Arizona has options with the first pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. The Diamondbacks have been linked to several college pitching prospects, and in his third mock draft, John Manuel of Baseball America believes the club will take lefty Tyler Jay out of Illinois.
College tournaments can alter a player's draft stock and the notable change with regard to the number one pick does not come as a result of the fact Carson Fulmer, who the Diamondbacks have also been linked to, allowed six runs and three home runs in his last start against Texas A&M. Manuel adds executives within the industry continue to believe Arizona will take a college pitcher with their top pick.
Throughout the course of the collegiate baseball season, Fulmer and UC Santa Barbara's Dillon Tate were considered two of the best pitching prospects in the nation. However, both could ultimately be best suited pitching out of the bullpen and may not meet the Diamondbacks' need for a starting arm.
Scouts question Tate's ability to remain a starting pitcher at the professional level, according to Manuel, and he is using his slider more frequently than his fastball. UC Santa Barbara has opted to skip his spot in the rotation in an attempt rest him for the start of regional play but Tate could be used in a relief role as soon as this weekend.
While many believe Tate will have the most success as a relief option, Manuel notes some are confident in Fulmer's consistent nature and ultimately feel he can thrive as a starter. But those who feel he will benefit from pitching out of the bullpen wonder if he can maintain his velocity over a full major league season.
Jay may prove to be attractive to the Diamondbacks because "most scouts believe he can start," Manuel suggests. Jay's ERA is the best in the nation and he ranks fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio. As a result, he may prove to be a more durable option than Fulmer or Tate.
Other notable moves
- Thomas Eshelman out of Cal State Fullerton could make it to the top of the second round after a notable rise in position in Manuel's latest draft.
- Kyle Funkhouser out of Louisville was charged with the loss against Clemson in the ACC Tournament and continues to hurt is stock.