With the 2016 MLB Draft now less than 2 weeks away, I reached out to Baseball Prospectus writer and noted draft guru Christopher Crawford to ask him a few questions about this year’s prospect crop. Even this close to draft day, Christopher was kind enough to spare some time to answer a few questions.
NatsGM – “So Chris, the place to start is your “big-picture” thoughts on this year’s draft crop – How is this class talent wise and what are the strengths and weaknesses of the class overall?”
C. Crawford – “It’s a frustrating class. One week you’ll look at this group and think it’s one of the best of the decade, the next you’ll compare it to some of the dreadful classes of the previous. The strength to me is in the outfield, there’s a couple of handfuls full of guys who can make an impact both at the prep and collegiate level. The weakness is pitching, particularly in college. This is the worst collegiate pitching class that I can remember in quite some time.”
NatsGM – “There are two high school arms getting plenty of attention this year, Jason Groome and Riley Pint – Thoughts on these two and whom do you prefer?”
C. Crawford – “Groome is the top player on my board. He’s a southpaw who has shown two 70 pitches in his fastball and a disgusting curveball, and he’ll complement them with a pretty solid change as well. He’s had some command issues and that whole suspension thing, but he’s still the guy I’d take 1.1.
Pint has the best fastball of any pitcher — college or prep — eligible this year, and if you gear for that as a hitter, he can make you feel silly with a plus change. The issue is the delivery; there’s some effort, and I’m not sure it’s conducive to having starter command long-term. The upside is huge, but the floor is reliever, unfortunately.”
NatsGM – “If you were the GM of each team inside the top-5, who would you take (not who do you think they will take) and why?”
C. Crawford – “I believe in taking the best player available approach, so if I’m Philly, I’m taking Jason Groome, if I’m Cincinnati I am taking Corey Ray, If I’m Atlanta I’m taking Delvin Perez, if I’m Colorado I’m taking Blake Rutherford and if I’m Milwaukee I’m taking Braxton Garrett. That will almost assuredly not be what happens, but that’s how I’d do it if someone were foolish enough to let me try.”
NatsGM – “Let’s do some Rapid Fire Question – Who is your favorite Day 2 prospect(s) and/or your personal cheeseball in this class?”
C. Crawford – “Really tough to say, but a guy I really like who will likely go on day 2 is Bo Bichette, a infielder who can really hit and gets rave reviews about his instincts. My favorite cheeseball is the kind with the nuts.”
NatsGM – “Who is your favorite HS bat, Rutherford, Moniak or someone else?”
C. Crawford – “Delvin Perez. I get the immaturity questions, but in terms of just pure upside, he’s the best player in the class.”
NatsGM – “Best catching prospect (long-term) in this crop?”
C. Crawford – “It’s close, but I would have to say Matt Thaiss. He’s not a lock to stick behind the plate, but he can really swing the bat, so he doesn’t have to be an elite defender.”
Thank you so much Christopher. I want to encourage everyone to buy his 2016 MLB Draft Guide available here -> https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/baseball-prospectus-mlb-draft/id1090576351?mt=11