Checking in on the 2015 First-Rounders

We’re now a month removed from the 2015 draft, and while there are a few contracts that have yet to be signed, most first-round picks have been inked, and the majority are already playing in various leagues across the minor leagues. Let’s take a look at how each is performing.

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Dansby Swanson, SS, Vanderbilt
    • Swanson had an eventful year in 2015. After turning pro, he was drafted first overall by Arizona. His debut was somewhat tarnished by a pitch that hit him in the face during a simulated game. In early December he was dealt to Atlanta, along with 2013 first-rounder Aaron Blair, in exchange for RHP Shelby Miller.
    • 2015 stats: .289/.394/.482, 19 R, 7 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 14 BB, 14 K, 0 SB
  2. Houston Astros: Alex Bregman, SS, Louisiana State
    • Bregman’s bat carried him from the bright lights of the SEC all the way to High-A ball in 2015. A late-season promotion to the California League may have inflated his stats a bit, but he enters the 2016 campaign with a legitimate chance of reaching the big-leagues.
    • 2015 stats: .294/.366/.415, 37 R, 13 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 29 BB, 30 K, 13 SB
  3. Colorado Rockies: Brendan Rodgers, SS, Lake Mary HS (FL)
    • Like most high-schoolers, Rodgers scuffled during his pro debut, striking out in more than a quarter of his plate appearances.
    • 2015 stats: .230/.329/.377, 12 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9 BB, 20 K, 2 SB
  4. Texas Rangers: Dillon Tate, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara
    • Tate seemed to tire down the stretch this season, something to be expected from a pitcher that was used solely as a reliever his first two seasons and then tossed 103 innings as a junior. The Rangers have limited Tate to one one-inning stint.
    • 2015 stats: 0-0, 0 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1 GP, 1 GS, 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
  5. Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker, OF, Plant HS (FL)
    • Gulf Coast League stats don’t amount to a hill of beans, which is good in Tucker’s case, because he’s looked overmatched. He was recently joined on the roster by fellow first-rounder Daz Cameron, giving the Astros squad in the GCL one the best prospect combos in baseball.
    • 2015 stats: .215/.270/.328, 18 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 8 BB, 14 K, 4 SB
  6. Minnesota Twins: Tyler Jay, LHP, Illinois
    • The long-term plan in Minnesota involves Jay transitioning to a starting role, but for now the Twins are content to let him continue pitching out of the bullpen, especially with the big-league club in contention for a wild-card spot. It wouldn’t come as a total shock to see Jay called up if they remain competitive.
    • 2015 stats: 0-1, 1 SV, 7.36 ERA, 8 GP, 0 GS, 7.1 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 8 K
  7. Boston Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas
    • The Sox sent the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner to the New York-Penn League and he’s continued to mash for Lowell, slugging four homers in 19 games, although his average has suffered.
    • 2015 stats: .222/.398/.444, 8 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 18 BB, 12 K, 3 SB
  8. Chicago White Sox: Carson Fulmer, RHP, Vanderbilt
    • Fulmer looked sharp in his first two outings, but got hit hard in his third, serving up two home runs in two innings. Don’t expect him to pitch too much, after accumulating 127.2 innings in his junior season at Vandy.
    • 2015 stats: 0-0, 0 SV, 5.40 ERA, 3 GP, 3 GS, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
  9. Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ, OF, Cincinnati
    • Happ appears to be on the same fast track that brought Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber to the big-leagues in less than a full calendar year. He hit four homers, walked 23 times and stole nine bases in just 29 games for Eugene before earned a promotion to South Bend, where he’s notched four hits in his first 10 at-bats.
    • 2015 stats: .293/.415/.491, 26 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 25 BB, 29 K, 9 SB
  10. Philadelphia Phillies: Cornelius Randolph, SS, Griffin HS (GA)
    • Like most high-school draftees, Randolph has found a home in the GCL. He’s making quite a name for himself, showing above-average plate discipline. It remains to be seen whether the Phillies want to challenge him with a promotion before the end of the 2015 campaign.
    • 2015 stats: .284/.404/.443, 14 R, 9 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 16 BB, 18 K, 0 SB
  11. Cincinnati Reds: Tyler Stephenson, C, Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA)
    • A rarity, Stephenson is a high-schooler playing in the Pioneer League, and he’s more than holding his own against much older competition, hitting .276 with an impressive 12-to-18 BB-to-K mark and eight doubles. He is, however, still looking for his first professional home run.
    • 2015 stats: .276/.360/.357, 15 R, 8 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 12 BB, 18 K, 0 SB
  12. Miami Marlins: Josh Naylor, 1B, St. Joan of Arc SS (Canada)
    • Like Stephenson, Naylor came pegged with a prodigious power stroke, but he has yet to hit a home run in nine contests. His bat has really heated up in the past week though, and he now has three three-hit games this season.
    • 2015 stats: .359/.390/.436, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 SB
  13. Tampa Bay Rays: Garrett Whitley, OF, Niskayuna HS (NY)
    • Whitley has played very sparingly for the Rays’ Gulf Coast League affiliate since signing. He’s still looking for his first professional extra-base hit.
    • 2015 stats: .182/.286/.182, 0 R, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 SB
  14. Atlanta Braves: Kolby Allard, LHP, San Clemente HS (CA)
    • Allard agreed to terms just a few days before the signing deadline, but back issues that caused him to slip out of the top-ten will likely keep him sidelined for the remainder of the 2015 season.
    • 2015 stats: N/A
  15. Milwaukee Brewers: Trenton Clark, OF, Richland HS (TX)
    • The first of two first-round picks for Milwaukee, Clark has looked impressive all over the field in the Arizona League. He scored four runs in his third game with the Brewers.
    • 2015 stats: .293/.385/.439, 17 R, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 11 BB, 18 K, 8 SB
  16. New York Yankees: James Kaprielian, RHP, UCLA
    • The Yankees used their highest first-round pick since 1993 on the Bruins’ ace, who threw 106.2 innings in 2015, so there’s no rush to get him onto a minor league roster.
    • 2015 stats: N/A
  17. Cleveland Indians: Brady Aiken, LHP, IMG Academy
    • Aiken underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this spring, so the timetable for him to return to the mound is mid-2016 at the earliest.
    • 2015 stats: N/A
  18. San Francisco Giants: Phil Bickford, RHP, CC of Southern Nevada
    • The Giants have taken it slowly with the two-time first-round pick, limiting him to just seven innings over four starts.
    • 2015 stats: 0-1, 0 SV, 3.86 ERA, 4 GP, 4 GS, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K
  19. Pittsburgh Pirates: Kevin Newman, SS, Arizona
    • A .337 career-hitter in three years at Arizona, Newman has found the pitching much tougher in pro ball. He’s hit a meager .237 in 28 games since being assigned to the New York-Penn League.
    • 2015 stats: .237/.298/.360, 19 R, 9 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 8 BB, 15 K, 6 SB
  20. Oakland Athletics: Richie Martin, SS, Florida
    • Martin got off to a hot start, but pitchers have adjusted to him and his bat has regressed. He’s shown great speed, legging out three triples, but he’s only been successful on one of six stolen base attempts.
    • 2015 stats: .244/.333/.389, 13 R, 1 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 10 BB, 26 K, 1 SB
  21. Kansas City Royals: Ashe Russell, RHP, Cathedral HS (IN)
    • The Royals have thrown Russell into the fire, letting him make his first five starts in the Appy League. The results have been wildly inconsistent.
    • 2015 stats: 0-1, 0 SV, 5.54 ERA, 5 GP, 5 GS, 13.0 IP, 15 H, 8 ER, 8 BB, 6 K
  22. Detroit Tigers: Beau Burrows, RHP, Weatherford HS (TX)
    • Arguably the top prep right-handers, Russell and Burrows were linked together all spring, so it’s only fitting they were drafted into the same division. Burrows was assigned to the GCL, and he’s looked sharp in five starts. He’s now pitched 12 consecutive scoreless innings.
    • 2015 stats: 0-0, 0 SV, 1.32 ERA, 5 GP, 5 GS, 13.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 15 K
  23. St. Louis Cardinals: Nick Plummer, OF, Brother Rice HS (MI)
    • The most eye-popping number Plummer has produced in 27 games in the GCL is 31 strikeouts, in just 36 at-bats. He has balanced them, somewhat, with 24 walks.
    • 2015 stats: .198/.387/.297, 23 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 27 BB, 31 K, 5 SB
  24. Los Angeles Dodgers: Walker Buehler, RHP, Vanderbilt
    • Buehler signed his deal with Los Angeles pretty late, and as such, has yet to be assigned to any affiliate.
    • 2015 stats: N/A
  25. Baltimore Orioles: D.J. Stewart, OF, Florida State
    • One of the best pure bats in the 2015 draft class, Stewart was sent to the NYPL, where he’s hit just .193. He’s struck out in nearly one-quarter of his at-bats.
    • 2015 stats: .193/.281/.349, 8 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 11 BB, 20 K, 0 SB
  26. Los Angeles Angels: Taylor Ward, C, Fresno State
    • After 29 games with Orem, Ward appears ready for a promotion. His most impressive stat? How about 25 walks and just seven strikeouts? Or possibly, his OBP of nearly .500?
    • 2015 stats: .347/.484/.469, 18 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 25 BB, 7 K, 3 SB
  27. Colorado Rockies: Mike Nikorak, RHP, Stroudsburg HS (PA)
    • Nikorak finally made his pro debut a few weeks ago, and he’s struggled with command in both of his short outings for Grand Junction.
    • 2015 stats: 0-1, 0 SV, 6.35 ERA, 2 GP, 2 GS, 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 4 K
  28. Atlanta Braves: Mike Soroka, RHP, Bishop Carroll SS (Canada)
    • The Braves rarely make a mistake with first-round pitching, and it appears they’ve hit the jackpot again with Soroka, who has showed great velocity and produced strong early results.
    • 2015 stats: 0-0, 0 SV, 1.80 ERA, 4 GP, 3 GS, 10.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K
  29. Toronto Blue Jays: Jon Harris, RHP, Missouri State
    • Harris has been all over the place for Vancouver, showing great swing-and-miss stuff, but also little in the way of fastball command.
    • 2015 stats: 0-2, 0 SV, 4.34 ERA, 7 GP, 6 GS, 18.2 IP, 18 H, 9 ER, 12 BB, 20 K
  30. New York Yankees: Kyle Holder, SS, San Diego
    • The consensus was that Holder’s glove was ahead of his bat, and so far that’s been the case. He’s hitting just over the Mendoza line, although he has shown good patience and fast wheels.
    • 2015 stats: .197/.254/.228, 8 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 9 BB, 16 K, 3 SB
  31. San Francisco Giants: Chris Shaw, OF, Boston College
    • Shaw, who missed a large chunk of the 2015 season with a broken bone in his hand, has shaken off a slow start and has slugged four home runs in 23 games.
    • 2015 stats: .270/.359/.438, 9 R, 3 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 11 BB, 20 K, 0 SB
  32. Pittsburgh Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)
    • Hayes was also expected to be a defense-first player, but his bat has impressed early on. He’s hitting well over .350 with on OBP over .450.
    • 2015 stats: .362/.451/.449, 13 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 8 BB, 11 K, 3 SB
  33. Kansas City Royals: Nolan Watson, RHP, Lawrence North HS (IN)
    • After giving up one earned run in his first 8.2 innings, Watson has been tagged for six runs in his last 3.2 innings.
    • 2015 stats: 0-0, 0 SV, 5.11 ERA, 5 GP, 5 GS, 12.1 IP, 15 H, 7 ER, 7 BB, 7 K
  34. Detroit Tigers; Christin Stewart, OF, Tennessee
    • Stewart was one of 11 members of the College National Team that was selected in the first-round, and while he may have been the most surprising, he’s already moved up from the GCL to the Low-A Midwest League, riding his bat and above-average speed.
    • 2015 stats: .283/.366/.475, 16 R, 5 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 12 BB, 33 K, 4 SB
  35. Los Angeles Dodgers: Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville
    • Funkhouser started spreading the word that he would likely return to Louisville early on in the signing process, and he made good on his promise, spurning all offers from the Dodgers’ front-office.
    • 2015 stats: N/A
  36. Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Hagerty HS (FL)
    • The Florida prep infielder was one of the first Orioles’ draftees to sign, and he’s already cemented himself as a top-ten prospect in the organization, showing good pop and great speed.
    • 2015 stats: .330/.358/.450, 14 R, 6 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 5 BB, 25 K, 9 SB
  37. Houston Astros: Dazmon Cameron, OF, Eagle’s Landing HS (GA)
    • Like Tucker, Cameron has scuffled to start his pro career, although he’s shown blazing speed, stealing 11 bases in just 18 games.
    • 2015 stats: .219/.316/.250, 12 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 8 BB, 17 K, 11 SB
  38. Colorado Rockies: Tyler Nevin, 3B, Poway HS (CA)
    • The son of former #1 pick Phil Nevin, Nevin-the-younger already has 26 games under his belt in the rookie Pioneer League, and has performed well enough to earn a promotion.
    • 2015 stats: .310/.426/.460, 21 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 17 BB, 20 K, 1 SB
  39. St. Louis Cardinals: Jake Woodford, RHP, Plant HS (FL)
    • Woodford has alternated good and bad outings, with the bad being downright terrible (3.1 IP, 10 H, 6 ER).
    • 2015 stats: 0-0, 0 SV, 6.48 ERA, 4 GP, 3 GS, 8.1 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
  40. Milwaukee Brewers: Nathan Kirby, LHP, Virginia
    • After a trying season, Kirby closed out the Cavaliers’ first-ever College World Series title, so who can blame him for not making his pro debut yet.
    • 2015 stats: N/A
  41. Atlanta Braves: Austin Riley, 3B, DeSoto Central HS (MS)
    • Riley was a two-way start at DeSoto Central, but the Braves drafted him as a hitter. He’s been assigned to the GCL and should make his debut any day now.
    • 2015 stats: N/A
  42. Cleveland Indians: Triston McKenzie, RHP, Royal Palm Beach HS (FL)
    • Ten years from now, we might look back and call McKenzie the steal of the draft. The Indians had to go almost $600k overslot to get him to forgo a scholarship to Vanderbilt, but his incredibly high ceiling should make the decision to turn pro well worth it.
    • 2015 stats: N/A
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One thought on “Checking in on the 2015 First-Rounders

  1. Austin Riley’s GCL webpage is defective as you have to go to the team stats to find out:

    Austin Riley 3B 30 106 18 27 5 0 7 21 53 12 37 2 1 .331 .500 .255 .831

    I am happy to report that as a Braves’ fan Riley is leading the GCL in HR. What seemed to some as a bit of an overdraft, now looks like a slam dunk. Of course time will tell….

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