MBN’s Jon Lewis nails 2015 Draft Predictions

The MLB Draft is one of the hardest things to predict. Between asking prices, bonus pool money and postseason college games, there are a lot of moving parts heading into draft day.

MBN’s Jon Lewis and John Vittas put together their 2015 Maryland Draft Preview, making rough predictions on where the players would fall. The predictions were based on Lewis’ and Vittas’ personal talent evaluations that were then confirmed via conversations with scouts, players and coaches. The predictions turned out to be extremely accurate, with Lewis proving to be particularly on-the-money.

Lewis (right) served as a color analyst for MBN in 2015.
Lewis (right) served as a color analyst for MBN in 2015.

Lewis was no more than four rounds off on any player and was within one round on five of Maryland’s eight selections.

“I was able to confirm my personal evaluations with a few scouts I’ve met along the way,” Lewis said. “Being around the game for more than ten years as a former college player and then continuing to be a student of the game has allowed me to evaluate talent effectively.”

Lewis, now 23,  is an Analyst for a large investment bank in Baltimore, but hopes to use his financial analytics background to help a Major League front office in the near future.

“I hope to latch on with a pro team and get into their scouting department,” Lewis said. “Hopefully this can serve as a jumpstart on that process.”

Lewis announced over twenty Terps’ games over the last two years, serving as a color analyst for the Maryland Baseball Network. In 2013, Lewis was a Baseball Operations Intern for the program.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure being around this program for a few years now and watching these players develop into legit pro prospects. I wish them all the best and prosperous pro careers. They were all instrumental pieces in legitimizing this baseball program into a national power.”

2B Brandon Lowe FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 4th        ACTUAL: 3rd

LHP Alex Robinson FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 3rd        ACTUAL: 5th

3B Jose Cuas FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 10th      ACTUAL: 11th

CF LaMonte Wade FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 8th        ACTUAL: 9th

LHP Jake Drossner FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 10th      ACTUAL: 10th

RHP Kevin Mooney FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 12th      ACTUAL: 15th

C Kevin Martir FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 14th      ACTUAL: 18th

LHP Zach Morris FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 23rd      ACTUAL: 24th

Expect Early Action on Day Three of Draft

by John Vittas

After four Terps were selected in Day Two the 2015 MLB Draft, expect at least four more to go on Wednesday. And they could go quickly.

Maryland has never had more than 6 players taken in one draft. That should change Wednesday.
Maryland has never had more than 6 players taken in one draft. That should change Wednesday.

Kevin Mooney, Kevin Martir and Jose Cuas are all likely to be taken off the board within the first few rounds of Day Three. They are all top-10 round talents who were likely disappointed to not hear their names called yesterday. If they drop past Round 20, it could be because of signability concerns. That means the chances of them coming back to College Park for 2016 would increase.

Once Mooney, Martir and Cuas go, it’s time for the Zach Morris watch – as Morris is expected to land in the middle rounds. After that, it’s a crapshoot. Jared Price and Anthony Papio are a couple Terps that have a decent chance to be picked late, but after Round 25, it’s anyone’s guess.

As the later rounds approach, be sure to keep an eye out on both incoming recruits and former Terps. Andrew Amaro could be taken by his uncle’s organization in Philadelphia, while Matt Bosse and Michael Montville also had excellent years at the lower levels of college baseball.

As far as commits go, here are some names to be aware of that may get picked:

John Szefc has done an excellent job of getting high school commits to chose college over cash. (Photo: Alexander Jonesi)
John Szefc has done an excellent job of getting high school commits to choose college over cash.
(Photo: Alexander Jonesi)

RHP John Murphy, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Hunter Parsons, SS Justin Meekins, SS AJ Lee, OF Nicholas Browne, SS Martin Costes

If those guys are selected, the Maryland coaching staff will have to convince them to decline their pro offers and come to College Park. Over the years, the Szefc staff has done a good job of doing just that, getting high school picks like Mike Shawaryn, Nick Cieri, Justin Morris and Willie Rios to come to college. Last year, OF Troy Stokes was the only draftee to forego his college offer for the pros. However, Stokes was taken in the fourth round. This year, none of Maryland’s commits went in the top-10, so the recruiting class seems fairly safe at this point.

Draft Day Gut Predictions

Rounds 3-10 of the 2015 MLB Draft take place today beginning at 1pm ET. Rounds 11-40 will ensue on Wednesday at noon.

Draft

Maryland baseball is likely to shatter the school record for most draft picks in a single year. The Terps should have anywhere from 7-10 players picked, with 2-5 guys expected to fall in the top 10 rounds.

After discussions with scouts, players and coaches, MBN’s John Vittas and Jon Lewis have made their final predictions on where each player falls in the draft:

LHP Alex Robinson FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 3rd Round

Vittas: 4th

2B Brandon Lowe FULL PROFILE   17960699324_005cc2253e_k

Lewis: 4th

Vittas: 5th

3B Jose Cuas FULL PROFILE

Vittas: 7th

Lewis: 10th

CF LaMonte Wade FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 8th

Vittas: 11th

LHP Jake Drossner FULL PROFILE 16917180488_29bfd55da4_z

Vittas: 8th

Lewis: 10th

RHP Kevin Mooney FULL PROFILE

Vittas: 9th

Lewis: 12th

C Kevin Martir FULL PROFILE

Vittas: 14th

Lewis: 14th

LHP Zach Morris FULL PROFILE DSC00960

Vittas: 19th

Lewis: 23rd

RHP Jared Price FULL PROFILE

Lewis: 34th

Vittas: 37th

OF Anthony Papio FULL PROFILE

Vittas: 31st

Lewis: undrafted

Maryland Draft Preview: C Kevin Martir

by John Vittas and Jon Lewis

Ht: 5’11”      Wt: 215      Year: Jr.     Bats / Throws: R / R

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY (Grand Street Campus)

2015 Stats

AB: 237      Slash Line: .342 / .441 / .502         HR: 7       RBI: 45      K-Rate: 11%

Pros: receiving, hit tool, tons of intangibles

Cons: throwing out runners, body type

17371908825_d327182115_kVittas: You throw out the tools with Martir – the guy is a winner. He steals signs from opponents regularly and knows how to get the best out of his teammates. The Maryland coaching staff has entrusted him to call pitches fairly often, which is a rarity in college baseball. Martir has been the vocal leader of back-to-back Regional Championship teams and reached base in all eight plate appearances when his team was facing elimination this year. Aside from the winning mentality and sky-high baseball IQ, Martir is a superb catcher and polished hitter. He led Maryland in hitting, batting .342 with an OPS of .943. Coaches called him the best receiver they’ve ever seen and he blocks well. So why isn’t he a top-5 rounder? There are two concerns that have made scouts apprehensive. The first is the body type – Martir is 5’11”, 215. The second is the arm. While his mechanics are solid, he has struggled throwing out runners and some scouts question whether he’ll be able to remain at the position at the next level. Personally, I never bet against a guy like Martir. He could be a major steal if he drops out of the top-10 rounds.

MLB Comparison: Welington Castillo

Lewis: Kevin Martir is the consummate field general. He has served as the unquestioned captain of this Terps squad the past two seasons. His innate leadership skills are extremely impressive for a college kid. On the field, Martir has been the epitome of consistent and clutch. Offensively, Martir has a ton of raw power, as seen by his seven home runs, including a moonshot at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Maryland. Depite his power display, he manages to to keep his swing short and squares up a ton of baseballs. He has the ability to go the opposite way fairly naturally which has been a big reason for his impressive average. Martir has great hands behind the dish, receives the ball well and does a great job framing pitches. He also is extremely effective at blocking balls in the dirt. While his arm has worn down this season, he has good footwork and better lateral quickness than you would think. A team that values leadership and an offensive-minded catcher could pick up Martir in the first 15 rounds.

20/80 Scale (50 Is Big League Average)

Hit: 50      Power: 50       Run: 40       Field: 50        Arm: 40         Overall: 45

Range: Rounds 8-20

Learn more about Martir’s Brooklyn background, and how he and childhood friend Jose Cuas overcame the streets one of New York City’s toughest neighborhood: VIDEO

* John Vittas has been the play-by-play voice of the Maryland Terrapins and has called close to 100 games over the past four seasons. 

* Jon Lewis is a former college baseball player and provided live analysis on Vittas’ broadcasts. He is pursuing a career in professional scouting.

To view all the Terps’ Draft Previews, click here.

Maryland Draft Preview: RHP Jared Price

by John Vittas and Jon Lewis

Ht: 6’2″         Wt: 190 lbs.             Year: Jr.            Hometown: Mohnton, PA (Twin Valley HS)

*drafted by the New York Mets out of high school

2015 Stats

G: 11      IP: 8.1       ERA: 6.48        K/9: 10.8         BB/9: 8.6         H/9: 8.6

Arsenal: fastball (90-94mph), curveball

17104940665_85e6497626_zPros: live arm, projectable, plus breaking ball

Cons: inconsistent, struggles to throw strikes

Vittas: For Price, it’s all about consistency. He has dominant college stuff, he just hasn’t been able to consistently throw strikes. When he’s on, he strikes out everyone and makes hitters look silly. The problem is that that has occurred about once every three outings. Price is still working to get his velocity back after arm surgery in the fall, but his last couple outings as a Terp were promising. He’ll be late round, high ceiling project for whoever takes him.

Lewis: Price is a big, strong, projectable RHP who has one of the best two-pitch mixes on the Maryland squad. Armed with a fastball that hit 96mph his freshman year, Price works more comfortably in the low-90s. His 12-6 downer curve has a ton of late life and bite. The question remains: Can Price put it all together over a full season? If he can do that and get his fastball back up to the mid-90s, he could develop into a solid pro reliever.

20/80 Scale (50 is Big League average)

Fastball: 50        Curveball: 55          Command: 30           Overall: 40

Range: late rounds

* John Vittas has been the play-by-play voice of the Maryland Terrapins and has called close to 100 games over the past four seasons. 

* Jon Lewis is a former college baseball player and provided live analysis on Vittas’ broadcasts. He is pursuing a career in professional scouting.

To view all the Terps’ Draft Previews, click here.

Maryland Draft Preview: 3B Jose Cuas

by John Vittas and Jon Lewis

Ht: 6’3″       Wt: 190 lbs.            Class: Jr.             Bats / Throws: R / R

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY (Grand Street Campus HS)

2015 Stats

AB: 260          Slash Line: .242 / .329 / .442          HR: 11       RBI: 53        K-Rate: 19%

Pros: plus arm, natural plus power, projectable, extremely athletic, run producer, durable

Cons: batting average, swing gets long and pull-happy

Cuas

Lewis: Jose Cuas is as talented an athlete who has donned a Terps uniform.  He has a projectable build, great hands, and a strong arm that scouts dream on.  Offensively, Cuas puts on a show in BP and has proven a capable run producer in clutch situations.  Ideally, you would like to see the average closer to .280 and the strikeouts subside. The team that drafts Cuas can dream on his offensive potential coming to fruition. Based on talent alone, Cuas should go in the top 10 rounds, but with his average hovering around .240 to end the year, it’ll be interesting to see if Cuas falls just a tad.

MLB Comparison: Manny Machado

Vittas: Cuas jumps out at you both physically and athletically when you watch a Maryland game, and his baseball talents are top-5 round worthy. However, a career college average below .250 will raise some red flags. Jose has an open stance and a long load, which sometimes disrupts his timing. When his swing gets long and his approach falters, Cuas strikes out a ton. But when he’s going right, it’s beautiful to watch. The arm at third base is ridiculous, and the movements are smooth and efficient. If Cuas drops to Round 8 or 9 like some are predicting, the team that takes him could be getting a steal. If he smooths out the hit tool, Cuas could be a Major League star.

Range: Rounds: 5-12

20-80 Scale (50 is Big League average)

Hit: 45       Power: 60         Field: 50       Throw: 60        Run: 55          Overall: 50

* John Vittas has been the play-by-play voice of the Maryland Terrapins and has called close to 100 games over the past four seasons. 

* Jon Lewis is a former college baseball player and provided live analysis on Vittas’ broadcasts. He is pursuing a career in professional scouting.

To view all the Terps’ Draft Previews, click here.

Maryland Draft Preview: RHP Bobby Ruse

by John Vittas and Jon Lewis

Ht: 6’3″            Wt: 210              Class: Sr.            Hometown (HS): Bel Air, MD (C. Milton Wright HS)

Arsenal: fastball (88-91mph), slider, changeup

2015 Stats

G: 24       S: 5       IP: 49.2       ERA: 5.62       K/9: 9.1       BB/9: 3.6       H/9: 10.5

Pros: throws three pitches for strikes, versatile, reliable, great pitchability

Cons: not overpowering, no plus pitch

16917299860_37075981ee_zVittas: Ruse had a frustrating regular season after an excellent junior campaign. Despite a noticeable improvement in his stuff, the Maryland right hander has gotten knocked around in some of his outings in 2015. The good news is that his fastball is harder and his slider is sharper, which has allowed him to add to his strikeout totals and nasty factor. But with his current numbers and lack of a plus fastball, there’s a chance the versatile strike-thrower is left unpicked.

MLB Comparison: Dillon Gee

Lewis: It’s the precarious case of an increase in crispness in both FB velo and slider sharpness leading to inflated senior year stats. I personally have been a fan of Ruse’s pitchability since he became a mainstay in the Terps bullpen his sophomore year. Ruse runs his FB up to 92 and his slider is crisp and sharp. His pitchability and makeup are through the roof but his lack of plus stuff and his inflated stats could leave Ruse with the distinct possibility of being undrafted.

20/80 Scale (50 is Big League Average)

Fastball: 40      Slider: 45        Changeup: 45      Command: 60      Total: 40

* John Vittas has been the play-by-play voice of the Maryland Terrapins and has called close to 100 games over the past four seasons. 

* Jon Lewis is a former college baseball player and provided live analysis on Vittas’ broadcasts. He is pursuing a career in professional scouting.

To view all the Terps’ Draft Previews, click here.