2016 MLB Draft Results: Biggest Winners and Losers from Day 2
It's time for America's favorite game show, "Jump to Conclusions!"
Really, that's about all we can do now that Day 2 of the 2016 MLB draft is in the books. Without the benefit of time travel and psychic powers, we can only draw conclusions about the picks teams have made as baseball's three-day draft continues.
But that's not going to stop us from picking the biggest winners and losers of Day 2 action. From franchises loading up on advanced college talent to a player whose decision to return to school rather than turn pro last year might not have paid off, there's plenty to digest.
Which teams—and prospects—stood out above the rest of the field? Let's take a look.
Note: All draft rankings, which you'll see after a player's name like this (No. 1), courtesy of Baseball America's Top 500 Draft Prospects.
Winner: Los Angeles Angels
Entering the draft with what was universally regarded as baseball’s worst farm system, all Los Angeles general manager Billy Eppler had to do to make the Angels winners was select people who actually play baseball.
OK, it wasn't quite that easy for the Angels to come out of Day 2 looking good, but they did.
Their first two picks of the day, shortstop Nolan Williams at No. 96 and right-handed pitcher Chris Rodriguez at No. 126, are both prep stars with significant upside. The 6'1", 185-pound Rodriguez is especially intriguing, with the ability to maintain his mid-90s velocity deep into games as a 17-year-old.
Georgia Tech shortstop Connor Justus (No. 122) was a good value pick in the fifth round with the 156th overall selection. While his glove is ahead of his bat, the junior showed a good approach at the plate and the ability to work deep counts, drawing more walks (41) than strikeouts (38) for the Yellow Jackets.
Fixing the farm system isn't an overnight process; it takes years and multiple drafts. Under Eppler, the Angels have gotten off to a good start at doing just that.
Loser: Kyle Funkhouser
Nobody should begrudge Kyle Funkhouser's decision to spurn the Los Angeles Dodgers and return to the University of Louisville for his senior year. Earning a college degree was important to the 22-year-old, and it's a decision he's at peace with.
“The draft’s a mystery,” he told Baseball America's Michael Lananna back in February. “It never quite works how you think it’s going to—positively or negatively for some people...But it is what it is. I’m not disappointed with the Dodgers or with myself. It’s in the past now. It’s over.”
That said, it was a costly choice to make.
Funkhouser was selected 35th overall in the 2015 draft by the Dodgers, and 115th overall by the Detroit Tigers this year. That's a drop of 80 slots—and roughly $1.2 million in slot value. Per MLB.com, pick No. 35 in 2015 had a slot value around $1.75 million. The 115th pick in 2016? $516,200.
While he finished the season strong, it wasn't enough to overcome significant issues with his control, command and velocity for much of the spring. Per Baseball America: "Industry sources are more skeptical of his chances of sticking as a starter than there were a year ago."
From a personal standpoint, Funkhouser did the right thing. Should he fail to reach the big leagues for whatever reason, he'll have his degree to fall back on. If he makes it, the money he left on the table will be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
But right now, that's far from a guarantee.
Winner: San Francisco Giants
After making only one selection on Day 1—Vanderbilt outfielder Bryan Reynolds with the 59th overall pick—San Francisco had work to do on Day 2.
The Giants did just that, selecting a pair of top-100 prospects in Samford University outfielder Heath Quinn (No. 48) and University of Oregon southpaw Matt Krook (No. 87).
Quinn, the 95th overall pick, finished second in the nation this season in home runs (21), RBI (77) and total bases (165). While there's some swing and miss in his game (55 strikeouts in 242 at-bats), he also drew 44 walks and could hit for both power and average as an everyday right fielder.
The Giants used their next pick, the 125th overall, on Krook, a draft-eligible sophomore who struggled with pretty much every aspect of pitching in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. While he needs work, he's got a projectable frame (6'4", 210 lbs) and significant upside if he can make adjustments.
Oklahoma State left-hander Garrett Williams—the team's seventh-round pick, No. 215 overall—is someone to keep an eye on. His fastball and breaking ball grade out as plus offerings, but the 21-year-old doesn't know where they're going half of the time.
That lack of command is why there was such a disparity in the rankings leading up to the draft: Baseball America ranked him as the 411th-best draftable prospect, while he came in at No. 154 on MLB.com's top 200. If the Giants can work out his issues, he could be one of the biggest steals of the entire draft.
Loser: Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona's Day 2 got off to a terrific start with the selection of Rice University ace Jon Duplantier (No. 51) in the third round at 89th overall. The 6'4", 225-pound right-hander knows how to make batters swing and miss, fanning 148 batters over 111 innings of work, and he has three above-average pitches in his arsenal.
A shoulder injury that cost him all of 2015 and control issues are concerns that likely played into him still being available on Day 2, but Duplantier has a chance to develop into a quality big league starter. So too does the team's fourth-round pick, University of British Columbia right-hander Curtis Taylor (No. 130).
Not to ignore the other half of the battery, the Diamondbacks took San Jacinto College catcher Ryan January (No. 393) in the eighth round. While some may consider his pick a stretch given his Baseball America rank, he's a guy who can stick behind the plate, and those don't grow on trees.
It's the rest of the team's Day 2 selections who leave much to be desired.
Arizona's picks in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds didn't crack Baseball America's top 500. Those selections could be financially driven, as the team only has a $5.4 million pool with which to sign its picks through the 10th round and could have been looking for players who would sign under slot value.
While not cracking the top 500 isn't necessarily an indication those players aren't any good, it certainly stands to reason they would have been available for the Diamondbacks to take on Day 3.
Clearly, the Diamondbacks saw something in them that others didn't, so it's possible Arizona made the right calls. But since we can only go off what we know about these prospects right now, Day 2 in the desert looks more like a flop than a success, even with the Duplantier pick.
Winner: St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis followed up a strong Day 1 showing with an equally impressive haul on Day 2 of the MLB draft, loading up on more advanced college players who could move quickly through their system.
North Carolina right-hander Zac Gallen (No. 97), the team's third-round pick, isn't a future ace. However, he has a low floor (No. 3/No. 4 starter), making him one of the safer picks in this year's draft. The 20-year-old has three pitches that flash plus and a fourth, his changeup, that could become an above-average offering.
St. Louis did venture into prep territory with its fifth-round pick, taking high school outfielder/first baseman Walker Robbins (No. 116). The 18-year-old has the bat speed and raw power to develop into a quality first baseman, but he also has the stuff, including a low-90s fastball, to be developed as a pitcher. If he signs—he's committed to Mississippi State—it'll be fascinating to see which path he ultimately follows.
The Cardinals may not have landed a future All-Star, but they added a slew of quality prospects to a farm system that needed an injection of new talent. That's about all you can realistically hope for on Day 2 of the draft, as names become less familiar the deeper we get into the proceedings.
Unless otherwise noted, all college statistics courtesy of NCAA.com.
Disagree with our Day 2 winners and losers? Want to boast or complain about your favorite team's pick(s)? Let loose in the comments below and hit me up on Twitter: @RickWeinerBR.