round (Pick No. 16)
School: Coral Springs Christian Academy (Fla.)
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers had some high praise for Touki Toussaint, the club's top pick, per Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports: "Kind of reminds me, when you watch him on video is kind of a young Bob Gibson."
As Towers explained, the Diamondbacks viewed the right-hander as "one of the top five pitchers in the draft," yet they managed to snag him with the No. 16 selection. Still just 17 years old, Toussaint was dominant during his senior season, as he posted a 0.82 ERA and piled up 86 strikeouts in 45 innings.
Braxton Davidson, 1B/OF, Atlanta Braves
Drafted: First round (No. 32 overall)
School: T.C. Roberson High School (N.C.)
Power is one of the most elusive skills in baseball.
What makes Braxton Davidson such a great pick is that he has a ton of it. According to Matt Garrioch of MinorLeagueBall.com, the first baseman/outfielder has the most in-game or "useable power" in the entire draft. Garrioch tabbed the left-handed hitter to go in the first half of the first round, but the Braves grabbed Davidson at No. 32.
Pat Connaughton, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Drafted: Fourth round (No. 121 overall)
School: Notre Dame
THe Baltimore Orioles snagged two-sport star Pat Connaughton with the club's fourth-round selection. The 21-year-old plans to play basketball next season at Notre Dame before focusing exclusively on baseball, per David Wilson of MLB.com.
Considering the right-hander already throws 95 mph, he should become an even more intriguing prospect once all of his attention is focused on baseball.
Michael Chavis, SS, Boston Red Sox
Drafted: First round (No. 26 overall)
School: Sprayberry High School (Ga.)
Michael Chavis doesn't have any one tool that jumps out. However, he's drawn a noteworthy comparison nonetheless. As Peter Gammons tweets, "one of the best scouts I know liken[ed] Michael Chavis to David Wright." Gammons added that when he met Chavis he seemed like the six-time All-Star's little brother.
It remains to be seen just where on the infield the line-drive hitter will end up. Whatever position it is, though, the versatile Chavis will provide the Boston Red Sox with a ton of value as the No. 26 overall pick.
James Norwood, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Drafted: Seventh round (No. 199 overall)
School: St. Louis University
The Chicago Cubs were fortunate to land James Norwood in the seventh round. The right-hander was ranked as the No. 79 prospect by Baseball America entering the draft. Meanwhile, MLB.com expected that Norwood would be selected somewhere between the third to fifth round.
With a a fastball that hit 98 mph on the radar gun, the 20-year-old offers plenty of upside. Ultimately, though, Norwood could end up in the bullpen if he fails to develop secondary pitches.
Spencer Adams, RHP, Chicago White Sox
Drafted: Second round (No. 44 overall)
School: White County High School (Ga.)
The Chicago White Sox drafted Spencer Adams in the second round with the No. 44 selection. However, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, the club believes it got a "first round talent." Baseball America agrees with that assessment, ranking the right-hander as the No. 23 player heading into the draft.
The 6'5" pitcher throws in the low-90s, and his best pitch is his slider. Assuming the team is able to sign him, Adams should prove to be a shrewd pick up for the White Sox.
Gavin LaValley, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
Drafted: Fourth round (No. 125 overall)
School: Carl Albert High School (Okla.)
Gavin LaValley has remarkable bat speed. That skill translated into LaValley clubbing 54 home runs in 121 high school games, per Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
Standing 6'3" and weighing 235 pounds, the powerful right-handed hitter has been compared to sluggers like Mark Trumbo of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Billy Butler of the Kansas City Royals, per MLB.com.
The Cincinnati Reds plan to let LaValley stay at third base once he joins the organization. However, the club's Senior Director of Amateur Scouting Chris Buckley told Sheldon that LaValley has a strong enough bat to play at first base if he needs to shift across the diamond.
Brad Zimmer, OF, Cleveland Indians
Drafted: First round (No. 21 overall)
School: University of San Francisco
There's a lot to like about the Cleveland Indians selection of outfielder Brad Zimmer with the No. 21 overall pick. According to Keith Law of ESPN (subscription required), the University of San Francisco standout is "one of the best college bats in the draft class."
The younger brother of the Royals' Kyle Zimmer, who was the No. 5 pick in 2012, the 21-year-old also excels in the field. Zimmer has the speed to potentially remain in center field, but if not he has a strong arm that would play well in right.
Forrest Wall, 2B, Colorado Rockies
Drafted: Competitive Balance Round A (No. 35 overall)
School: Orangewood Christian School (Fla.)
The Colorado Rockies drafted second baseman Forrest Wall with the No. 35 pick, the first selection in Competitive Balance Round A. The 18-year-old left-hander batter is widely regarded as one of the best pure hitters in the entire class.
Wall has excellent speed, but his draft stock was hurt by a couple of shoulder injuries he suffered while in high school. Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com dubbed him a "total steal" and noted that he ranked Wall as the No. 16 player in the draft.
Adam Ravenelle, RHP, Detroit Tigers
Drafted: Fourth round (No. 130 overall)
School: Vanderbilt University
At Vanderbilt, Adam Ravenelle spent his time pitching out of the bullpen.
However, the Detroit Tigers plan to use the right-hander as a starting pitcher. The club's Vice President of Amateur Scouting David Chadd told Matt Slovin of MLB.com that he believes Ravenelle has the "delivery and arm action to allow him to start."
If that plan doesn't work out, the 21-year-old could instead become a setup man who throws in the mid-90s.
Jacob Nix, RHP, Houston Astros
Drafted: Fifth round (No. 136 overall)
School: Los Alamitos high School (Calif.)
For a fifth-round pick, Jacob Nix offers a lot of upside.
The high school right-hander stands 6'4" and can throw as fast as 97 mph. The difficulty for the Houston Astros will be managing to sign the talented 18-year-old. Nix is reportedly in the market for a seven-figure payday, according to Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com.
Scott Blewett, RHP, Kansas City Royals
Drafted: Second round (No. 56 overall)
School: Charles W. Baker High School (N.Y.)
As a 6'6" right-hander who can throw 96 mph, Scott Blewett had the potential to go in the first round of the draft, according to Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News.
That didn't happen, though, as Blewett was selected by the Kansas City Royals with the No. 56 pick in the second round. The main reason for the drop was that Blewett dealt with a shoulder injury in May. However, as Abramson reports, the St. John's University recruit suffered no "structural damage."
If Blewett can stay healthy and the Royals can sign the righty, the club will receive excellent value with its second-round selection.
Chris Ellis, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Drafted: Third round (No. 88 overall)
School: Ole Miss
Chris Ellis doesn't have a lot of experience as a college starter. The right-hander didn't join the Ole Miss rotation full-time until his junior season, when he went 10-1 with a 2.16 ERA, per Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
The 6'5" 21-year-old has the look of a pitcher who is on the rise, and he could end up as a mid-rotation starter for the Los Angeles Angels. That would be a solid return for the Angles considering how thin their organizational pitching depth is.
Grant Holmes, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Drafted: First round (No. 22 pick)
School: Conway High School (S.C.)
Jim Bowden of ESPN couldn't believe it when Grant Holmes fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers with the No. 22 pick. After the club selected him, Bowden tweeted: "How did Grant Holmes drop all the way to [the] Dodgers?"
Jason Park of Baseball Prospectus agreed with that take, commenting that Holmes was "one of the best (all-around) arms in the prep class." It's possible that Holmes was still around for the Dodgers because he's considered to be short, standing at just 6'1". Of course, the right-hander is also capable of hitting triple digits on the radar gun.
Casey Soltis, CF, Miami Marlins
Drafted: Fifth round (No. 137 overall)
School: Granada High School (Calif.)
The Miami Marlins nabbed Casey Soltis in the fifth round of the draft. The left-handed batter can definitely hit, but just how much power he will develop remains to be seen. In the outfield, Soltis has a strong arm and is considered to be highly athletic.
According to Law, "Soltis has a chance to be a starting center fielder." If the University of Oregon recruit reaches that ceiling, he would prove to be a great value for the Marlins in the fifth round.
Jacob Gatewood, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
Drafted: Competitive Balance Round A (No. 41 overall)
School: Clovis High School (Calif.)
Jacob Gatewood has a ton of pop.
The Milwaukee Brewers drafted the right-handed hitter with the No. 41 overall selection, and he has already been signed for $1.83 million, per Jim Callis of MLB.com.
At 6'5", it will be nearly impossible for the 18-year-old to remain at shortstop. However, if he fulfills his power potential, it won't matter much where he ends up defensively. According to MLB.com, the "best-case scenario" for Gatewood is to become a 30-home-run-per-year threat.
Michael Cederoth, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Drafted: Third round (No. 79 overall)
School: San Diego State
It's somewhat surprising that the Minnesota Twins were able to select Michael Cederoth in the third round of the draft. The right-hander from San Diego State had been ranked the No. 45 prospect in the country by Baseball America.
Meanwhile, Matt Garrioch of MinorLeagueBall.com predicted that Cederoth, who can hit 100 mph on the radar gun, would go in the first round. According to Garrioch, the 21-year-old could turn into a "dominant closer" for the Twins.
Jacob Lindgren, LHP, New York Yankees
Drafted: Second round (No. 55 overall)
School: Mississippi State
The New York Yankees think that Jacob Lindgren will be on the fast track to the Bronx.
The club selected the left-handed reliever with the No. 55 pick out of Mississippi State, where he had lots of success in 2014. The 21-year-old posted a 16.3 K/9 during the 2014 season, per Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger.
Lindgren definitely has the right mindset to thrive in the bullpen, per Castillo, as he stated, "I like having the game on the line. I just really like attacking hitters with my best stuff."
Milton Ramos, SS, New York Mets
Drafted: Third round (No. 84 overall)
School: American Heritage School (Fla.)
Despite the fact that Baseball America ranked Milton Ramos as the No. 48 prospect, the New York Mets managed to land the shortstop with the 84th pick.
According to Ryan S. Clark of the Sun Sentinel, the 18-year-old's glove has already been described as major league ready by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. Just how much his bat develops will ultimately determine how much of a steal this pick turns out to be for the Mets.
Trace Loehr, SS, Oakland Athletics
Drafted: Sixth round (No. 192 overall)
School: Rex Putnam High School (Ore.)
Ranked the No. 81 prospect by Baseball America entering the draft. Trace Loehr fell all the way to the Oakland Athletics in the sixth round with the 192nd pick.
During his senior season at Rex Putnam High School, the shortstop hit .538 and racked up 21 stolen bases. According to MLB.com, Loehr has the potential to become an "exciting top-of-the-order table-setter."
Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
Drafted: Fifth round (No. 142 overall)
School: Sacramento State
Major league teams can never have enough power.
The Philadelphia Phillies are getting plenty of pop with their fifth-round selection of Rhys Hoskins from Sacramento State. During his junior season, the first baseman connected on 12 home runs in 203 at-bats, per Erik Bacharach of MLB.com.
The right-handed hitter has also cut down on his strike outs in each of the past three seasons, as Bacharach points out.
Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Drafted: Second round (No. 64 overall)
School: Xavier High School (Iowa)
Mitch Keller boosted his draft stock substantially in recent months. The 6'3" right-hander is now throwing in the 90-94 mph range, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com. The second-round selection has also made noticeable improvements to his curveball, which could also become an "above-average pitch," per MLB.com.
Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington described the 18-year-old as a "high-ceiling" pitcher, via Singer. However, if Keller is going to reach that ceiling with Pittsburgh, the club will need to sign him away from the University of North Carolina.
Dan Altavilla, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Drafted: Fifth round (No. 141 overall)
School: Mercyhurst College
In 2014, Dan Altavilla, the Seattle Mariners fifth-round pick, was the Division II pitcher of the year. The right-hander from Mercyhurst College can throw as fast as 97 mph, per Adam Lewis of MLB.com.
While his height (5'11") would suggest that Altavilla is destined for the bullpen, Seattle's Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara told Lewis that the organization plans to give Altavilla the chance to start in the minor leagues.
Zech Lemond, RHP, San Diego Padres
Drafted: Third round (No. 86 overall)
School: Rice University
After getting drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 50th round of the 2011 draft, Zech Lemond made a big jump up the board in 2014.
The San Diego Padres picked the right-hander from Rice University with the No. 86 pick in the third round. However, Lemond, who has pitched both as a starter and reliever in college, could have gone even earlier. The righty was ranked No. 38 by Law entering the draft.
Lemond's stock took a hit because he missed time this season with elbow inflammation, per Corey Brock of MLB.com. If not for that arm problem, the 21-year-old wouldn't have been around by the time the Padres made their third-round selection.
Tyler Beede, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Drafted: First round (No. 14 overall)
School: Vanderbilt University
Entering the spring, Tyler Beede had been in the discussion to be a top-five pick in the draft. However, after enduring some struggles during his junior season, the right-hander dropped to the San Francisco Giants at No. 14.
As Alex Pavlovich of the Bay Area News Group points, the 21-year-old draws comparisons to Sonny Gray, who also went to Vanderbilt. That suggests the future could be bright for Beede in San Francisco.
Blake Bivens, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Drafted: Fourth round (No. 127 overall)
School: George Washington High School (Va.)
Blake Bivens enjoyed considerable success in his senior season at George Washington High School, piling up 99 strikeouts in 53 innings, per Bill Chastain of MLB.com. The right-hander throws in the low-90s and already has a highly effective curveball.
If the fourth-round pick can develop a third pitch, he could have a future as a starter for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Trevor Megill, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Drafted: Third round (No. 104 overall)
School: Loyola Marymount University
With their third-round selection, the St. Louis Cardinals drafted Trevor Megill, who missed the entire 2014 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.
According to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the team wants to watch Megill pitch in the Cape Cod League before deciding what kind of an offer to make to the right-hander. Should the 6'8" Megill prove to be healthy, he would be an incredible value for the Cardinals, as he likely would have been drafted in the first or second round if not for his elbow surgery.
Ti'Quan Forbes, SS, Texas Rangers
Drafted: Second round (No. 59 overall)
School: Columbia High School (Miss.)
The Texas Rangers snapped up Ti'Quan Forbes with the No. 57 pick in the second round, but the athletic right-handed hitter definitely could have gone higher in the draft.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus opined that Forbes was an "easy 1st round talent." Just 17 years old, the high schooler has tremendous bat speed, but at 6'4'' he ultimately could outgrow shortstop and end up in center field.
Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Drafted: First round (No. 9 overall)
School: East Carolina University
There's no chance that Jeff Hoffman would have been available to the Toronto Blue Jays at the No. 9 pick if not for the elbow injury he sustained in April. The talented right-hander from East Carolina University tore his ulnar collateral ligament, which led to him undergoing Tommy John surgery in May.
There's clearly some risk with this pick, as Hoffman won't return to the mound for another 12 months. Still, the Blue Jays also have the chance to get a serious bargain. Law tabbed Hoffman as a likely top-four pick before his elbow surgery.
Austin Byler, 1B, Washington Nationals
Drafted: Ninth round (No. 274 pick)
School: University of Nevada
Despite a strong junior season with the University of Nevada, Austin Byler tumbled down the draft board. The left-handed hitter, who led the Mountain West Conference in home runs (14) and slugging percentage (.624), had expected to be drafted no later than the fifth round, per Dan Hixman of the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Instead, Byler's name wasn't called until the ninth round, when the Washington Nationals selected him with the No. 274 pick. If the Nationals offer a lucrative enough bonus to convince Byler to sign, the club will have landed a major mid-round steal in the powerful first baseman.
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