Similarly to my recent piece “Quoting The Experts”, last week I reached out to Baseball Prospectus’s prospect team member Adam McInturff to get his general thoughts on the MLB Draft and the top Nationals selections. During our conversations, Adam was sending me these wonderful scouting notes, which I thought were too good to keep for myself. So with his permission, here are some of Adam’s thoughts on recent Nationals draft picks Carter Kieboom, Dane Dunning and Nick Banks.
“The Nationals selected Kieboom with the 28th pick, the first of their back-to-back selections in 2016. A lean, tapered 6-foot-2 and 180-some pounds, there’s no doubt he will add strength to his frame as his body matures. He’s currently at shortstop, and while he has good hands defensively, he’ll probably outgrow the position–hopefully growing into more power and a true third base profile. One of the purest swings of any prep hitter in this class, Kieboom stays inside the ball well with a fluid, quick path to the ball. He shoots line drives all over the field, showing the backspin to allow projection on his home run power. If he adds strength and continues to develop offensively, Kieboom’s ceiling looks like that of a regular left-side infielder.”
“Dunning was another college arm who moved up boards with strong late-season showings, throwing well both in the SEC Tournament and the Gainesville regional the following week. The Gators have an embarrassment of riches on the mound, so much so that Dunning—a potential first-day pick—didn’t even crack their weekend rotation, stuck behind early picks A.J. Puk, Logan Shore, and Alex Faedo (2017 eligible). As such, Dunning was relegated mostly to bullpen work as a junior in 2016, where he’s been a multi-inning super reliever for Florida. His strikeout and walk rates both improved in shorter stints—where he showed his stuff is enough to overwhelm hitters working out of the bullpen—but has the tools to transition back into a starting pitcher’s development path once he signs professionally.
A wiry 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, with long arms and a tapered lower-half, Dunning shows a consistently above-average sinker and slider. His fastball is an extremely heavy pitch, with turbo sink, tunneling down in the zone to his arm-side. His slider flashes solid-average tilt in the 82-84 range. His delivery finishes fairly loosely, and on-line, and he’s able to keep both offerings around the zone. Dunning could be a sleeper in this draft class due to not pitching in the highly-scrutinized Gators rotation, with the best-case ceiling of a middle-rotation starter, possessing the sinker to be a groundball machine. If the move to the bullpen ultimately winds up fitting him better down the road, he demonstrated this season that both his fastball and slider are quality pitches.”
Banks had a lot of buzz coming off the Cape, I actually had a lower role 50 and a Chris Coghlan comparison on him coming out of the summer. He dinged his wrist right before his JR year started and it really slowed up his bat to start the year. As a result, Banks wasn’t the type of guy with plus statistical performance who gets those points in draft rooms, but he did pick it up by season’s end. More of a hitter than a power guy, but I think it’s the ceiling of a heady 4th outfielder for a good team–maybe at best a starter on a corner for a bad team–and he’s going to out-perform his round.
Neither of them have light-the-world-on-fire tools, but it will be fun if we get to see Banks and Andrew Stevenson in the same outfield. Maybe at Harrisburg or Syracuse. They’re both kind of that ‘good little player’ mold the Nationals like from college (Max Schrock).”
Special thanks to Adam for generously sharing his thoughts: Please follow him on Twitter @WAdam_McInturff and read his work at Baseball Prospectus.