THE NatsGM Show #100 – Special Guest Jim Callis

To celebrate & commemorate our 100th episode, we are proud to welcome the guest from our 1st episode, Senior Writer for MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com, Jim Callis!

Only one week from the 2017 MLB Draft, Jim gives us a full education of this year’s crop, beginning with the strengths and weaknesses of the class.  Next Jim describes several of the top names available, specifically Hunter Greene, Kyle Wright, MacKenzie Gore and Brendan McKay.  Then I ask him about several of the top local prospects this year at the University of Maryland and UVA, plus J.B. Bukauskas from local Stone Bridge.  Finally Jim participates in the Lightning Round and predicts the 1st overall pick in 2018.

Special thank you to Jim for clearing time a week prior to the MLB Draft, and to you for downloading!

Eyewitness Evaluation – Potomac Nationals CF Victor Robles

Victor Robles      CF           Potomac Nationals

DOB:  5/19/97      Height: 6-0        Weight:   185      Bats:  Right         Throws: Right

7-Word Scouting Report:  Elite Prospect, Exceptional Athlete, Impact 2-Way Centerfielder

Future Grades:   Hit (60) Power (55)   Run (60+)   Defense (60)   Arm (60+)

International free agent signed for $225,000 by Washington in 2013; 20y/o listed at 6-0 185lbs with impressive physicality – a lithe, projectable obvious athlete with long legs, a high waist and a wiry upper body, projects to add 7-10lbs of muscle as he matures.  Robles possesses plus or better speed, routinely posting 4.12 – 4.18 second times home to first.  He appears to have quality makeup, seems popular with his teammates and is consistently smiling on the field.

In the field Robles has outstanding potential – he has a very strong arm for center field, shows good carry and accuracy, easy “60”.  Robles utilizes his plus speed to cover tremendous ground, excellent range in all directions.  Only (minor) knock defensively is Robles does not always take the most direct route to the baseball – this should improve with repetition but instincts are more solid than elite.  Profiles well as a “60” defender in center field.

Right-handed hitter; quick-twitch athlete with lightning fast wrists – generates obvious and noticeable bat speed, whips the barrel through the zone.  Advanced approach at the plate and awareness of the strike zone, will work the count, hunts fastballs and recognizes spin well.  Impressive barrel skills, which coupled with impressive bat speed allows the ball to jump off his bat – shows power to all fields during batting practice and to the pull side in game action, generates more power than one might expect from his physique.  Robles reminds me a great deal of Alfonso Soriano with his swing and body.  Still needs minor league at-bats, but projects as a potential plus hitter with above-average raw power.

Robles is a truly exceptional athlete with developing 5-tool major league potential.  The only true warts in his game at this point are a lack of polish both offensively and defensively – he needs refinement in the outfield to improve routes and the challenge of Double-A pitchers with better command and offspeed offerings.  He should receive a promotion to Double-A in the next 30-45 days and could reach the major leagues sometime in 2018 as a 21-year-old.

Robles has a relatively high floor as a prospect due to his defensive ability, speed and raw power – he profiles comfortably as a league-average center fielder if the hit tool lags against better competition.  Robles projects as an impact 2-way centerfielder at his peak, with a ceiling as a .280-.290 hitter with mid-teens power and fringe gold-glove defense.  This is an elite talent and one of the best prospects I have evaluated at this level.

Scouting The 2017 MLB Draft – Kevin Smith SS University of Maryland

DOB: 7/4/96       Height:  6-0         Weight: 188       Bats: Right          Throws: Right

7-Word Scouting Report:  Pure Shortstop; Excellent Athlete; Questionable Hit Tool

Future Grades:  Hit (35) / Power (40+) / Run (60+) / Defense (55) / Arm (55)

Three year collegiate starter at the University of Maryland; well-known high school prospect from New Jersey, lacked the physicality to be signed from high school.  Almost 21y/o listed at 6-0 188lbs, well-built body with obvious muscle, lacks much future projection – quality athlete with excellent speed, have routinely timed him between 4.14-4.19 seconds home to first from the right side.  Smith is a gritty competitor and grinder, obvious leader on the team.

Defensively Smith is the rare college shortstop who should stay there professionally, as his athleticism, arm and hands make him profile well at the position.  Smith will show above-average to plus arm strength, solid accuracy and soft hands at shortstop.  He turns the double play well and has natural fluidity at the position.  He does not possess a cannon-like arm or elite athleticism like top major league defenders, but he should develop into a better than average shortstop.

Right-handed hitter; shows lithe, loose wrists and apparent bat speed, whips the barrel through the zone.  Shows a willingness to work a count, but obviously hunts fastballs.  Struggles with swing-and-miss (45 strikeouts in 182 at-bats this season) and shows a particular weakness recognizing spin and/or laying off breaking pitches low-and-away.  Has obvious loft in his swing and legitimate raw power both to the pull side and right-center field – could hit 10-15 home runs in the future and plus speed allows him to collect extra base hits.  Strangely has hit better with wood in summer competition than with metal during college games.  Profiles as a 35 Hit / 40 Power batter, with the potential for more if he can improve his contact rates in the future.

Smith represents an interesting prospect in a rather uneven year for college hitters – Typically shortstops and catchers are “over-drafted”, as the lack of players capable of staying there defensively, combined with the need of each organization, represents a unique supply and demand.  Smith struggled with an injury earlier this spring and has not performed as well offensively the past two seasons as many would expect.  However, he was outstanding in the Cape last summer, has a track record hitting with wood and should stay at shortstop professionally.

Smith will need to cut down on the whiffs and make more contact, but the power is quite intriguing from a middle infielder.  The questions surrounding his hit tool will keep him out of Round 1, but the team that saw him well last summer and is willing to sacrifice some batting average could select him in Round 2 or Round 3.

Projection -> 2nd or 3rd Round

THE NatsGM Show #99 – Guest Grant Paulsen

On a special Memorial Day episode, THE NatsGM Show #99 is now available and we are proud to welcome back from the “Grant and Danny Show” on 106.7 The Fan DC, Grant Paulsen!

This week’s conversation sees Grant giving his thoughts on the Washington Nationals, the problems with the bullpen, the depth of the starting rotation and looking ahead to the trade deadline.  In addition, Grant talks about the Washington Capitals, the upcoming expansion draft and the forthcoming offseason.

Thank you to Grant for joining us again and to you for downloading!

Link to our previous interview ->  http://natsgm.com/2015/04/15/the-natsgm-show-episode-32-guest-grant-paulsen/